power connection

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davidvenn71
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power connection

#1

Post by davidvenn71 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:57 am

Hi Everyone newbie here, i have a question, i have tried soldering the droppers to the fleischmann n gauge piccolo track, and am just makeing a real mess, i just cannot get on with soldering in such a small area. So i was wondering can i use fleischmann power connecters instead, i only have a small layout 2ftx8ft with double loops and a bit of shunting so was wondering if this is possible. Many thanks in advance.

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yelrow
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Re: power connection

#2

Post by yelrow » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:02 am

Hi, i run my N gauge, without droppers. Does it run ok, without any, as, many dont find the need. john

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RogerB
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Re: power connection

#3

Post by RogerB » Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:07 am

In answer to your question I am sure you can, but soldering is best.

Can you tell us what is going wrong?

Are you using solder without lead content which requires much more heat from the iron?

R-
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Walkingthedog
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Re: power connection

#4

Post by Walkingthedog » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:02 am

Is the surface you are soldering to spotlessly clean.
Nurse, the screens!

Tricky Dicky
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Re: power connection

#5

Post by Tricky Dicky » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:09 am

As RogerB has pointed out it might be that you are using lead free solder. However, it could also be your soldering iron, if you find yourself holding the iron on the work quite long to melt the solder and find the plastic sleepers melt before the solder then it will likely be your iron is under-powered. It might seem perverse that a higher powered iron should be used to avoid melting sleepers but you need to understand what is going on in the soldering process.

A soldering iron is just a heat source just as a plumbers torch. What you are trying to do is to locally heat up the two metals being soldered and that heat needs to achieve a temperature that itself will melt the solder not the iron. Fusing of the solder only takes place once that temperature is reached in the materials being soldered.

Why does a low powered iron struggle? As heat is drawn out of the iron into the material being soldered how quick that heat is replenished into the tip is determined by the wattage of the iron. Your rails are acting as a heat sink drawing heat from the tip of your iron if under- powered then it takes longer to replenish the heat whilst the heat in the rails is further drawn along by the heat sink effect, it is this heat that is melting the sleepers.

A higher powered iron delivers more heat locally to the join, this enables you to solder quicker resulting in less spread of the heat along the rail.

Finally the technique for soldering droppers. Clean the area of rail with a fibre-glass pencil a needle file will do. Using a tinned iron, one that has a silvery coating of solder on the tip apply a coating of solder to your stripped wire. Do not transport solder on the tip of the iron that is bad technique heat the wire apply the solder. Repeat on the rail by placing the tip on the rail count 1-2-3 to let the rail to heat up to fusing temperature then apply the solder. As soon as the solder had flowed remove the iron you should be left with a layer of fused solder where the tip was. Now place your tinned wire on the spot and simply apply the soldering iron to "sweat" the two together. As soon as you see the solder flow remove the iron you should not need to add any further solder at this stage be careful not to move the wire and the rail till the joint had full frozen. It might help the process of soldering to apply additional flux to the materials, personally I have not needed to do this as multicored solder usually has enough flux in it. Earlier I said transporting solder on the iron tip is bad technique, as you apply solder to the iron tip you will see smoke being given off, that is the flux burning away the one thing you need to keep the join clean and stop oxidation. Soft soldering fluxes for electrical work suspend oxides in the liquified flux and prevent them settling on the joint another cause of poor soldering. When you have finished the joint the solder should have a bright silvery surface, a dull grey finish is what is called a dry joint and will fail if not straight away certainly over time.

Soldering is not the dark arts requiring a degree from Hogwarts, but is a skill that can be learned, practice makes perfect.

Richard

davidvenn71
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Re: power connection

#6

Post by davidvenn71 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:45 pm

Many thanks guys for your imput my main reason im haveing difficulty is i suffer with arthritus in both hands so holding a soldering iron to a very tiny pre ballasted rail is nearly impossible for me. Also as the layout is for home use only it doesent have to be precise, if any one has anyother options i would be very grateful for any advice.

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Re: power connection

#7

Post by Tricky Dicky » Fri Nov 15, 2019 7:48 am

Sorry to learn of your hands problem David, it must make life very difficult. Unfortunately solutions to track connections are few and in my view fall far short of the certainty that direct soldering provides. Peco make rail joiners with presoldered wires however these have the potential over time to oxidise between rail and joiner resulting in a high resistance join that will provide poor current flow. I am not familiar with the Fleischmannn power connector but if it is anything similar to the Bachman and Hornby connectors that rely on a sprung contact on the rail then again you have a long term potential problem. Do you have a local club I am sure if you joined someone would help you out. If you are in or near West Yorkshire I wouldn't mind helping out.

Richard

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RogerB
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Re: power connection

#8

Post by RogerB » Fri Nov 15, 2019 8:21 am

Tricky Dicky wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:09 am
Soldering is not the dark arts requiring a degree from Hogwarts, but is a skill that can be learned, practice makes perfect.
Couldn't agree more. I was pretty poor at soldering when I came back to the hobby but over time have developed a good technique to the extent where I now enjoy it and get good soldered joints.

R-
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yelrow
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Re: power connection

#9

Post by yelrow » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:02 pm

I would still query the need for droppers on this small n gauge layout. Hornby, who have a very large layout, all be it, 00, have never used them.regarding them as totally, unnecessary, and several mates with whom i correspond about n/00, also have none. Hornby maintain, if the track is clean, and wheels cleaned regularly, taint necessary. Neither hornby, or Bachmann have ever produced a product, and if it was considered to improve running, surely they would have. I understand, many people do, all power to them, but if you have a health problem, and can achieve running without droppers, then i would leave as is, and not worry. Soldering, is not for everyone, and it has caused me a lot of frustration, over the years. My hands are also very bad, and with my Titanium supported thumb joints, i can understand posters problem.

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