Mains safety

The only lighting I liked was mains power-saver fluoro bulbs. But this required mains wiring in the underside of the top deck.

Some 12V fluoro lighting looked OK but I wasn't happy about pumping 10Amps through the wooden framing of the top deck: the fire risk of the high-amperage 12V equalled the electrocution risk of the mains.

In New Zealand we use 220V AC. This means current to lighting is very low. You can run a kilowatt of lights and draw 4A! My 150W of fluoros are negligible.

But 220V makes you twice as dead as the USA's 110V, so safety is paramount.

So i adopted the following rules:

  • mains wiring inside the structure of the railroad has its own colour - bright orange
  • warning stickers on all live components and more importantly on all surfaces on the other side from live components or wires
  • No mains wiring attached to surfaces such as plywood sheet. the wiring is on the underside of timber battens.
  • No drilling allowed in the top deck or valence. All top deck wiring (and Tortoises abd DS54) will be on the top surface - it is staging only, not seen. This rule is broken by the feeds from below (track DCC, Loconet, 12V DC) which I preinstalled before the top deck framing was closed in
  • no exposed wire. At 220V that should go without saying
  • ELCB on the model railway circuit (and the workbench). There's only one circuit for the lot. At 220V a layout this small will not get near 10A