Soldering electrical connections to Atlas track?

I've never used Atlas track before and I am considering replacing a loop of track on my Christmas layout with it.  Since the days of tubular O track, I've been soldering power connections directly to track sections.  I've never knowingly soldered nickel silver before.  A quick Google search indicates silver solder is required.  I found this on Amazon: 

Am I on the right track? (no pun intended :-) )


Original Post

I take the dremel and clean a spot on the track.  I try to solder to the side of the track less seen or at least on the inside.  I use a weller gun to heat the track and tin the spot with a glob of solder, then having already tinned the wire, a little more heat to the track and the wire will solder pretty easily. Finish by coloring the wire black with a marker.  I think atlas is easier to solder to than tin plate. Some folks drill a hole in the bottom of the track, stick the wire through and then solder, that seems to work well too. 

Tony, what WB47 wrote is good advice, and you don't need silver solder.  Nickel silver solders easily with regular electronics solder.  Another option is to solder your track feeders to the rail joiners.  I've been doing this since 2002 and I've never had problems.  One reason I like this method is that I can do the soldering on the bench with spring clamps in a mini vise, although I've also done it on my layout when the track is already assembled.  For the center rail I sand the black oxide coating off of the bottom of the joiner and solder the feeder there.  I solder to the sides of the outer rail joiners and place the side of the joiner with the wire facing away from view.



Johnstown, PA


Thank you both!  The technic WB47 talks about is exactly how I've wired Gargraves in the past.  I like the idea of soldering to the rail joiners but since I am replacing track, there are already holes in the layout that I want to match as close as possible to reduce the amount of repair I have to do.

Drilling holes in the bottom of the rails also sounds interesting.  I would imagine you need some sort of mini drill press for this though. 


Originally posted by Tony V:

I've never used Atlas track before and I am considering replacing a loop of track on my Christmas layout with it.

I have a 4'x4' Double loop of Atlas O track on my Christmas Layout.Polar_exp2


 I use the rail joiners for electrical power connections on 4 points on each loop equidistant from each other. I have NO conductivity problems for the 6 years I have been running on it. The track is screwed down to the plywood base.

member:Golden Spike Club Charter Member


Photos (5)

I've just laid down my 1st loop of track on my layout using Atlas track.  I soldered to the bottom of the track joiners.  I took fine sandpaper and removed the black from the center rails and just scuffed the outer rail joiner.  I tinned the wires and the joiner, and then soldered them together after I bent the wire at a 90 degree.  Now the wire goes straight down from the joiner.  When I lay the track, I figure out where the wire is going to go and drill a hole just barely big enough for the wire.  I feed the wire down and then join the track.  It is a bit hard as you don't get much play with the hole so small, but there is no evidence of wires at all when I am done.  This should allow you to add new wire holes without much work.  Here is a photo two of the rail joiners have wire soldered to them.



Photos (1)

I have a permanent layout using Atlas track. Thanks to Ingeniero No1 (Alex), here on the forum, I used his method to connect all power to my Atlas track. Here is a post that has a couple of pictures and also a list of items needed/used to make the connections with link to suppliers used for parts. Alex's method of fastening power drops to Atlas track.

It has worked great for me and I am thankful that Alex posted this in his build thread and I found it before starting on my permanent layout. It has been the 'perfect' solution to power track for me!  I have been very pleased with this method!! Thanks again Alex!

Here's a link to Alex's build thread with more pics and also a lot of good layout building info and a really neat layout being built as well.

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Alan Mancus

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