Where to solder?.

Post all your DCC only problems, solutions and discoverys here.
crazypotter
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Where to solder?.

Postby crazypotter » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:20 pm

Hi all. This question has probably been asked before so apologies in advance. After several weeks I am now starting on my layout build. After seeking advice from you guys, I decided to take the plunge and purchased a soldering iron(no experience whatsoever). I pinned a piece of old track to a block of wood to practice on. I have been soldering underneath the rail but not having a steady hand I am concerned about damaging sleepers as the gap isn't that wide. Having watched a couple of you tube video I have seen some turning the track upside down and soldering the bottom. Would this maybe cause in some instances to make the track a little uneven in places where there is a big blob of solder?. Sorry about the lengthy thread but what would be the best?. Thanks.

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 4433
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby End2end » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:26 pm

I actually soldered to the outside of the rails rather than underneath.
As for large blobs of solder, get yourself a solder sucker tool.
The best way is to try not too use too much solder and DON'T use lead free solder. It's rubbish!
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

User avatar
Dave
Posts: 792
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:20 pm

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby Dave » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:26 pm

Underneath the track is the tidiest, but there is nothing wrong with soldering onto the side.

A good hot iron so that you can get in and do it fast is the trick.

You will get better with practice. You can watch videos and read books, but you learn skills through practice.

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 11510
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:44 pm

Are you soldering to settrack or flexible? With Flexi track you can slide the sleepers along to expose some rail to solder to, or you can remove a sleeper and slide in a new one once the track is laid.
The difference with settrack is that the sleepers are fixed and there's not a big gap to solder in, BUT, the fishplates have been spot welded to the rail so you may as well solder the wires to the underside of the fishplate, just make sure that it is small enough to slide into the gap in the sleepers below the rail. If you are soldering on droppers before you use the rail sections use black wire for both rails and put a length of red sleeve or insulating tape onto whichever will be the red (feed) rail when installed.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

crazypotter
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby crazypotter » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:49 pm

Bufferstop wrote:Are you soldering to settrack or flexible? With Flexi track you can slide the sleepers along to expose some rail to solder to, or you can remove a sleeper and slide in a new one once the track is laid.
The difference with settrack is that the sleepers are fixed and there's not a big gap to solder in, BUT, the fishplates have been spot welded to the rail so you may as well solder the wires to the underside of the fishplate, just make sure that it is small enough to slide into the gap in the sleepers below the rail. If you are soldering on droppers before you use the rail sections use black wire for both rails and put a length of red sleeve or insulating tape onto whichever will be the red (feed) rail when installed.

It is Hornby settrack. I was going to put red one side and black the other for the droppers.

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 4433
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby End2end » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:11 pm

crazypotter wrote:It is Hornby settrack. I was going to put red one side and black the other for the droppers.

That's what I did using Peco set track. You'll be able to hide the cable colours easily if you weather the track sides.
Thanks
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

Mike Parkes
Posts: 648
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:25 pm

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby Mike Parkes » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:20 pm

An alternative is to solder to the underside of the rail joiners

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 4433
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby End2end » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:47 pm

Just for completeness heres what I painted the track with which also hid the wiring when soldered to the outsides of the rails.
RailMatch 2406 Sleeper Grime
Image
Hope it helps.
Thanks
End2end
Last edited by End2end on Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

User avatar
NedFlanders
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 7:56 pm

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby NedFlanders » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:49 pm

crazypotter wrote:It is Hornby settrack. I was going to put red one side and black the other for the droppers.


I have soldered both onto the sides of the rails and underneath depending on the location. I have settled for underneath now where possible, and I find doing it on settrack easier because I have yet to manage to put a piece of flexitrack down exactly the way it was the first time ( so the bit that i soldered to generally moves along a smidge), however that would be true of soldering it on the side unless you wait until the flexitrack is glued/nailed on.

