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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i want to solder the electrical connections to the track - can i use some 1.5mm electrical cable? ('cos i have some already!)

also,

soldering these - any advice (never done it before and woried about melting sleepers! - it's peco finescale 55 track if that matters)

thx
 

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QUOTE (cunnini @ 23 Apr 2008, 07:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>i want to solder the electrical connections to the track - can i use some 1.5mm electrical cable? ('cos i have some already!)

also,

soldering these - any advice (never done it before and woried about melting sleepers! - it's peco finescale 55 track if that matters)

thx

Hi
I would have thought 1.5mm wire is a little on the large side to solder to N gauge rail profile?
Does the wire you have contain a smaller bare (earth) wire? If so this will normally be 1.0mm which MAY be better?

For soldering advice look at my web site. My web sites Electrical page The only way to be confident and comfortable with soldering is to practice and practice. Do lots of practice pieces on scrape bits of track and wire. Use an iron rated around 25watt and pre tin (pre soldering) the item to be soldered to the rail. Invest in a 'fibre pen'(sometimes known as Scratch pens) to clean the area to be soldered.
 

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Hi Cunnini,

I've been through the same learning curve in soldering droppers to N gauge Code 55 track and found that the best way is to solder to the bottom of the rail rather than try to solder to the rail web. I also use a rosin flux which helps the solder to flow.

As Brian says though practice, practice, practice is the only way to learn soldering skills. After about 200 attempts I am getting the hang of it now and can get good connections with quite small solder 'blobs' and without damaging the sleepers.

Just another tip in case you are thinking of wiring up any point motors for automatic polarity changes on electro-frog points. Do not attemp to connect a wire to the actual frog. The plastic holding the rail WILL melt and the point WILL be ruined. Trust me. I've done it !!!!

If you look underneath you will see there is a fine wire running between the 2 parts of the frog. Gently ease this away from the point and make your solder connection to this. After it has cooled it can be pushed back down but, depending on what track underlay you are using, you will need to dig out a small recess for the joint to sit in or the point will not lie flat. You will also have to drill a small hole for the wire to pass through the board.

As regards wire size I am keeping out of that as no doubt Richard at DCC Concepts will be responding shortly and I am not getting caught between him and Brian again.

Cheers for now,

Expat.
 

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QUOTE (cunnini @ 23 Apr 2008, 15:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>i want to solder the electrical connections to the track - can i use some 1.5mm electrical cable? ('cos i have some already!)

also,

soldering these - any advice (never done it before and woried about melting sleepers! - it's peco finescale 55 track if that matters)

thx

**Trev - never mistake discussion for argument.... it aint :) :)

OK..Soldering to rail.... its after midnight here and I've just got home from dropping my daughter at the airport for a flight to Helinski via Hong Kong... and still have lots of email to answer before bed, so if there ae any spelling mistakes its because I'm tired & typing in a rush......

1.5 mm wire is to my way of thinking FAR too stiff and heavy for a dropper, especially if you are talking mains cable. Use a finer wire that has many fine strands rather than only a few heavy ones. Don't use it as it'll end up ugly - and if you aren't confident woth a soldering iron, its far harder to solder than smaller better wire anyway....

Re wire weight: Especially in N scale this is ONE place where smaller hookup wire such as 7/.2mm would be fine :) - providing you add droppers every meter of track at least, and keep them less than 300mm long.

Even thought its a light weight wire as a dropper it will never have to carry high current providing the overload / short protection in your DCC system is the standard fast acting type, and you wll find the smaller wire much easier to work with...so will make better more reliable and neater joints to the rail

Soldering. As Trevor advised, Solder under not to the side of the rail - before you lay the track.

soldering iron - 25 watts or better, I recommend the Antex XS25 as a super nice Iron to use... with a 2mm or so chisel tip.

Whatever you use the tip must be clean and shiny to convey the heat to the joint. have a damp sponge by the iron and wipe the tip on it before every joint to keep it shiny.

Use lead bearing solder - the lead free stuff is much harder for an amateur to do a good job with. Its still available if you look for it - eail me if yo ucan't get what U need.

You won't melt anything if the Iron is big eough - but if you use a wimpy one it'll take so long to heat the rail proerly that it'll do a lot of melting of plastic too! For this type of work, a bigger iron with a fine tip is much better than a wimpy one.

