Topics

ESD


Rick Beatty
 

I just recently found Allan's article on soldering and the description of the problems with ESD and decoders and command stations.  I guess I have been lucky in that most of my decoder work has been done with the HAKKO FX-888D which is ESD safe.  I need to do a fair amount of soldering attaching feeders to the bus wires and was thinking about getting a new 110/140 watt gun.

The Weller 9400PKS caught my eye but I can't tell if it is ESD safe.  Does anyone know?  Any other recommendations, or should I just use the HAKKO?  I would really like to avoid the need to take everything off the track.


Jim Betz
 

Rick,

  Can you 'isolate' (collect) everything in one part of the layout - and then disconnect 
the track bus to that section of track?  Perhaps this would be a good time to add a
terminal strip for at least one section in order to do work like this?
  If you are soldering feeders to track that is connected to track that has locos on it
you are playing russian roulette.  It is more than just ESD that you are risking.
  And let's not forget you also want to isolate your command station from the
same sources of 'random power surges'.

  ESD and decoders is rarely a problem ... unless you live in an area where you
are experiencing 'rug zaps' (static discharges) you probably don't care as much
about ESD.  But taking proper precautions has never caused a decoder to get
trashed by a static discharge - so most guys will tell you "better safe than sorry". 

  And I agree with them.

  Whenever I am soldering feeders to track I -first- disconnect the track bus to
that track from the rest of the layout.  For me that is easy because all of my
track is isolated into blocks that have terminal strip connections to the main
power bus.  YMMV.
                                                                                                         - Jim


Jim Betz
 


  ... and just for completeness - don't forget that PSX circuit breakers
will not tolerate -any- DC power from either side of the board!
                                                                                                         - Jim


Rick Beatty
 

On Sun, Jan 3, 2021 at 07:50 AM, Jim Betz wrote:


  Can you 'isolate' (collect) everything in one part of the layout - and then disconnect 
the track bus to that section of track?  Perhaps this would be a good time to add a
terminal strip for at least one section in order to do work like this?
  

Currently - no.  That is actually part of the project I am starting.  I want to isolate the main yard so that locomotives parked there are not powered.  I had intended to isolate one rail to do that.  To eliminate the other issue do I need to isolate both rails?

At this point it doesn't make sense to risk anything to save a little time so I will do what is necessary.  I did test the HAKKO on a piece of bus wire off the layout and it will solder the feeders to it, so I don't need a new gun.

Rick


thomasmclae
 

There is an alternative to soldering everything.
The Texas Northern is a 3000 Sqft layout started in 1986.
Only the track drops at the rail and panel internals are soldered.
Spade lugs at terminal strips, Molex connectors at control panels and between tables (We are sectional), breakout boards and wire crimps in housing for Arduino wiring.
(no 'suitcase' connectors either.)
The DCC feed is at one end of the layout, no issues at the far end.

Sometimes fighting to get that last electron is not worth it.
And crimps have no ESD at all to worry about!

Thomas
DeSoto, TX