Options for connecting power across baseboards

Discussion in 'DC Control' started by Wolseley, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    I should be in a position to start laying track on my layout in a couple of weeks or so, although it probably be a long drawn out process, as will have to do some work on renovating the track pieces, which are mostly 60 to 70 years old (for the benefit of anyone reading this who hasn't seen any of my posts about my rolling stock and track, I'm using Hornby Dublo 3 rail track). The layout will be on three separate boards, now finished, which are then bolted together using 3/8" bolts and metal alignment dowels.

    I'm pretty certain I can tackle the wiring of the individual boards (maybe with a bit of trial and error), but I'm not sure about the electrical connections between the baseboards. I can solder tolerably well, but my soldering skills are such that methods that do not involve using a soldering iron do have a certain appeal to me.

    The method that I am leaning towards is using pluggable terminal blocks similar to this:
    Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 10.42.43 pm.png
    Two sets of these at one end of each baseboard join should be sufficient.

    I also came across a reference on another forum to something called power poles, which are similar in function, but I'm not sure of exactly how they work or if they would be a better option.

    I was wondering if anyone had any comments, advice or recommendations regarding the various methods that can be used.
     
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  2. York Paul

    York Paul Staff Member Moderator

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    Our club uses flexible multi core cables which couple to each board segment via round male / female plug ins, they are tightened together using a ring collar on the male a bit like an old TV ariel co axe connector. I suspect the terminals on the baseboard side are made in either the female coupling or the cable is separated out onto some sort of terminal bock screwed to the underside of each board segment. For a permanently fixed layout this may be a bit overkill and a home layout would work with those push fit connectors provided they didn't wear slack through use.
     
  3. ed

    ed Full Member

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    I've used pluggable terminal blocks with no problems, they're reasonably cheap as well.


    Ed
     
  4. Dr Tony

    Dr Tony Full Member

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    I use model RC car battery connectors, these are designed for quick plug and release and should carry any train currents well. I got mine from a specialist supplier, but you should be able to find something like this at Jaycar
    https://www.jaycar.com.au/2-pin-bullet-type-plug-socket/p/PP2034
    These come pre-wired with a little bit of wire, so easy soldering, just wire to wire.
    I have then loose and then can tuck them in as required under the baseboard
    If you were wanting lots of other lighting and signalling circuits, then something else would be better, but they do have a few multi-pin versions, especially in the automotive section.
    Cheers
    Tony
     
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  5. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

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    Similar to Tony, I use RC car Deans connectors, they can handle up to 80A, and really reliable.

    For multiway and low current you could also try molex connectors, with many possible combinations

    Paul
     
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  6. Timbersurf

    Timbersurf

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    How long have you got? I could ramble on for hours over the thousands of connectors out there!
    There are lots of options, the best are industrial that you have probably never seen before and cost a fortune.
    It boils down to personal preference, after the usual deciding factors of :- Best price, availability, ease of use (skills or tools needed).
    Start by ensuring the current rating is suitable for the job intended, that it is within your capabilities (tight soldering/specialist tool required) and then determine best cost for the number you require (include postage) and easily sourced (not obscure that is hard to get).

    The ones that come out on top are usually as follows:-
    Chocky block (as shown above) - high current, easy to use, no tools (other than screwdriver or skill required)
    COMBICON MSTB (or similar) - terminals and also solderable

    Solderable
    DIN plug 2,3,4,5,5,6,7 Pin connectors - check current but metal ones are robust (chassis & inline)
    12mm aviation connector - wide range higher current than DIN
    16mm aviation connector - wide range higher current than 12mm
    T Plug Connector 40A High Current (Deans)
    RC and vehicle battery connectors - very high current
    D-sub - hard to solder and check amperage! (they are not all the same, so check the spec sheet)

    Crimped * Purchase a decent crimp tool (about £20) *
    Crimps spade or bullet - Only good for individual wires
    Car or computer multi connector - Molex type multi-pole 2 to 40

    This list is not definitive, but just a guide to types you can investigate.

    Other than its bulky, ugly, unrefined, unsightly and has no cover, technically, its hard to beat the chocky block!:facepalm:
     
  7. Colin_W

    Colin_W Full Member

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    Our club has used the same plug in terminal blocks as in your photo and have found them very reliable. The only thing I would say is to screw one side
    into position and if you are going to be connecting / disconnecting frequently watch for wires breaking at the screw connections. These connectors will carry all your power lines no problem. As Paul pointed out for lower power then Molex or make your own using header strips and veroboard. IMG_20160628_181335279.jpg
    Females glued in place with guide blocks
    IMG_20160628_181425461.jpg
    Male side glued to mdf and presented to Female strip.
    IMG_20160628_181500352.jpg
    Squeeze together
    IMG_20160705_185803323.jpg
    Connectors in use.
    Col
     
  8. Ron

    Ron Staff Member Moderator

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    Pluggable terminal blocks for me ...
     
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  9. Colin_W

    Colin_W Full Member

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    Probably a good idea Ron, took me ages to make but needed them at the time and got me through a waiting for China patch. :hammer:

    Col
     
  10. SMR CHRIS

    SMR CHRIS Staff Member Moderator

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    I have used the plugable terminal Blocks on several of my layouts
    Once you get over a couple of connections most of the other available connectors become a problem as you need to number or need to colour code as you end up with 4 or 5 connectors to do the job of one or 2 of the Plugable terminal blocks.

    The Plugable terminal blocks can be cut down to the number of connections needed as well making them very universal.
    Another bonus is no soldering.
    I also use the terminal blocks for the DCC input to the layout as I use several different command systems I can quickly change from one to the other.

    On Moonan Flats I used a 5 pin barrel connector as only needed 5 pins across between the 2 board and this has proved very reliable https://www.jaycar.com.au/5-pin-din-plug-metal-case/p/PP0306
     
  11. Wolseley

    Wolseley Full Member

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    Thanks everyone for your comments so far. I might well go with my original idea, but I do find the 2 Pin Bullet type Plug & Socket fitting suggested by Dr Tony interesting and, given the simplicity of my wiring, being a vintage DC setup, the price would not be too onerous (there's a Jaycar just a few minutes down the road from where I live). They also look like what I have under the bonnet of my old car, but I digress.....
     
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