So I need to solder but how?

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Collyn, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    Three questions please no arguments, leave them on the to solder or not to solder thread (thought a virtual fist fight was going to break out fence1). First is it too late to add jumper wires on my layout. the track is laid and parts are ballasted. At least I know some of the worst spots I still can, not ballasted. Second is it too late to solder the joints. Third how do I solder. I have searched but not found anything because of the enourmous amount of threads with solder in them. I have a soldering iron lead and rosin core solder. I am out of flux if I even need it.
  2. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    Pretty easy...

    1 - make sure the surface you want to solder to is clean.

    2 - apply a bit of flux to the surface you want to solder to, and to the wire to be soldered.

    3 - tin both the wire and the surface you want to solder to.

    4 - hold the tinned wire to the tinned surface, touch it briefly with the hot soldering iron, and walla.

    Be sure you got some sort of heat sink to prevent melting the plastic ties under the rails. Something like a moist paper towel ready to quench the area should do the trick.

    It helps to practice on scrap pieces of track first to get the routine down before inflicting yourself on your layout. :D

    Standard disclaimer: EXERCISE CAUTION. Soldering irons are HOT and ELECTRICAL, both of which can cause serious injury if you are not careful.

    Good luck.
  3. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    thanks longislandtom. Doesn't sound too hard. I gues I am just hesatant since I tried before but ended up with big globs of solder. The problem then I am assuming is I had a soldering gun wich was had to work with. I also didn't use flux. At the time i didn't even know what it was. Again though what type of solder should i use.
  4. LongIslandTom

    LongIslandTom Member

    To avoid ending up with big globs of solder is the reason why you need to tin the surfaces first.

    You melt a small amount of solder onto the tip of the hot soldering gun, then touch it to the fluxed surface to transfer some solder there. Do the same with the wire. Once the things to be soldered are tinned, you DO NOT NEED to apply any more solder. Clean any melted solder off the soldering gun before you proceed.

    Hold the tinned wire to the tinned surface, briefly touch the soldering iron there, and the solder already on the two tinned surface to be joined should liquefy and flow together. Voila, solder complete.

    Rosin-core solder should stick to nickel silver rail and copper wire. The rosin flux serves as a wetting agent (allows the liquid solder to flow and spread onto the surfaces).

    As I mentioned, practice first on scrap pieces of track first. Once you get comfortable with the procedure you are ready to do it for real.

    Good luck!
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Tom: this is where you find a use for all that snap track that's been sitting unused -- practice on it.
    I always put a track gauge (nice heavy metal ones) each side of where I'm soldering to act as heat sinks. They also keep the rails in gauge while the plastic ties cool off and harden.
    Several schools of though on jumpers. I used to use about a half-inch of wire and spike it into the groove on the outside of the rail, then solder. Now I use soldering clamps and much shorter wire. Someone said to drill through the tie and use a piece of wire shaped to imitate a spike.
    Your only problem with fully laid track will be if you painted the rails -- solder won't stick to paint.

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