Solder Nickel Siver Rail

I recently bought some MTH track and would like to solder a few wires to different sections. I'm having trouble getting the solder to adhere to the
track. Any info or recommendations would be welcomed.
Jim
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Jim Sanderson spake thus:

Cleanliness is all-important here. Make sure there's no schmutz on the rail or the wire. Use a soldering iron that's hot enough, with a clean tip; the biggest problem I usually have is cleaning the tip. I use a small piece of sponge in a plastic container, which I dampen, then rub the tip over it. The tip needs to be nice and shiny so it'll transfer heat fast enough.
Also, be sure to use only rosin-core solder made for electronics use; no acid-core plumbing solder here!
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Thanks for the Info.
Jim

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On Sat, 16 Sep 2006 17:27:10 -0400, "Jim Sanderson"
Jim,

Nickel silver can get an oxide forming on its surface which doesn't help when trying to solder to it, so it is worth cleaning the rail with something like a glass fibre brush to clean the oxide off the rail surface. It also helps to use some additional flux to make the join. Even if you are using resin cored solder, an additional application of resin flux will help in making the solder flow to make a good join.
You also want to make sure that your soldering iron is putting enough heat into the join. You probably want an iron of at least 25 watts and its tip should be clean and well tinned. It also helps if the tip is not pointed, but shaped like a screwdriver bit so that you get a good area of bit on the joint to allow the greatest heat transfer.
Jim.
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Jim Sanderson wrote:

Nickel silver solders well, it's in the same class as copper or brass in terms of solderability. If the solder isn't sticking to the rail either you have a dirty joint or not enough heat. You can clean rail with a wire brush in a Dremel, or with steel wool. You want to get the rail bright and shiny. Once clean and bright you want rosin flux and tin lead solder. The "leadfree" solders currently sold for plumbing have unpredictable behaviour. Stick with the good stuff, 40-60 tin lead electrician's solder. Avoid the 50 50 solder that the plumbers used to use before the leadfree craze hit. Dab on a bit of rosin flux, heat the rail until the rail is hot enough to melt the solder. Make the join by touching the solder to the rail and to the wire, not to the soldering iron. If you cannot get the rail hot enough to melt the solder you need a bigger soldering iron.
I don't use my fancy controlled heat Weller electronicing solder station for soldering rail. It just isn't hot enough. I stick with a big 250W Weller soldering gun left over from Heathkit days.
You can avoid tie meltdown with a couple of alligator clips for heat sinks, one on each side of the solder joint.
Good luck
David Starr
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Jim Sanderson wrote:

Are you sure it's nickel silver? Nickel silver solders well, it just takes a bit of cleaning and a bit of flux. In fact flux=core solder works beautifully with it.
MTH - isn't that O gauge three-rail track? AFAIK, that's all plated steel, which is why you're having trouble soldering it. It can be done: you need acid flux, and a very hot iron - 100 watt minimum, and let it get sizzling hot before you apply it to the rail. In my experience, even a 100 watt soldering gun doesn't hold enough heat, its tip is too small. Also, plated steel must be very, very clean - get one of those fiber glass eraser brushes, they do a good job and should be available for just this purpose wherever you buy solder anhd soldering irons.
HTH
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