Fantastic idea for butt connecting solid wires, but I am using stranded wire.  The butt connectors I am going to use were demonstrated on YouTube.  Not that anyone reading this isn't familiar with them, but I have no idea so I have to treat the reader as such.

Every person I have watched or talked to when it comes to butt connecting stranded wire always talks about soldering.  I, for lack of a better way to say it, suck at soldering. I'm messy, I get too much on there, and decided early that soldering is for the professionals.  I'm a wimp so I crimp.  Not that crimpers are wimps, but I was trying to rhyme and that's all I could come up with.

The butt connectors I am going to use have solder in the middle, in a....circle.  The wires are meshed together, then lightly twisted to remain flat, then you slide your combination shrink tube solder connector over the wires centering the solder part over the bare wires.  Using standard heat sources all of us use, in my case a barbecue lighter held just below the target, shrink the ends to the covered wire to hold, then light up the center.  The solder melts cleanly to the wires, and then you can finish off by heating it all nice and tight to the whole thing.  As drummer said, my layout is not going to move anywhere and the wire is neatly tucked under some Velcro to the carpet, so why go the extra mile with more cosmetic shrink tape.

Looks easy, won't be, I'm sure I will mess it up some how, but in the end I will figure it out and 16 of the 17 will look good.

I've never sen connectors such as you describe, but 2 questions come to mind:  How do you know you've applied enough heat to actually melt the solder and heat up the wires enough to accept the solder (the dreaded cold solder joint?  How do you know that some dirt on the wire hasn't prevented the solder from adhering?

RJR posted:

I've never sen connectors such as you describe, but 2 questions come to mind:  How do you know you've applied enough heat to actually melt the solder and heat up the wires enough to accept the solder (the dreaded cold solder joint?  How do you know that some dirt on the wire hasn't prevented the solder from adhering?

The house smoke detector will beep😁

 

Yardmaster96-

get two wires

a soldering iron

and practice soldering. 

Start by just getting the solder on one wire-that’s called “tinning”...

Once you have both “tinned”

when you put them together 

you might not even have to add more solder  

 

Its not not difficult to learn. 

The trick is let the solder run towards the heated tip through the wire. 

 

Good luck

1. make sure you use thin rosen core solder;

2.  use soldering paste;

3. use a soldering iron or gun with ample wattage such as the small  black "Weller" gun with a clean tip.

(It should be silver without any crud.) 

4. for circuit board work you will need a low wattage soldering pencil/iron. If you don't understand this .. don't attempt working on a circuit board.

5. wear jeans or cover your legs, solder can drip or shoot, it will burn exposed skin.

4. Practice, practice, practice ...  once you get the hang of soldering it becomes a very easy task.

Good soldering!

 

 

 

 

John E. Nagurney

Thanks for the tips, I'll give it my best shot. 

To answer RJR's questions, first of all, good questions and make sure the smoke detector has good batteries. 

The best I can do is answer, "I have no idea."  The video I watched is under the title, "NTE Electronics Heat Shrink Self Solder Butt Splice".  Search You Tube using that title and it should come up at the top of the list.  It's 3:44 long, shows you step by step how they do it, and the solder in the middle is about the size of a small fishing sinker.  So once melted it should lock the wires together pretty good.  As for the sliding the wires together into a mesh, they show that as well.

Give it a whirl, trust your gut, maybe this is a method that might save you some time, still allow you to solder the wires together, and less mess in the end.  If not it's good boring visual entertainment for 3 minutes plus.  The most deciding factor in all this for me is that I already have the wires attached to the clips under the track and the track is nestled down to the carpet with A LOT OF track screws that I don't want to have to take out in order to be able to unhook the track so I can turn the track over and unhook the wires so I can use all 12 gauge from start to finish.  So being lazy and into shortcuts that will work, I promise you, it will work, I decided to use the easiest method, for me, there was.

Crimping butt connectors would require me to use shrink tube to finish off the connection.  I just trust it more.  Crimping requires me to use a big tool that requires me to get it right the first time and invariably one end comes out when I crimp the other.  This method is cleaner, more effective, does two things at once using heat and in the end it connects the two wires cleanly and creates a bridge for the electricity to travel effectively.  Straight solder works, makes a nice connection, but it's more work than I wish to do for what I am doing.  I'm simply upping the gauge of the bus wire hoping that I get an even better power distribution to an already working system that does exactly what I want it to do.  Runs trains correctly.  I have 16 to 18 currently.  It works fine.  "So why bother?"  I'm bored, I need something to do, my bridge is finished, winter is coming on, I can't stand prosperity, I think this will help even though it's not in need of help, and my wife finds it sexy when I work on my layout.  Need I say more.

 

I'm not a fan of crimping either, because errors can occur and be hidden.  A marine air conditioning manufacturer once told me that one of the largest causes of failures of HVAC units in crimped connectors.  After several burned out connectors, I removed them all and replaced them with Ideal connectors (not the push-in gizmoes).

I did buy one of those double-crimp tools, which seems to produce a better result.

RJR

I use the suitcase connectors.

They work fine 

Everything that is manufactured to be utilized by humans is designed to do exactly what it’s designed to do. 

The failure is the human involved. 

Crimp ons work 

as long as they’re used in the proper application 

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