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Author Topic: Soldering without melting the sleepers?  (Read 235 times)

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Offline Diane

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Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« on: September 19, 2018, 07:40:22 pm »
Hi. Got a test track up using 2nd hand peco set track. I've only got the power feed to the rails in one place, the oval is about ten feet per circuit and has three sets of points. The locos (king, hall, manor, 08) are noticing as they travel over the points and some stall at low speeds. At the moment track is held with trackpins but there are small gaps at some places where the rail ends don't butt exactly and the fishplate has to carry the current. I tried soldering some scrap rails but by the time the rail was hot enough for the solder to stick to it the sleepers had gone glossy/deformed. I'm not sure whether I should be soldering on a wire u shape to bridge the gap and assist the fishplate or fill the gap with solder. What do you recommend and how do I do it? Thanks

Offline Steve Brassett

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2018, 07:50:41 pm »
A common method is to have dropper wires from each piece of track, and then connect them to bus wires to deliver the power.  Then the fishplates only locate the track and don't have to provide an electrical  connection.  You will heat the track up less soldering wires to it.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2018, 07:57:03 pm »
Setrack usually connects up quite cleanly unless maybe the track isn't accurately aligned? 

Nevertheless, rather than start worrying about soldering up all the joints the first thing to do is to go round the track with a pair of fine pliers and give the fishplates a squeeze if you think they may be loosely fitting (possible with second hand track).  If you run a loco while you're doing it, watch for when the loco obviously slows down and work on the fishplates at the joint immediately behind the loco.

Also worth checking the point blades are clean and accurately lining up where they close onto the running rails.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 07:58:51 pm by ntpntpntp »
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline lil chris

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2018, 08:05:56 pm »
@Diane You need a soldering iron with decent voltage that you can turn up when soldering bus cables or track etc. I rough the side of the rail with a fibre pencil or scratch with a modeling knife, apply some liquid flux with a brush and the touch the rail with the iron with solder and hey presto the rail is tinned. Then tin the wire, when ready just put the wire against the rail and a quick dab with the iron and your done.

 The only time this did not work for me was when I tried to add a wire to the frog on a point under the eaves of my loft, I could not see properly, it was in a awkward place and I melted the sleepers on the point.
Lil Chris
My layout here East Lancashire Lines
http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=29492.0

Offline thebrighton

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2018, 08:09:17 pm »
You don't want to solder all the joints together. Just like the real thing the track expands and contracts depending on the temperature. If you solder it into one continuous length of track you will have buckling problems when it gets hot.

Offline Diane

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 08:57:35 pm »
Thank you everyone!

I used all new fishplates but didn't clean the track pieces before I assembled it.  The top edge has been cleaned with an emery file and track rubber.  I had got all the joints quite tight but then one set of points wasn't closing properly when the center part moved so I replaced it and with all the moving about and up and down to insert the new points it won't lie as well as before. I hadn't trimmed the sleepers back so there wasn't enough room to slide the fishplate wholly onto one side and then shove it across once the track was down.

Offline Malc

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Re: Soldering without melting the sleepers?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2018, 09:34:12 pm »
If you cut the plastic that sits under the rails you can slide the sleepers out of the way. Use a hot iron and be quick about soldering.
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