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 Above ground electrics?

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mikeyh



Location : Dordogne France

PostSubject: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:50 am

dont know if this is possible but in the rural areas of france electricity is carried above ground on poles (poteaux), and were so in 1910. In order to have lights in all my buildings I would like run a wire, supported on poles, around the village and have a lead into each house and street light. i have various transformers so the powering is not a problem, but I dont know if I am risking anything!
I cant run cables undergound now so my only other option would be batteries in each house.

mikey
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bruce



Location : Derbyshire, England

PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:06 pm

In principle, it ought to be possible. I can see a couple of issues that you'd need to work through - though nothing insurmountable.
1) Without wishing to labour the blindingly obvious, I'll assume that all mains power will be indoors and we're only talking about low voltage stuff outside.
2) The wire will need to be of an adequate gauge/thickness to carry the current needed to power the number of lights involved. It may be worth running a thicker "trunk" cable to the village (substation?) and then distributing on to individual buildings using thinner wires? LEDs use much less power than incandescant bulbs, of course.
3) Subject to getting a suitable wire, insulated (black?) coated wire would be less likely to short out if damaged than bare wires, although bare wires would be thinner (= look better).
4) Hope there aren't too many cats/dogs/badgers/other critters/birds likely to walk through it all! Many people don't install catenary for that reason, though some do.

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mikeyh



Location : Dordogne France

PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:30 pm

Thanks Bruce, I'd love to know what problems (nothing insurmountable) I might come up against.
Yes all mains power safely tucked away and yea we get lots of badgers,deer etc. So we have erected a fence around the lot with a catproof strand along the top;



mikey
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bruce



Location : Derbyshire, England

PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Well, Mikey, it sounds like you've surmounted issues 1 and 4 already! I'm not electrically competent enough to work out what gauge wire you might need, but I think that in terms of choosing a fine enough wire to look realistic, that may be an issue. Having said that, some of the wires used by Pola and Busch on their lights are very, very fine indeed. I did see an article discussing this in the US magazine Garden Railways recently, where the guy had worked out precisely what gauge wire was needed for each "leg" of the distribution network. It all looked a bit (over)complicated to me, I'm afraid. But I do think that a heavier gauge trunk run to carry the current required (and minimise voltage drop over distance), with thinner gauge local distribution wires might still be the way to go.

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Bruce
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French Chuffed



Location : Droitwich UK

PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:46 pm

I would think LED would be the way to go mike you can get various ‘colours’ white yellow, etc to give the effect you want and they use far les power.
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Carl Hibbs
Admin


Location : Haute Normandie - visitors welcome

PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:19 pm

Mikey,

Clive has a post running about potential lighting to his buildings. Maybe there's some common ground here...(wow...what a pun eh Sad ).

Nothing stopping you having overhead wires on poles. Very realistic and has many advantages.

You will need some hefty cable though even for short distances. Voltage drop can be pretty significant, about 2 volts over 60 feet with 1.5 mm cross section cable.
I would advise like Bruce and try and have a main trunk feeder cable of at least 4mm cross section and tee off of that with smaller cable, (that's what I have but it's buried).
Trouble is 4mm cross section cable will be difficult and too heavy to suspend from miniature poles.

Another idea is if you are not using track power for traction you could use the rails for electricity supply and tee off that for your buildings. You just need to be careful not to short out the track, a circuit breaker is a must.
A lot of people have done that.

BTW...The layout is progressing...looks good.
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PostSubject: Re: Above ground electrics?   Today at 6:14 pm

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