Switches to turn on/off power

snipped-for-privacy@gamewood.net writes:


I don't disagree - the joiners are more useful as expansion joints than as a way to bridge two sections of flex track. But it can be overkill in some places - I tend to really stretch out the raised sections because it's such a pain to run feeds down.
Some people swear by soldering at the joiners, but this seems like a Bad Idea to me. Better to just solder to the middle of the track section. *
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pv+ snipped-for-privacy@pobox.com (PV) wrote in
*snip*

I tried soldering a feeder at the joiner once, with the feeder between the the two rails to help bridge the gap. It took so long for the joint to heat, any ties around there would have melted.
If you solder the joiner, it's best to drop a feeder a few inches away and minimize the amount of tie-melting heat applied at one time.
Puckdropper
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Puckdropper wrote:

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Puckdropper wrote:

Aah! The joys of resistance soldering tweezers. Heat just the wire and adjacent rail, minimal worry about tie melting.
Howard Garner
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I solder the feed onto the joiner (fairly easy at the workbench). Easy to install. Haven't had any problems with connectivity.
As long as it works on your railroad, any approach is great!
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I've always been fascinated by these things when I saw them in catalogs, but I've never tried one. It seems to me like voltage applied to the rails would be a bad thing for electronics - can you use one of these right on the track, or only when soldering on the bench? *
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PV wrote:

Well, yeah, in theory!! You COULD if you really tried, create a problem.
But, the voltages used are usually UNDER 5V, down to a volt or two. The heating is there because the unit has LOTS of AMPS available (think Mini Arc Welder). The voltage available is isolated from everything except the return electrode. There just isn't a path for anything to happen.
In place track, Handrail to stanchion on that brass loco sitting on the track, things at the 'bench'. Really a very useful tool.
Chuck D.
- can you use one of these right on

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wrote:

If you're really worried about it use an isolation transformer like they use on oscilloscopes. The transformer isolates you from main power and also has no ground lug. That's the important bit because should your system have a coupled ground, you could be using the soldering device as a path to a hot lead. It would be a poorly designed system to be sure but some folk who do their own design work make that common error of linking DC ground to AC ground lug believing they're somehow safer for doing that. -- Ray
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Ray Haddad wrote:

Well, unless the user is completely clueless.
The 'Resistance Soldering Unit' IS an isolation transformer. Now you CAN have a defective one, but the first and very obvious clue would be 'sparking' when touching ONLY ONE of the two electrodes to the work to be soldered.
If you are real paranoid, another layer of 'isolation' won't hurt.
Chuck D.
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On 1/29/2009 6:04 AM Charles Davis spake thus:

>

That's true. Since the soldering output is the secondary of a transformer, it would take a break in the insulation of both of its windings (possible but unlikely to happen) to expose one to any danger of shock. (Of course, doesn't hurt to have a fuse or other overcurrent protection device in the RSU to guard against this type of transformer damage.)
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wrote:

Some, if not most, modelers are DIY types and there's never any guarantee that they'll be as safe as they should be. Paranoia is far better than death. Your mileage may vary. -- Ray
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Ray Haddad wrote:

Your last paragraph is quite true!! Discussions such as this, over time, have the benefit of (dare I say it) Education. So that the level of misunderstanding may decrease over time.
Chuck D.
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"Puckdropper" <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in message
: : *snip* : > : > Some people swear by soldering at the joiners, but this seems like a : > Bad Idea to me. Better to just solder to the middle of the track : > section. * : : I tried soldering a feeder at the joiner once, with the feeder between the : the two rails to help bridge the gap. It took so long for the joint to : heat, any ties around there would have melted. : : If you solder the joiner, it's best to drop a feeder a few inches away and : minimize the amount of tie-melting heat applied at one time. : : Puckdropper : --
If it takes so long to heat the ties melt, you're using too low a wattage soldering iron.
You want an iron thats at least 45 watts that gets hot enough to make the joint in 3 seconds, or less. I have an Unger (now Weller) unit that works great.
Len
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Puckdropper <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> writes:

Get a hotter soldering iron and use paste flux if you want to do it. If you get the solder flowing fast, it won't melt the plastic. Also helpful are some spring clamps to use as heat sinks. I use a 150 watt soldering gun and big gobs of flux on wires clamped to the rail with alligator clips, and I rarely melt ties anymore.

And don't be tempted to solder a wire directly to the joiner. It works nice when you're fooling around with track, but on a layout it seems to give you a hump at every joiner eventually. Just solder a wire to the outside side of the rails, somewhere near the middle.
Someone suggested soldering wires on both ends of the section. I wish I had the discipline for that because it would make a lot of things easier later. *
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If you want to be thorough, you can easily find DPST switches of various types at mouser.com.

If all you want to do is cut track power, one rail is all you need. And which side doesn't matter because if you're on DC, which one is negative will vary with train direction. On DCC it matters even less.
The only reason I could think of to cut off both rails is some finicky situation near a reversing loop. *
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