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Hayashi

Bus wire clamps

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Hayashi

I'm looking for a good way to mount non-insulated solid copper bus wire to the layout table. I'd like to use nylon P-clips or the type of clamp in the photo (found the photo, but can't find the supplier) and short self-tapping screws so I'm not hammering anything into the table. I'm planning to use 14-16 gauge wire. I don't want to use self-stick clamps -- not dependable on wood.

 

Any suggestions?

Wire clip.png

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cteno4

I dont think these hold downs are the P style clips, P style  fold over and you attach both sides with a single screw to attach

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Gardner-Bender-3-8-x-1-4-in-One-Hole-Plastic-Cable-Clamp-18-Pack-PPC-1525/100158293

 

ive used those flat style connectors that look similar to the ones in the picture when running multiple wires (they usually have a wide notch to allow several wires side by side), they do push your wire right down to the surface and require two connectors. The p style are nice as they wrap the wire and only one screw needed

 

curious why you are using an uninsulated bus. They can be a pain as you need clear paths to run them and have to keep them taught. Also the exposed copper will tarnish with time.

 

If you want to tap off a buss usually easier to just run an insulated one and then use a terminal blocks every 3 or 4 feet to have quick and easy solid hook into. The euro style are easy to clamp down well on wires and one or two (for jumpers) large gauge wires in one side for the bus and 2 or 3 small gauge can go into the other side for feeders. You can also strip the buss wire midway and just solder a buss feeder off of it for a terminal stripper direct soldering to feeders.

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

 

 

 

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Hayashi

Thanks Jeff. I guess my choice was based on what I did in my last layout many years ago. But then I had to mine my own copper, hand form the wire, and stoke a charcoal fire to heat up my soldering iron. 🙂

 

I did plan to use terminal blocks or Powerpole connectors to have the ability to isolate sections. I wanted to keep my feeder runs short, so I figured a bare wire was easier to solder to rather than stripping insulation every few inches. I decided to have feeders at every uni-joiner, but it's totaling 650 joiners, so I may be rethinking that. I never had a power problem in my very old n-scale layout (worked flawlessly for 30+ years) and my G-scale garden layout (5 years outside until we moved, although I had conductive grease at every joint clamp). However, I also don't want to take chances on a poor joint on this layout.

 

What are the euro style blocks? BTW, the I'm pretty sure your link is a P-clip. 

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cteno4

Yes the link is the P clip. Very classic and used all over.

 

why feeders at every joint? This seems pretty extreme. Every 4 joints would be a very conservative for most. We see little voltage drop in Ttrak when we do 8’ loops with a single feeder and it has the module joints that take a lot of abuse.

 

These are the euro style terminal blocks

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/10A-Electrical-Wire-Connection-12Position-Barrier-Terminal-Strip-Block-LF/173771258335?hash=item287592f9df:g:66kAAOSwm3paDo5c

 

they have tubes you slide the wire in and clamp down with the screw. The plastic housing keeps everything insulated well w.o having a plastic cover like a traditional terminal block. Also the tube around the screw head makes it really easy to keep the screwdriver head held in easily when trying to screw it while upside down and backwards — how you usually are under the layout!

 

btw the stick on wire clips will hold well if you just paint the wood.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Hayashi

Maybe I'm listening to Ken too much regarding feeders every joint. 

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chadbag

FWIW I am running DCC and basically have 1 feeder per detection block and 3 blocks per loop.  On an 8'x4' layout board with concentric loops starting at the biggest that would fit.  Have not had issues and very little drop.  I am also running very long leads as everything plugs into my detection detector blocks before going to the track.  Pretty much stable V all the way around.   Trains in good running order keep the same speed with no noticeable variation.   (I've also spot checked with a meter).

 

This is my practice layout.  When I get around to doing a more permanent layout (once we move end of 2020) I may put a few more feeders closer together but so far everything has worked fine.

 

What about this sort of thing for tapping into the main power bus wire?  (Not necessarily this exact one, but this sort of thing?   Lots of similar ones on Amazon)

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Ginsco-Terminals-Self-stripping-Insulated-Disconnects/dp/B01CDWC60Y/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=wire+splice+connectors&qid=1549781757&s=gateway&sr=8-10

 

 

Edited by chadbag

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gavino200
14 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

 

What about this sort of thing for tapping into the main power bus wire?  (Not necessarily this exact one, but this sort of thing?   Lots of similar ones on Amazon)

 

https://smile.amazon.com/Ginsco-Terminals-Self-stripping-Insulated-Disconnects/dp/B01CDWC60Y/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=wire+splice+connectors&qid=1549781757&s=gateway&sr=8-10

 

 

 

These work great. Much safer than bare copper wires. I just know sooner or later those bare wires would give me a good zap. Yowzers!

