Introduction Wiring Your Model Railroad
, book 12491
, is the latest book of the Essential Series
from Kalmbach Publishing
. Authored by Dr. Larry Puckett, a former Model Railroader magazine contributing editor for 11 years and author who counts a book and 170 articles to his credit in several model railroad publications, this book explains the sometimes mystifying technology and art of model railroad wiring through 127 pages with 140 color photos.
Wiring Your Model Railroad
has the ISBN 9781627001755 and is an 8 1/4 x 10 3/4 softcover. Kalmbach tells us;
If model railroaders could own one book about wiring, this would be the best choice. In Wiring Your Model Railroad, Larry Puckett provides a helpful overview of all things wiring, including traditional wiring and DCC. This is the first wiring book any modeler should buy, and it’s a useful reference guide for experienced modelers. Most importantly, it is the first book any publisher has released on this topic in 15 years. So, it’s the most current and reliable source of model railroad wiring information you’ll find anywhere.
Between the covers Wiring Your Model Railroad
is full of detailed and concise information. Dr. Puckett has "been there, done that" in this hobby and he successfully imparts his knowledge and experience to the reader.
Chapter 1 Basics of wiring
Chapter 2 Traditional DC power
Chapter 3 Digital Command Control (DCC) basics
Chapter 4 Turnouts and crossings
Chapter 5 Cab control for DC
Chapter 6 Wiring a layout for DCC
Chapter 7 Reverse loops and wyes
Chapter 8 Turnout controls
Chapter 9 Control panels
Chapter 10 Layout wiring
Chapter 11 Basics of soldering
Chapter 12 Signals, detection, and computers
Chapter 13 Maintenance and accessories
Appendix A: Build a working interlocking
Appendix B: List of manufacturers
About the author
The text is well organized and easily read, flowing like electricity through a well-wired layout! The opening chapters present the history of electric trains, starting with a battery powered trolley in the late 1890s. It discusses the different ideas for powering trains (DC vs AC, battery vs house electricity, etc.) and the development in controlling that power. A predecessor of DCC, the 1963 release from GE of the Astrac command control system, is mentioned. Model railroading icon Allen McCelland and control of his beloved V&O is discussed. The text continues with explanations of basic electricity and the difference between DC and AC, and DC power packs verses DCC systems. We learn how to calculate how much power required for a layout. Discussion and diagrams of electrical pickup wheel configurations for steam and diesel and electric locomotives is included.
Starting on page 18 is Digital Command Control (DCC) basics
. This clearly discusses DCC components and electronic demand, the ability for computer interfacing, and wireless control.
Eight pages later is Turnouts and crossings
. Turnouts are very important and have the ability to fluster modelers. This chapter explains how to make them work well, including how to convert older ones to ‘DCC friendly’ types. Addition sections present the use of ground throws and special track: crossings; crossovers; slip switches.
Cab control for DC
begins on page 36. Modelers loyal to DC cab control and those interested in it are introduced to wiring special trackwork in separate sections: Blocks; Passing tracks; Wyes and reversing loops. Creating panel diagrams is also discussed. Ten pages later we learn about wiring DCC in Wiring a layout for DCC
. A separate six-page chapter about preparation of specialty track is Reverse loops and wyes
A complex (for me) chapter explains in seven pages how to control turnouts, discusses controlling frog polarity, and design of routes in Turnout controls
Fourteen pages presents Control panels
, including sections Types of wire, Plugs
. The apparatus of a panel are included, such as different types of controls, i.e., push button, lights, toggles.
Chapters 10 Layout wiring
and 11 Basics of soldering
, explain those less than glamorous yet essential topics, without which everything else is moot. How else would any of the subjects operate as presented in the next chapter, Signals, detection, and computers
? Eight pages show us how to create signals, reed switches and photo sensors, block detection and signals, and how to control with computers.
Maintenance and accessories
demonstrates in nine pages how to install DCC and keep everything running.
Finally, we come to the bonus Appendix A: Build a working interlocking
. Originally presented in THE MODEL RAILROADER’S GUIDE TO JUNCTIONS
, we learn how to create an interlocking panel and signal controls. Demonstrated is how to install small interlocking levers instead of buttons or switches. Other sections include assembling a CTC panel
and erecting a Semaphore signal and mechanism
. Wrapping it up is Appendix B
, a current list of many model companies.
photographs and graphics
A strength of Kalmbach is that they are not afraid to enrich their books with an investment of high quality photographs and original artwork. Wiring Your Model Railroad
is full of mainly color photographs - 140 of them! Dozens of line art and colored charts, tables, illustrations and diagrams support the text. This visual support is outstanding - period!
Electrifying my layout is no longer the same carefree task process as it was in my youth, when if a Tyco loco stalled on a Snap Switch, I would just reach across the table and give it a whack with a pool cue! Nowadays, that would break off about a hundred dollars of detail parts! Thus I am much more finicky with my wiring. To me it is a daunting task, especially with the variety of turnouts available, and the knowledge that a short could weld a favorite locomotive to the rails!
Wiring Your Model Railroad
is therefore an essential resource for me as I create my model railroad empire. I am highly impressed with the depth and clarity of the text. The photographic and graphic support is outstanding.
I highly recommend this book to every model railroader, novice to Master Model Railroader!
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