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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Based on the advice on this forum, the baseboards for my son's railway are now constructed. Two 2' x 6' sections with bracing. The last big challenge that awaits (I think) is going to be how to join the track across the break between the baseboards. There will be 6 tracks which cross the join, all at right angles.

The easiest way seems to be to just make the joins using fishplates, although aligning and joining the tracks seems like it would be very fiddly. Another solution I have seen on this forum is to keep ~ 2" pieces of flexible track to fill the gaps. This seems slightly less fiddly, but not by much. The final solution I can think of is to solder a wire to each end of the break and drop this down through the board to a terminal block. The connection can then be made into the terminal block. Technically this seems like the best idea, but I could live without screwing 24 wires into 12 terminal blocks every time the railway comes out.

Is there a more suitable solution available or has anything I have suggested the best way to go? Ideally I want the solution to be quick and easy to both build and assemble when the railway comes out.

In case it influences any decision, the layout will be operated by DCC.

Thanks again.
 

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Hi
Personally I use computer "D" connectors. Available in 9, 15 or 25 way pin and mating socket arrangement. They are ideal for model railway use. You can use ready made plug to plug or plug to socket leads and then use two mating sockets or plugs mounted into each side of the board joint or alternativly cut one lead in half and wire the cut end in to the multi way terminal strip on one side and the other side then plugs into a mating socket on the board or its mating free end is also a cut cable and has had its cable termianted in termnial strips too.
The alternative is the heavy duty multi pin plugs and sockets sold by RS components which are much easier to wire though more expensive! Both types are hyperlinked to give you some idea.

Maplin D connectors
Maplin ready made D cables
Both these are examples only and much cheaper connectors or ready made cables can be obtained.

RS multi pin plugs & sockets

In both cases where you're making up your own cables Plug Hoods will also be needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The D-connectors seem like a great soution. Is there anything I should take into account when selcting the wire to go from the rails to the connector, again bearing in mind the DCC operation?

Thanks again.
 

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I know many people use "D" connectors but they are only somthing like half amp rated - they are certainly not meant for power, just data. Use too many of them (& the associated smaller cables) "daisy chained" & you will almost certainly end up with some volt drop.

You really need something of around 3 amp rating - RS do some with up to 36 ways in modular form which are a similar price.
 

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years ago, when I was involved in building HO modules within the NMRA Brit Region.......for the double track ''main line'' [the common running rails.....].....we used dropper wires, with a reasonable lenght of cable...to ordinary white connector blocks. These connector blocks were slightly special in that one side would have fixed pins protruding, and the adjacent block simply had brass connectors, no screws, so they just plugged together. Dunno where they came from originally, suspect Maplins.

these can be made up at home, simply by using ordinary connector blocks, with a short length of brass rod fixed into one side [screwed]...the rod should be the samediameter as the internal dimensions of the brass block, inside the connectors......simply wire up and plug together in use.

For my son's folding layout, which is electrically simple, I actually transfer the main power supply from one board to the other, by soldering one wire through a hole in the folding hinges.....two hinges, thus one is +ve, the other -ve.

for the more complicated,reversed sidings in the centre, I used a 5 pin DIN plug and socket between the boards....but this is solely due to the track layout chosen....
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 2 Apr 2008, 10:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>These connector blocks were slightly special in that one side would have fixed pins protruding, and the adjacent block simply had brass connectors, no screws, so they just plugged together. Dunno where they came from originally,

They are available from All Components 01981 540781 www.allcomponents.co.uk & AFAIK rated at around 6amps.

RS also do a heavier version that is 15amp rated.

Not the neatest looking connectors but very robust - one half can be fixed & the other half floating.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 1 Apr 2008, 14:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I know many people use "D" connectors but they are only somthing like half amp rated - they are certainly not meant for power, just data. Use too many of them (& the associated smaller cables) "daisy chained" & you will almost certainly end up with some volt drop.

You really need something of around 3 amp rating - RS do some with up to 36 ways in modular form which are a similar price.

QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 1 Apr 2008, 14:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I know many people use "D" connectors but they are only somthing like half amp rated - they are certainly not meant for power, just data. Use too many of them (& the associated smaller cables) "daisy chained" & you will almost certainly end up with some volt drop.

You really need something of around 3 amp rating - RS do some with up to 36 ways in modular form which are a similar price.

I have been using "D" connectors for years on all sizes of layout up to a 14 board club layout in '00' DC.

The Maplin ones reference4d above do not have a rating on the internet but they are gold plated and my paper Maplin catalogue of 2004 quotes 7.5 A per pin and 300V rms. My 2007 Rapid catalogue quotes 5 A and also 300 V rms. Certainly well into the power region as far as I can tell.

