I prefer these when I don't use a terminal block. The suitcase connectors don' work well with heavy insulation such as THHN, sometimes cut the wire, and are hard to undo. The Wago connectors come in multiple combinations of taps, clamp the wire, and are easy to add or change wires.wago connector

John

Located in the real Upstate NY

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I agree with John H above. Wagos for just 2-3 wires (or wire nuts) and terminal strips like the 'euro' style that do not require crimp connectors for other stuff with more wires. The Wagos are very nice (I like the flat top ones best). I personally don't care for the 'suitcase' type connectors, but others here seem to like them.

I use them, never had a problem.  You just have to follow the wire gauge limitations for the specific connector. I run 14AWG under the layout in a loop with parallel feeders no more than 2 feet apart which limits the drop from the layout to  no more than  18" to the track or accessory.

Jon G TCA 95-41020

Independent Lionel Service Tech

MTH Service Technician at MTH

This is one of those things where I feel the right answer is, "your mileage may vary".  I worked in the land mobile radio business for about 15 years.  During that time, I installed and repaired many different types of systems including complete police car systems, two-way radios, car alarms, remote starters, etc.  I've seen on many occasion where this type of connector was used and they would isolate over time.  In fairness, the conditions in a vehicle are far more harsh than in our homes but IMHO, if you can avoid using them, I would.

If you decide to use them, Jon's advice is good advise.  Don't try to use a blue one where you need a yellow one.  If you can get it to crimp, you will damage the wire you are tapping into.

Tony

I have used well over a thousand of these on numerous layouts of the past 28 years with out a single failure.  The ones used on the layout 28 years ago are still there and providing electricity where needed.  Some of these are installed in moist basement in NC and no failures in 15 years, including the layout having water run over it in one storm.

They are like anything else, just make sure you use them correctly.

Also, in looking at the Wago connectors that John H shows above, I do not see any that will tap into the buss wire without  cutting the wire and then splicing them back together.  It seems to me that every time you cut the buss, you are introducing another potential failure point.

Happy railroading,

Don

I have also used the suitcase type connectors (readily available and cheap), but on occasion, the installation gets finicky. Also used the Wago connector, but as I recall must cut the wires if ever need to change the wiring for any reason.  A few years ago, I learned about Posi-tap connectors on this forum: https://www.posi-products.com/posiplug.html.  They really are terrific.  Easy to install AND remove, and come in various sizes to accommodate common wire gauges.  Highly recommend them.

Michael

Michael Pags posted:

 Also used the Wago connector, but as I recall must cut the wires if ever need to change the wiring for any reason.

Michael

I thought Wago connectors were used in place of twist wire connectors and couldn't be used to splice into wire?  

Like others responding, these 3M connectors are all I use to tap into the buss wires.  And that's a bunch!  I buy them from a local electrical supply house in cost effective quantities.

One thing to remember, though....   Be sure to ONLY use them for wire sizes specified...buss and feeder.  In taking apart a layout for the spouse of a deceased model railroader, I noticed the builder tried using them for smaller-than-specified feeder wires by doubling/tripling them into the splice position.   What a mess!  And, since I didn't have prior contact with this individual, I have no idea to what degree of success (continuity) he had with his 'technique'.  Seemed like more trouble than it was worth, and I certainly would never recommend it to anyone.

FWIW, always.

KD

Here's some further thoughts on the Wago connectors. First of all, I did not realize they also have a "lever nut" type that appears to make it easy to remove the wires (just pull up the lever?). Never saw that version.  I just went to Home Depot and purchased the ones that you just push the wire into.  Once that is done, can't remove it, so must cut the wires. And yes, this does not apply to tapping into an existing wire.  That's where I like the Posi-taps over the suitcase connectors. They are more expensive though. 

Hope this helps.

Michael

  

  I don't like the style at all. They are at the bottom of my list. I'd sooner cut splice and solder a hundred than use them. 

I don't ever want to mess with a connection again once I'm done with one; that's how I grew to despise them, replacing them.

Tony's observation is much like my own... I just want to point out the radios aren't hanging by these wires. The weight of wire and connector alone, unsupported for 6-7", with vibration or without, this failure shouldn't occur imo. Wire nuts & a 3/4" stip of tape do a better, safer, job.

First off, any nick in the bus takes away from the gauge and lowers the power handling ability.  If you use overkill in your gauge size it would negate the concern, but these things can shear multiple wire strands when installing, even sized correctly.

Second, they are prone to wire pull out and cold metal to metal connections (touching, but not conducting).

Third, wire creeping out of the V from insulation contraction is kind of common. Ensuring the insulation is pre- cut 360° so it cannot pull on the opposing side of the gap is my suggestion to stop it; don't rely on the connector to cut the insulation for you.

