Oct 18, 2020
I have a lot of Malibu outdoor wire, Would that be ok for bus wires?
The run will be about 30 feet.
What gauge is it Malibu wire? DC or DCC? If DCC, what command station?
Here's some info on wire gauges and DCC. DC is more forgiving.
It's 14 or 12 not sure. (I run DC)
Larger diameter wire is the best wire.
It's recommended that you use 12 or smaller 14 gauge household type of wiring for your DCC bus wires. If you are operating with Analog DC then and you are just getting started, use the same gauge of wire from your transformers/throttle to your control panels. Should you convert over to DCC you will be set to go.
Feeder wires from the bus to the rail can be 18 or smaller 20 gauge wire.
This is just a preference but I prefer solid wire over braided wire. To many ticklers with braided wire that can short the works out.
I hope that helps.
Check your numbers. I presume that by Malibu wire you mean that sold for outdoor lighting. What I have used was, I believe, 16 or 18 guage.
Malibu outdoor wire is perfect! it's flexible, has thick insulation, and can carry all the current you will need for your layout!
Boy I know one thing, I'm to old to get under a layout and wire.
That's exactly what I will be doing in the next week or two. Agreed, getting to old for this stuff.
Now tell me! Because I'm obviously out of touch. What the ...well... is Malibu wiring? I've never heard of it.
I know oogle google it. I found it: Malibu Wire .
I still don't know the gauge of the wire other then it's low voltage which tells me nothing. I'm old fashioned enough to want to know the gauge of the wire before I buy it.
Just my two cents and I take change.
Rick, It's for outdoor lighting. You put it under ground and hook your low voltage lights to it.
Wish I would have not used it The outside plastic is hard to get off.
It comes in 12 or 14 gauge.
The new Malibu LED rated wire is 16AWG, but in the incandescent days it was 12AWG, and later 14AWG. The long runs, often 100 feet, carried lots of current at 12V, and I often used it instead of speaker wire, because it was cheaper and thicker for stranded wire.
Thanks for the info. I was wonder myself. Being all black and heavy insulation may eliminate it. And would the connectors be useful?
Trains, For my 10ft by 2ft yard, I used a temporary wooden frame. First I laid the track and turnouts on top of the plywood. Then I tipped the plywood trackboard up 90 degrees, so that I could add the bus wiring and Tortoise switch motors, without having to go underneath! - Tonkphilip
I use solid bus wire. Stripping a half inch of insulation to attach track feeders is easier than with stranded. With stranded I tend to cut thru a few strands.
I do the same thing with 14 gauge solid for my DCC bus. I use a wire cutter and make a cut in the insulation with a wire stripper. Then I move down the wire an inch and make another cut. Finally I use an Xacto knife and cut the insulation lengthwise between the two cuts. Think splitting a hot dog bun.
A feeder (could be more than one) is them wrapped around the bare wire and soldered.
This wire was outside on my G scale layout for about 15 years. The plastic coating is very hard. I'm taking it out and buying something better!
DSC02991 by Trains posted Oct 19, 2020 at 9:00 AM
This is what I'm work on.
Wire is a funny thing because it has many more characteristics than most know about. The first is the purity of the copper. That makes a very big difference in what electrical performance you get. If it is stranded wire, the copper purity and the number of strands is important as is the twist rate of the strands. What also is important is a bus architecture that minimizes the length of the bus. Longer feeder wires are preferred over longer bus wires. And then do not go skimpy on the solder, not all solder is the same either.
I have run a 48 foot point to point layout using DCC and using high quality16 gauge wire. The layout was edge feed at one end for testing the addition.
At the other end of the layout, the voltage on the rails was 0.3 Volts less than at the source.
Quality makes a big difference in everything.
Having worked with electricians, they don't want wire that wastes your time with trying to strip it. Time is money and you want to move along with minor delays at best.
I could see where Malibu (I relate Malibu with, a beach, yachts, boats, skiffs, girls in bikini's and lot's of sun tan lotion). Okay, now back from the vision in my head. This wire might work well for a Garden Railway as most of your wire will end up underground. And now I'm back to the size of wire as some runs on a Garden Railway can be over 100 ft long. You'll need a large gauge wire to handle that run. However, when working with underground wire you'd be better of using conduit and running your choice of wire through it.
I agree with David as quality of wire is a major consideration.
I Ran 18 gauge speaker wire for a mortuary sound system and found we lost current in runs over 200 feet. Larger wire such as 16 gauge solved our problem and delivered the audible sounds we were after. We also found we could add in line transformers that would all but do the same thing.
Now you know why I want to know the gauge of the wire.
You don't have to but I do.
I can't imagine any sane reason to use the Malibu lighting wire for this, unless you have a large supply of it already. If it is wire dug up and saved, make for damn sure the insulation isn't brittle. and bear in mind that it is very hard to strip even when new with the oversized insulation and it may turn out to be hard to solder if the wire has corroded over time underground.
For the main buss wires on my CAjon layout (MRP 1999) I used 12 gauge solid wire for the buss. I used suitcase connectors for feeders and for things that needed to be soldered, used and xacto with a #11 blade to removed a bit of insulation. Not sure that I wouldn't solder feeders if I rebuilt.
DCESharkman gave me a link to a wire supplier 8 years ago. I cant find it at the moment. The wire is perfect for our application. He also suggested wire sizes for both Buss wire and feeder wires. I bought a spool of each. I am running 4 power districts. I havent had a bit of problems with voltage drops or any other 'bugs'....ever.