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Solder Feeder Wires

Jonathan models OO and asks:

How do we solder on feeder wires on a portable layout as I am terrible at electrics?”

4 Responses to Solder Feeder Wires

  • James Cowdroysays:

    if you don’t have a friend or someone you know to solder them for you Peco put out some rail joiners that you can slip on at appropriate places, works quite well. or a beginners electronics book can show you how to solder, that would be the way I would go.

  • Frank Bsays:

    Do not define yourself in such negative ways ! Everyone starts life knowing nothing, and gradually learns an amazing amount. If you put in the time to learn and practice, you will continually improve !

    I’m with James here, get a book on model railroad electrics, study, practice, learn, and you willl progressively become increasingly expert !

  • David Stokessays:

    You don’t have to “know electrics” to solder – you just need to practice. Go to your local electronics retailer, tell them that you want to sold wire to model rail track made of nickel silver. If they are worth their salt they will recommend the right iron and the right solder. Take them home and practice. Practice tinning your wires (tinning is getting a little bit of solder to flow onto the wire. Get an old piece of track and solder feeders to it – lots of feeders. Work out how long YOU need to hold the iron on the track to get enough heat.

    Just like “Wax on Wax Off” in Karate Kid, soldering can become a hobby within a hobby.

  • Andre du Toitsays:

    All that needs to be said about using soldering irons and solder have been touched on above. Just make sure the solder has a resin core intended for electrical applications and not an acid core, which is for soldering guttering and the like. There is something else you can do for a portable layout.

    1 Solder a short length of permanently attached wire to the tracks and put a slide-on connecting lug on the other end. That way you can easily pull the track-mounted wire from the main feeder.
    2 If the problem is with being shaky (like I am) I would recommend getting a “third hand” holding tool, such as the RC Logger, to support the wires and the the lugs.
    3 There is always the matter of how much heat is needed to make a proper soldered joint. I still maintain that it is much easier to solder the feeder wires to the track connectors than directly to the track. Applying heat to the rail or to the connector when it is still fitted to the track will damage the ties (or sleepers). Just pull the connector off the rail end if it is already fitted there and clamp it in a crocodile clip between two pieces of material that will not conduct heat and will not melt when heat is applied to the connector. Pieces of wood will work well. As said in another comment, tin the wire first, then tin the connector and place the wire end onto the connector and heat the two with the soldering iron. If more solder is needed, apply just a little bit extra. You don’t want to leave a lump of solder on the finished job. Once the wire has been soldered to the connector, just slide the connector back onto the rail end and use pliers to nip it to the rail to ensure a good electrical connection.

    I’m not an expert at this but it works for me.

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