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Suitcase connectors

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  • Member since
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  • From: Canada
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Suitcase connectors
Posted by Melchoir on Wednesday, February 08, 2012 3:20 PM

Hi....Looking to find a suitcase connector ( tap splice connector in some circles ) that will accodomate a 14 gauge bus wire with a 22 gauge feeder wire. Found oter connectors with other gauge combinations, but not this one. All replies are most welcome. Thanks so much. Package should read 22-14 0r 14-22.

Michael Modelling the Canadian Pacific & Canadian National Railways in Canada's Maritime Provinces
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Posted by mfm37 on Wednesday, February 08, 2012 4:53 PM

Searching  3M's IDC's there is no suitcase connector that works with the run and tap wires you listed. They do have a product that will work It's called a T Tap. The connector is installed on the 14 ga bus in the normal way. The tap wire gets a 14 inch spade terminal crimped to its end. The spade lug is inserted into the T Tap slot. Connection can be removed. Tap wire can be any size as long as the appropriate 1/4 inch spade terminal is installed.

The 952 size will work with 14 ga bus wire.

3M T Tap

A quick Google search for "3M 952 T Tap" pulled up several places to buy them.

 

Martin Myers

 

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Posted by RFinch on Thursday, February 09, 2012 5:31 AM

Check out the 3M Scotchlok 905 IDC.  According to their website, the 905 has an AWG range of 18-14 for the Run (Bus Wire) and 22-18 for the Tap (Feeder).  The problem with IDC's is finding one that goes from 12 AWG to 22 AWG.  To my knowledge, none exist.  Joe Fugate, in his video on DCC and wiring, shows a method he uses to adapt the 3M 905 IDC for use on 12 AWG bus wire.  This method involves cutting a narrow grove through the insulation in the 12 AWG stranded wire and placing the discontinuity in the insulation directly under the blade of the IDC on the tap side.  He says he's not had any problem with this arrangement for over 10 years.

The 3M 905 IDC's are available in a number of places, including Amazon.

Bob

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, February 09, 2012 7:05 AM

Martin,

I use IDC's on my 14 AWG power bus and go from that to a terminal block with 18 AWG wire.  From the terminal block I can run 20 or 22 AWG feeder wires to a number of sections of track.  The feeder wires can then be individually disconnected from the terminal block for troubleshooting purposes, if needed.

Tom

My web site: http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:24 AM

LION tried suitcases and sent them packing. LION has four track main line. LION removes insulation from the bus with a knife and solders a pigtail on to it. LION drops feeders from each track and ties them to the pigtail with a wire nut. Now if LION wants to change something he can do it at the wire nut like a gentle-cat, without having to destroy the suitcase, which self-destructed in any event.

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, February 09, 2012 9:52 AM

To repeat what I posted on this subject about a week ago, any electrician involved in my former profession who used a suitcase connector would be de-certified.

Get a GOOD wire stripper, the pliers type which will displace the insulation if used in the middle of your larger wire.  Wrap the smaller wire three turns around and apply rosin flux, a hot soldering tool and solder, in that order.  The price of a package of suitcase connectors will buy enough flux and solder to wire a medium-size layout.

If you don't want to go spelunking under the layout with a soldering gun, run your busses close to the fascia, and do your soldering while sitting in a comfortable chair in the aisleway.

Chuck (Former flight line mechanic modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by maxman on Thursday, February 09, 2012 11:01 AM

tomikawaTT

To repeat what I posted on this subject about a week ago, any electrician involved in my former profession who used a suitcase connector would be de-certified.

Chuck (Former flight line mechanic modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

I can see why one might not want to use the suitcase connectors on an airplane.  But what I'm looking for a good explanation of is how a connector, which 3M manufactures thousands (millions?) of, can possibly be of such poor quality that it cannot be adequate for use on a model railroad.

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Posted by BroadwayLion on Thursday, February 09, 2012 11:35 AM

They clearly will work on a model railroad, but you MUST use the correct size wires, and you cannot go directly from 12 or 14 ga to 20 or 22 ga.

I use salvaged wire, and so some of my bus lines are 12 ga others 14 ga., some of my feeders are 18 ga stranded, others 18 ga solid.

If I were wiring the 110 volt side of the room, where only 12 ga wire was involved, I would not hesitate to use them in the junction boxes, but railroaders are asking more of them then they were designed to do.

ROAR

The Route of the Broadway Lion The Largest Subway Layout in North Dakota.

Here there be cats.                                LIONS with CAMERAS

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Posted by Vail and Southwestern RR on Thursday, February 09, 2012 11:41 AM

And they must be installed correctly.  Unfortunately, the MMR Dream Plan Build video demonstrated installing them incorrectly!  The blades should be pressed into place, and then the cover snapped on.  the video showed using the cover to press the blade down, which is asking for a loose connection.

I suspect that in a MRR environment most, if not all failures are due to using the incorrect wire, or incorrect installation technique.

Jeff But it's a dry heat!

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Posted by RFinch on Thursday, February 09, 2012 1:24 PM

In addition to using the correct IDC for the wire size you're using and installing the IDC correctly (a RoboGrip pliers appear to work well for crimping them) there is another caution about their application.  In Allen Gartner's website  "Wiring for DCC" in "Track Wiring - Part I", he says that joints involving IDC's should not be subject to any strain or should not be tugged.  This could cause the joint to fail.  He also points out that the phone companies have used this type of connector for several decades and have proven their reliability.  Keep in mind that we are using these connectors in a low voltage environment.

On my own layout, I plan to use IDC's only to tap into the main power bus.  There after, all connections will be by crimped spade connectors on terminal strips until I reach the level of the track rails where the power drop wires (22 AWG solid wire) will be soldered to the sides of the rails.

BOb

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Posted by wp8thsub on Thursday, February 09, 2012 1:57 PM

maxman

I can see why one might not want to use the suitcase connectors on an airplane.  But what I'm looking for a good explanation of is how a connector, which 3M manufactures thousands (millions?) of, can possibly be of such poor quality that it cannot be adequate for use on a model railroad.

I don't think there is a valid explanation.  Installed correctly, good quality IDCs like 3M are perfectly adequate for model railroad wiring.  Most of the complaints I see are from users of lower quality IDCs, or from those who have seen IDCs fail in automotive or aircraft applications.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by nmichael41 on Thursday, February 09, 2012 7:54 PM

I striped a bare spot in my 22 gauge feeders and ran them in the open side of the suitcase connector with the 14 gauge buss. Works great!

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