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Electrics DCC - Electrics - DCC - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Nov 27th, 2016 03:44 pm
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Passed Driver
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Hi All.    My soldering is going wrong? The more experience and diligence, the more I make a hash of it.When I returned to model railways it all seemed to be straightforward ? But the more involved I got my work deteriorated. I have been watching YouTube again. Take soldering droppers, please, I purchased a new Iron, fibreglass pen, flux, all the stuff I saw being used to do the job. And I am still melting sleepers( something that I never did before) . Maybe I am using the incorrect size wire? I had some "spare" lighting wire which I stripped off the plastic covering (5 amp type) cut to length stripped and tinned the ends bent the ends as seen on YouTube , threaded the wire through to the buss, then I rubbed the fibreglass pen on the rail to clean it , just to be certain applied some flux, overkill or what? One more thing I purchased off eBay , the bunch of brass in a pot to clean the iron tip, apply the hot iron:oops: another melted sleeper . One idea I saw, the demonstrator avoided using flux, instead he cleaned the track with alcohol and an old toothbrush and placed damp cotton wool each side of the joint to be soldered, to keep it cool.
Can anyone help? I am buying more Peco code 75 track than I really require and wasting it with melted sleepers.
''Tis the season to be jolly, Ho Ho Ho Kevin



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 Posted: Sun Nov 27th, 2016 04:05 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Hi Kevin

Let's go step by step.  Tell us about your soldering iron.

The tip should be no more than 1 mm diameter, tapering over about 15 mm.

A long, thin tip will allow you to apply the heat neatly between the chairs.

It should be a temperature controlled iron.  Mine is set on 35.  I'm guessing that's 350 degrees.

Now.  Using a small, sharp screwdriver, scrape a small area about 1 mm in diameter on the foot of the rail.

You don't need any special fluxes etc.  Plain 60/40 resin core does nicely.

Apply the tip of the iron to the solder and press on to the rail between the ties.  Add a bit more solder until there is a blob about 1 mm in diameter melted on to the rail.

If you only allow the very tip of the iron to touch the rail, it will restrict the heat to a tiny area, so not melting the ties.

Once you have your rail blob, strip about 2 mm of the end of the wire and tin the copper core by applying the iron and the solder to it.

If it doesn't tin quickly, you are probably not using copper wire.

Bend the tinned part over in a right angle.

Drill a hole next to the blob of solder on the rail and feed the wire down.

Apply the tip of the iron to the blob and when it melts, pull the wire down until the tinned part enters the blob and its solder melts.

Immediately remove the iron.

The main rule is not to hold the iron on the rail for more than a second or so.  Keep pressing and releasing.

Practice. 



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 Posted: Sun Nov 27th, 2016 04:50 pm
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Hi Max.  Thank you for your reply. I use an Antex 25 watt iron, the tip is 1/8", or whatever that is in metric ?I use regular resin cored solder, but have read it is a good idea to make sure with flux. When you say use a sharp screwdriver, that is the job of the fibre pen, and it does a good job . I also have a Weller dual heat soldering gun type of iron, but the tip is thicker . As previously stated I tin the wire which I hold in place with a "Pencil like aluminium rod" which came with the Weller which I purchased 50 years ago( and it still works fine ) but I save that for special jobs. I thread the wire down through a hole beside the track, to keep the wire in place, whilst it is being attached to the rail.
Likewise the wire ends are bent at right angles(another YouTube tip) and there is usually enough solder where I tinned the wire to do the job, even though I don't hold the iron against the rail for long, I still on occasion melt a sleeper. As for the wire it looks like copper.   all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:06 am
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Hi Kevin,

Max gives good advice and to make sure you stop melting sleepers, simply cut out the plastic web joiner on both rails between the sleepers either side of the solder joint, then slide the two sleepers out of the way before you solder and then slide them back again afterwards. Job done.

Good luck and happy soldering,

Bill



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 01:14 am
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Rats!  Lost the post!

A tip of 1/8" is too big.  It should be more like 1/16"

Think of an ordinary lead pencil ready for re-sharpening, but with a longer taper.''

A fibreglass pen is a health hazard and cleans too big an area, thus allowing the solder blob to spread too far.

A metal tool will clean only an area of about 1/16" diameter.

Liquid flux is overkill.  It makes a mess and runs too far, thus encouraging the solder to do likewise - spreading the heated area.

Bill's idea of pulling back the ties is a good one, but you need to learn to be able to solder in tight places as well.

If I remember the rest, I'll post again.  :lol:



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 02:41 am
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Hi Kev

 I would go along with Max on this . Using flux is a risk , because it

 can cause corrosion later on down the Track . :mutley

 I would also recommend you make the dropper longer than needed

 at present , To allow for the fitting of block detectors if and when

you need them . There is nothing more annoying than having to replace

or lengthen  the wires to fit detectors later on .

