Unitrack and feeders?

Dr. J. Jun 19, 2006

  1. bryan9

    bryan9 TrainBoard Member

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    This is a point worth noting. However, there numerous non-soldered connections (crimped connections, screw-down connectors) that rely on a physical locking mechanism to secure the wire against the contact; they're quite widely used and don't cause power loss problems. My point is that this feeder technique is more like a crimped or screw-down connection. You have to try this to believe it, but the Unijoiners lock the wire so securely that it's actually quite difficult to pull the wire free unless you first remove the Unijoiner.

    My Unitrack layout runs DCC. I find that I get inconsistent performance unless I have at least one set of feeders for 10' of track, which is pretty much what you get with soldered connections. To be on the safe side, I've established a standard of at least one set of feeders for every 5' of track. Operation with DCC is flawless.

    I've used these feeders for a couple of months now with no sign of the wires working loose. Again, you have to try this, I think, to appreciate how securely the Unijoiners hold the wire in place.

    --Bryan Pfaffenberger
    Charlottesville, VA
     
  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

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    The Bryan9 Wireing Procedure

    To Bryan9 and all tuned in,

    I believe you are on to something here. And yes crimping a wire is an accepted and approved way to connect wires.

    There is a downside to soldering. You can get a cold solder joint and then you are right back to the arcing and possibly a insulated connect ...where current simply does not get through. So, all things considered I believe what you have discovered...will work well. Just had to throw in my two cents from the "For what it's worth department".

    I find the five to six feet of rail with a feeder wire, works well for me to.

    We should call your procedure, "The Bryan9".


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 6, 2006
  3. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have been using Bryan's suggestion since reading it somewhere recently. Very easy and only costs the price of the wire (negligible). I'll never have to buy Unijoiners again.

    Ben
     
  4. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Unijoiner still needed.

    Ben... you still need the Unijoiner to hold the wire in place... all you're saving is not having to solder the wire to the Unijoiner.
     
  5. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Deadgoon - thanks for doing the page!

    Grandpa Joe - I think he meant the pre-prepared leads.
    Deadgoon,
    Thank you for creating the page! If you don’t mind I’ll name the station master at Grey after you.

    By the way I really admire your track-plan. It is superb. Simple yet lots of potential. Any chance you can add a diagram with the pieces called out, (turnout size, radius and length of straights), so others could build it? Would love to see progress photos.
     
  6. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ohhhh.... Okay....
    Ben I guess you meant the Terminal Unijoiners.
    Of course, I have several of these Terminal Unijoiners which cost several buck each. I've already used 3 of them in an 8' section of the layout. So... exactly what kinds of problems have the Terminal Unijoiners caused that has soured some people away from using them... other than the cost.
     
  7. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    Fragility, length and Guage -

    For the cost I would expect:
    Sturdier
    Longer wires
    Heavier wires
    I'm glad I only bought 10.
    I have broken 2
     
  8. okane

    okane TrainBoard Supporter

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    I find that the solder joint on the underside of the unijoiner is real weak, and tends to snap off. Also, I have experienced that the joiners do not line the rails up properly, tending to leave a gap and a bump between rail sections.

    I tried Bryans method tonight and I really like the idea, no drop in voltage and the electrical resistance appears to remain the same. Great idea Bryan and thanks for sharing.
     
  9. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yes, I did mean the Terminal Unijoiner. Duh. Other than cost the availability. No matter how many Terminal Unijoiners you buy you're always one short, or more. With Bryan's suggestion I have an endless supply.

    Ben
     
  10. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have been following this post from the begining (lurking in the shadows) and I must say that your solution ROCKS!! I plan to us this method on the upcoming layout. Does anyone know if this method works for snap track as well?
     
  11. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Probably...but...

    The reason that it is so good with Unitrack is that the unijoiners lock the track pieces together and forms a tight connection. The snap track would probably accept the same methodology but would require more effort to push the railjoiner in place and keep it there. The force to push the railjoiner onto the track may bend the rail joiner and or may cut the finger of the person trying to force it on.

    Yep the idea really ROCKS and Rolls. ;)
     
  12. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Supporter

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    I hope I am not duplicating another post. I didn't take the time to reread the entire thread.

    What is helpful to me, whether using terminal Unijoiners or using Bryan's method, is to cut a small notch at the rear of the space in the joiner pocket at the bottom of the Unitrack roadbed. It allows the wire to fit without a sharp bend and not interfere with the Unitrack lying flat.

