Suitcase Connectors?

Following up on an earlier queary, I went to Lowes, Home Depot and Orchard Supply and asked for suitcase connectors (aka insulation disruption
connectors or IDC) and I got pretty much the same answer at each place.... Huh??.
Can anyone recommend a supplier for such an item?
Thanks/Carter
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Radio shack, Any auto parts dealer.
Carter Braxton wrote:

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Radio shack has them - see part #64-3052.
Hope this helps, Scott
On Thu, 22 Dec 2005 22:29:37 GMT, "Carter Braxton"

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Carter Braxton spake thus:

Insulation *displacement* connectors.
You know, you'd be better off not using them unless you really need to: they're not cheap, and there are other (and just as effective) ways of connecting wires.
The only advantage I can see to these connectors is when you need to make a connection to the middle of a piece of wire without cutting it; for that, they're perfect. Otherwise, just use wire nuts, solder and tape, or butt (crimp) connectors, which you can get anywhere.
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For the price of a box or two of the IDCs, you can buy a wire stripper that can strip in the middle of the wire. It just 'pushes' the insulation to one side. Just wrap the drop wire around the bus and solder. If you don't align the solder points on the two bus wires, then you don't even need to insulate them.
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Carter Braxton spake thus:

By the way, in case anyone's wondering what the hell these things are, this is what they look like:
http://www.happcontrols.com/images/40/43082300.gif
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That's what I thought - trailer wiring connectors!
Ed

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No, I don't think so.
Trailer wiring connectors are meant for situations where the connection will be made and un-made many times. Suitcase connectors are designed to be a one-time connection, and left alone after that.
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No - they are not being opened and closed. What I meant is that this is how you add the trailer wiring connections into your car's wiring harness for brake lights, turn signals, etc.
Ed

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They have them in the electrical section, near the net working and telephone parts.

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Suitcase connectors are also called Insulation Displacement Connectors, or IDCs. I picked up the idea from Model Railroader magazine, and got mine from http://www.mouser.com . I love 'em!
I have 18 gauge feeder wires and 12 gauge bus wiring. The particular one that I used was 3M's Scotchlok IDC Wire Connector for 18-14 tap wires with 12-10 run wires: Mouser part no. 517-567.
http://www.mouser.com/?handler=productsearch._listproductsearch&criteriaQ7-567 http://www.mouser.com/catalog/624/1059.pdf
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The Green Bay Route: http://www.greenbayroute.com /
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Carter Braxton wrote:

Be advised that insulation displacement connectors such as these have been known to get flaky after years of service. I work in electronics repairing industrial machinery. Over the years I have had to replace or repair various cables wherein a wire no longer had continuity because it worked itself loose at the contact point, high current caused annealing at that point, or corrosion set in. Few of us build our layouts next to an acid bath tank so the latter cause is unlikely at home. In my years of experience with wiring such as this, using crimp lugs and a high quality crimper, such as those made by Klein, has much less chance of failing over the long term. Some people have used insulation displacement connectors for years without any problems but they will *not* be used anywhere on my layout because of my experiences with them.
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Rick Jones
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So what factors on a model railroad do you think will cause the connector to: 1) work itself loose at the contact point? 2) anneal from high current?
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Mark Mathu wrote:

Same as any piece of machinery with cabling - flexing of the cabling and vibration. Flexing will happen as maintenance is done and cables are moved around to access things to be worked on. Vibration is obvious, though most likely much less than a punch press.

Most likely where ID connectors are used on track feeder buses. If the stranded wires don't get solidly in the metal slot that cuts through the insulation then you get some resistance there. If you have several amps of power going through that resistance you get a voltage drop. A voltage drop through a resistance is dissipated as heat. And it's easy pull several amps if, like many of us, you still run old Athearn or brass with Pittman motors. On the club layout where I was a member 30 years ago I remember triple-headed Athearns pulling a heavy train up a grade and the panel meter showing 5-6 amps of current draw - 2 amps per loco. That's been my rule of thumb for calculating power requirements ever since. One more reminder to anybody planning to use ID connectors - they don't work on solid wire. They're designed for stranded wire because the slot is narrower than the wire gauge for which each size is designed. The stranded wire is supposed to get mashed down tightly into the slot, theoretically, and it distorts from the normal round wire shape. And if you don't use the right size connector for the gauge of wire you're using you are asking for problems to occur.
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snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobal.net says...

WW Grainger is a good source for lots of electrical bits like that. located in most major cities.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/start.shtml
fl@liner
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fl@liner wrote:

I have only purchased from Grainger for commercial purposes so this may not be correct, but I've heard that Grainger might not sell to just anybody who walks in off the street and wants to buy something for personal use. If anyone has actually done that let us know.
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Rick Jones spake thus:

I have, and it was no problem. (I got a replacement ball bearing for a reciprocating saw that saved the owner the cost of a new saw.)
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located

Ahem... see the raised hand? Seriously, if you have the money, thay have a customer.
fl@liner

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