Since the main power leads will already be in place under the layout
and above my head. I was wondering if anyone has found an easy way to
strip the wire for attaching the track feeder wires.
I was also wondering if attaching the main power leads to bus bars
around the layout, then running the feeds to them would a viable
In german this tool is called "Absetzzange". It cuts the isolation and
shifts it back. This works well in the middle of a wire. I use it
exactly for what you asked for :-).
Our club layout did a rewiring for DCC last year. They ran the bus wires
(14AWG) and then used a wire striper to make the cuts in the insulation. The
problem was they thought using the one type of stripper that would push the
insulation aside was a good idea. It was a handled thing that did a nice job
of striping an end but what they forgot was if you try pushing in the
middle, that extra insulation has to go somewhere. So it would bunch, kink,
and sometime crowd out the prior spots they were trying to attach wires to,
not very pretty.
At a different club, and any time I'm doing it, we make two cuts in the
insulation, about a quarter inch apart. Then you take a knife and make a
slit along the wire splitting the insulation. Remove that piece of
insulation. Then you can make your wraps and solder to the wire. I cover the
final work with a short wrap of the 'fusible' electric tape, that's the
stretch rubber type. Other types didn't seem to hold up over time as well.
Painting on the 'liquid tape' also works well but if you have to redo
something it's a real mess.
And when you are doing the connections, I always take one drop and bind it
one direction and then bind the other drop in the other direction. My reason
is the tension of the curve of the wire will help hold the two points on the
bus apart. So while working on it, and it's not insulated, the odds of a
short are held lower.
If I can dig up a digital camera with a good close-up setting, I'll post
pictures of bother methods on the respective club sites.
Radio Shack has a Kronos wire stripper for $12.95 that might work. However,
this tool (picture) looks like you have to manually select wire size.
I use a Gardner Bender Automatic Wire Stripper -- looks like their Model
SE-94 -- that _does_ work. This stripper adjusts to wire size and separates
the insulation (one squeeze does it all) so you can solder a drop right
around the wire.
Be careful, some automatic strippers are End strippers only - they won't
open up the insulation.
I had to do some searching to find the GB stripper - it used to be at Radio
Shack - but finally found it listed at
$13.37. Seems like I paid ~ $20 for mine a few years ago.
I know nothing about Hechinger; never done business with them.
Try this tool from Loys Toys (I have no affiliation):
I have one and it works perfectly for both stripping the ends and stripping
the middle. Rather than cut the insulation, it grips the wire and pulls to
separate the insulation into two pieces. It has worked on heave wire (12
gauge) down to 28 gauge for me.
in article email@example.com, Dori at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 3/13/06 2:27 AM:
I just slice a small piece of insulation , 1/4" or so , off the side
with a utility knife or pocket knife and then make a cut on each end
with a wire stripper and pop that piece off. I use a small Ideal brand
stripper. I think it's a T4 , not sure but any similiar stripper would
be OK. It's quick and easy to do this way. Easist way I've found.
What you need is a wire stripper that's settable to the wire gauge. Then
all you need to do is a couple quick twirls around the buss wire to strip at
two points, and then cut a line between them with a razor blade knife. The
cylinder of insulation will then just peel off.
Alternatives are using a 'vampire tap' splice, or uninsulated wires. The
latter makes avoiding shorts difficult, and I don't recommend it. The
former are expensive, but pretty nice. *
Dori spake thus:
I'd say the majority opinion here, which I agree with, is that it's best
just to make two cuts in the insulation a short distance apart and slice
the insulation open between them, exposing the wire. Don't even bother
with wire strippers; just use a good knife. (This assumes you're using
solid wire. Stranded would work but might be more prone to breaking
strands this way.)
The best connection would be to solder the feeders to the bus. Shouldn't
be hard to do, assuming you have good access to the area.
Majority opinion or not, I still like the wire stripper which LoysToys
sells. I've tried all of the suggested methods; with thick gauge wire (#12),
cutting as suggesed below works OK. But with stranded wire (more flexible),
or with smaller wire (ie.#18 for feeders), cutting tends to nick the wires,
or the actual wire size is pretty small.
Once I bought the stripper (it's about $12.5 (+S&H), stripping mid wire
became extremely easy, and I like it better for stripping the ends, too.
Since there is NO blade, you can't nick or cut the actual wire; if you try
it on too small a wire gauge, it will break the wire unless you take care.