 Regards Ted

 

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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 11:17 am
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Hi Bill.   Thank for your reply. That was another YouTube tip I tried, a really good idea , But then came along a clumsy pair of hands, mine, and I really did move the sleepers, completely off the rails. I will have to try that again, taking more care. That is the time I considered building my own track with copper clad sleepers ?All the best Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 11:29 am
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Hi Max.   That was one of my points? "The more experience and Diligence" , It would seem that I have been rushing about and not getting anywhere. The fibreglass pen tip came when I watched a demonstration, and it looked a good idea at the time. I will/must do better , I am going to try all the suggestions, especially the smaller tip and the small sharp screwdriver .  all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 11:49 am
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Hi Ted. Thank you for your reply.  I did read something about flux , in a Kit of  a Guards Van, which is awaiting my attention, but the suggestion there was to wash the soldered parts with soap and water, impossible for trackwork though. The reason for using flux, goes back 40 odd years when I built my own signals with brass tube,sheet and ladders, then it really did work. But I digress. You mention the use of block detectors and making the droppers longer,to avoid having to replace or lengthen them. I am really going off the thread now!
Block Detectors, that is a new one to me, please tell me more, What are they and What do they do?
all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:20 pm
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If there were a like button on this system then Maxsouthoz would get it for his soldering advice.

The only thing I would add is use genuine Lead / tin solder if you can get it. I find it much better than the lead substitute versions and we don't use enough of it to poison ourselves unless we eat it.
 I was lucky and got half a dozen rolls or 60/40 in various sizes from the company when the Elf and Safety bod cleared the factory of the full fat leaded. So I haven't tried to obtain it lately.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:28 pm
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Thanks, Q.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:40 pm
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Hi Kevin

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8z5SHQhi9veBOAaFPZffNA/feed 

 I am sorry to confuse the issue

 Block control is used , to allow a computer to be able to track the position of one or

 more of your trains as they progress around the track. The computer can then operate

 points, signals , turntables or any other operation  at the correct time .

 If you are considering computer control in the future , then it is worth laying in the ground work now.

  The above link will not work directly , but if you type it into google , it will work

 Regards Ted

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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:42 pm
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Hi Q.  Thank you. There isn't much new in my toolbox ( apart that is from the 25 watt antex iron and the tip cleaner) Along with my ancient Weller Dual Heat iron I also have some very old solder, whether or not that's meets HSE standards I don't know, but it is unlikely. although when I purchased my Guards Van Kit, I also purchased the recommended solder and flux. I do agree that Max is experienced and always offers sound advice. I was considering placing a small fan near the soldering to blow away any of the nasty fumes, which "get up ones nose" but positioning the fan is a PITA.    all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:46 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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This is the sort of stuff you can do with Block detection, Kevin . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DByzsZ8-xQs 

All done with one click of the mouse.  (After months of programming.  :lol: )



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 12:53 pm
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Hi Ted.   I am really concentrating my efforts on the "Ideal property search" with either a suitable garage or basement , for a decent layout. But to be honest computers and railways for me are a non starter, even electric point motors are for me "a bridge too far". Unless that is I build a really big layout?   all the best. Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 02:32 pm
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The Q
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Good luck with your property search, looking at your current address, I  assume that properties with a garden that is secure and big enough for a shed are just too expensive.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 07:39 pm
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Hi Q.   Too true the best price that I have seen lately was £475,000,  but on closer inspection that was for a two bedroom flat and no outside space. With a postage stamp garden? anything from £750,000 up to £1.5 million.So my search has been far reaching.    Kevin



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 07:50 pm
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The Q
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Just to a quick search on the internet for houses with 5 miles of me brings up this.
http://www.homes24.co.uk/for-sale/details/41725173?search_identifier=246bffe81ed8ef4f01b2161114799bdb#64Q6Gj605gjFclYV.97
I wonder why I moved up here...
sorry it doesn't help you though...



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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 08:19 pm
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Hi Kevin

  All good advice above, I too had the same problem to begin with and I solder at work on a regular basis. I would definitely not use flux on such a small joint. 

  The way that worked for me was to first file between the sleepers with a small diamond file to rough up the area, I then tinned my dropper but then also angled the dropper to allow a small amount of solder to form a small blob on the dropper. I then held the dropper to the rough area I created with the file and touched the blob of solder with the iron for a split second. I found that doing it that way minimised the contact time of the soldering iron to the track to just a split second.

Each to their own but that's what worked for me.

Shaun 

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 Posted: Mon Nov 28th, 2016 10:06 pm
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Hi Shaun.   Thank you for your reply.  That is exactly my point, my skill at soldering is going backwards? In other words the more I try the worse I get. I will have to take everones on board, and then see what I come up with.all the best.  Kevin



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