sectional track in a DCC layout : LUSENET : Wiring for DCC : One Thread

This question may have been asked before, but I looked back quite a ways in the list of subjects and did not see it. I am designing an HO layout using primarily Peco turnouts and Atlas "sectional" track. The sectional track because I was given it at no cost. Am I setting myself up for a problem with all of those potential voltage leaks at each track connector or am I better off selling off the sectional and using mostly flex track? The other obvious "pro" for using flex track is giving me the flexability to deviate some from the lay-out plan. Comments are appreciated.

-- Steve Trout (, October 26, 2003


If any of the track you were given is brass, run, don't walk, to the nearest dumpster and toss it in. While brass track conducts electricity well, is also oxidizes (corrodes) very fast. Brass track requires diligent cleaning, whereas you only need to clean nickel-silver a few times per year. If I had only known how much less nickel-silver required cleaning when I was growing up, I would have delivered more newspapers so I could afford nickel-silver!

Regarding all the joints, my general rule is that each piece of track should be soldered to somthing. That would be either a feeder or solder the joiner to the adjacent track. I suggest that you solder the joiners of four to eight pieces of sectional track together and then drop one set of feeders.

Note: If the nickel-silver track is in shiny new condition, you use new joiners, and you do not intend for this layout to be up more than a couple of years, you can try cheating fate by not soldering the joiners. I do suggest that you put a tiny dab of anti-oxidant gel on the end of each rail before you slide the joiner on. The gel can be purchased at electrical supply stores or at automotive parts stores (the stuff you put on your battery terminals). Be sure that you only intend the layout to be together for a few years. Otherwise, you will surely hate yourself later. Soldering the joiners later will be MUCH harder than if you do it now.

My favorite way to solder to track or soldering joiners, is with a resistance soldering station. Whatever method you use for soldering joiners and feeders, I suggest you use liquid flux and solid solder. This approach works faster than rosin-core flux. The faster you can get the track soldered, the less likely you are to melt ties. For more on soldering, see my web site at:

-- Allan Gartner (, October 26, 2003.

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