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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I am a bit puzzled at the moment. I am about to wire my DCC Bus with the suggested 32/02 main cables to which I will solder the 16/02 dropper wires. My question is - how do I strip an inch or so of insulation from the DCC bus wires every yard or so.......is there a tool available which will do this? (the standard strippers remove insulation from the end but not "the middle") or is it a case of wielding a Stanley/craft knife. I propose to do this prior to laying the wire under the baseboards (36" and 24" high). Any advice would be greatly welcome! (My DCC Bus is 45 ft in length, each wire).
 

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QUOTE (stationmaster @ 12 Mar 2009, 20:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi,

I am a bit puzzled at the moment. I am about to wire my DCC Bus with the suggested 32/02 main cables to which I will solder the 16/02 dropper wires. My question is - how do I strip an inch or so of insulation from the DCC bus wires every yard or so.......is there a tool available which will do this? (the standard strippers remove insulation from the end but not "the middle") or is it a case of wielding a Stanley/craft knife. I propose to do this prior to laying the wire under the baseboards (36" and 24" high). Any advice would be greatly welcome! (My DCC Bus is 45 ft in length, each wire).


Hi Stationmaster,

Welcome to the forum


The bus wire can be stripped while in place with an automatic wire stripper from Maplins http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=45237 i thread the bus wire under the boards following the track in a T shape from the control as here shown on a plan.



I cut plenty of heatsrink tubing cut into lengths threaded onto the bus to cover the dropper wire connections to the bus ....... the wire stripper fits around the wire squeeze the handles and the wire is exposed move a piece of the heatshrink into postion where the dropper joins the bus solder up and shrink down the tubing over the join.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Upnick.

Not having used auto wire strippers, I was under the impression that they only stripped the ends......I'll get the Maplins stripper tomorrow and get busy!
 

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QUOTE (stationmaster @ 12 Mar 2009, 21:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks, Upnick.

Not having used auto wire strippers, I was under the impression that they only stripped the ends......I'll get the Maplins stripper tomorrow and get busy!


Hi Stationmaster,

Glad it helped you make sure the heatshrink you get is large enough to go over the dropper/bus wire join and a bit to be a good slip over fit after soldering up then shrink it down.
Test your wire for the hole sizes on the stripper best suited for you before you start.
 

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Just a word of caution when using these wire strippers with stranded wire;-

You offer the wire up to a suitable slot in the guide and then gently squeeze the handles together, which automatically lowers a pair of wire grippers towards the rear of the tool. Once the grippers have a hold let go of the wire and let the tool do the work. To clarify - Assuming you're right handed, hold the tool in your right hand and offer the wire up with your left. Gently squeeze the handles together which will make the two grippers come together and take hold of the wire. Now let go of the wire with your left hand and squeeze the handles together with your right. If you keep hold of the wire after the grippers have a grip it seems to create extra pressure and strips out a lot of the strands of wire as it pulls back which could do a lot of damage to a stranded DCC Bus. I was doing some 16/02 the other day, forgot to let go and ended up with just three strands.

This is a powerful tool, it doesn't take prisoners and make sure you have the wire in the correct slot or it will simply cut it in half. The best wire stripper I've ever owned.

Mike
 

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I haven't bothered to insulate my dropper to bus joins. I don't really see the need for it. The two main cables are 3" apart and there is only about 1/2" of exposed wire. Nothing else is likely to short on it as all the point wiring etc that passes is insulated anyway.

Also, since I've used very thick solid wires for the bus, stripping 1/2" with a craft knife was very easy. I even did it under the layout, when the bus wires were in position, so that the droppers could go to the nearest possible place and be as short as possible.
 

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QUOTE (upnick @ 12 Mar 2009, 23:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Test your wire for the hole sizes on the stripper best suited for you before you start.
If it has different holes for different wires then it isn't an "automatic" wire stripper.

See rapid Electronics part number 86-0390 http://www.rapidonline.com/Tools-Fasteners...-stripper/30558 the tool adjusts automatically and applies the correct pressure to strip any size (within reason).

Oh, and it's half the price of the Maplin one!

Andrew
 

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QUOTE (SPROGman @ 13 Mar 2009, 12:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>If it has different holes for different wires then it isn't an "automatic" wire stripper.