I make up all my cables and find that the solder 'buckets' on the back of the pins will accept 16/0.2 stranded equipment wire which is good for 3A and I find to be adequate for 00 DC layouts. 7/0.2 wire does N DC.

A cable to one side about a foot long and a fixed shell on the other half is good to bridge each board join. As a great believer in providing easily accessible test points for fault finding in exhibition conditions I connect each side to a nearby tag strip and from there to the under board wiring harness.

For '00' DCC layouts where currents can be up to 5 amps I use 2 pins with 16/0.2 wire on each 'D' plug for each lead and underboard "buses" of old mains cable stripped from old flat twin and earth cable of 1, 1.5 or 2.5 sq mm area. Or the former imperial equivalents. (I'm a mean Scotsman) I do not, however have mains voltages running about under my baseboards, it is confined to a mains box which sits safely on the floor under the layout.

If you need more than one jumper cable across a baseboard join the cables can be reversed, male and female shells can be interchanged and different numbers of pins can be used to avoid mixing up connectors.

Always use the appropriate covers on the 'D' shells as not only does this avoid short circuits from accidental contact other items, but provides strain relief for the wires and helps avoid damage, specially when joining and separating boards.
Hope thiss helps,
Alex
 

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Another technique i have seen used where the tracks are at an angle to the board is to use a short section of track about 2 inches long across the join which is connected by fishplates at both ends and if you pull the boards apart this can then simply be removed and stored
 

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QUOTE (bangerblueed @ 3 Apr 2008, 05:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Another technique i have seen used where the tracks are at an angle to the board is to use a short section of track about 2 inches long across the join which is connected by fishplates at both ends and if you pull the boards apart this can then simply be removed and stored

I think that method has been desribed already banger.

I don't know if you are planning on having the track transfer the power across the joint or whether you are planning on connecting a separate feed from the transformer or controller to both boards separately which is the way I would look at it for sure so as to not be dependant on the track connection transferring the current.
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 1 Apr 2008, 14:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I know many people use "D" connectors but they are only somthing like half amp rated - they are certainly not meant for power, just data. Use too many of them (& the associated smaller cables) "daisy chained" & you will almost certainly end up with some volt drop.

You really need something of around 3 amp rating - RS do some with up to 36 ways in modular form which are a similar price.

Hi
Not sure where you buy your D connectors from, but the Maplin ones are rated at 7.5amps at 300v RMS per pin. Maplin D connectors spec.

If you want Heavy Duty connectors in up to 20 way variants, then the RS link I supplied previously shows some really good ones.

If you're unsure of any cables current carrying capacity (e.g. for a DCC bus etc) double, treble or even quad connect cores by connecting the appropriate cores together at both ends of the cable where they terminate on the baseboard.
 

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The spec of the last ones we used (for data) & were supplied by the customer were .5amp rated - don't know the source though.

Personally, for the simple reason that the contact area is relativly small (gold contacts or otherwise) I would not use them for power applications. Fine, if some people do & they suit their purpose.

In my main business (Electrical Engineering) I have seen far too many applications where quoted ratings have been "on the limit" with subsequent failures, especially in low voltage/high currant situations.

We could go on for ever quoting specs - how about the operational life regarding the amount of connecting/disconnecting cycles ?

Increasing the currant capacity by "doubling up" is not really the best electrical practice either.
 

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Here's an example of D connectors (25way ones) used as cross-board connectors on a layout that's semi permanent.
The coloured tapes around the shells helps rapid identification of the plug or socket to the wiring diagram. You can't plug the wrong one in as they are male/female opposed. It also helps ID the mating plug or socket quickly when working upside down under the layout.

All red wiring is 7/02mm and black is 16/02mm. I slip a short piece of heatshrink tubing over every other soldered bucket/wire and shrink it down once all are soldered and checked ok as this helps prevent any accidental pin to pin shorts occurring when assembling the shells around the connector and wires.

 

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If the layout is DCC, you don't need to connect all the rails electrically across the baseboard. I took some extension cords, cut them in half and soldered the ends to the DCC power bus. You just have to make sure the polarity is respected.
 

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QUOTE (Brossard @ 9 May 2008, 04:35) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I took some extension cords, cut them in half and soldered the ends to the DCC power bus.
At the risk of getting flamed I hope these are not mains extension leads - mains electrical connectors of a type in common use in the house/building, should never be use on a model railway, the consequences should anyone else but the owner/operator unplug something then plug it in to something else..........
 

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QUOTE At the risk of getting flamed

I think the risk of a metaphorical toasting is better than someone else gets a real one from a short sighted "mix and match" incident, so I'll join you in reinforcing the message - don't do anything which might lead to mains being mixed up with low voltage (model railway) electricity.

David
 
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