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cteno4

Suitcase connectors are used a lot for this kind of bus wiring and work well. Allow you to clamp in where ever you need and even connect to a terminal strip.

 

dc and dcc voltages are not really going to zap you, but always good to treat electricity with care! But you have exposed rails all over the top of the track and much more likely to short things there with a phalange.

 

jeff

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gavino200
22 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Suitcase connectors are used a lot for this kind of bus wiring and work well. Allow you to clamp in where ever you need and even connect to a terminal strip.

 

dc and dcc voltages are not really going to zap you, but always good to treat electricity with care! But you have exposed rails all over the top of the track and much more likely to short things there with a phalange.

 

jeff

 

I'm going to annoyingly ask you "Are you sure?". When I was working on a little electrical problem with my local train guy in his shop a while back, I remember being cavalier about holding some wires with my fingers (safely-ish). I was like "it's only 12 volts". And he was all concerned "12 volts AC!!!". So I figured it must have been more zappy than I thought. 

 

 

Edited by gavino200

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cteno4

You will get a tingle. I’m sure you have put your hand on your on your dcc tracks and not shot across the room. 120v 15a ac will plop you on your butt! If dcc were that dangerous you would not have it as a live rail system.

 

jeff

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katoftw

Do you mean 1.5amps?

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Hayashi

I think everyone has convinced me to abandon feeders every joint. I wasn't looking forward to 650 soldered unijoiners.

 

I've used those quick splice connectors and the crimped plugs a lot in my automotive hobby work. They work well on braided wire. Biggest problem I found is making sure the wire stays put over the metal thingy while closing the lid. I also recommend using pliers to give the assembly a bit of a squeeze rather than relying on the locking latch. I've had some latches close but the force wasn't enough to pierce the insulation. My only other complaint is I've had too many wires pull out the ends of the crimp connectors on the quick disconnects. If you don't get a good grip on the disconnect, the slippery plastic can make your hand slide off, grabbing the wire, and pulling it out of the crimp.

 

I think I'll go with the euro-style terminal blocks. I like the screw-in mechanism. It might even be nice to touch the bare ends of the wires with some solder before inserting them into the blocks.

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Hayashi

Regarding DC shocks, in high school I took a cardboard lidded box about 4" x 4" and taped aluminum foil on all six sides. I trapped a lead wire under each of the foiled sides and attached the leads to two 9V transistor batteries. Then offered it to my unwitting "friends." Grabbing that box would give an impressive jolt. If you could hang on it would make your arm muscles pulse. Even my science teacher liked it.

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cteno4
7 hours ago, katoftw said:

Do you mean 1.5amps?

 

Most us house circuits can deliver 15 amps at 110-120v.

 

even small jolts can effect your heart and nervous system depending on the circuit path, health, environment, etc, but dcc shouldn’t generally do harm or we would not have it on open tracks. But again best to not tempt fate where you can! 

 

Dcc is also higher frequency ac that tends to run over the surface of the skin more. Moist and salty skin will carry more current and give more of a tingle or cause uncles to contract some.

 

jeff

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chadbag

I hate it when my "uncles" contract.  

 

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cteno4

The best thing to use on the suitcase connectors are parallel pliers that mash down evenly.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Mazbot-Brass-Flat-Parallel-Pliers/dp/B01MECXSOL/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1549820030&sr=8-7&keywords=parallel+jaw+pliers

 

also need to make sure the gauge is specific to your wire as they will cut larger gauge wires some.

 

ive often thought of trying some conductive contact grease in joints to help keep out excess water and glue for later potential issues. Folks have not reported much of this though. Also ballasting Unitrak usually is a pretty thin affair where misting works just fine and you don’t need to flood with binder.

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cteno4
3 minutes ago, chadbag said:

I hate it when my "uncles" contract.  

 

 

Auto correct on a dyslexic, wind up for funny stuff that I can read right thru at times! 

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chadbag
14 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

 

Auto correct on a dyslexic, wind up for funny stuff that I can read right thru at times! 

 

Happens to me all the time.  This one was particularly funny to me.  

