Martin Tärnrot

Powerbus Made Easy

Martin Tärnrot
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Duration:   12  mins

Martin Tärnrot assembles a Powerbus. What is Powerbus? You need to have track feeds on multiple places along the line to maintain good quality of the digital control signal coming from your command station. Otherwise the engines will not listen to the commands because the quality of the signal is too poor.

Typically you route copper cables under the layout and connect track power from those cables. The popular way to do this is to drill holes through the framework and route the cables through those, and use clamp-on connectors and route the track power from those cables.

This method has some disadvantages, one of which is that all the installation work needs to be done crawling around on the floor. However, for a home-type layout you can assemble it in the front. It’s a modular approach and you can do all the assembly work sitting at a table. The assembly is quick, easy, and foolproof.


You need a plank to assemble the Powerbus in the front or rear of the layout. Martin explains the dimensions needed and how and where to drill the holes. He shows the Powerbus connectors he normally uses. They are for flange or chassis mounts. The advantages with this type of connector are the reliability and ease of assembly. Martin then begins the assembly.

Be sure to properly label the connectors. The next step is making the cables. Martin provides all the cable specs and measurements. You’ll need a crimping tool. Martin makes cables for the illumination bus, which powers illumination for street lights, houses, etc and which runs in parallel to the Powerbus for the DCC.


Martin attaches the cables to the connectors on each segment of the Powerbus. He uses carpenter’s tape for the routing of the cables. It’s secure and durable, yet easy to remove.

Each segment of the Powerbus is then attached to the support legs of the framework, and the cables attached to the connectors in each segment.

You may also be interested in these videos on wiring your layout – computer control and creating control bus wires when wiring your layout.

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