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Thread: Using alligator clips to connect feeders to bus wire

  1. #11

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    Hi,

    My plan to provide full computer control of my layout meant I was going to have a lot of wiring to do underneath.

    Because of my age I decided to build a nice "creeper" to make things as pleasant as possible.

    I started with a creeper off of Amazon and modified it. I added some wood to raise it up to a better height. I also added a device that was intended for mounting a TV, with a serving tray attached for holding tools.

    Frederick
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  2. #12

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    Pretty cool fc, now that's solving a problem.
    Retirement is for when the weekends just aren't long enough anymore.
    Santa Fe, and BNSF fan.
    Paul

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Colorado, Kansas, and servicing all points between
    Posts
    4,399

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    Quote Originally Posted by oplholik View Post
    Anyone do this?
    Yes, but only as a temporary thing while testing the trackage.

    I know if I'm trying to solder the feeders to the bus wire under the table, I'm gonna have burnt spots in the carpet from falling solder,.
    That is what large pieces of cut open cardboard boxes is for.

    I have had mixed luck with IDCs. Found that in large bundles of wire they are troublesome because they make it hard to pull a wire out or thread another into the bundle. At the club we had some of the IDCs cut the strands of the wire and basically reducing its capacity. On a draw bridge where they got moved often, they eventually cut the wire. Avoid those situations and they seem to work ok.

    I consider an under-layout creeper to be an essential tool.
    Last edited by Iron Horseman; 02-12-2018 at 01:32 PM.

  4. #14

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    As Horseman said, using alligator clips might be okay as a temporary measure or for a test track but definitely not for permanent wiring on a layout for the reason/s already stated.

    Like most, I also don't like working "under the layout" - it is cramped, awkward and just not a nice thing to do especially when trying to solder wires together and having to control the wires, solder and a gun. There are alternatives, as have already mentioned but one alternative has been over looked or not considered.

    Depending on the size of your layout and the amount of feeders you need one option is this:

    Lay your "main bus wires" out on top of your track work (on top of the layout).
    Solder your feeder wires to the main bus wires.
    "MARK" on the layout where those feeders will come through the bench work.
    Drill the holes through the bench work for the feeders.

    Pick up your Main Bus Wire with Feeders where a feeder joins the main bus.
    Take the entire wiring "loom" beneath the layout.
    Push the feeder your holding through it's respective hole in the bench work. (The rest should line up very closely to their respective holes in the bench work)
    Secure that feeder on top of the bench work using a weight.
    Secure your Main Bus to the under side of the bench work.
    Go around and push the remaining feeders through the bench work.

    Now all you have to do is solder the feeders to the track. You might need a second set of hands to help get the main bus beneath the bench work to begin with, if only to make things a little easier and perhaps less tangled.

    It may sound like a lot of work but will reduce the amount of time you are under the layout and will eliminate the need to do any "actual work", other than securing the main bus wires, beneath the bench work. Just make sure that you make your feeders a little longer than might be needed to give you a little flexibility when soldering them to the rails.
    Cheers,

    Tony
    (aka wombat457)

    "...knowing what to do is one thing, being able to do it is another..."

    http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/f...Indoor-N-Scale

  5. #15

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    Good idea Wombat, and actually I thought of doing something similar, but decided on the connectors. Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have it done, if other things, and my energy, doesn't slow me down.
    Retirement is for when the weekends just aren't long enough anymore.
    Santa Fe, and BNSF fan.
    Paul

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