Soldering power leads

Ok, searching through groups.google, I found a lot of good info for
soldering track together... but very little about soldering on power
connections. Especially since a lot of people advocate less track
soldering and more power connections, I'm wondering how people do it,
in particular on N-gauge. I tried running 22ga stranded wire up next
to the track via holes in my base board, kinking the end to be
parallel to the track, and soldering in place, but I tend to get a
rather noticeable connection. Any other suggestions/good
tutorials/etc?
Niner
Reply to
Niner
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: Ok, searching through groups.google, I found a lot of good info for : soldering track together... but very little about soldering on power : connections. Especially since a lot of people advocate less track : soldering and more power connections, I'm wondering how people do it, : in particular on N-gauge. I tried running 22ga stranded wire up next : to the track via holes in my base board, kinking the end to be : parallel to the track, and soldering in place, but I tend to get a : rather noticeable connection. Any other suggestions/good : tutorials/etc? : : Niner
If you use solid wire instead of stranded it should work better. Also, with N you shouldn't need wire as large as 22 ga; 24 or 26 should work OK, just watch for mechanical snags under the base board - in other words, keep the small wire short by using a terminal strip close to the rail connection point. (I use small brass screws for terminals.)
Reply to
KTØT
If you are using anything less than a 40 watt iron, you might not have enough heat. The theory is a good hot iron will take less time to make the joint and therefore the less contact between the rail and the iron the less chance you will have of melting the ties. Practice on a scrap piece of track.
Also, use NoCorode flux and tin the wire and the rail as well, before you solder it to the rails. Then just put the wire to the rail and touch it with the iron until the solder melts. Cotton balls soaked in water also make good, but messy heat sinks. Actually, almost anything that can soak up the excess heat will work.
Fingers are not a very good heat sink. (G)
-- From the computer of Frank A. Rosenbaum
Reply to
Frank A. Rosenbaum
Oh yes they are................ ouch!
Reply to
ernie puddick
-- From the computer of Frank A. Rosenbaum
Ok, then, my fingers are not very good heat sinks. Is that better???(G)
Reply to
Frank A. Rosenbaum
I use an old Weller TCP type temperature controlled iron with a 700 deg. medium spade tip on it. The iron is available used and does an excellent job of soldering as it doesn't overheat work yet has a lot of heat capacity when needed. Tin the wire and the rail before doing the joint and do the joint to the base of the rail near the edge if possible. On N gauge, you may want to flatten the wire on the inside of the rail joints to insure that the flanges won't hit it. Next, I put the connection on the far side of the rail from viewing. Next, I use telephone wire (26 ga. solid wire) stripped bare for the connection from under the roadbed to the rail. Another choice is to put a short piece of the 26 ga. wire in a 16 ga. stranded wire and run that up to the rail.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
I have pre-wired my track prior to installation and soldered all the wires to the underside of the rail joiners. You cannot see the wires once track is ballasted. Chuck Callaghan snipped-for-privacy@virginia.edu
Reply to
Charles Callaghan
When it came time to wire my HO layout,I stumbled across a product by accident. It's Belden Tinned solid bus bar wire. I used the 20 awg variety and have never had a failure in 15 years. I simply bend the wire at 90 degrees about 1/4 inch from one end of a pre-cut 4-inch segment, then bend it about 30 degrees about an 8th of an inch below that end(so it will naturally lay up against the outside of the rail). Then I drill a small hole between 2 ties through the cork roadbed and the plywood sub-roadbed. Tin the rail, stick the tinned wire through the hole,solder the wire to the rail, and solder the other end of the wire to your bus wire,and you're good to go.After weathering the rail, it's very hard to see the wire connection. TRUST ME ! Gregg Galbraith
Reply to
Galbo46
On Mon, 14 Jul 2003 23:09:57 UTC, "Trainman" wrote: 2000
My trick is to drill through the tie and feed the bare wire through the tie. I flatten the end of the wire and bend it over. Solder in place, paint it and it looks like a spike. Of course I am using wood ties.
Reply to
Ernie Fisch
Wrong!!!
A lower wattage iron will have more chance of overheating the track and melting the plastic sleepers because you have to hold it on the joint for longer to get the joint up to soldering temperature. Use a large wattage, hot iron and it will make the joint before the heat can flow along the rail and melt the sleepers.
snipped-for-privacy@charter.net wrote:
snip
Reply to
Dick Ganderton
Well, no, ~not~ wrong.
I ~do~ use a temperature-controlled soldering station (Weller WTCPT). I don't know exactly what wattage it is, the literature seems to indicate 42W. And I ~never~ melt a tie, with proper technique. Plus, for less than $100.00, I got a tool that will solder rail feeders ~and~ decoder wires with equal ease. I believe your 150W gun will not work as well across the range of typical model railroad projects.
Maybe your experience is different, but I am not "wrong."
Jeff Sc. Charred Fingers, Ga.
Reply to
crosstie
I also use Weller Irons. They perform well, "feel" right, and just keep on going for years! The Electronics Company I worked for would not use any other make, and had around 200 of them - WD 60's and 100's. I use a No.7 (=700 deg.) Pencil-Tip for most small jobs.
