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  • Topic: Functional Power Poles Indoors?

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    • March 21, 2019 3:51 PM EDT
      • Noblesville, Indiana
         
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      Functional Power Poles Indoors?

      In order to get more operating time, and to give my old bones a break (metaphorically speaking), I am building a modest size indoor 1:24 scale layout. I considered functional power poles on my outdoor layout but the hazards of maintaining them on a ground level layout were obvious. Indoors, however, with no critters of the four-legged or grandkid kinds wandering around on the layout, it seems a better idea for lighting up my structures and lineside equipment. A huge bonus is not having to fold my creaky old joints to crawl around under the layout. I found some pictures of HO power poles connected to buildings, nothing in 1:24 scale and nobody who mentioned actually making them electrically functional. They are everything from simple poles to works of art:

       

       

       

       

      Has anyone installed power poles on your layout? Have you made them electrically functional? Any thoughts on the idea?

      Thanks!

       

    • March 21, 2019 4:35 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      The only thoughts I have is beautiful pictures!

       

      In order to handle the scale wire gauge, you will have to follow prototype practice: use higher voltages, and AC would be more beneficial...

       

      So, probably 100 volts on the wires would handle it, considering the gauge, and you would not have to run more than one phase.

       

      Greg

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    • March 21, 2019 5:57 PM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      David, that is cool!
      And since you are already doing live wires, why not toss in some trolleys too!

    • March 22, 2019 8:52 AM EDT
      • Stoughton, Massachusetts
         
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      I had to do a double take on that first picture...I thought it was real. Wicked nice work!

    • March 22, 2019 9:40 AM EDT
      • Denver, Colorado
         
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         The one mistake I see repeatedly (mistake assuming you are trying to be realistic, which the pictures would lead you to believe they are) is that for some reason a lot of modellers stretch their wires tightly between the poles, tight with no slack. I've never seen a real electrical, cable, or telephone line that was stretched tightly between two points; there's always a considerable slack or sag in the lines.

       

       

      ____________________________________

    • March 22, 2019 11:17 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      Given how difficult it can be to get realistic scale wire droop between poles because of differences in material behavior between the prototype and small scale I'd rather have wires unprototypically straight than with a wonky sag.

      And a lot of the wires out back here are pretty near straight,

      This post was edited by Forrest Scott Wood at April 2, 2019 3:54 PM EDT
    • March 22, 2019 12:26 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      In real life:

      Come summer and they will droop. They are stretched to allow for thermal contraction and extension.

      It's a living world that changes with the seasons ....

       

      I fooled with live wires as a younger modeler and found it too time consuming when I needed to run a train. There was an elastic cord that drooped just right and busses were easy to run for accessories.

      ____________________________________

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      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • March 22, 2019 12:30 PM EDT
      • Shut Up Rooster
         
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      I'm surprised I got no bites on my statement that you probably need 100 volts on the wires to keep scale diameter and voltage drop down.

       

      Not really practical unless you want to do that, or you really aren't going to power more than a couple of LEDs...

       

      Making it look realistic is good enough, and you have done that in spades.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • March 22, 2019 12:34 PM EDT
      • Vail, Az
         
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      Darn, I was waiting to see the reaction too... oh well Mr. Impatient!

      It's a slow morning...

      ____________________________________

      John

       

      The older I get, the less I know, please don't make me prove it.

       

       

    • March 22, 2019 12:52 PM EDT
      • Sylvester, Ga
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      I'm surprised I got no bites on my statement that you probably need 100 volts on the wires to keep scale diameter and voltage drop down.

       

      Not really practical unless you want to do that, or you really aren't going to power more than a couple of LEDs...

       

      Making it look realistic is good enough, and you have done that in spades.

       

      Greg

      Oh - I got it.  Reminded me of an article back in the 50's of a guy who ran something like 60 volts AC through wires and was winding actual transformers to drop it down for the lights in the buildings.  He said the only problem he had was to  remember to turn it off when trying to re-rail something during an operating session and get zapped.  I believe he was in O gauge and the transformers on the poles definitely were not scale! 

    • March 22, 2019 1:12 PM EDT
      • Easton , Massachusetts
         
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      They try to begin with straight ( tight ) but gravity usually wins ...

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    • March 23, 2019 2:45 PM EDT
      • Noblesville, Indiana
         
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      Great ideas and comments, thanx to all! Just to clarify – all three pictures are not my work - they are HO layouts that I found on the internet. I like detailed modeling but function must come first.

      Greg – It never occurred to me that I would worry about scale wire gauge, just small enough to look right and to light up a few LEDs. AC? Phases? No, I’m going Edison all the way.

      Forrest – I am considering operating automobiles, trolleys are not in the plan - although that would present another challenge I hadn’t considered!

      John Cushman – The first picture certainly shows how even simple poles and wires can look very good.

      John Passaro – I will attempt reasonable realism but, until I do some experimenting, I am not sure how saggy I will be!

      John Caughey – N, HO, S and O (and G, too, I suppose) modelers have EZ line for simulating Telephone and Electric lines, all suspended wires, ropes, fences, etc. This Elastic Polymer will stretch when bumped and instantly go back to its original shape. Clearly, they will droop only if forced:

      http://berkshirejunction.com/subdirectory/ez-line/

      So my plan is -

       

      First - make simple poles that can be durably attached under the table so they don't get wonky looking like about everything I stick in the ground outside.

