DCC Connector Pros and Cons


Martin Wade
 

I am looking for feedback on Connectors used for connect/disconnect between the DCC Decoder and the many "devices" connected.  In HO or big Tenders I tend to use a simple 0.1" (inch pitch) Header and Socket.  The reason I like this approach is i will use the Female (Socket) matching the number of Decoder wires and then simply wire my "devices" to male header pins (typically 2pin at a time).  This means I can disconnect a single headlight, speaker, Keep alive, etc for both troubleshooting as well as general work.  This is even more advantageous in Engines without a tender (shays and saddle tank) where some typically the motor and trucks are on the frame/chassis while most other devices are on the body.  And the Decoder could mount in either place.   One other advantage is with 4 pins (2x2) used for motor and trucks you can disconnect the decoder and use two shunts (jumpers) to engage as DC setup for testing/troubleshooting.
So I am curious to other strategies people employ.
Additionally, with HOn3 size and again especially in Shays and Saddle Tank engines (no tender), size is a huge challenge.   I have found both JST and Sullins make smaller "pitch" connectors.   While TCS and others sell the JST these are typically fixed at specific Pin qty matching male and female.  Additionally, they are very expensive already set up.   Much cheaper thru the electronic part houses (DigiKey and Mouser).  But you have to be able to solder at this "scale".  I found "Sullins" makes both a 1.27mm (0.05") pitch (basically half the tradition 0.1" pitch headers commonly found.  That takes a 20 pin (full sound and multiple FX decoder) from 2inches to 1inch.  Much more manageable.   They also make a 1mm (0.039") pitch.   Might be needed in super tight quarters but man the soldering gets very tight.
So has anyone moved to these smaller "scales".   I recognize this is not for those that dislike soldering so this question should simply be limited to those who do solder and work in small (think SMT) sizes.  Doable or so frustrating its not worth again.

Am anxious to hear everyone's thoughts.   All opinions are valid.


Richard Brennan
 

Additionally, they are very expensive already set up.
I think this is a 'What the traffic will bear..." issue.
I've been able to buy leaded (pre-wired) 1.27mm(0.050in) connectors at a faire in Europe for EUR 2 a pair... i.e. less than $3.00.
The freight from Asia is the same in any case...

--------------------
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
--------------------


At 08:46 AM 1/16/2022, Martin Wade via groups.io wrote:
I am looking for feedback on Connectors used for connect/disconnect between the DCC Decoder and the many "devices" connected. In HO or big Tenders I tend to use a simple 0.1" (inch pitch) Header and Socket. The reason I like this approach is i will use the Female (Socket) matching the number of Decoder wires and then simply wire my "devices" to male header pins (typically 2pin at a time). This means I can disconnect a single headlight, speaker, Keep alive, etc for both troubleshooting as well as general work. This is even more advantageous in Engines without a tender (shays and saddle tank) where some typically the motor and trucks are on the frame/chassis while most other devices are on the body. And the Decoder could mount in either place. One other advantage is with 4 pins (2x2) used for motor and trucks you can disconnect the decoder and use two shunts (jumpers) to engage as DC setup for testing/troubleshooting.
So I am curious to other strategies people employ.
Additionally, with HOn3 size and again especially in Shays and Saddle Tank engines (no tender), size is a huge challenge. I have found both JST and Sullins make smaller "pitch" connectors. While TCS and others sell the JST these are typically fixed at specific Pin qty matching male and female. Additionally, they are very expensive already set up. Much cheaper thru the electronic part houses (DigiKey and Mouser). But you have to be able to solder at this "scale". I found "Sullins" makes both a 1.27mm (0.05") pitch (basically half the tradition 0.1" pitch headers commonly found. That takes a 20 pin (full sound and multiple FX decoder) from 2inches to 1inch. Much more manageable. They also make a 1mm (0.039") pitch. Might be needed in super tight quarters but man the soldering gets very tight.
So has anyone moved to these smaller "scales". I recognize this is not for those that dislike soldering so this question should simply be limited to those who do solder and work in small (think SMT) sizes. Doable or so frustrating its not worth again.

Am anxious to hear everyone's thoughts. All opinions are valid.


Martin Wade
 

Size correction.   In my example I noted a 20pin would be 2inches but it is actually 2 rows of 10pins so this would be an inch.   And then the 0.05" pitch would bring that to 1/2 inch.
Also, I wanted to share some of the data sheets i found in case they help illustrate and if people are searching like i did.
@Richard.   I also found some prewired 2 pin male pins.  That still leaves wiring the primary 20pin connector.    But definitely is a shortcut and may be well worth the "what the traffic will bear".   I just shudder at the TCS $12 for 2pin connectors.  That would add up to the cost of the decoder using the breakout strategy I mentioned in my original post.


Nigel Phillips
 

MiniatronIcs 2 or 4 pin micro-mini, rated at 1 amp. Stated to not be suitable for motor power, but modern motors usually draw less than that. Many of the jst type connectors are not suitable for motor power, especially when wiring older Pittman style motors. Best split into individual wires when connecting tenders to locomotives. 

I always try and interface decoder in/out power and fx/ speaker wires with connectors. Where space allows with a board and DCC/DC plug. Rather than run 4 or more wires between tender and locomotive I try and find space in the locomotive for a mini decoder, even if it means some milling and loss of weight. Saddle or panniers tanks usually have space in the cab and bunker. Old brass with rhs/lhs pickup is best rewired to have all-wheel pickup, and usually has plenty of space in the boiler.  Hard wiring is fine until something is not right. Then the fun starts. 

Nigel





On Sunday, January 16, 2022, Richard Brennan <rbrennan@...> wrote:
>> Additionally, they are very expensive already set up.

I think this is a 'What the traffic will bear..." issue.
I've been able to buy leaded (pre-wired) 1.27mm(0.050in) connectors  at a faire in Europe for EUR 2  a pair... i.e. less than $3.00.
The freight from Asia is the same in any case...

--------------------
Richard Brennan - San Leandro CA
--------------------


At 08:46 AM 1/16/2022, Martin Wade via groups.io wrote:
I am looking for feedback on Connectors used for connect/disconnect between the DCC Decoder and the many "devices" connected.  In HO or big Tenders I tend to use a simple 0.1" (inch pitch) Header and Socket.  The reason I like this approach is i will use the Female (Socket) matching the number of Decoder wires and then simply wire my "devices" to male header pins (typically 2pin at a time).  This means I can disconnect a single headlight, speaker, Keep alive, etc for both troubleshooting as well as general work.  This is even more advantageous in Engines without a tender (shays and saddle tank) where some typically the motor and trucks are on the frame/chassis while most other devices are on the body.  And the Decoder could mount in either place.   One other advantage is with 4 pins (2x2) used for motor and trucks you can disconnect the decoder and use two shunts (jumpers) to engage as DC setup for testing/troubleshooting.
So I am curious to other strategies people employ.
Additionally, with HOn3 size and again especially in Shays and Saddle Tank engines (no tender), size is a huge challenge.   I have found both JST and Sullins make smaller "pitch" connectors.   While TCS and others sell the JST these are typically fixed at specific Pin qty matching male and female.  Additionally, they are very expensive already set up.   Much cheaper thru the electronic part houses (DigiKey and Mouser).  But you have to be able to solder at this "scale".  I found "Sullins" makes both a 1.27mm (0.05") pitch (basically half the tradition 0.1" pitch headers commonly found.  That takes a 20 pin (full sound and multiple FX decoder) from 2inches to 1inch.  Much more manageable.   They also make a 1mm (0.039") pitch.   Might be needed in super tight quarters but man the soldering gets very tight.
So has anyone moved to these smaller "scales".   I recognize this is not for those that dislike soldering so this question should simply be limited to those who do solder and work in small (think SMT) sizes.  Doable or so frustrating its not worth again.

Am anxious to hear everyone's thoughts.   All opinions are valid.








Mick Moignard
 

I use 1.27mm and 1mm connectors all the time. I buy them in rows of 50 and cut off what I need. They’re made by MillMax and obtainable from Mouser. Do you need the part numbers?

Mick

______________________________________
Mick Moignard
mick@...
p:+44 7774 652504
skype: mickmoignard

The week may start M, T, but it always ends WTF!


