Clean the spot you want to solder with achol, heat the track good with your soldering iron to tin it. Tin the feeder wire and then soldering the wire to the track is easy. Occasionally I have gotten a length of track I just can't solder no matter what I try.

San Fernando Valley CA. Joined August 2009

There may be special circumstances where soldering a wire to GarGraves track is required but for most connections there is no need to actually solder the wire to the rail.  The following pictures illustrate a method to power GG track that I learned from Mike Reagan back when he had the original Train America store going.

 

First strip a little more than 1 inch or so of insulation from the wire you are using.  I think the wire in this picture is 18 gauge.  Then apply a small amount of flux to the wire and heat it with your soldering iron.  When the flux has evaporated, touch the solder to the heated wire.  Once the solder has cooled, gently bend the soldered wire in a slight zigzag pattern.  /\/\/\/\  The wire in the picture came from my layout when it was dismantled so the soldered part is rather straight. 

 

 

GG Track 1

 

 

 

This photo just shows the end of a section of GG track.  What is important in it is the opening in the rails that is just above the ties.  The point will become clear in the next picture.

 

 

GG Track 2

 

 

Insert the soldered wires into the openings.  If needed, remove some of the zigzag.  The wire should fix snugly but you should not have to force the wire into the opening.   Do Not put the wires in the top openings, that is where the track pins go.  I always used black wire for the black center rail.

 

 

 

GG Track 3

 

 

This next picture was intended to show the wires fully inserted into the rails and then bent down but it isn't really clear.  When the wires are bent down I can't remember any problem getting the adjoining track section to fit tight.

 

 

GG Track 4

 

 

I wired the entire layout in the next picture using the method described above and did not have any problems with electrical connectivity.  I usually put a power feed every other full length of GG track where possible.

 

 

 

GG Layout 1

 

This last picture just shows a couple of power feeds going through the layouts plywood/homosote surface.

 

 

GG Layout 2

 

I hope this helps anyone having difficulty soldering wires to GG track.

Greg

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Basically the same procedure pictured by Mike CT, first clean soldering areas of outside rails rubbing alcohol to remove grease/oil if required, remove black paint from Gargrave Phantom rail center rail in area to be soldered, I use emery cloth and a nail set. On the two silver colored rails I would recommend that you solder the wire leads to the outside side(web) of these rails to prevent the wheel flanges from impacting the soldered joints, over time as you gain experience in locating the soldered joint position and solder bead, you will be able to solder the wire leads to either side of these rails with no wheel flange rolling contacts. The center rail has not wheel interference you can solder either side of this rail once cleaned.

 

I cut # 18 gauge solid insulated wire 12 inches long, one for the outside rail and one for the center rail, I also cut another wire 5 to 6 inches for the other common outside rail, for outside( common) rail I use white insulated wire and for the center(power) rail I use black insulated wire. After cutting the three wires to the required lengths, strip off the insulation 5/16 to 3/8 on both ends of each wire using a wire stripper.

 

I solder the black hot wire first, bend the stripped end 90 degrees and slightly offset bend this 90 degree bend backwards to that it will lie flush with the cleaned area of the rail, position to the bottom of the rail. Hold this wire in this position using spring clamps,pliers with a rubber band holding pliers closed or other device. Apply solder flux to this wire with an acid solder brush, I use a Weller 260/240 watt soldering gun and 60/40 electrical solder. Tin the solder gun tip with this solder and apply the solder gun tip to the wire-rail joint being soldered, when the flux starts to boil, apply the solder wire to the joint being soldered, the solder melts and forms a bead over the wire where attached to rail side, release the heat trigger on the gun, let the solder solidify by cooling, then remove the gun completely. Solder joint must be silver in shine, no gray color this is a cold solder, give the wire a slight hand tug to verify that the solder joint is secure.

 

Apply this procedure to the 6 inch and 12 inch white wires that are to be soldered to the outside(common) rails, once soldered and the soldered joint is verified by the slight tug test, and assuming that the track is attached to the train board, drill three holes of a diameter slightly larger than the wire outside diameter adjacent to the soldered joints on the rails, feed the soldered wires through the drilled holes, the 6 inch white wire to to be soldered to the other 12 inch wire , strip the insulation from the 12 inch wire at the location were the 6 inch wire contacts this wire, once the insulation is removed at this contact area, usually 1/2 inch, twist the stripped end of this 6 inch wire onto this stripped area of this 12 inch wire, apply solder, and wrap with electrical tape.

 

The 12 inch 18 gauge wire that is connected to the outside rails, should be connected to either 14/16 gauge stranded wire, this stranded wire is then soldered to the common bus wire, I use a 12 gauge bus and 14 gauge stranded wire for connecting the 18 gauge to the 12 gauge bus.

 

I use a block system with toggle switches, 18 gauge to 14 gauge/12 gauge to toggle switches and transformer power. To prevent voltage drops, I have power connects to the outside(common) rails and center (power) rails every 8 to 10 feet.

