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Not sure if this is the correct place for this post but here goes.  I just installed a Cruise Commander into a Williams RDC that had been sitting for someday to arrive.  Someday arrived on Sunday, the install went well EXCEPT one of the connections does not want to secure the wire.  All of the other connections are solid except for this one which happens to be one of the wires from the trucks.  I don't seen anything physically wrong with the terminal except it does not grab the wire  resulting it poor contact.  Is there a fix for this or a solution for a person with the electrical skills of a first grader?

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Sometimes the clamp that the screw goes into will disconnect from the screw, then the clamp won't grab.  Hold the board (loco) upside down and without the wire inserted turn the screw to tighten.   You will then see the plate that clamps the wire start to move, once it does then insert the wire and it will tighten up.


Yes it is one of the screw connectors that are green.  The offending connection is opposite the side where one connects the headlights and program/run switch.  There are four connections on the side with the issue, two that receive power from the track and two that send power to the motors.  The problem connection is the one closest to the edge of the board that is connected to the track, call that terminal one.  Two, three and four are all fine.  What I noticed during the install the wire just floats out even with the screw turned all the way in.  I will give the turn it upside down and shake it method a try and report back.   Can't hurt, might help.  

When was the 4 terminal set changed? All of my Cruise Commanders as well as AC and DC Commanders use the same type of connector on both ends.

Not sure turning it upside down will open up the contacts but a small jewelers screwdriver will.

Necrails, remove the wire next to the one that isn't clamping down and observe the difference between the one that clamps and the one that doesn't. It should be obvious what the problem is assuming the connector is not defective.



Last edited by Norton
Norton posted:

When was the 4 terminal set changed? All of my Cruise Commanders as well as AC and DC Commanders use the same type of connector on both ends.

You need to look again Pete, the Cruise Commander uses a larger connector on the end that accepts power and motor connections.  This has been true for as long as I can remember.

The AC and DC commander do indeed use the same .1" spacing terminals on both ends, but we're talking about the Cruise Commander here.



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Norton posted:

The both work exactly the same.

Actually, they don't.  The larger one has a folded metal piece that just crimps the wire when the screw compresses it.  The smaller one actually has a moving jaw that the screw clamps the wire at the top as you tighten it.

I've used thousands of these on several of my products, so I'm pretty well acquainted with them.

If you're saying they both tighten on a wire, I guess you can claim that.

Well the upside down trick did not alter the outcome.  The screw turns in to a full stop, it turns out to a full stop but turning it in does not result in a firm connection.  The wire "floats" in the pocket.  Attempting to operate the loco in this condition results in intermittent loss of power.  I thought perhaps the wire was too thin and folded it back on itself, still fits in the pocket, pushes all the way in but turning the screw still provides the same result.   I wonder if there is anything that can be placed on the wire that will expand in the pocket providing a better fit?


John, that was the plan but since this seemed to be a mechanical issue I gave it one more shot last night.  I disconnected the board and looked at how the working connector performed and how the non working connector did not. Then I manually moved the non working one with my tool that looks like a dental pick.  That movement freed it from whatever was binding it.  All connections are now firm, board had been re-installed and functioning properly.  I have no idea why this one connection was stuck but the outcome if positive.  Thanks to all for the responses, I'm on to my next 2 conversions with AC commanders.  A new challenge.

AC Commander is very similar, just the the field and brushes in the right place.   If it runs backwards, swap the brushes.  Other than that, it's just like installing the Cruise Commander.

FWIW, before I install any of the ERR boards, I open up all the terminal blocks.  For the Cruise Commander with the larger terminals on the heatsink end, I unscrew the screws and use my dental pick to push the tab open to allow easy insertion of the wire.

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