Re. Dieting... I lost 20 pounds last month - but the Police didn't find a penny!
David.
Reply to
David F.
Yep, I made a company convert over to those irons many years ago. They were using 100W heater irons that usually ended up being too hot all the time. I came in with my TCP and had 0 failures of the PCB measling (the epoxy delaminating from the matrix for those who don't know what that is) or pad lifting and my boss, who originally said that I'd have to take the iron back home as it wasn't the standard iron for reworking boards. Since we had to supply our own tools, I kept it on my bench even though I had the bit iron there and the rest followed. The irons don't get too hot and yet are able to respond to heat demands rapidly when soldering is done and this kept the problems from the old heater irons at a minimum. This also helps with doing trackwork as the iron gets the rail hot enough to melt the solder but not so hot that there is excess heat on the joint. A typical heater iron is actually over 1000deg. when just sitting there - look at that thing actually glowing and you will understand!
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
What 150W gun - I would never, ever use a soldering gun on anything!!! There is a world of difference between a soldering gun and a soldering iron. A soldering gun has no reserve of heat and the reserve of heat is what you need to enable you to make a good soldred joint to rail without having to hold the cooler bit on the rail for long enough to let the heat flow along the rail away from the joint and melt the plastic sleepers.
I also dislike temperature controlled irons - great for production use where you are only making one type and size of joint, but not much good for general purpose use.
snipped-for-privacy@charter.net wrote:
snip
Reply to
Dick Ganderton
Well, not if you have an array of different size and temperature tips...
Reply to
crosstie
A few ideas on soldering feeder wires to rails.
- Small gauge, solid wire, preferably pre-tinned, as least on the end at the joint. Attach the feeder wire to a larger wire under the road bed. In difficult areas attach the feeder to the larger wire and then run them to the joint location.
- Clean the area of the joint and the wire thoroughly.
- Use a low power soldering iron, 25 to 40 watts.
- Dress the tip of the iron to a shape that you like for soldering to rails. Use this tip for feeder soldering only. A narrowed and blunted tip with a groove in the end to contact the wire and press it against the rail works well.
- Pressing the wire against the rail and allowing the heat to transfer trough the wire and into the rail reduces the heating of the rail.
- Place heatsinks on either side of the joint but not so close that they slow the heating of the joint area.
- Apply the solder to the rail and not the iron. The iron will always be hotter than the rail so it is not a good gage of the proper rail temperature.
- A joint that was not hot enough will not allow the solder to flow freely and will be thick and look globy.
- Don't use too much solder. - The wire does not need to be buried by the solder. If you can see the curve of the top of the wire that's OK.
- Allow the iron to heat up completely between joints. - A lower power iron that is hot is better than a more powerful one that is cool. It is the difference in temperatures that cause the the work to heat more quickly. Remember that as the work is heating up the iron is cooling down.
- Use a 'third hand' or similar tool to hold the wire in place while you hold the iron and solder. Using the through hole for the wire also works well if the wire is pre-fitted for good contact with the rail. Keeping the wire in contact with the rail while the solder solidifies is vitally important to small, good looking joints.
- If using full lengths of flex-track make the joint in the centre of the section if possible.
- Do a lot of practice joints on scrap sections of track. - Old snap track is ideal to practice soldering and cleaning of the web at the joint. Mount the track as it would be on the layout.
Rob.
Reply to
Rob Paisley
Keep buying junk and you will keep throwing them on the junk pile shortly! Any iron that doesn't control its temp is basically a piece of junk in my estimation even tho it is still sitting in its packaging in the store. My Weller TCP iron is over 30 years old and it is still running fine. I have changed the heater once and have a nice selection of tips for it in the variuos temp ranges (including the rare 500 deg. temp tips) so that I can do anything from delicate work to soldering automobile gas tanks (yep, the iron is actually powerful enough to do that job also!).
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
Resistance irons are easy! Clamp the pretinned wire to the pretinned rail with the tweezers in one hand, some solder in the other hand and press down on the footswitch with one of your feet (you are standing on the floor, aren't you?) and the whole thing gets hot quick and the solder flows and then release the foot pressure on the footswitch and the joint is done! If you are laid out on the layout, the elbow of the hand holding the solder is also usable. I'll also note that if you put a blob of solder on the wire before applying it to the rail, you often don't need any additional solder. Why go through the silliness of turning the thing on with a handswitch unless you like to do things in a difficult fashion.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
Sounds like you have never used a temp controlled iron! The great thing with them is that you get a choice of tips that you can use so that you can tailor the heat requirements to the job. A fine pointed tip is great for soldering 52 gauge wire to a terminal on a tape head while a large spade tip is good for soldering a gas tank back together on a car. Hard to get a bigger range than that! I've also put together some of those Campbell metal buildings with one and it did an excellent job.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works evevery time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 18:15:50 UTC, "Bob May" wrote: 2000
The same for my Weller TCP. Over 30 years of good service.
Reply to
Ernie Fisch

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