Suitcase connectors

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Ironduke
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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby Ironduke » Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:01 pm

Mike Parkes wrote:The quick release connectors I referred to earlier in the thread proved their worth today as a short materialised on the dcc bus. By disconnecting sections of it the short was quickly traced to being caused by wires having worked loose slightly on Cobalt point motor such that a single strand had jumped across the bus connecting wires = short.


Those do look good, Mike. I guess the main advantage of the "suitcase connector" is that you can tap into a continuous wire run rather than having to cut, strip and join into a terminal block. In fact if you google "wire tap connector" you'll find a bewildering array of solutions based on the same idea.

I went back to terminal blocks myself, just because I had loads of them already. And of course you can screw them to the baseboard, which isn't an option with most other types.

I find the terminals on the cobalt motors a little annoying at times; you need quite a long length of stripped wire for the terminal to lock onto and it can be quite difficult to persuade all the strands to go in together :|
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Rob

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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby TimberSurf » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:18 am

There is nothing wrong or "Bad" about IDC (insulation-displacement contact) connectors, the phone companies and industry have been using them for many tens of years!
When the suitcase type was introduced, it was aimed at secondary (not primary manufactured) termination with the 12V/24V vehicle industry in mind (highly frowned on to use on mains), they are very reliable connectors, but being aimed at amateurs retrofitting on vehicles, they have inherently picked up a bad rep, due to people with a lack of understanding, selecting the wrong connector or wire combination, and getting failures in the wiring! The problem being that only the correct size of cable must be used and due to the large differential in size between bus and dropper, potential bad connections can be had.
This is one of the reasons I advocate using them in combination with crimps to eliminate the issue see tip 403.
Their main advantage is that the original existing wire does not need to be cut into and they are completely shrouded (insulated) and protected from the weather (not overly relevant on a model railway). They are overcome the issue of soldering under the board and don't need any planning of were the tap point is as they can be fitted anywhere along the run!
The more modern spring clamp terminal (commonly referred to as Wago) do have their uses (but are currently not cheap per piece), the wait for delivery is not short, but this type Spring clamp choccy block work out very reasonable (as low as 5p ea) and are very tolerant of wire sizes (great for point motor and live frog wiring!)
Last edited by TimberSurf on Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:35 am

Yes, TimberSurf, that is exactly the set-up I have in the afore-mentioned wiring kit: crimp spade connectors slotting into single suitcases. I shall now be using it with renewed confidence.
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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:43 am

One way of ensuring that the wire strands don't splay when wiring a Cobalt point motor would be to tin the wire. But the whole point of the Cobalt connections is supposed to be that you DON'T need to solder...
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sishades
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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby sishades » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:49 am

I use these connectors on my layout, about 100 in total and have found them to be very reliable over the years. With regards to the cobalts, I have 40 of these and took the precaution of tinning all of the wire ends. The picture below is my new layout with the same connectors etc

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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby UrbanHermit » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:29 pm

That is a seriously neat piece of layout wiring. The mess I've seen under some baseboards...
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Ironduke
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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby Ironduke » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:02 pm

sishades wrote:With regards to the cobalts, I have 40 of these and took the precaution of tinning all of the wire ends.


At the risk of getting slightly off-topic, I was taught during in my apprenticeship never to tin wires that are going into a "clamping" type terminal and it specifically mentioned in the Cobolt Manual,
"Note: The wire will always be more secure if it is NOT tinned"
so I didn't.
Regards
Rob

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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby Tricky Dicky » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:21 am

Ironduke wrote:
sishades wrote:With regards to the cobalts, I have 40 of these and took the precaution of tinning all of the wire ends.


At the risk of getting slightly off-topic, I was taught during in my apprenticeship never to tin wires that are going into a "clamping" type terminal and it specifically mentioned in the Cobolt Manual,
"Note: The wire will always be more secure if it is NOT tinned"
so I didn't.


Very true, especially if the connection was subject to shock or vibration or movement of the wire. At high currents things could get decidedly dangerous.

Those of us of a certain age may remember the days when appliances generally did not come with a moulded on plug and consumers were expected to fit their own. Quite often the bare wire ends would be tinned and many people thought it just a convenience to make inserting the wires easy when in fact it was more for the benefit of the manufacturers during testing. Over time the screws clamping these tinned wires worked loose causing a vicious circle of heating and oxidation and even leading to fire in the worst cases.

Coming back on topic, I like the idea of the suitcase connectors that allow the joining wire to connect with a spade connector as it should be easy to crimp the spade connector onto thin wires or even solder to the spade connector. Generally spade connectors hold quite firmly I would be interested to know from someone who has used them with the appropriate suitcase connector just how well these stay together?

Richard

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Re: Suitcase connectors

Postby UrbanHermit » Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:37 am

On the ones I've got the little pairs of jaws on the sides of the suitcase connectors are a tight enough fit on the spades to need a fair bit of force to make the connection. I don't think they'll be coming loose in a hurry.
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