Digital power

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crazypotter
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Digital power

Postby crazypotter » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:59 pm

Hi. Have just started on my layout and really still a novice. Have purchased an Hornby elite of a mate, good price, mint condition. Was intending to buy the power track along with other track. However, he has lost the link wire that runs from the track port on the controller to the housing on the power track. Any of you guys know where I can get this or is there an alternative?. I really don't want to mess about with soldering!!. Many thanks.

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dynax
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Re: Digital power

Postby dynax » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:37 pm

any cable rated at 4 amps or more will be fine,

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End2end
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Re: Digital power

Postby End2end » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:51 pm

A lot of us just solder the wires to the track from a DCC bus in various places, connecting the power/controller to the DCC bus
If your not too confident, try soldering wires onto a small piece of track a few times. The consensus that I have found is DO NOT use fishplates to carry the power.

Some tips on soldering....
Use a HOT iron...the cheap ones really don't get that hot.
"Tin" everything first by melting solder where it needs to be THEN solder the two items together otherwise you can end up with a "dry joint".
Try to source LEADED solder not the unleaded type as thats about as useful as a hanky for a condom.
SOLDER IN A WELL VENTILATED SPACE. DO NOT BREATHE IN THE SMOKE!!!!!!!

I have probably soldered a lot more than most as I wired a LOT of editing suites and recording studios in Soho and around London.
Hope it helps
Thanks
End2end
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flying scotsman123
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Re: Digital power

Postby flying scotsman123 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:00 pm

Honestly, you'll be doing a lot more messing around if you don't solder, and you really don't even need to be terribly neat with it for model railway electronics, big and blobby is fine for most things if it's under the baseboard.
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pete12345
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Re: Digital power

Postby pete12345 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:01 pm

People seem to have an aversion to soldering and I can never understand why. With the right equipment it's nit difficult, and is by far the most effective, quuckest and cheapest way to make connections.
Once an engine attached to a train, was afraid of a few drops of rain...

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alex3410
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Re: Digital power

Postby alex3410 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:31 am

I think its one of those skills that you forget how difficult it was when you first started out, I hated soldering with a passion when i first started in the hobby, these days I still really dislike it but won't actively avoid it when it's needed.

That being said its a very useful skill in the hobby and the only way to get better at it is to practice, on my new layout i am planning to solder all of the track myself rather than rely on pre-soldered fishplates - we will see how well this goes :lol:

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RAFHAAA96
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Re: Digital power

Postby RAFHAAA96 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:46 am

I learned soldering as an aeromodeller many many decades ago, soldering steel washers to piano wire undercarriage struts to keep the wheels on. After that learning curve the black art was dead easy. Keep it clean and use a suitably sized iron for the job with the right solder. I always use 60/40 multi-cored flux leaded solder, not this unleaded mush.

Its like riding a bike, once you know how ots dead easy.
Rob
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Bufferstop
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Re: Digital power

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:18 am

Don't let anyone tell you lead alloy solder is banned, illegal or no longer made. It's still available and legal for you to use yourself. You aren't allowed to let an employee use it and it's not considered safe for large scale production methods. The only change I've made to my working practise is to use a fume extractor. If you need to solder with it in a "difficult" location the suction hose of a vacuum cleaner may get in closer to the action than a fume hood.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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alex3410
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Re: Digital power

Postby alex3410 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:10 pm

Turns out soldering can be rather useful outside the hobby as well, one of the buttons in my car key stopped working - turns out the button had fallen off the circuit board :evil:

A bit of careful soldering later and it’s reattached and working :D

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Bufferstop
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Re: Digital power

Postby Bufferstop » Mon Apr 23, 2018 10:59 pm

When it happened to mine the button completely disintegrated. I managed to replace it with one rescued from a defunct radio/alarm. Just had to leave out the rubber button and let it stick up through the hole.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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Bigglesof266
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Re: Digital power

Postby Bigglesof266 » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:22 pm

crazypotter wrote:Any of you guys know where I can get this or is there an alternative? I really don't want to mess about with soldering!!

Here you go. Either 18AWG or 16AWG (overkill) will be fine for the Elite's 4A PSU. Pick a roll in your preferred colour and cut two lengths. Mark one with a piece of tape at both ends to differentiate terminals. You can get away with just twisting the ends, but soldered (as the Hornby originals are) is better for constant handling.

You might also find this of use. More flexible deployment than the Hornby Powertrack & DCC friendly (no suppressors per the Hornby DC powertrack part) OOTB.
Last edited by Bigglesof266 on Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Mountain
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Re: Digital power

Postby Mountain » Mon Apr 23, 2018 11:46 pm

I was thinking. There are a few who have not tried soldering. Maybe the more experienced can do some hints and tips or tutorial thread? My soldering works but I can't say it is always neat etc. It is more "Functional" if I had to describe... But it works fine for me, so if I can do it there is hope for others to give it a try too!
After all, if I can make my own track using solder to hold the rails on, it must be fairly easy to do or I'd not be doing it!
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

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Bigglesof266
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Re: Digital power

Postby Bigglesof266 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:10 am

Mountain wrote:I was thinking. Maybe the more experienced can do some hints and tips or tutorial thread? My soldering works but I can't say it is always neat etc.

Whilst one could harp on for pages about tools, and technique, materials notwithstanding, coming from a background of fear and complete lack of confidence or knowledge in using a stove heated iron in my youth to today competently and confidently soldering model rail, R/C and all manner of electronics, in summary there are three basic prerequisites for successful soldering IME. The first is all important.

1. A suitable temp range soldering iron -soldering station is the ideal if one's budget can extend to it. Not absolutely necessary in our hobby, but very nice to have. As as everyone here points out, soldering is arguably a prerequisite skill for anyone building a layout with a view to long term participation in the hobby. If choosing a single heat range/wattage tool, a quality brand 30W iron is the standard. I have both BTW, among others (80W heavy tip) for other jobs.

2. Confidence, which comes through,

3. Repetition or practice, which along with currency makes perfect.

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Mountain
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Re: Digital power

Postby Mountain » Tue Apr 24, 2018 11:24 am

I must say that as I look along my layout, I can see my soldering skills have improved when I look at the track I started with and the track II finished with... :lol: One of the great improvements came in the form of adding a little flux!
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

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Bigglesof266
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Re: Digital power

Postby Bigglesof266 » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:20 pm

RAFHAAA96 wrote:I learned soldering as an aeromodeller many many decades ago, soldering steel washers to piano wire undercarriage struts to keep the wheels on.

I missed this earlier. Ditto.

Oh the horror! Also my very first frustrating attempts at soldering. Back in the days of profile thin 1¾" plastic kit supplied wheels with no metal centre hubs, before the advent of SIG or DuBro grub screw retaining collars or availability of spring clip collars in AU, trying to solder ⅛" inner diameter retaining washers with a flame heated soldering copper on a gas stove with a solid stick of solder, no flux and even less know-how! Thank goodness even in those days you could buy ready made tin fuel tanks, so that the only time had to venture near them with that iron was either to modify the plumbing or repairs.

Two decades later armed with an 80W Weller electric and considerably more knowledge, materials, tools and experience, I confidently used to neatly scratchbuild tin tanks from K&S flat sheet and copper tubing for U.K. vintage combat models (diesel & suction only, no pressure).


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