All of this is great help.  I've been trying the Gargraves rail-pins with the pigtails but als using some of the techinques everyone has mentioned about proper soldering.

 

I'll let you know how the final connections work.  There is still a great deal of practice needed to master an unnoticable solder on GG.

 

Once again, this is anexcellent resourse for information and meeting others involved with the same problems and successes.

Thanks all.

Ted

I use 14 gauge feeder wires. I've tried most of the methods here. My go to method of late. Is figure out where you want the wire on the rail and mark the rail with a piece of tape. Mark the roadbed with an awl where the wire will pass though. Remove the track and drill a hole. Flip the track over and separate the ties where the wire will go. With a dremel grind away the web portion of the rail till you get to the flat portion that rests on the tie. Crimp a spade connector to the wire. Remove the insulation first if it has it. Now push the spade into the slot in the Gargraves rail. Apply some flux and solder the spade to the rail. Put some solder on the wire and crimp while your there. Push the ties back in place. Fish the wire through the hole and insert the track into the already laid piece. It may help to bend the track pins up slightly. I found this to be the easiest way for me to hook up larger gauge wires to Gargraves or Ross. The spade connector holds solid as it almost snaps in place leaving you 2 hands to solder with.

 

Hi Rob,
Can you tell me where I can get those particular connectors?  I can't seem to find male connectors where the wire crimp is perpendicular to the spade.
 
Thanks.
Mark
Originally Posted by AcelaNYP:

As an alternate to soldering directly to the track, you can wedge male crimp-on connectors (spade, round, or forked) into the gap on the underside of each rail.

 

-John

Originally Posted by Southwest Hiawatha:

 

Flag Connectors

 

 

ADCX Rob posted:
Originally Posted by Markmad3:
Hi Rob,
Can you tell me where I can get those particular connectors?

Try HERE.

Those look very interesting.  For reference, in case the link stops working at some point, the description on that item is 16-14 (gauge) right angle male flag tab quick disconnect non insulated, 1/4 inch.

Do you know what kind of crimp tool is supposed to be used with that style of connector?  I'm not sure if the one I have would work, since the tab would be stuck in the crimper too.

AcelaNYP posted:

As an alternate to soldering directly to the track, you can wedge male crimp-on connectors (spade, round, or forked) into the gap on the underside of each rail.

 

-John

That is what I did on my layout.  I moved the ties back about 1 inch and then wedged the spade connectors into the gap in the underside on each rail and then pushed the ties back into place.   By pushing the ties back near the spade connectors it makes a very  tight connection between the spade and the rails.

Keith Johnson

This is the Klein tool I use to crimp solder-less connectors both insulated and non-insulated.  Connector pictured, was a flat spade with a drilled hole .  Note the indent opposite to the split in the barrel.  Should work for the non-insulated flag terminal.

Shrink wrap applied, the connectors/ wire leads were used on Weaver E8 trucks.

Flux, flux, flux. Use a fiber brush to clean the solder spot on the silver rails. Use a file or whatever is available to remove the black from the blackened rail. Flux the rail and put a drop of solder where the wire is to go. Flux the wire and add solder to the exposed end. Place the wire over the soldered portion of the rail and apply the heat. It’s that easy to get a solid joint. It would always help if the poster would advise the type of soldering  iron used as well as what type of solder will be used. Good luck.

 

Rod Miller

Mike CT posted:

This is the Klein tool I use to crimp solder-less connectors both insulated and non-insulated.  Connector pictured, was a flat spade with a drilled hole .  Note the indent opposite to the split in the barrel.  Should work for the non-insulated flag terminal.

Shrink wrap applied, the connectors/ wire leads were used on Weaver E8 trucks.

Thanks, Mike; it’s always very helpful when people post pictures.  Looks very professional with the shrink tubing. 

With the flag terminals, the connector part would end up in the cutter jaws of your tool. Do you think that would work ok?  I mean, is there space for them there or would the cutter contact the terminal before the crimp was tight enough?

Thanks, Mike; it’s always very helpful when people post pictures.  Looks very professional with the shrink tubing. Thank you,

With the flag terminals, the connector part would end up in the cutter jaws of your tool. Do you think that would work ok? Yes, The indent tooth and die would not bottom out, on a crimp, so the cutter jaw would probably not completely close.   I mean, is there space for them there or would the cutter contact the terminal before the crimp was tight enough? ?? You would have to try a crimp and see.

I would solder to a right angle connector. 

  I don't like barrel crimps. I like SAE terminals for crimping. On occasion I can get barrel types to crimp sae style by first indenting the split, then flipping and finishing. The SAE connectors have a second set of tabs to also grip the insulation. This style crimp is the best imo. and is designed to experience vibration and other less than ideal situations found in automobiles.

Pop the hood of your car and look close. You will see this. A better tool than the Klien above is needed for perfection, but the Klien above can achieve this with some practice.

sketch-1519511436918

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





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