For soldering on the underneath of the settrack I pick my spot and snip off the plastic between the sleepers at that point.
Then I clean the underneath of the rail with a fibreglass pencil
Tin the Rail by holding the hot ( circa 350 C in my case) iron to the rail at that point, wait for a count of 5 - 10 seconds, and hold the solder just at the tip of the iron and the rail - if the solder flows onto the rail- its hot enough, if it doesnt then you need to let it heat a bit more. Trial and error on the piece of spare track works wonders for the confidence here.
Once the rail is tinned I then hold a tinned dropper wire to the tinned rail and hold the iron onto both until the solder melts and then I take the iron away quickly while still holding the dropper wire in place.

This post shows my setup - I wouldnt be without the "Helping Hands", a good light and either excellent vision or a good set of glasses/Magnifying glass.
https://www.newrailwaymodellers.co.uk/Forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=52479#p643274
in the photo after the photo of my setup you can see the size of the solder blob on the side of the rail that I aim for. This is also the size of the blob I would be looking for on the underneath of the rail if I was soldering there. It also shows one of my tinned dropper wires.

Incidentally, these are the kind of soldering irons I did my first ever soldering with - now that was fun! I don't think they would work with either settrack or flexitrack unless it was at a scale of 1:1.....
Image

Ned.
Getting back into railways, one step at a time.
Ned's Workbench - https://tinyurl.com/y4jby73c
The UppydownyRoundyRoundyRailway - https://tinyurl.com/y6stelsr

User avatar
Mountain
Posts: 3999
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:43 pm
Location: Somewhere in Wales, UK.

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby Mountain » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:33 pm

Like the old irons. My dad used to have some of those somewhere.
With soldering its a case of practice. Don't be scared of large blobs. Just use old track that doesn't matter to practice on. Once you can solder, even if you are not the neatest worker, you will soon be making things you didn't expect. I still do large blobs at times.... But to solder has had me make things that I'd not have expected, like my own track.
One thing I will say is to buy a decent soldering iron stand. You will be less likely to have accidental Burnt fingers! A small amount of flux applied separately will sometimes help.
I think most of us agree the lead type solder is better. Mind you, unleaded solder is better then nothing, but get the leaded type if you can. It is so much nicer to use.

User avatar
TimberSurf
Posts: 2433
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:47 pm
Location: N.Wales
Contact:

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby TimberSurf » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:39 pm

See my top tips here at the bottom of the page
Image
Lumsdonia <--- Hit link to go to my website for full story and wiring advice!

User avatar
Bufferstop
Posts: 11510
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:06 pm
Location: Bottom end of N. Warks line

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:35 pm

It is Hornby settrack. I was going to put red one side and black the other for the droppers.

Thats OK on the straight track, but if you do it in advance of using the track you have a problem with the curves as you will need to know whether the red rail will be on the inside or outside of the curve at the place where you use that rail. That's why I suggested using black and marking the red wire with sleeve or tape when you install it.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
My Layout, My Workbench Blog and My Opinions

User avatar
alex3410
Posts: 3439
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:39 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby alex3410 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:14 am

i did a video on it last month which you may find helpful https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viEqNrL9HaY&t=56s

Its how i do it after a fair bit of trial and error with other peoples suggestions, its one of those things you just need to practise to find your style of doing it.

I hated it with a passion at the start but using the above method its fairly painless now.

User avatar
End2end
Posts: 4433
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:58 pm
Location: At the end....... and sometimes at the other end

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby End2end » Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:39 pm

I used to build massive recording studios and video editing suites in Soho and the like so I've soldered a lot more than many people.
We never used flux, but also one thing i noticed in the video from Alex is NOT tinning the track too.
If you don't tin both componants to be soldered you can end up with a dry joint.

Also NEVER leave a soldering iron ON if you walk away from it !! Even if it's in a stand.
Hope it helps
End2end
"St Blazey's" - The progress and predicaments.
Welcome‎
Planning
Building
St. Blazey's Works & Depot thread

crazypotter
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:15 pm

Re: Where to solder?.

Postby crazypotter » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:30 pm

Bufferstop wrote:
It is Hornby settrack. I was going to put red one side and black the other for the droppers.

Thats OK on the straight track, but if you do it in advance of using the track you have a problem with the curves as you will need to know whether the red rail will be on the inside or outside of the curve at the place where you use that rail. That's why I suggested using black and marking the red wire with sleeve or tape when you install it.

Good point (pardon the pun)!.


Return to “DCC Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest