How do you solder track?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by EngineerKyle, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Hi Gang,

    Well, soon I will make a 5'x10' addition to my HO layout. It's all in my head right now, of course.

    I'd like to improve on my trackwork. My ideas are;

    1.) put it all on one level plane.
    2.) check the span from rail to rail (parallel to the ties) with a line level, especially the turnouts.
    3.) energize each turnout with 6 feeder wires, one for each rail, coming into and out of it.
    4.) Solder some sections of track together*

    *Item 4 here is where I could use some advice. Is it best to solder just the straight aways? Just the curves? Maybe there is a formula for this that works? Other considerations?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback regarding this post

  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Some say solder the curves, some say solder the straights. I guess its a matter of personel preference.
    Just a hint. Don't solder all the track. Just connect a couple with unsoldered connectors. This will allow for expansion.(Experience is the best teacher....Boy did I learn).
  3. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    I can bet you are going to get lots of responses on this post. In my opinion, solder the curves before bending the track (if using flextrack). It will make the curves much smoother. Some will say to leave a few unsoldered joints for expansion, but I have only run into a problem with rail expansion once. Straighhtaways don't need to be soldered at every joint.

  4. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    What Kevin said. You don't tell us where you are. Your climate and humidity control can be a factor. Heat and moisture can expand your track or table causing slight warping of the track. I know in my case I heat my basement with a wood stove and even in an enclosed area away from the heat I had major s-curving on my "soldered" straight sections of track The curve fared a bit better but I did gap the straights and the warping seems to have gone away.

    You may find other threads here about humity effects on your tabletop. Expansion due to moisture can cause larger than acceptable gaps to appear at critical locations on the trackage, such as entry to your turnouts - which are normally not soldered to the track anyway, or at unsoldered track joints.
  5. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    SO far so good...

    David, I am in Michigan with a gas furnace and humidifier.


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