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cteno4

Btw dc can kill easily. In grad school we used several hundred volt dc setups for gel electrophoresis that had two tanks of salt solution wired together with the gel between. In the early days the setups were not made foolproof and it was in the defibrillator range or voltage and hefty power supplies! Best case a little zap, worst case it could kill you. We had one post doc get a good zap that sent him to the hospital to be checked out but no major issues. I made new plex lids with the banana plugs attached to them to safteyify the tank he used. Now days the plugs are part of the case so you can’t get access to the solutions w.o it being unplugged...

 

Cheers

 

jeff

 

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cteno4

Sorry I got sidetracked there...

 

on the Unitrak joints, if you find some down the road that have voltage drops you can always do a quick rail solder. If you have ballasted in the Unitrak it’s already going to be a chore to reuse anyway and hopefully it’s just a few way down the road if at all.

 

it is good to solder crimp connectors as unless you have a really nice crimp tool (those ratcheting kind and they are worth the price over your lifetime) they can sometime look and feel well attached but a sharp jerk just right can pop the wire out. Just strip your wire to bare length being as deep as the crimp tube and solder at the end of the crimp tube and it will wick in well (dab of resin there will help this go fast). Then the uv curing glue is great to attach the wire insulation to the crimp insulator so the wire won’t snap at insulation joint if wiggled a lot. It’s the only great use I’ve found for that uv glue as you have to have uv get to the glue and in this case it’s easy and it has a good consistency for it and not so messy and cures right away!

 

yep soldering the wire ends works well for the terminal strips for less mashing of ends. But the euro style also help reduce this as well. Other thing I like about the euro style is the little insulating tube for the wire helps support the wire some and not hanging where the wire can get bent at the joint easily.

 

you can also cut them apart to what ever number you need. Also use colored markers on the screw tubes to easily label what is what.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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gavino200
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

it is good to solder crimp connectors as unless you have a really nice crimp tool (those ratcheting kind and they are worth the price over your lifetime) they can sometime look and feel well attached but a sharp jerk just right can pop the wire out.

 

I'll second that. Even with a ratcheting crimping tool you have to put surprisingly a lot of force into each crimp. Your hand sort of aches a bit at the end of the day. There's really no way to get consistent good crimps without one.

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Hayashi

I figure Popeye arms after all the crimping is done.

 

I had considered the conductive grease at the joints, but at n-scale I think it will be a dirt collector. At g-scale it didn't make any difference. Everything is big and spacious. I could practically run over squirrels on the track. Something to see a double lash-up of geared locomotives pushing a snowplow gondola loaded with granite fine plowing snow off the tracks.

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katoftw
3 hours ago, cteno4 said:

 

Most us house circuits can deliver 15 amps at 110-120v.

 

even small jolts can effect your heart and nervous system depending on the circuit path, health, environment, etc, but dcc shouldn’t generally do harm or we would not have it on open tracks. But again best to not tempt fate where you can! 

 

Dcc is also higher frequency ac that tends to run over the surface of the skin more. Moist and salty skin will carry more current and give more of a tingle or cause uncles to contract some.

 

jeff

Thanks for the explanation.  I was assuming post wall wart power ratings were being quoted.  Not pre.

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cteno4

Yeah even the ratcheting kind are work but at least you don’t have to mash your hands with the cheapos. The cheap ones can mangle the connectors as well.

 

all of the contact greases have a tiny bit of resistance as well.

 

yeah the grease could collect stuff but I doubt it will get into the static joint once track is nailed down. It might on track you take apart a lot allowing more stuff to get in there when exposed and ground in when connected again. for static, nailed down track it would mainly be to prevent glue from getting in the joints if you flood them with dilute glue for ballasting. I’ve heard it happening to a few folks with Ttrak modules but others with large amounts of heavily ballasted Unitrak have never had issues, so it’s not a huge universal problem.

 

I have always tended to do lighter coats of matte medium via spray and do multiple ones rather than the get it super soaked. Some like to totally soak to make sure it’s really got glue throughout, but I’ve found the light coats work well for me and stuff does not come loose. I would rather have the scenery material affixed just good enough rather than completely cemented down as it can be a pain to scrape off or pick out to do some repairs and such. I learned this as a kid with ballast and PCs glue and it was like jack hammering to get it out! Matte medium is a bit more flexible and easier to pick out and seems to penetrate enough and stick just good enough. Finish look is a bit nicer as well than pva except for one scenery material that for the life of me now I can’t remeber where it made it look odd and pva didn’t.

 

jeff 

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