How to strip decoder wires

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by YmeBP, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    How do i properly strip decoder wires. I've been using a combination of my teeth and an xacto knife.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Yummy, buy a wire stripper at Radio Shack. Just make sure you hold the wire right behind where you are going to strip it, so it doesn't pull the wire from the decoder, or stretch and break the wire.

  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

  4. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    I have one of the second ones but you think it gets that small? I have to try that out. I use it on my 18awg power wire.
  5. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Great advice :), i've actually managed to do this w/ my teeth. Good thing i have no use for that function quite yet hahahah.
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    I have both types... the second one I have goes to 22 gauge wire, but the first one just adjusts to the wire size. It's a bit more gentle than the second, but not so good for some really tough insulations.
  7. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    If you don't mind spending the extra money, go to a website that sells tools for aircraft mechanics and electronics techs. Buy one of the types of strippers that actually holds the wire and strips it at the same time. Here is one that I looked up. Eclipse 200-003JPG. Type wire strippers into your browser. Saves on the orthodontics work and eliminates the wire insulation between your teeth.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are careful, you can "strip" fine wire with a lighted match... Basically melt away the insulation. But don't get the flame near any critical (or even non-critical ;)) circuitry.

  9. Fluesheet

    Fluesheet Member

    I'll typically nip one or two places in the insulation with a Xuron scissor-type tool, then pull the insulation off with my fingernails, using the niped points as "handholds". I haven't found a tool yet that will strip 30ga. wire without taking some (or all) of the wire strands with it! :)

    Still looking for the perfect tool...
  10. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    Found this site :) i think i'm going to invest in one of the needle nose type w/ the crimper on the other side.

  11. caellis

    caellis Member

    I have used a PALADIN mini-stripax wire stripper for 20 years. They work great on very small wire. I have used this tool a lot for stripping wire on R/C servos as well as MRR decoders.
    Work great on very small wire. The jaws have an adjustment screw that permit me to strip #32 stranded wire without cutting or breaking any of the strands.

    Here is a link that shows the tool:
  12. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    Use a butane BBQ lighter and melt the insulation. In this way, you don't cut off those critical strands of wire and aren't pulling the wire out of the decoer.

    Simply flick the BBQ lighter, apply it to the end of the wire. The insulation will either wither and turn black, or light up. If the insulation lights up, let the insulation burn until you have melted enough of the insulation off - then blow out the flame. If the insulation withers and turns black, you can then easily strip the burned insulation off of the wires.

    It works every time for me. I particularly use this technique when I'm stripping the wires in a flat telephone cable that I use for my Digitrax DCC LocoNet.

    Bob M.

    PS - As with all flame tools, keep a tub of water close by in case of a fire. Yesterday morning, a welder using an exy-acetylene torch in the wood chip area of a saw mill in Thurso, Quebec (about 80 km from Ottawa) burned the whole mill down, putting 100 people out of work - simply because he didn't keep a pail of water or a fire extinguisher close by.
  13. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Burning the insulation may work, but it's not really recommended. Using teeth isn't too cool either. Burning the insulation leaves a shriveled lump and burnt ends. The flames can also cause the wire to oxidize and make it that much more difficult to solder to. It's also dangerous. Any one of these types of wire strippers will work if you have them set properly for the size wire you're working with. If not, you risk cutting or nicking strands.

    We had every one of these types of strippers in our business, but the ones that we used the most were the yellow-handled Miller 101. We could strip the insulation off of a single-strand #35 wire, or multi-strand #12 gauge just by moving the stop nut on this tool.
  14. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    Yeah, but you guys knew what you were doing! :p

    For the average joe the grab-n-strip types work better, because they're self-adjusting.
  15. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    ... Oh, BTW, I mentioned this thread to my wife, and she cringed when I told her about burning or using teeth to strip wire. Don't listen to me, but believe her, she's done more than her share of stripping... uh, wire stripping that is :oops: ....
  16. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    I guess I am the only one that manages to use my figernails.. I did a digitrax install just last night.. fingernails only. (mny wife does call me "folical man" wonder why?)
  17. beamish

    beamish HO & Steam Engineer

    Klein for me

    I work in an electronics design firm and need t strip wires of various gauges (12-34) everyday. At our office we have found the best are Klein Tools. You can do most small gauge wires with the yellow handled ones i picture here. They have proven to be good quality and work very well.

    By the way i have tried every other method described here and this is my preference.
  18. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There are so many good tools out there that one can use, I fail to see why anyone would not want to use one. I have seen techs in the field use everything from the "teeth" method described here, to scissors, knives, and side-cutters. Some even filed notches in their cutters to grab the wire without cutting through. I guess it was more efficient that way. This is one time that using the right tool for the right job will pay you back big time, and you'll wind up with a better looking job to boot...
  19. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Well.... sure, Don...

    You could do it the right way, with the right tool...

    I bet you probably even read the instructions...! :rolleyes:


    sign1 sign1

  20. YmeBP

    YmeBP Member

    What is an .... "instruction".... do they sell those at the tool shop too!!?? sign1

    I gotta tell you that i can't agree more, i've managed to pick up a couple new tools like a trip pin bender and a kadee coupler spring holder ontoer thingy and a coupel mroe mrr specific tools and they've come in really handy :).

    I've been racing rc for years and don't really strip anything below 18awg, so all my tooling is gear towards that. I'll have to doublecheck the hobbyshop to see if they have any of these types of stippers.

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