    And using the terminal Unijoiner it is easier for me to fit the wire soldered end onto the track first. I broke a few solder joints fitting the non-soldered end first or found it harder to get a smooth lying joint.

    Ben
     
  13. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

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    14 Guage Computer Cord Wire

    I did a test last night using the 14 guage wire from my computer power cords.
    Results:
    The wire is too thick to do exactly the way described.
    I had to divide it into 2 "twisted tails"
    One went where it would in the "bryan 9" solutiion
    The other went to the outside of the rail where it might be soldered in place "for the heck of it" or just covered.

    Since the cords come with 3 wires I did two joiners at a time and connected the track. I'll be doing about 20 of these when on a short vacation and will post IMGs when I get back.
     
  14. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    Steve:

    You don't use 14 gauge wire for feeders. You drop 20-22 gauge wire from the Unitrack to 14 gauge wire which is the bus line.

    Stay cool and run steam....:cool: :cool:
     
  15. TRT2

    TRT2 TrainBoard Member

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    Whoe, this is huge!

    It was important to me to drop feeders routinely as Powersteamguy swears by... but as with many, lack of soldering practice was a major concern.

    Simple, easy and effective. My three favorite things together. Kudos!
     
  16. Powersteamguy1790

    Powersteamguy1790 Permanently dispatched

    I dropped feeders on every section of Unitrack using the soldering technique. It isn't hard to do if you first practice on some spare track.

    By soldering feeders to each rail of every Unitrack section, you will have optimum electrical connections on your layout.

    I still will solder feeders to the addition I'm working on for the JJJ&E which has run flawlessly for over seven years and counting.

    I use a digital soldering station and use 22 gauge solid copper wire as feeders to solid copper 14 gauge wire bus lines.

    I've tried Bryan's technique and find it to be very effective. However, I'm so used to soldering the feeders on the JJJ&E, that soldering isn't an issue at all if you learn a proper technique which only requires some practice.

    If you learn a proper soldering technique, it'll help you immensely if you decide to use DCC and get into installing decoders in your loco fleet.

    Stay cool and run steam.....:cool: :cool:
     
  17. coolmoose

    coolmoose TrainBoard Member

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    This thread is from 2006... given that lots of you seemed to use this method, I'm wondering how it held up in the long term? Did the non-soldered joints fair well? Were there any corrosion issues, or unexplained DCC problems that were traced back to the Bryan9 method?

    Any long term reports would be helpful, positive or negative
     
  18. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I tried this, with solid, not stranded wire, and while it works fine, I didn't like the fit of the unijoiners. I've been soldering wires, at the end of sections, from underneath in the long holes under the track. Initially, I drilled through the roadbed and soldered to the sides of the track, but like this invisible method better.
     
  19. bryan9

    bryan9 TrainBoard Member

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    Long term evaluation of bryan9 method

    I haven't had any problems with corrosion, etc., in two years of operating with my track feed method. I agree with Rick, though, that it distorts the Unijoiners somewhat. To mitigate this I've started using AWG 30 feeders. They have to be kept short, though, to avoid current loss.

    Ultimately, soldering is the best way to assure a good connection -- particularly if you're running DCC. However, my method is great for provisional track plans. You can move track around without sacrificing a lot of work.

    --Bryan
     
  20. FloridaBoy

    FloridaBoy TrainBoard Member

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    I have been running my roughly 4x8 all Unitrak layout with double mainline, spurs, passing sidings, and a inner city short stub routes for 4 years without any electrical conductivity problems. What I did is snap the Unitrak together, and every 3-4' I would install my own feeder line using 22 gauge wire. I connected them all together at the front section of my benchwork as I do not want to spend any time under the layout I don't have to, for physical reasons.

    I install the feeders like I did when I used Atlas flextrak and cork roadbed. I soldered the wire on the outside of the rail, drilled a small pinhole through the unitrak roadbed, through the homasote and plywood, and ran it to the front of my layout. I pulled it tight, and touched it up with paint so it was not as noticeable.

    I chose to not solder my joints on Unitrak but I am considering soldering 2-3' sections but haven't had any problems. So far so consistent power from the power paks.

    I am not Kato's biggest fan at the moment, but my problems with them are their latest issues, but their track is great. My friend uses Bachmann track with similar success as mine and swears by it.

    Ken "Floridaboy" Willaman
     

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