Author Topic: Some interesting products here  (Read 1868 times)

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Re: Some interesting products here
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2016, 05:31:28 PM »
When I get mine, I'll do some testing, these vs solder joint.  If the connection is similar electrically, I'll use them.  Personally, I think we overbuild things sometimes even though there is lots of evidence not to worry.  JMHO.


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Re: Some interesting products here
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2016, 11:28:13 PM »
Here's what I do...

When I converted to DCC about seven years ago, I also wanted to rip out my rat's nest of complicated DC wiring and install the "best" DCC wiring in its place.

I built a "test module" to test the track connections, bus types, wire types and connector types...this little one-month diversion saved me a bundle of money and saved me from several major wrong decisions.

I also went on a research campaign to gather information regarding DCC wiring, connections, wire gauge, wire length and wire quality.

Since my layout is sectional, each section/module has connectors, and I decided on Anderson Power Poles to facilitate regular connecting and disconnecting.

I decided on using fine, multi-strand, high-purity, low-ox speaker wire for both main-bus and sub-bus wiring

My layout will eventually have over 500 feet of mainline, so I decided on 12AWG wire as my main-bus due to Ntrak's extensive experience setting up huge modular layouts at shows over the past few decades.  Sub-buses are all 14AWG and less than 6' long.

Rail feeders are all 22AWG solid core wire, less than 6" long, and attached to EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF RAIL.

Attaching the Anderson Power Poles between sections/modules is easy and proven, but what connections should I use for everything else?

In the past, I had used both "suitcase" connectors and soldered joints.  The vast majority of wire joint failures were the soldered joints...and I know how to solder properly.  The "suitcase" connector failures were with odd-sized connectors I just happened to have laying around and their point of origin and manufacturer were unknown...other than they were NOT made by 3M.  All properly sized genuine 3M "suitcase" connectors worked flawlessly.  Hmmmm.....

I decided that all track-power connections and DCC signal connections would be PROPERLY-SIZED, GENUINE 3M SCOTCHLOK INSULATION-DISPLACEMENT-CONNECTORS or IDC's.

The connectors I needed were "tap-run" connectors, meaning that one side fits over a wire running through it, and the other side starts a new circuit by tapping into the wire running through.

The first connector needed to fit a 12AWG wire run (main bus), with a 14AWG tap (sub-bus), and that connector was a BROWN 3M Scotchlok IDC 902

The second connector needed to fit a 14AWG wire run (sub-bus), with a 22AWG tap (rail feeder), and that connector was a RED 3M Scotchlok IDC 905

I went online, and found several places at Amazon and eBay who were selling these in bulk at three to five times less than I could buy them locally in bags of 100...who stated emphatically and plainly that they were "Genuine 3M" and who were located in the USA...with free shipping to boot.

Part numbers have changed in the seven years since I ordered mine, so go here to find correct product numbers and descriptions for genuine 3M Scotchlok IDC size and type:

Here is a photo of the underside of one of my portable layout sections while wiring up the new DCC vastly simplified circuitry...I've posted this before, but this subject keeps coming up...

Photo (1) = 3M Scotchlok IDC connections on DCC wiring, & Anderson Power Poles at Bus Ends:

I still solder my DC wiring for my Tortoises both to the Tortoise contacts and to the toggle switches on the layout fascia, and any electrical problems I've had in the past seven years since re-wiring everything else with 3M IDC's has been with the soldered connections.  ZERO problems with the 3M connectors. 

To answer the question as to what the "blades" are made from, which cut the insulation and fit against the metal wires....on 3M IDC's, it's a brass alloy, specifically engineered to be strong enough to work with properly sized wires, and be highly corrosion resistant.

Who knows what metal or plastic is used in connectors manufactured by other nations counterfeiting 3M IDC's???? So DON"T BUY OFF-BRANDS...

As an added bonus, using 3M IDC's extensively saves a LOT of time, the connection is instantly and durably insulated, and can be removed easily and reused if you make a mistake.  They're also readily and cheaply available.

My advice, which has been good to me so to buy name brands that have the best reputations...and save money by finding them at Amazon or eBay and buying in bulk.

Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 11:33:44 PM by robert3985 »