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The three Ts. Lift the lid on the secrets of how you do things so others can have a go.....

Connecting power to a track joiner

Postby dkightley » Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:13 am

There has been discussions over making up powered connections to track joiners for flexitrack. I've just done a couple for The Bridge....and I photographed the stages so I could show how I did it:

First, you need the track joiner and a piece of flexitrack to hold the joiner...and more importantly, stop things moving if the plastic goes soft whilst soldering!....
Tutorial1.jpg
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Push the joiner fully onto the end of the flexitrack:
Tutorial2.jpg
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Now you need to grind away some plastic from the underside of the joint. This picture shows where to remove plastic, as you're looking to reveal two brass tabs (similar to the tab under a connector on a fixed track piece) located where I've indicated in red:
Tutorial3.jpg
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I use a Dremel type drill and one of the small rotary burrs. Here's a photo after removing some plastic. The brass tabs are starting to be revealed. Note one will be slightly longer than the other:
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Once you have revealed the tabs, bend them up like this:
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Now the tricky bit starts....with a hot clean soldering iron and good quality multicore solder, tin the two tabs. Work quickly and confidently:
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I'm using twin stranded speaker wire for providing power. Its low resistance...and one of the pairs has a stripe marked on the insulation, so you can easily get the polarity right!

Prepare the end of the wire by removing approx. 2mm of insulation, twist the stranded wire so its neat...and tin. The insulation will melt back a touch...this is not a problem. Now carefully solder the wires to the tinned tabs. Here's how my soldering looks:
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The final step....to give the whole thing some strength and to insulate the bare metal, I encased the connection in epoxy resin:
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And a final photo....here's two wired joints ready to install on the layout:
Tutorial9.jpg
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Doug Kightley
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Re: Connecting power to a track joiner

Postby dkightley » Sat Nov 14, 2015 12:49 pm

And as a bonus......

I was needing a vertical conduit to allow the wires from the track joints to be guided down to the underneath of the layout....and I came up with a cheap and seemingly very effective solution.....

Roll a piece of paper tightly round a rod, pencil, or similar former. I used a plastic tube container (which I would have used if it was long enough....and didn't have something in it!). I then used a glue stick to temporarily fix down the edge, and selotaped round each end...and the middle for my tube! The final step was to soak in dilute white glue and leave to dry.

The result....for me, a 10mm diameter thin-walled conduit that cost nothing to make:
Bonus1.jpg
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Doug Kightley
Webmaster here and volunteer at the National Tramway Museum http://www.tramway.co.uk
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Re: Connecting power to a track joiner

Postby Reith01 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 4:41 pm

Excellent stuff! It looks way more robust than Eishindo's flex-track feeds. I had one fall apart on the slightest pull after installation so had to ditch them - ripping up track to repair it meant laying new pieces of track.
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