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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I'm building a layout that will have flexible wiring for plugging in controller handsets. There will be extension cables built into the base, with plug-in points around the tracks, and a patch panel for linking to the PB. What sort of cable should I be using for extensions? I know I can buy official SC and jadlam cables, but I'm planning proper sockets built into the base rather than trailing in-line sockets.

Circuit Owner
5,964 Posts
QUOTE (stricko @ 29 Jan 2012, 16:27) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks, I'd had a look before making the post, and I'm not sure if there is ever a clear answer to the cable question. Sorry If I've missed it

The answer is out there but probably spread across a few threads.

OK let's attempt an answer then...

The cable pre-wired onto the 2.5mm jacks I used was suitable for speakers. It works perfectly on my layout and the throttles are connected 1.2 metres away from the powerbase. I would have no qualms going 5 metres with the same cable.

The thing you need to remember is that analogue is DIFFERENT to digital. With analogue you have to carry the power that goes to the cars through the controller wire so it has to be pretty meaty if you are putting a lot of power through the tracks.

Digital is completely different because the power that goes through the controller is not connected to the track at all - it is much lower current and simply carries the value of the resistance in the controller across to the computer chip which then works out what signals to send the car telling it how much power to take from the track (which is at a constant voltage and constant power to all intents and purposes).

So pretty much any low resistance cable will do - anything copper that is suitable for weedy speakers will be OK.

If you use software that allows you to calibrate your throttles then do so, this will allow the APB to make full use of the trigger range in your controller. You see the throttles themselves are analogue, when you press the brake or lane change button this adds extra resistance into the circuit. The powerbase looks at the resistance value in the throttle circuit and decides which one of 64 throttle levels to send to the car and if the resistance is significantly up (i.e. you pressed the brake or lane change button) it also sends that instruction to the car.

You could put 25 amps into the track and your thin copper throttle cable will be unaffected on a digital setup - if it was an analogue setup the wire would probably melt!

"What about analogue mode on the APB?" you might ask - no problem because the throttle circuit is still isolated from the track - the resistance value from the throttle is taken by the chip which then tells the power delivery side how much power to pump into that lane.

There is a mod for the APB which allows you to re-jig the power circuit to take MUCH bigger loads from external transformers but this does not affect the throttle side.

Hope that's clear.

In a nutshell - get some copper speaker wire that would be OK for small speakers and you will be fine.
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