I've used it on as small as #28 gauge wire.
in article 4415d952$0$3692$ email@example.com, David
Nebenzahl at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 3/13/06 12:43 PM:
Despite netiquette, I hate bottom posting and won't do it. I've been using
the internet since 1968 (original government stuff and usenet), so don't
lecture me. The internet is at least partially about choices, and if you
don't like my top posting, the "rule" me out.
in article 4415dd6d$0$3692$ email@example.com, David
Nebenzahl at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 3/13/06 1:00 PM:
An alternative to stripping and soldering is to use tap splices. They're
a lot faster and easier. They pierce the insulation and require just one
squeeze of a pair of pliers. The only problem is that they're made for
connecting two wires of the same (or near same) size.
Bus bars are a perfectly viable alternative.
-- Bill McC.
Edward A. Oates spake thus:
Well, OK. However, due your ranting, you didn't answer my question
(about how your wire stripper manages not to bunch up the insulation as
it pushes it apart).
Speaking of top/bottom posting:
back to front).
(like trying to read a book from
everything is in reverse order
do when you top post, since
written? That's what you have to
from bottom to top, like this is
Do you actually like to read text
in article 4415f20d$0$3695$ email@example.com, David
Nebenzahl at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 3/13/06 2:28 PM:
Just so Mr. Nebensahi doesn't lecture me again on bottom, top, or sideways
posting...I'll bottom post this time.
1. The insulation winds up compressing a bit, since these days it is all
plastic. Old style cloth insulation would probably bunch up. But my
experience has been that the insulation compresses a bit, then you solder on
the feeder, the push it back to the solder joint so very little bare wire is
exposed. It has worked fine for me.
2. Top posting doesn't mean that I will write my text in reverse order, so
you sarcastic analogy is not parallel.
My reasons for top posting and preferring it go back to my original usenet
days (where I lost the netiquette battle, though there was a substantial
minority (OK, there were only a few dozens of us at the outset) who agreed
with me. In a LONG series of replies, you don't see the latest stuff on the
initial screen, but must scroll down to it. I much prefer to see the latest
stuff first, and if I've been following the discussion, I know the context.
If not, the I get to scroll to catch up. It is a preference. Like when
people leave me phone messages with their phone numbers at the end of a 10
minute message which I didn't want to hear anyway. Oh, well, we disagree:
not a surprising even here in the news groups.
3. You started it...niener niener niener (no, I'm not trying to start or
continue a flame war )
4, You are correct that I should bottom post for consistency so that posts
either read from top to bottom or bottom to top, not top to middle back to
mid top, to bottom, up to middle....
Tell you what, in the interests of netiquitte, I'll set my reader to bottom
post even though it makes me reset my point above my sig because bottom puts
my sig in, then set the insertion point below that...yikes! Microsoft
strikes again (Entourage).
in article 14wmuw6isb50w$.qr85wpt576ni$. email@example.com, Steve Caple at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 3/13/06 2:28 PM:
No, my MS newreader (Entourage) almost does the right thing. I fixed it by
wriing a script which I will use to reply so appease the (eeuuuwwwww)
bottom-post-a-phobics. But since I've been useneting and emailing for about
38 years (including pre-arpanet release testing), at least I have old guy
status going for me. And in a few hours, I'll forget this entire thread ;-}
I've always used a stripper of some kind from the cheap sissors kind to
fancy expensive ones, whatever was available to me at the moment. I've
never worried about the piling up of the insulation on one side but rather
do my soldering away from it so that eventually it will come back and cover
over most of the stripped area. I'll note that you often have to be quick
as the insulation often likes to come back to where it was.
Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
"Bill McCutcheon" wrote in
At our club, we have been using Scotchlok IDC T-Tap Disconnects for
attaching feeder wires to bus wires. The T-Tap is an insulation
displacement connector that is attached to bus wire. We use lineman's
pliers to squeeze the tap onto the bus wire, but I suppose any good
pliers would do. The tap provides a connection for the feeder wire.
Just crimp a standard 1/4 in. male blade connector onto the end of your
feeder wire, and it will fit the tap. The big advantage of this system
is that connections can be broken, and then reattached, which can be
helpful when you are trying to track down a short.
We have been purchasing the taps from Mouser. Here is a link to the
Make sure you pick the right size tap for your bus wire.
The male blade connectors we have been able to purchase at Home Depot.
Hope this helps.