Fixing N gauge track.

Discussion of N gauge model railway specific products and related model railway topics (problems and solutions). (Graham Farish, Dapol, Peco)
Dad-1
Posts: 6246
Joined: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Dorset - A mile from West Bay.

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby Dad-1 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:16 pm

Got to go with Grahame on that.
All too easy for resistance to build up between rail & rail joiner.

Geoff T.
Remember ... I know nothing about railways.
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=32187 and Another on viewtopic.php?f=22&t=28436&start=60&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

abenn
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:03 am

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby abenn » Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:20 am

Thanks for the tips on soldering to the rails. Soldering to the joiners was recommended by my local railway model shop, and it certainly makes life easy, but looks like I might have to change before I get too far.

Sc0tty
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby Sc0tty » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:56 am

I was thinking about using the lazy way, ie PECO PL 82 pre-soldered rail joiners. Is this not recommend then? I personally cannot see how connecting power wires to the fishplates can be any worse than to the rail itself, but, I am a novice!

ParkeNd
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Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby ParkeNd » Tue Mar 17, 2015 8:49 am

Sc0tty wrote:I was thinking about using the lazy way, ie PECO PL 82 pre-soldered rail joiners. Is this not recommend then? I personally cannot see how connecting power wires to the fishplates can be any worse than to the rail itself, but, I am a novice!


I didn't use them (soldered wires to the sides of the rails) but I have read a lot about them. You will need to make up your own mind from forum posts which claim variously that :-

1. They are very good and have never given problems - highly recommended.

2. They can work loose and cause loss of power.

3. The genuine Peco items are very expensive if applied to every rail as per some folks DCC standards. £1.50 per pair x more than 100 pieces of track.

4. To save money on high usage applications folk buy cheaper EBay alternatives.

5. People who solder their rail joints have reported that the power wire then fell off.

Whilst 5 is an odd one the topic is clearly one where you have to make your own mind up about the little devils.
Last edited by ParkeNd on Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby b308 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:04 am

Look at this way, Scotty, Railway Modelling is a long learning curve and as you progress in it you will learn lots of new skills, assuming you are not a box-collector, that is... Soldering is one of those skills which you will find ever more useful as you progress, it's also one of those skills which has uses outside railway modelling...

Learning to solder a wire to a piece of rail is about as basic as soldering gets and so it a useful way of starting to learn a new skill...

The choice is yours, do you buy it ready made like everyone seems to these days, or do you try something new and learn from it...

Tricky Dicky
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 10:01 pm

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby Tricky Dicky » Tue Mar 17, 2015 11:46 am

Scotty without going into minute detail but electrical problems related to fishplates has been a problem since the early days of the hobby, using pre-soldered fishplates is not going to solve that issue. Soldering to the rails is the best way, and soldering may sound daunting to one who has little experience but it is an easily learned skill.

The subject of soldering to rails has been done several times on this forum, try a search in Electronics. It might be time to have a pinned topic from one of our resident experts. So how about it Flashbang? :roll:

Richard

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby b308 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 12:26 pm

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=35909&hilit=soldering+tips

One absolute no-no is to solder the railjoints together to "aid" conductivity! The Real Thing has gaps between lengths of rail to allow for expansion and we need them even more than they do especially if your layout is in a shed/garage/loft...

Sc0tty
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:27 pm

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby Sc0tty » Wed Mar 18, 2015 2:49 pm

Thanks chaps. I did not realise that one should make multiple power connections to the whole layout ! I thought that DCC supplies full 12v to the track at all times, and I was hoping to only use about 5 or 6 pre soldered fishplates on my simple layout (probably something similar to ParkeNd's layout). Surely there cannot be too much resistance on a small layout, and I certainly do not relish or enjoy soldering or electrical work. Is there a general rule of thumb with regards to how many track drop wires per length of track?!


James

abenn
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:03 am

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby abenn » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:48 pm

Well, I'm still working on my behind-the-scenes storage yard, and I'm afraid I've ignored (for the moment) the advice about not soldering to rail joiners. I'm using Peco flexitrack, and I'm installing power droppers at every joint, so that's at least one every yard -- sometimes closer when there's cut rails, points, etc.

My glued track is coming slightly loose in one or two places where it's been knocked during construction, so I've started installing track pins as an insurance for this unballasted area. Interestingly I note that Peco say that drilling is not necessary for these tiny pins -- just hold them in needle-nose pliers close to their point, and push hard. It worked for the first one I tried, even into my 9mm ply base, but I then bent a few so I started drilling a 0.5mm hole first. Peco also recommend Sundeala board in the instructions which come with the pins, which I don't agree with. I replaced my Sundeala with 9mm ply for this layout, as the Sundeala was far from level, sagging between supports, and bumpy at joins.

b308
Posts: 5006
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:48 pm
Location: North Worcs

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby b308 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:33 am

You won't get those pins into 9mm ply by pushing! I use slightly larger pins and pre-drill the holes and then remove the pins after ballasting (if I remember, they are not very visible)...

ParkeNd
Posts: 1388
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:48 pm

Re: Fixing N gauge track.

Postby ParkeNd » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:11 am

I found the small N gauge pins excellent and nigh on invisible - but did need a good system for getting them in. After a day or so I found that drilling a 0.3mm hole in the sleeper with an Archimedes drill was easy and essential to stop the pins coming out of the sides of the dark sleepers. A pin drift was vital to make sure the hammer taps were directed vertically - I used a cheap Philips screwdriver which had a dimple in its point and (vitally) a small hammer. Less than 10% of the pins started to go askew on the way in, and when they did I abandoned them for a new one immediately (after a few failed attempts to straighten up).

I suspect that OO experiences are different from this because of the bigger pins and huge slabs of sleeper. But for N gauge spending 1/10 of a loco on the proper tools is a good investment - or so I found.


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