* cut a bit of the web away between sleepers
* clean the area with a fine file so its super shiny - even on new rail.
* apply a little flux (not acid flux - resin or similar non acid only)
* put a wee bit of solder on the tip and apply to the rail to "tin" it. this should take about 1/2 a second with a clean soldering iron tip and clean rail+flux.
*stripthe end of the wire and twist it tightly. (about 1cm)
*tin the wire end the same way as you tinned the rail - add flux then apply Iron with a bit of solder - not too much.
*bend the tinned end at a right angle and cut off the end of the L at about 3mm long.
* put this 3mm end to the rail with a bit of flux added again. apply the iron. This should take about 1 second for the solder on the pre-tinend rail and wire to flow together with little or no added solder needed.
*when the solder has flowed hold it dead still for a count of 3~5seconds then it will be cold enough to let go - and you should have a perfect joint.

It really is that easy.

Practice on a bit of scrap rail - a perfet joint should take almost no time at all - if it takes longer than 2 seconds of Iron application, you need a tip on the iron or a new Iron, better quality solder or flux or perhaps you need to clean the rail better...

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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Richard,

Did I mention "arguement" ??......... Me ??? ..... Never.

I just know your "discussions" with Brian and I'm staying out of them in future. Have you and Brian nominated your seconds and agreed on weapons yet by the way.

At least my droppers are OK at 7 x 0.2mm !!

Seriously, my compliments on a very comprehensive set of soldering instructions Richard. I use a fibre glass pen to clean the rail section as it is less abrasive than a file but that's just down to personal preference.

Cunnini,

The only thing I can add is that inevitably the wire sheathing will 'melt back' a little and you may wish to put a small piece of heat-shrink onto the exposed piece of wire just to tidy the whole thing up a bit.

If you are looking for rosin flux it is available either in a fibre pen dispenser from Maplin or alternatively there's a company in Australia (DCC Somethingorother) who produce an excellent liquid flux. They accept Paypal and delivery is very reliable and quick.

Cheers and good luck with the soldering,

Trevor (aka Expat)
 

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QUOTE (Expat @ 24 Apr 2008, 04:04) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I use a fibre glass pen to clean the rail section as it is less abrasive than a file but that's just down to personal preference. Trevor (aka Expat)

*** Hi Trevor

Yep, a fibreglass pencil works lovely and I'd not be without one where cleaning without scratching is important - but for this job its a tool that wears out fast and is (a) not in many modellers tool box and (
inconvenient time-wise compared to a file.

After all, under the rail the abrasive nature of the method really doesn't matter - and the harsher cut of the <needle type> file really does get thru the crud very completely and very fast... and time is an issue with hundreds of droppers to do.

In the end it doesn't matter as long as the joint is a good one


Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 23 Apr 2008, 17:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>**Trev - never mistake discussion for argument.... it aint :) :)

Richard
DCCconcepts
QUOTE Did I mention "arguement" ??......... Me ??? ..... Never.

Am I missing something or is there an undercurrent on here of snipping, sniggering and sarcasm?
I offered the OP my advice (which is and not surprisingly very similar to another's) and a link to my web site where further advice is freely given.

I won't be drawn into any arguments over any topics on this or any other forum. It simply isn't worth it.

I do not dictate anything MUST be done in any particular way. I suggest and offer help, through a lifetime of model railways and also a lifetime of working on the real thing. The advice I offer shows ways I have found that work best or are easiest for me and should work equally as well for others who may seek any guidance.

At the end of the day it's a hobby to be enjoyed and I certainly am not offering help advice or guidance here or anywhere else only to what appears to be snipped at!

Rant over Now back to the modelling
 

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QUOTE (Brian @ 24 Apr 2008, 19:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Am I missing something or is there an undercurrent on here of snipping, sniggering and sarcasm?

***No, there isn't Brian.

The same sort of comment has been made in what interpret as intended jest a couple of times and because a new poster may miss the subtelties issue it alludes to both times I've simply said what I intended to say

literally that discussion shouldn't be interpreted as argument, because it isn't - no more, no less.

Life is too short for unnecessary worry and angst on any subject...


Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
and i've enjoyed the 'banter' !!

and will be using the advice this weekend (assuming Maplins Cambridge have the bits and bobs!)

Ian
 
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