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Track expansion | Soldered joints


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Have to agree with Baimor, I have seen in pics with track buckling buggering points, I have gaps on my track work for that reason gets too hot in summer over here and the frost is the killer in winter .

I solder in feeder wire on every length of track have had issues with power drop outs in the past, a must if you are running single track with passing loops on blocks for duel throttle running DC , still think you would need to do the same with DCC.

With my layout not being a permeant set up I wont have that issue, but where the modules and curved sections are storied in the garden shed does get hot inside the shed but have not had any issues with gaps on the track.

I think that the soldering is the worsted job do with the hobby mainly time consuming but worth the effort, with track laying coming in second.

Tony from down under.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Soldering bonding wires on rail joints or feed wires to a bus wire really is about as much fun as watching paint dry. But it is worth it. Please try to remember that a garden railway operates in the real world and not the climate controlled world of our indoor counterparts. Also remember to solder the wires to the OUTSIDE of the rails only and not the inside where the wheel flange rubs. Don't use a "blob" of solder on the rail joint as outside the rails needs to not only expand in the heat from the sun but also to contract once the heat of the sun has gone. Don't be afraid of using too much "flux" and don't hoard it like a single malt whiskey. Splash it on with all the finesse of a boxer landing a left hook. Better to have too much than not enough, just like the single malt whiskey. The trouble with not soldering is that dirt will get into the rail joint and dirt doesn't conduct electricity. So your train/s if running slowly will just stall on the rail joint and after awhile will become a real pain. This stalling will usually happen when friends come round to admire your handy work and you won't get a "pat on the back" when you have to resort to "the big helping hand from the sky". If your friends become totally engrossed in running trains on a railway that you have designed and built and with liquid refreshment in the shape of wine or for us a cold beer or the Brits a warm beer then even if your friends don't heap praise upon you, you will know that they are loving your railway due to your diligence with maintenance. 

With garden railways in the small scales using mains supplied electricity one needs to keep up the maintenance. Because of the widely varying temperature range in the real world soldered bonds can and do drop off. It's caused by ambient temperature variations affecting the molecules in the solder. Some say that you have to clean off the old grey solder off the sides of the rails. I never did. I just applied some liquid flux and using a soldering iron reheated the old solder and reattached the bond. I found that it happened after winter but it didn't happen to all of the bonded rail joints (thank heavens) and I just needed to clean the entire rails and run a train to check where it stuttered and using a pair of fine nosed pliers I'd gently pull at the track bonds and a bond would easily come away from it's soldered place on the rail side. So I re-soldered it.

 

     

Edited by cleanerg6e
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  • 2 years later...

Holy thread resurrection, Batman.

For a 'large' layout - i.e. around a garden of 60 metres long - would anyone recommend droppering to a length of heavy duty electrical flex, to try to minimise voltage drop?  I'm planning on doing ths - basically every track loop gets its own three core underneath.  At the moment, the longest planned run between two 'control sheds' is 30m or so.

 

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I use the blue and brown cores from 2.5mm domestic electrical cable for bus wires on both outdoor and indoor layouts and as far as I'm aware I've never experienced voltage drop. There does tend to be a lot of discussions regarding voltage drop but I can't really say it's something that's ever concerned me and if I've had it previously then I must have been completely unaware of the fact! I don't think it's as big a problem as people seem to assume.

On my previous garden railway I didn't use a bus wire at all and simply soldered a short wire to the rails across each rail joiner, as many people do, and ran trains without any problems whatsoever.

I wouldn't think there would be any need at all for each loop to have it's own bus wire. If you choose to go down this route the one bus wire should be sufficient for several loops.

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