The WAGO style is a better choice imo. If a wire did come loose you likely won't even have to grab a screwdriver to pry it open, nor pliers to reseat it.

The positive lever/spring pressure is more assured with the wago's as well. The wedge's pressure may be higher initially, but that can be lost in many ways, copper migration, heat, vibration, etc. 

(pressure contributes greatly to conducting power. It's presence decreases resistance increadibly, way more effect than a square inch approach for amps)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I've used them for the the past 6 years or so and have been very pleased with them. They are the blue 14-18g versions.

We set up temporary Christmas layouts and I decided to make a reusable terminal "snake" of 5 equal lengths of 14g stranded for my main spine (about 20' long). That gives me my A,B,C,D and U terminals for my ZW. I then use the suitcase connectors to tap into those spines with 18g stranded feeders for all track and accessory connections. I use crimp connectors on the other end of the 18g feeders. Never had any issue. 

The next year, once a track plan is determined, I unroll the snake, arrange it in the most efficient path under the track work and attempt to reuse as many of the existing feeders as I can. If needed, I add additional feeders using more suitcase connectors. If I don't use an existing feeder, I roll it neatly and apply a piece of electrical tape to the bare end connector.

I use a pair of ordinary channel-lock pliers to fasten the connectors and have never had any failures.

Another line of connectors worth a look are the "positaps". No crimping, they screw together and are reusable. They have taps, connectors and etc in a variety of sizes. I use them to add wiring to my 1969 Corvair. Goggle them for the full line.

posi-tap_n2_a2-b

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Positaps are great ( or is it air-kool? )

I've used them on many trailers and dunebuggys with great success.  Vibration? Would breaking one in half from too many hard landings count? A old VW bus I put 400,000 miles on maybe? 

They do kinda limit the leads that can be added compared to some wagos. I never found a good supplier and have only seen two sizes at autoparts stores that I recall, but those sizes would be ok for most of our applications. 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Adriatic

I've gotten the blank stare at auto parts and hardware stores. There's an ebay seller that offers small quantities where you can pick which sizes/styles you want. Dealt with him several times, shipped in a nice plastic box with compartments.

Michael Pags posted:

I have also used the suitcase type connectors (readily available and cheap), but on occasion, the installation gets finicky. Also used the Wago connector, but as I recall must cut the wires if ever need to change the wiring for any reason.  A few years ago, I learned about Posi-tap connectors on this forum: https://www.posi-products.com/posiplug.html.  They really are terrific.  Easy to install AND remove, and come in various sizes to accommodate common wire gauges.  Highly recommend them.

Michael

My interests have been aroused every time I see the Posi-Tap connectors mentioned on the forum, but I have never followed through on ordering some to try out. Maybe now is the time to search for Scotie's source on ebay and give them a look see. The do look like a 'good quality item' as Cousin Eddie would say. 

As you have discovered the Wago Lever Lock connectors are re-usable without cutting any wires, but you do have to cut the mains to tap into them. I have some of the Wagos and they are pretty nice and easy to use. Wago now has newer ones with a flush to top, thinner, flat lever that is easier to use as far operating the levers goes. The originals were kind of hard on the old fingernails. 

It seems some folks have had good luck with suitcase connectors, but in my experience they should only be used with a tailgate warranty, when you can't see the tailgate of the installer as they drive away any more, the warranty expires.  If you do use them I like the type that are filled with dielectric grease that helps limit corrosion, I've never seen a contact failure on that type.  I've never actually used suitcase connectors for layout wiring, only in automotive applications, usually remote start installs.  I grew to hate these connectors after the 3rd or 4th time I had to diagnose a remote starter that stopped working.  Over all, they are a poor choice for anything carrying more than signal-level current.  

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

I have used 15-20 suitcase connectors over the years with no issues. However I have been very careful with crimping and if I used them frequently I would buy the official tool sold for them. Like rtr, I need to try wago and positap.

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

TrainHead posted:

Who has used them and how would you rate them? Thanks,

Excellent, easy to use, reliable connection, shortens time under the layout - use a small set of slip-jaw pliers to the wide setting rather than purchasing the specific crimp tool

You can purchase these by wire size for run and for tap - like a 12 awg run and a 16 awg tap or a run for accessories like 18 and a 22 tap. 

lend themselves to bus wiring

Carl

Arctic Railroad

TrainHead posted:

Who has used them and how would you rate them? Thanks,

I have them all over my layout.  As others have said, they work well and I also have not had any failures.  However ensure you get the proper size.  One gauge off makes them extremely difficult to close and lock.  With many of mine I had to use pliers to close and lock the lid.  Pinched my finger I don't know how many times.

If I were to do this again, I would try something different.

IMG_20190428_085710848

 

"I'd rather be lucky than good"

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