Scale Brass Mechanic
 

Group, with over 300 installs last 10 years I have used almost every comboyou can imagine. You need to decide where connectors to be located, between tender/loco, as needed for smaller locos, HOn3.  Inside loco on larger locos and scales. And then decide what your soldering ability realistically is. Can be taught and learned.
JST are basically only used for LEDs, nothing else.
I use and buy from Digikey, couple hundred at a time.
1mm pitch, .040" ; 1.27mm, .050"; 2.5mm, .1".
The smaller the pitch the smaller the wire, down to 36gauge on LEDs.
Between tender//loco I use 2, 3place connectors. Here is my madness method. Since the motor needs 2 wires, the LED needs 2 wires the last 2 are for power blk/red. Since I install all wheel pickups on insulated side of loco, usually the blk wire, the red then comes from frame. I solder on one connector orange one side, blk in middle, gray on other side. This gives me the ability to change which way the motor polarity is by simply rotating connector 180°, as not always is the + on motor actually so. Imagine that. 
Now the other side the LEDs wires are on outside of connector with red power wire in middle. This also gives me the option to rotate connector 180° for proper polarity for LED.
I knew after unsoldering and resoldering several times there was a better way.
For larger locos, with appliances in boiler speaker, decoder, capacitor pacs, I use a 2place for motor and 2 place for power. That way I can work on boiler or frame without having the other always hanging on in my way.
Always open to discussions.
Some sales appropriate, as in changing scales or helping with estates of those no longer with us. Mainline retailers, give website info for sales. I have and do both.
Thank you gentlemen for these thought exercises. Truly a fun  hobby.
🛤👍 Fuzzy for Scale Brass Mechanic 


Martin Wade
 

Thanks everyone for the quick feedback.   
@Fuzzy  Thanks for the ideas on connector use and polarity swapping.  That matches my ideas on the dual row one function per column alignment that I am using.  Plus as mentioned the ability to disconnect and use shunt jumper for Power/Motor to run DC for testing.
@Nigel  Thanks for confirming the extra effort (and connectors) is worth the effort for troubleshooting down the road.   Just a problem of space but everyone seems to confirm the 1.27 and 1.00mm spacing is doable.  Time to steady my hand (dang age)   I also agree the new motors just don't pull that much current so many of the old comments about not compatible for motors is not really accurate/appropriate anymore.
@Mick  I found the Mill-Max connectors at both DigiKey and Mouser.  Can you confirm if you are using the "solder cup" type pins where you simply slide the wire inside and add a touch of solder.  While these are a bit more expensive they would be substantially easier to solder.   The 1.27 state up to 28gauge wire.  I am using 30 and 32 so this should be fine.
Here is the Mill-Max Solder cup connector i found.   Am curious what you are using on both the 1.0mm and 1.27mm.   Thanks for sharing.
Product Number: 853-13-020-10-003000
2 row 20pin


Mick Moignard
 

No, I don’t use the solder cups. I use the single row plug and socket which you solder wires on the other sides.

I think the one you showed is actually a socket, the hood is where the pin goes and yiu solder to the spike on the other side.  

I’ll post the part numbers later for the ones I use.  

Mick

________________________________
Mick Moignard
m: +44 7774 652504
Skype: mickmoignard

The week may start M,T but it always ends WTF.


Mick Moignard
 

Here's the part numbers for the connectors I use. These are in strips of 50, cut off wat you need.  The 1.27mm ones are basically the same as the wired ones TCS sell. The 1mm ones are similar but in my opinion more robust than TCS's product.

Mick

Small Plugs & Sockets
0.05" (1.27mm) plugs & sockets in 50s,  useful for just about anything, and priced decently.
  • Plugs: Mouser #: 575-500101   Mfr. #: 850-10-050-10-001000  Desc.: Single Row Headers .05 50 POS
  • Sockets: Mouser #: 575-501101   Mfr. #: 851-93-050-10-001000  Desc.: SIP Sockets 50P SIP SOCKET
1mm plugs & sockets, expensive but useful when space is tight, also in 50s.
  • Plugs: 575-8601005010002000 Mfr#: 860-10-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Header
  • Sockets: Mouser 575-8611305010002000 Mfr# : 861-13-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Socket
Double row 1.27mm pitch, also in 50 rows
  • Plugs: 50P Double Row .075" Profile Pin Header - Mouser #: 575-85210050100010, Mill-Max #: 852-10-050-10-001000
  • Sockets: 50P Double Row .161" Profile Socket - Mouser #: 575-85393050100010, Mill-Max #: 853-93-050-10-001000

______________________________________________________________________
Mick Moignard
Specialising in DCC Sound
p: +44 7774 652504
e:
mick@...
skype: mickmoignard
The week may start M,T but it always ends up WTF!


Scale Brass Mechanic
 

👍


On Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 3:12 AM Mick Moignard <mick@...> wrote:
Here's the part numbers for the connectors I use. These are in strips of 50, cut off wat you need.  The 1.27mm ones are basically the same as the wired ones TCS sell. The 1mm ones are similar but in my opinion more robust than TCS's product.