See rapid Electronics part number 86-0390 http://www.rapidonline.com/Tools-Fasteners...-stripper/30558 the tool adjusts automatically and applies the correct pressure to strip any size (within reason).

Oh, and it's half the price of the Maplin one!

Andrew

Hi Andrew,

Hi Andrew,

I recomended the stripper from Maplins as stationmaster wanted to bare the wire in the middle of the bus as well as ends, i have a stripper as you have shown but the Maplins type is better for breaking the bus where droppers need to be added using a lever action to part the wire, as 16A has said it is a powerful tool this is why i suggested testing the hole sizes first before making a start i too had a multi strand wire strip and break, with practice the user should find the sizes suitable to the wire used.
 

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Just another modeller
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*** Sorry Nick but I have to agree with Andrew. The Maplin is not the best design in that it is too aggressive, made for heavier strand high voltage type cables..

I tested them all extensively before I settled on the one I chose to stock and sell - It is a slightly better engineered version of the product than the "Rapid" one in andrews example.

It will reliably strip wire within the length of the cable or at the ends from relatively fine (twin 16/.02) through 32/.2 to very heavy 100+ strand 6mm stranded / 10gauge effortlessly without ever breaking a single copper strand.... All the maplin type strippers had the problem of cutting copper too easily.

regards

Richard
 

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Bog Snorkeller
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QUOTE (SPROGman @ 13 Mar 2009, 12:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Oh, and it's half the price of the Maplin one!
Not when you add Vat and delivery- it then works out about £12.50

QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 13 Mar 2009, 13:34) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>*** Sorry Nick but I have to agree with Andrew. The Maplin is not the best design in that it is too aggressive, made for heavier strand high voltage type cables..
It'll do 7/02 wire quite nicely Richard. I've used both and prefer the Maplin type, but hey 'It's horses for courses' etc etc. I also don't like Southern Region Loco's but I couldn't possibly criticise anyone who does.

Back to the original question... As I understand things, neither of these two strippers will actually remove a portion of insulation from the middle of a length of wire - or will they? Yes they will break the insulation and you may be able to slide a bit back far enough to allow a joint to be made but, if you want a piece removing, you'll have to make two cuts and then remove the bit with a craft knife or similar - so why not use the craft knife to start with?

Mike
 

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QUOTE (16A @ 13 Mar 2009, 15:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>why not use the craft knife to start with?
A craft knife works well with solid core conductors stripped from mains cable. Make a circular cut around the wire, another one horizontally and simply peel and snap off the sheath, which tends to be quite brittle. That's probably bot the correct word but I can't think of another.

With stranded cable I find it's too easy to cut through a conductor and the sheath is often more flexible.

The wire stripper method isn't so good if you need to part a section close to where you've already made a join. There isn't enough give in the sheath or the gap closes up too quickly before you can make the join.

Andrew
 

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The black and white cat
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Hello Station Master I have to agree with mike on this subject of wire strippers. Automatic wire strippers are designed for, yes stripping the outer insulation on the ends of cables. I must admit I have not seen a pair that just remove the insulation in the middle of a cable. Got to use a knife for that i`m affraid. As I use this tool in my work I`m an aircraft electrician, the set that I would recommend you can buy in the RS Catalogue, not so cheap but good tools are not.
**** P
 

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On solid core copper stripped out of UK twin and earth, just crush with a pair of good quality half inch square nose pliers, then nip the protruding near side and rip off. No cost because this is a tool you should already own!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks to all for informative replies.

I have ordered the Maplins stripper as I will need a good one to strip the ends of the droppers.

As for the baring of the wire along the bus, I'll practice with spare wire to see if two cuts an inch apart
using the stripper and then a horizontal slit with the Stanley knife will do the trick.

As I am at an early stage in building the layout I will lay the track first, run the bus wire on the surface and gauge approx where the droppers will drop, then on the workbench, I will use the strippers and stanley knife to bare the wire......I just can't see me being successful trying this in situ!

Soldering will be a challenge, but one I know I can meet (busy practising on the workbench at present!).

Thanks again all.
 

