Making N Scale Peco Electrofrog Turnouts DCC Friendlygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread
I have greatly enjoyed reading Allan Gartner's "Wiring for DCC" web site. I do have a problem, though. I've been trying to convert the N Scale Peco Code 55 Electrofrog turnouts I purchased to the specifications shown on the web page. The comments made by Mr. Gartner about Peco making turnouts for everybody are true...there are little holes on the back of the ties. However, the holes need to be enlarged so that the jumpers can be soldered. That's precisely the problem I'm having.
I tried to enlarge the holes with my Dremel tool and wound up distorting the ties. The turnout is still functional, but I'm hesitant to make any more adjustments without asking. The turnout will be placed in an out-of-sight but easily accessible location, but several others will be seen, so appearance is important. Are there any special tips for soldering jumpers to turnouts? Should the jumpers be bare wires, or should I leave the insulation on (except where the jumper joins the rail, of course)? I'm fairly new to N Scale and have only a novice level of experience with soldering, so I just want to be sure I don't mess this up.
Also, I checked with Walthers...Peco doesn't make an N Scale Code 55 Insulfrog turnout, though it would be a perfect fix for my problem. I hope they're listening.
Thanks for your suggestions!
Kevin P. Hubbard
-- Kevin P. Hubbard (email@example.com), December 04, 1998
Use bare wire only ABOVE the top of the tie.
Get a piece of flex track, drill holes in the ties and PRACTICE your soldering until you get the heat right, to wit:
1) Tin the tip of the wire.
2) Tin the side of the rail on the side where the hole is located.
3) Insert the wire through the hole in the tie and bend wire so that it sets next (close) to the rail.
4) Solder the wire to the rail buy holding the wire aganist the rail with a small needle-nose plyers and touching the wire (the tinning on both the wire and the rail will melt).
5) Remove the iron and let the solder harden (15 secs) before letting loose of the wire.
Practice the above until you get the amount of tinning, the size of the iron (25-40 watt -- you should not need to hold the iron to the rail for more than about 10 secs when the watage is correct) and the heat correct.
-- Mansfield (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 1998.
Kevin--by tinning Jim meant to melt a little solder on the track and wire in advance--this process makes it easier to do a fast joint. Also, to keep heat from melting the plastic ties use a couple heat sinks on each side of the area to be soldered. These can be a couple hemostats or even a couple alligator clips. Also, there are products made that clip onto the track and hold it firmly in gage while you solder so that even if the ties soften or melt a little when they cool they will still be in gage.
-- Larry Puckett (email@example.com), December 04, 1998.
One more tip on soldering. Rather than using the tinning method, I use a liquid flux for all soldering. This is a watery blue liquid sold at hobby shops. By applying 2-4 drops of flux at the point to be soldered, putting a small amount of solder on the iron tip, then moving the hot iron to the joint, the flus will hiss and evaporate but will pull the solder off of the iron and into the joint. Total heating time on the wires and or rail is less than 3 seconds and the joint will be made without overheating the rail, ties, wire or insulation. One other point, any soldered connection should be prepared with the wires/rails being in contact without any mechanical assistance. One should not hold the wires with pliers/clips but adjust the wire to lay against the rail when not being held. Done properly, this will create a good connection and avoid cold solder joints (heat goes to pliers instead of connection) or splatter of hot solder when unsoldering or losing your hold with pliers. Good luck
-- Frank Labor (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 09, 2002.