Mick

Small Plugs & Sockets
0.05" (1.27mm) plugs & sockets in 50s,  useful for just about anything, and priced decently.
  • Plugs: Mouser #: 575-500101   Mfr. #: 850-10-050-10-001000  Desc.: Single Row Headers .05 50 POS
  • Sockets: Mouser #: 575-501101   Mfr. #: 851-93-050-10-001000  Desc.: SIP Sockets 50P SIP SOCKET
1mm plugs & sockets, expensive but useful when space is tight, also in 50s.
  • Plugs: 575-8601005010002000 Mfr#: 860-10-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Header
  • Sockets: Mouser 575-8611305010002000 Mfr# : 861-13-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Socket
Double row 1.27mm pitch, also in 50 rows
  • Plugs: 50P Double Row .075" Profile Pin Header - Mouser #: 575-85210050100010, Mill-Max #: 852-10-050-10-001000
  • Sockets: 50P Double Row .161" Profile Socket - Mouser #: 575-85393050100010, Mill-Max #: 853-93-050-10-001000

______________________________________________________________________
Mick Moignard
Specialising in DCC Sound
p: +44 7774 652504
e:
mick@...
skype: mickmoignard
The week may start M,T but it always ends up WTF!


Martin Wade
 

Perfect.  Thanks very much for taking the time to share the part numbers.
Time to put together an order with probably all three styles to take the next step on my current shay and be ready for the next engine to be "shopped".

Thanks again,
Martin Wade 
HMR Railway


On Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 8:27 AM Scale Brass Mechanic <scalebrassmech@...> wrote:
👍

On Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 3:12 AM Mick Moignard <mick@...> wrote:
Here's the part numbers for the connectors I use. These are in strips of 50, cut off wat you need.  The 1.27mm ones are basically the same as the wired ones TCS sell. The 1mm ones are similar but in my opinion more robust than TCS's product.

Mick

Small Plugs & Sockets
0.05" (1.27mm) plugs & sockets in 50s,  useful for just about anything, and priced decently.
  • Plugs: Mouser #: 575-500101   Mfr. #: 850-10-050-10-001000  Desc.: Single Row Headers .05 50 POS
  • Sockets: Mouser #: 575-501101   Mfr. #: 851-93-050-10-001000  Desc.: SIP Sockets 50P SIP SOCKET
1mm plugs & sockets, expensive but useful when space is tight, also in 50s.
  • Plugs: 575-8601005010002000 Mfr#: 860-10-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Header
  • Sockets: Mouser 575-8611305010002000 Mfr# : 861-13-050-10-002000 Desc: 1MM Pitch Socket
Double row 1.27mm pitch, also in 50 rows
  • Plugs: 50P Double Row .075" Profile Pin Header - Mouser #: 575-85210050100010, Mill-Max #: 852-10-050-10-001000
  • Sockets: 50P Double Row .161" Profile Socket - Mouser #: 575-85393050100010, Mill-Max #: 853-93-050-10-001000

______________________________________________________________________
Mick Moignard
Specialising in DCC Sound
p: +44 7774 652504
e:
mick@...
skype: mickmoignard
The week may start M,T but it always ends up WTF!


Mick Moignard
 

To be totally honest, I’ve never used the two-row ones. 

Using the single row styles, I have several locos with 9 wires between lock and tender and one with 10, using two plug/socket units. Decoder (TSU-2 in most/all cases) in tender and speaker in smokebox. 

4-pin 1.27mm with in order orange, red, black, grey.  Get that the wrong way round and either you have a track short or it goes backwards.  No harm though.
6-pin 1mm in order purple (TSU-2 speaker), green, blue, white, brown, purple. Again, no harm to speaker, amplifier or lights if plugged the wrong way round.
One plug/socket pair each side of the drawbar.

Mick

________________________________
Mick Moignard
m: +44 7774 652504
Skype: mickmoignard

The week may start M,T but it always ends WTF.


Mark Kasprowicz
 

I adopted the Blackstone standand - I use their K-27 drawbar for K Class engines and hard wire the C and T class D&RGW and SPNG locomotives, running the wires through shrink wrap slipped over the original metal drawbar through I have started making my own drawbars out of brass strip - the originals seem to be spaced for 18 inch curves or display- quick work using a narrow belt sander (also useful for grinding rail when handmaking turnouts using FastTrack jigs) . Sadly the BS drawbar is long gone and though ST sent over a couple of samples of the replacements, they don't cut it. C-Class and similar models transport in Office Depot pencil boxes.

Mark