Solderless joiners and feeders

Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby Petercat » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:23 pm

I hate soldering joiners. Melted ties, burned fingers, yuck.
A few years ago, I bought a circuit drawing pen at Radio Shack for another project. I was building an N gauge layout at the time, and when it came time to solder the rails together, I decided to try the pen instead. What it is, is a pen that contains electrically conductive silver paint.
It's worked pretty well. The old layout is no more, but I've been using the pens ever since, where I can.
It's not as strong as solder (sections can be pulled apart with some difficulty), so it might not work in stressful situations such as flex-track joints.
What it does is seal the join to prevent corrosion. Resistance, according to the package, is <.01 ohm/mil. Since I'm applying it wet and sliding the rails together, there's certainly metal-to-metal contact under the paint, anyway.
I've also been using it for hidden power feeds since I began using roadbed track, and haven't had a failure yet.
The downside? It now sells for $20.00 a pen.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=3964901
The photos are of Rokuhan roadbed track.
FeedAll.JPG
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby WillYart » Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:05 am

It's interesting but I wouldn't do it because I'm planning to solder feeders to each track section, and only solder track together on flex curves for some added structural stability. I hope the solder will provide electrical connectivity, but I don't assume it always will—hence the feeders.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:43 pm

So how much use do you get out of that pen? Like how many joints will it do before it runs out? I will be soldering my track joints but can think of plenty of other uses for it.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:59 pm

ConducTTor wrote:So how much use do you get out of that pen? Like how many joints will it do before it runs out? I will be soldering my track joints but can think of plenty of other uses for it.


I don't know, I'm on my fourth one but they get lost or stolen before they run out! Hundreds of joins, at least. I've drawn parallel traces down the roofs of passenger cars and stuck surface mount LEDs in the paint for lighting, but placement was too tricky. By the time I got them in place, I'd smeared the paint and shorted out. And drawing fine lines was next to impossible. If I ever try something like that again, I'll use some 1/32" drafting tape as a mask. A clearcoat on top would probably insulate pretty well.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby Petercat » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:03 pm

WillYart wrote:It's interesting but I wouldn't do it because I'm planning to solder feeders to each track section, and only solder track together on flex curves for some added structural stability. I hope the solder will provide electrical connectivity, but I don't assume it always will—hence the feeders.


I only use it on roadbed track. It is good for running power to places where you don't want wires, because you can paint over it. I can see adding LEDs to existing street lights, for example, by painting a trace up each side of the pole and then painting the pole...
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:39 pm

I'm going to have to give it a try. Thank you sir.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby WillYart » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:38 am

Petercat wrote:I only use it on roadbed track. It is good for running power to places where you don't want wires, because you can paint over it. I can see adding LEDs to existing street lights, for example, by painting a trace up each side of the pole and then painting the pole...



I see, sure; recently I saw a photo where someone used conductive paint to power a flashlight in the hand of a guy on the back of a caboose! Not sure if it was this pen, or if he brushed it on.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby Petercat » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:17 pm

WillYart wrote:
Petercat wrote:I only use it on roadbed track. It is good for running power to places where you don't want wires, because you can paint over it. I can see adding LEDs to existing street lights, for example, by painting a trace up each side of the pole and then painting the pole...



I see, sure; recently I saw a photo where someone used conductive paint to power a flashlight in the hand of a guy on the back of a caboose! Not sure if it was this pen, or if he brushed it on.

That's what I was thinking of. I've ordered some railroad workers, so I might try gluing a red SMD LED to the hand of one, running power traces up either side of his arm to the LED, then repainting the figure over the traces. Maybe I can end up with a little guy holding a working red lantern!
Or someone with a flashlight. Some of the SMD LEDs are really tiny.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby Shortround » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:05 pm

I have used a different product that come in a two oz. container and has a grafit base. As like the pen it doesn't hold real well but you can top it off with super glue for more strength.
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Re: Solderless joiners and feeders

Postby ConducTTor » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:52 am

Shortround wrote:I have used a different product that come in a two oz. container and has a grafit base. As like the pen it doesn't hold real well but you can top it off with super glue for more strength.


Welcome aboard!

So are you saying mix the stuff in the pen with super glue and then apply it or apply it on top of super glue?
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