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 !2 Ga Wire Choice
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Author Topic Next Topic: Planning on Jumping to DCC and Need Help Deciding  

john holt
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/05/2021 :  1:59:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am thinking about using this wire as my main bus wire for my layout. Any and all comments are appreciated. Suggestions welcome.
GS Power 100% Copper 12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) 100 Feet Flexible Stranded Red/Black 2 Conductor Bonded Zip Cord for Car Audio Amplifier 12V Automotive Dash Harness LED Light Wiring
99.97% OFC stranded zip cables. 100' red and 100' black wires bonded together. Pulls apart easily
True 12 Gauge wire (2 conductors, 67 Strands per conductor. 0.25 mm diameter per strand)
Automotive Grade "GPT" PVC insulation. Oil & gas resistant. Temperature Range: -40 deg F to +176 deg F
Perfect for Radio, Home Theatre, Stereo, Video, Robotics and R/C
Unmarked PVC walls for a clean sharp Red / Black look.
This is available on Amazon...Thanks, John


Country: USA | Posts: 382


Posted - 01/05/2021 :  2:35:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I’ve used solid copper 12 ga in separate rolls, red=hot, white=grnd(?), that allows me to use a stripper I have that displaces the insulation enough to wrap the track drops around it and solder in place. I’m not a fan of the displacement so called “suitcase” splicers, preferring to be sure my splices are secure, even if I bang my head and curse getting up off the floor now and then.

Sure there are many opinions.

Karl Scribner
Sunfield Twp. Michigan
Kentucky Southern Railway
The Spartan Line

Country: USA | Posts: 11762 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/05/2021 :  2:46:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You are correct karl'. I've had bad luck with suitcase splicers as well....... had to re-do many, in difficult areas.........with true connections...Not as pretty, but 100% reliable..


Country: USA | Posts: 6164 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/05/2021 :  3:57:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well John, I clicked one time too many and lost my reasoning for using solid 12. Go to an electrical shop where contractors go, and buy you 12# in bulk, a heck of a lot cheaper than the Bigbox stores. Stranded wire sucks up solder and is hard tp strip cleanly. So now you have a consensus on solid wire. Here's another tip. Get some of these and put one about every 4' along the route of your bus wires. They can run side by side. These will keep your under layout wires neat and manageable. I did a 66'X32' layout several years back, and these are great! They allow you to drop a wire out to add a feeder, or other wires without cutting the bus. Remember to leave a little extra wire along that main bus if you decide to add blocks later on.


Maybe available at an electrical store too.


Take the red pill

Country: USA | Posts: 6018 Go to Top of Page

john holt
Engine Wiper

Posted - 01/05/2021 :  10:23:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karl, Ted & Jim....thanks for your time and suggestions. I was thinking the stranded wire would be easier ( more flexible )to work with than the solid wire. I also am NOT a big fan of suitcase type connectors, and I had picked this item for wire taps: Posi-Tap (EX-255) Re-usable Wire tap 12-18 Awg. These are a simple screw on tap that can be moved if necessary without permanent damage to the wire. They work better with stranded wire. While a bit pricey, they work very, very well and no soldering under the table. I think the stranded wire will be fine with the Posi-Taps. Had it not have been for the choice of my taps, I certainly agree the solid wire would be a better choice. Sometimes I get ideas in my head only to find out later there was a cheaper and easier way. With that thought in mind, again, any more ideas or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks....John


Country: USA | Posts: 382 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 01/06/2021 :  08:32:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I used solid 12GA house wire (Romex) for my power bus. Heavy solid copper is very difficult to get into screw terminals on things like block detectors and DCC circuit breakers. I cut the Romex everywhere I need to tap and use appropriately sized wire nuts to join the two bus ends and the local feeders. My local feeders use either 14GA stranded automotive zip cord (thinner than what you found) or 16GA stranded, depending on distance and how generous the connectors it's going to are. Few will handle solid 12GA, many have difficulty with 14GA stranded until I thin it down a bit by misusing a wire stripper.

Edited by - jbvb on 01/06/2021 08:35:58 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 6686 Go to Top of Page
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