Preferred connectors from buss to feeder wires?

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#1
It has been decades, since I last wired up a layout. Perhaps there are easier techniques or products.

What do you prefer to connect the many track feeder wires to the running buss wires? Suitcase connectors? Euro-style barrier strips? Other?

1. The main buss will be stranded 12 gauge around the layout room. This definitely takes care of losses around a 13x13 ft room.
2. the feeder wires are solid 24 gauge, soldered to the rail. Currently I make them 12 " long
3. I could use 14 or 16 gauge stranded wire to taper down from the main run.

Thanks,
Doug

Norwottuck Division of (some larger road)
 

Mark R.

Custom Painter
#3
24 gauge wire might be a bit on the light side for feeder wire. I used stranded 14 gauge for my buss and stranded 18 gauge for my drop feeds.

To connect the drop feeds to the buss, I use a pair of automatic wire strippers like these ....



I just clamp them on the buss where I want the drop wire and give them a squeeze. This will displace the insulation on the wire for about half an inch. I wrap the drop wire around the bare segment of the buss and solder in place.

A lot of folks use the suitcase connectors, but I prefer a soldered connection over a mechanical connection whenever possible. I tried the suitcase connectors in the beginning, but found a number of them failed over time.

Mark.
 
#4
Since I just started wiring, it would not be a problem to change wire gauge. I previously soldered under the table and do not want do it again.

I see suitcase connectors will match a range of sizes, usually jumping 2 gauges. 22 to 18, 18 to 14, nothing smaller than 22 gauge. I will check 18 gauge for feeders and see if it can be hidden well enough Perhaps I can notch between ties and solder it underneath, to the base of the rail.

Thanks, sounds like more experimentation on the test track.

--- edit ---
This voltage drop calculator shows 12 ga wire can be overly safe for a 13 ft square room. inputs:
copper, 1 amp, 15 volts, DC, 60 ft run, 14 ga, voltage at the end is 14.7V, a drop of .3 V.
If I use 16 gauge, considered light by some, it drops only .48 V, to 14.52V
 
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fcwilt

Active Member
#7
Since I just started wiring, it would not be a problem to change wire gauge. I previously soldered under the table and do not want do it again.

I see suitcase connectors will match a range of sizes, usually jumping 2 gauges. 22 to 18, 18 to 14, nothing smaller than 22 gauge. I will check 18 gauge for feeders and see if it can be hidden well enough Perhaps I can notch between ties and solder it underneath, to the base of the rail.

Thanks, sounds like more experimentation on the test track.
My bus is 14 gauge which is compatible with the connector.

The feeder can then be 22, 20 or 18 which is also compatible with the connector.

On my layout long feeders are 18, short feeders are 22.

It all works fine.
 
#12
My bus is 14 gauge which is compatible with the connector.
The feeder can then be 22, 20 or 18 which is also compatible with the connector.
On my layout long feeders are 18, short feeders are 22.
It all works fine.
I am guessing the connector is forgiving if the wire is stranded, not solid? The 14 ga stranded can squish into the 22/18 connector?

A search suggested the 3M T-Tap is a better type of suitcase connector, one wire slides in horizontally, the other vertically. The red is 22/18 gauge, blue is 18/14.
3MTTap.jpg
 
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#13
Question, why doesn't anyone use wire nuts? I don't mean the cheap, non-grabbing wire nuts from lowes, home depot, etc, but the good stuff like 3M T/R or if you really are going to put a handful of wires the 3M R/Y? We used them in an industrial setting, and I was always amazed at how many wires you could get in a T/R, and just how well they grabbed wire compared to other wire nuts. To make it seem stranger, if I build my layout I will solder my wires, but I have been soldering for a long time and I am more comfortable with it, but second place would be the 3M T/R or R/Y series. I will note, the "regular" 3M wire nuts are no better than the stuff you find at lowes, home depot, etc.

Note, I do not work for 3M or any of thier subsidiaries .
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
I have soldered all of my feeders. I tried the T Connectors and all it took was for one to be a bit bodgey. Soldering removes any doubts as to the security of the join from the feeder to the main.
 

fcwilt

Active Member
#15
I am guessing the connector is forgiving if the wire is stranded, not solid? The 14 ga stranded can squish into the 22/18 connector?

A search suggested the 3M T-Tap is a better type of suitcase connector, one wire slides in horizontally, the other vertically. The red is 22/18 gauge, blue is 18/14.
View attachment 47337
I don't rely on a connector being "forgiving" - I follow the specs and instructions provided by the manufacture.

The reliability of any approach, be it soldering or crimping, depends on it being done right.

A cold solder joint can cause just as many problem as a bad crimp.


The T-Tap is good if you want to be able to disconnect the feeder - otherwise you are just adding another point of failure.


Here is a picture of the wiring for my turntable - you can easily see the 3M connectors in this photo.

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/5vcin8pcncxtcml/AAC3CTHpt7Fh2B-3YMkJA0gxa


Stripping, soldering and insulating all of those joints would have been a lot more work.
 
#16
I don't rely on a connector being "forgiving" - I follow the specs and instructions provided by the manufacture.

The reliability of any approach, be it soldering or crimping, depends on it being done right.

The T-Tap is good if you want to be able to disconnect the feeder - otherwise you are just adding another point of failure.
It confused me when you said you used a single connector from 22 ga to 14 ga. The specs I have found state 22 to 18, then another size connector for 18 to 14. Unless you used two connectors to step up in gauge?

Others - no argument that soldering is absolutely more reliable. I am not going to solder. Not. No way. For me previously it was literally a pain in the neck.
 





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