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Hi stationmaster,

Done a short video of my stripper working hope it helps just click on the pic there to see it .... you would be as well soldering droppers under the rails as you lay it on the layout then attach to the bus.

 

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QUOTE (stationmaster @ 13 Mar 2009, 19:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'll practice with spare wire to see if two cuts an inch apart
using the stripper and then a horizontal slit with the Stanley knife will do the trick.

No need. Use the stripper once. It is automatic which means that it will grip the insulation and bare the wire. All you need to ensure is that the correct nick in the blade (there are five) is used so that the wire itself is not nicked. Solder on the dropper and the insulation creeps back and covers most of the join.

I have done over 100 of these strip and solder ops so far, all under the baseboard and I have many more to do.

Use the slack in the wire to solder the joint overhand and don't lurk directly underneath as the solder burns holes in your T shirt.

When finished tighten up all the wiring fasteners ( I use plastic ratchet straps and self adhesive hangers for same. Maplins best again).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Upnick, David.

Video is great...picture = 1000 words! And confirmation by David of the process.

Will get busy when wire and strippers are delivered Monday next.....in the meantime back to the workbench to continue practising my soldering!
 

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Stationmaster.

There is a far easier way of joining droppers to your bus without the need for cable stripping, using craft knives or soldering.

By using these.



They're automotive cable clips or as americans call them 'suitcase clips'.

Halfords and motor discount shops sell them in bags. They're very easy to install you just lay in the wire and squeeze together with pliers, fold over the cover and job done - 30 seconds max.

I've got dozens all over my layout and never had a problem with them.

Mike
 

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There are two small problems with using the 'Snap Lock' type connectors..
1) You must use the correct size for the wire bus or you will either severely cut through the inner wire if a smaller connector size is selected or it will be too loose if you chose a too large version.
2) You can only normally connect one dropper wire into the secondary exit. So where several droppers are needed at one location a row of snap locks will be called for!
Much better wherever possible is to twist droppers onto the stripped bus wire and solder the joint. Tape over if need be once the joint has cooled.
 

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Hi Mike

No, there is NEVER a need to remove insulation mid-wire if the strippers do their job properly. The only insulation that needs to go is at the wire ends.

When I did my 2,000 sq feet 4mm scale layout I used 120 metres of 10 gauge super heavy high quality wire as the "Master bus", and about 200 metres of 32x.2 as "sub busses" within the layout boards.... (not to mention about the same 200m or red and black for droppers!!) so I think I'm qualified to answer.

I used the two jaw type automatic strippers I recommend - this was in part also my "test" when I compared other brands at the time the wiring of the layout was started... Overall, every single bit of track and every turnout had its own droppers, and each needed connection... So I separated the bus about once per 400~600 mm on average for droppers within each layout board... sometimes more on complex boards.

The success of the tool I selected to use and to then sell to others was as a result of these very much "real world" tests... this is how I select ALL the tools I sell, and this approach is a consistent policy at DCCconcepts - we never stock any product in the tool area that I have not used and compared to others and cannot confidently call "best of its type".

When using this tool (which after the start was shared between 4 types, did about 99% of the layout) each time it took exactly one squeeze of the 2 jaw strippers with no missed attempts, no stripping errors, no broke copper strands and no need to match the wire to any slot - something that to me is an unnecessary complication and is a right pain when you are under a baseboard.

It was never necessary to remove any insulation, no gap closed up after using the strippers and no copper strands were nicked while using the 2 jaw stripper.

You simply could not do a layout this big using a knife and retain both fingers and sanity.

I estimate choosing this tool saved me about 40 hours under the baseboard and about a million swear words compared to using a knife or any other form of stripper. Ditto for my own design/own brand small wire strippers which were used for all dropper work, but that is another story.

If others prefer to use a knife or other stripper types thats fine, but they are simply not the best tool for the job!

regards

Richard

QUOTE (16A @ 13 Mar 2009, 23:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Back to the original question... As I understand things, neither of these two strippers will actually remove a portion of insulation from the middle of a length of wire - or will they? Yes they will break the insulation and you may be able to slide a bit back far enough to allow a joint to be made but, if you want a piece removing, you'll have to make two cuts and then remove the bit with a craft knife or similar - so why not use the craft knife to start with?

Mike
 
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