Soldering

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crazypotter
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Soldering

Postby crazypotter » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:01 pm

Hi all. Just wondered if any of you guys have used the Peco power feed joiners. These are essentially pre soldered fishplates with a small amount of link wire attached (albeit a very short length ). Not really keen on soldering so have looked at these as an alternative to my DCC layout. Not quite sure though how I would link them together to create a return back to my Elite controller. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Mountain
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Re: Soldering

Postby Mountain » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:37 pm

While they do work and are an option it is better to solder to the rails if you can. For those who dont solder they are a slightly better option then the old paperclip as they are less visible. The argument against the use of these is that one may have the odd issue with current reaching the rails. Having said that, there is no difference in current conductivity then the current that carries through a standard railjoiner from one rail to the next rail. Some people like to have every rail with soldered dropper wires, and sure, this is the ultimate form of current collection without employing a third rail, but it isn't really necessary. It has only really been more popular since DCC has become popular, though a few people did solder droppers to every rail on exhibition layouts to ensure reliability.
The best option and by far the cheapest in the long run (Over time) is to invest in a soldering iron and learn to solder. Yes, it needs practice and there are methods one learns, but there's not a huge amount to it. Once you've learnt how to solder, you will see how expensive those soldered rail joiners are compared to doing it yourself, but if you do it yourself, solder to the rails is the best option.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Soldering

Postby Bufferstop » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:31 pm

In the sixties when automated PCB assembly hadn't been developed the electronics firms used to employ under qualified young ladies with nimble fingers to assemble and solder the boards. Nothing sexist about it they could just beat the men every time. When it came to learning to solder, they taught them that on the first afternoon. Even N gauge track doesn't require their nimble fingers, so one afternoon when you have some time, get some instructions for soldering and teach yourself to do it. :)
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Bigmet
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Re: Soldering

Postby Bigmet » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:47 pm

Some exhibitions have a soldering demo stand too, good for those whose preferred learning style is by seeing a demonstration, and then following the example.

I would almost go as far as to say that electrically powered model railway requires the ability to perform electrical soldering. Once this small skill is acquired you will wonder how you managed without. And it doesn't end at model railway, I have among other things repaired car parts, central heating components like powered valves and other electrical items, at effectively zero cost instead of having to resort to replacement parts or new purchase.

And then there are items like costume jewellery, spectacle frames and other small metal work items that are readily repaired. Once you start on these, brass and nickel silver etched kits come into scope.

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End2end
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Re: Soldering

Postby End2end » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:03 pm

'TIN' (melt solder on) both surfaces first.
Don't use lead-free solder. It's meard!
My tuppence worth. :D
Thanks
End2end
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Ironduke
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Re: Soldering

Postby Ironduke » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:21 pm

crazypotter wrote:Not quite sure though how I would link them together to create a return back to my Elite controller.


Regardless of how you connect the wire to the track, the common practice for getting the power back to the controller is to run a thick pair of wires under the layout, loosely following your track plan, and then connect the feed wires to it
Image

I use speaker wire and "choc block" screw terminal blocks.
Image
Regards
Rob

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Peterm
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Re: Soldering

Postby Peterm » Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:45 am

I can't see the point of using dropper with wires soldered to them. You still have the chance of looking to try and find out where a voltage/current drop is, usually just when you thought everything is right, and it can be a right pain. I use a 60 watt soldering station to heat the point where I'm soldering quickly so as not to melt sleepers/chairs. My droppers are soldered to the underneath of the rails and will be invisible with ballast on, as they both go down the same hole in the 4'.0. If your track is already laid, you can solder to the rail sides so they can hardly be seen. The two most important things are cleanliness and tinning the rail and wire... not to mention, not hanging about with the iron near delicate parts.
Pete.

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Ironduke
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Re: Soldering

Postby Ironduke » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:25 am

Peterm wrote:I can't see the point of using dropper with wires soldered to them.


You mean joiners? I tend to agree. Apart from anything I think heating them up that much takes the spring out of them and they don't grip the track so well after that.
Regards
Rob

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End2end
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Re: Soldering

Postby End2end » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:18 am

I have to agree with the last 2 posts
My droppers are soldered to the sides of the tracks but are not seen as I've painted the track with RailMatch's SLEEPER GRIME.
I saw the presoldered fishplates and thought.....they look a bit naff and would cost a bomb for my layout... I'll do it myself. :mrgreen:
Thanks
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RAFHAAA96
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Re: Soldering

Postby RAFHAAA96 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:35 pm

I use the thumb test to determine if fishplates are loose and generating high resistance.
With a current load on the track move round each rail joint with your thumb. If there is a high resistance the joint will be hot.
When found tighten a loose fishplate by pressing onto the rail with a flat bladed screwdriver.
Rob
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Peterm
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Re: Soldering

Postby Peterm » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:42 pm

Ironduke wrote:
Peterm wrote:I can't see the point of using dropper with wires soldered to them.


You mean joiners? I tend to agree. Apart from anything I think heating them up that much takes the spring out of them and they don't grip the track so well after that.

:oops: You're right of course. I usually proof read before posting. :)
Pete.

abenn
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Re: Soldering

Postby abenn » Tue Jul 17, 2018 2:32 pm

Despite having a good soldering iron with a fair selection of tip sizes, I've always found it very difficult to solder direct to an N-gauge rail without damaging the plastic bits. So on my present layout I copped out and soldered a dropper to every rail joiner, and soldered the droppers to a 'ring main' as described a few posts earlier. So far, with the layout in an unheated garage, I've had no continuity problems in its 4-year life.

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Ironduke
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Re: Soldering

Postby Ironduke » Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:58 pm

abenn wrote:Despite having a good soldering iron with a fair selection of tip sizes, I've always found it very difficult to solder direct to an N-gauge rail without damaging the plastic bits. So on my present layout I copped out and soldered a dropper to every rail joiner, and soldered the droppers to a 'ring main' as described a few posts earlier. So far, with the layout in an unheated garage, I've had no continuity problems in its 4-year life.


Yeah I did exactly that for the same reason on my previous layout (also N gauge). Maybe put it down to the terrible joiners you get with Atlas brand track but I had so much trouble with dead zones and continuity (among other things) I ended up scrapping it all and starting again.
Regards
Rob

Tricky Dicky
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Re: Soldering

Postby Tricky Dicky » Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:05 am

abenn wrote:Despite having a good soldering iron with a fair selection of tip sizes, I've always found it very difficult to solder direct to an N-gauge rail without damaging the plastic bits. So on my present layout I copped out and soldered a dropper to every rail joiner, and soldered the droppers to a 'ring main' as described a few posts earlier. So far, with the layout in an unheated garage, I've had no continuity problems in its 4-year life.


As bizarre as it may seem the secret to soldering droppers to rails both OO and N, is to use an iron with a decent wattage, 40W - 60W and getting in and out quickly prevents melting of sleepers. Using underpowered irons means you have to hold them on the rail longer allowing heat to flow along the rail, this is what causes the melting. A high powered iron over comes the heat-sinking effect of the rail and localises the heat allowing you to get in and out quickly before the heat can travel along the rail.

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b308
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Re: Soldering

Postby b308 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:26 am

I've always used a 25w with OO9 track (same rail as N) and had no issues, on my last layout I even used a 15w Antex iron. The key is cleanliness and flux with the wire tinned before attching to the rail. Have had no need to use a 40 or 60w which TBH I don't think you need, heat loss is far less on code 80 than 100 or 125 rail.


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