Resistance Soldering of rails : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

Hello there,

OK, I'm almost sold on purchasing a resistance soldering station for rails, BUT... How do I go about replacing a section of track? (for any reason). That is, how do I un-solder the joint as most of the paste solder would have hidden between the rail joiner and rail. Thanks a lot.

-- Victor Manea (, January 21, 1999



While using a resistance soldering station to solder a rail joiner is definitely something you could do with it, and probably do a darn good job of it, that wasn't what I had in mind. No doubt, changing the rail would be difficult.

I don't think most modelers solder their joiners together. Or if they do, the only do perhaps every other set or so. This is to allow for expansion and contraction. Soldering all the joiners together may make the trackwork too rigid and buckle. If you have your layout in your home, where the temperature is maintained, this probably isn't really a problem.

Rather than soldering a joiner solid, most modelers solder a jumper, or bond as it is known on the prototype, around the joiner permitting a rail to slide in the joiner as the track expands and contracts. A resistance soldering station excels at doing this. To remove the rail at a later date, just cut the bond and remove the rail. You could easily use your resistance station to remove the bond from the piece of rail you left in place.

Should you opt to solder the joiner, I'd say the only way to remove the rail is to cut it out.

Allan Gartner Wiring for DCC Web Page

-- Allan Gartner (, January 21, 1999.

Why not just reheat it while pulling the rail from the joiner?

-- Dave Haggland (, December 20, 2000.

If you have soldered both rail joiners on sectional track, you will have to heat up both joints simultaneously to be able to pull them open. Not very practical if you have only 1 soldering tool and only 2 hands. But you can run a cut-off wheel into each rail joint to sever track rial and the soldered on joiner. Then unsoldering the joiner pieces from the rail ends is relatively easy.

-- Don Vollrath (, December 21, 2000.

If you have one of those Weller (or equal) soldering GUNS, I've found the best use for them is to discard the wire tip, file the two ends to a chisel shape (if desired) and use it for direct heat application. Your work becomes the heat generator instead of that flimsy tip.

To separate soldered rail joints- Apply the tips and pull the trigger for about one second across a code 100 rail joint to melt the solder, then just do the other one in the next couple seconds and pull it apart. Too long and you'll discolor the rail from overheat.

This is a typical use of applying the 150 to 250 watts directly into the work. It's a great tool for quickly heating a very local area. For better control, run it through a lamp dimmer. I'm using mine to build a very large HO scale roundhouse with a 20 guage sheet metal sub floor and 1/8" square steel framework posts (representing 12" timbers). Double clad pc ties are easily soldered to the subfloor to support and insulate the rails. smash a bit of solder, lay it between the tie and sheet steel with some flux. Span the tie, touching the sheet steel with the tips and pull the trigger for about 3 seconds. Done!

-- Wayne Roderick (, December 21, 2000.

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