      Second - borrow some of my daughter's 26 gauge, black-coated, copper craft wire, it is good for about 350 mA. It worked great for stage wiring on an outdoor gazebo until the wind broke the connections after about a year. Getting it to look good strung on poles will be the challenge.

       

      Third - making realistic details to attach the wires to the structures and light poles.

      Four - Flippa da switch!

    • March 23, 2019 5:00 PM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      David Palmeter said: Forrest –  trolleys are not in the plan

      Yet.

      Eventually they will be.

      Resistance is futile.

    • March 23, 2019 5:03 PM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      I think that you are just asking for a maintenance nightmare. Bus wires would be more durable.

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      and King Butt Modeler

    • March 23, 2019 5:13 PM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      David Palmeter said: First - make simple poles that can be durably attached under the table so they don't get wonky looking like about everything I stick in the ground outside.

       

      Speaking of non-wonky poles, dig the pole for the RR crossing sign, http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/images/photo-galleries/union-transportation-co-photos/ut9.jpg?mw=750

      (Hmm, non-wonky ... "Hey, do you know Caroline Nonwonky? No, but I knew her old man; yeah, they lived out on the old Nonwonky Farm down on Arrow Road just past Bend Pond.
      That farm been in the family for something like fifteen generations.")

    • March 23, 2019 6:08 PM EDT
      • Noblesville, Indiana
         
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      Forrest Scott Wood said:
      David Palmeter said: Forrest –  trolleys are not in the plan

      Yet.

      Eventually they will be.

      Resistance is futile.

      Do you have pictures of your overhead wire installation? That would be helpful.

       

      This post was edited by David Palmeter at March 23, 2019 6:18 PM EDT
    • March 23, 2019 6:25 PM EDT
      • Noblesville, Indiana
         
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      David Maynard said:

      I think that you are just asking for a maintenance nightmare. Bus wires would be more durable.

      I haven't started on the permanent layout yet - I will put up a few functional poles on my test layout to get an idea of the problems. If it is a nightmare, I'll have a chance to build a better mousetrap....

       

    • March 23, 2019 6:36 PM EDT
      • Noblesville, Indiana
         
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      Forrest Scott Wood said:
      David Palmeter said: First - make simple poles that can be durably attached under the table so they don't get wonky looking like about everything I stick in the ground outside.

      Speaking of non-wonky poles, dig the pole for the RR crossing sign, http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/images/photo-galleries/union-transportation-co-photos/ut9.jpg?mw=750

      (Hmm, non-wonky ... "Hey, do you know Caroline Nonwonky? No, but I knew her old man; yeah, they lived out on the old Nonwonky Farm down on Arrow Road just past Bend Pond.
      That farm been in the family for something like fifteen generations.")

      I don't think you captured the complete link, Forrest, I just got to the home page. Here is the whole link -

      http://ctr.trains.com/~/media/images/photo-galleries/union-transportation-co-photos/ut9.jpg?mw=750

      Regardless, you're right that is straight (pun intended) from Wonkytown, would make a great model:

       

    • March 24, 2019 2:35 AM EDT
      • Missouri
         
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      David Palmeter said:
       

      Do you have pictures of your overhead wire installation? That would be helpful.

       

      My health crashed about 15 years ago and the only overhead I have now, either G, On30, or HO, is one contact wire between 2 springs attached to brass rods at the ends of track on an 8ft shelf. Put shelf up after moving in to this apartment about 10 years ago and still haven't made the catenary to support the wire. Do have the template and soldering jig for it plus a wiring centering and pole rake template.

      This is the closest thing I have to a photo of the present installation. For some reason it is without contact wire.
      Well, hey, I'll snap a quick and dirty shot right quick here at 01:25 in the morning and show the wire anchor.

      ... Oh, there already are some images in that album, oops, forgot.
      Anyway, here are the 2 mentioned above:

      Cardboard leaning on wall at left is the wiring centering and pole rake template.

       

      That's the shelf; and the the wire used; and then the catenary template/soldering jig, which has yet to be finished with pins to hold the wires.

      Plan is to form catenary in sections which then will be placed between poles and connected to contact wire.

      Given the present set of health givens, when or even if it will ever be done is impossible to forecast.

       

      This post was edited by Forrest Scott Wood at April 2, 2019 3:55 PM EDT
    • March 24, 2019 4:20 AM EDT
      • KENILWORTH, WARWICKSHIRE UK. (Just up the road from Stratford-Upon-Avon)
         
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      There was a guy called  Tramcar Trev on G Scale Central -   and a number of modelling forums -- he can stlll  be Googled by that name -  who had a tramcar (trolleycar) layout in his garden.  His website  is (was?) full of tech info about wiring, both ground and overhead.  he was a Vietnam vet (Australian) and suffered quite a bit from it afterwards and had to give up modelling. 

      I found his posts very informative and entertaining. He was,  from a modelling  and full size  point of view,  quite inventive.

      This post was edited by Ross Mansell at March 24, 2019 5:25 PM EDT
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