Connecting modules

BoxcabE50 Jul 4, 2021

  1. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I am using (N scale) T-TRak modules as bases for my HOn30 layout. Normally Unitrack provides the mechanical and electrical connection. As I am NOT using Unitrack, I am lacking a way to join my modules. A fellow HOn30/HOe modeler in Germany used "banana" type plugs. They work wonderfully in making a solid joint and excellent electrical pass through. But those do not seem to be available here in the USA, and are not exactly inexpensive to buy and then get shipped here.

    So, I am searching for ideas. They must be easy to find, and not break the bank account. Anyone have a thought or two on this subject??? :D
     
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  2. DanRaitz

    DanRaitz TrainBoard Member

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    4 pin Trailer wiring connectors, available at any Home Depot or Lowes.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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  4. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting. I believe those could be used for other projects other than trains.
     
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  5. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Because they're relatively high amperage and waterproof, they're kind of large, heavy and expensive for the number of connections they make.

    We still have a local brick and mortar for electronics parts, which has things like this:

    [​IMG]

    Stick the wire through, solder the pin/socket on, and push it back in.

    Multi pin connectors is a search term that will work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Or Anderson PowerPoles
     
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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Methinks I might have confused a few folks. I am looking to replace the physical connection which Unitrack provides when it is snapped together. Simply adding wiring connections carries power across, but does not align or hold the modules together.
     
  8. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Ah! But we were having fun. Like the neighbors did 'all last night'. :eek:
    I've been away for to long to know what's been going on out there in toy land.
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    You can do it in FreeMo-N style, and not have any physical connection of the track, just have the tracks aligned when clamping the modules together.
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    True. However, clamping table top modules is an idea I have not as yet quite been able to imagineer. It must be simple, yet accurate, every time. How to...?
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Here is a video showing exactly what I have in mind. (Note: It is in German. I am certain he used to have an English language version of it; but I cannot find that right now.) Anyhow, about twenty seconds in, he clearly demonstrates the idea. It uses the plugs I cannot get here in North America. So I need to find a substitute for them, which provides a positive (snap-lock) connection. This guy is a fantastic modeler, in many scales. The modules he shows are HOe (HOn30.)

     
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  12. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Very interesting. To bad those aren't available here in the US.
    In the '70s I worked part time at a custom cabinet shop that used similar connectors. But they are long gone. It's doubtful such a shop would be able to start up now. But the means to join sectional table tops is still here. They are similar but don't snap together. You need to use a latch underneath. That could be added to the side of the sections - maybe.
     
  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hmm, he is using locator pins. I've done that on my multi-track modules, to get the alignment in place. Used expensive ones on the new yard, since they have to be interchangeable and reversible, but for table top, you can do it simply with dowels. Then maybe a spring latch to "lock" the modules together.
     
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  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    I actually used these as locating pins...

    [​IMG]

    ...and these to hold them tightly together.

    [​IMG]

    They were cheap and they work.
     
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  15. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Some years back, I exchanged emails with him. He gave me the manufacturer name and part numbers. These also are used for carrying the power from module to module. They are a very tight fit, when locked together, not allowing any movement up and down, or laterally. So track stays perfectly aligned, without needing any joiner between modules. Hirschmann BU-10 (female portion) and VST-20 (male connector). I am guessing made in Germany?
     
  16. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    The alignment pins I mentioned used in the cabinet shop were metal. One just the receiver hole and the other a spring loaded pin in the receiver. I imagine they could be connected to the track power. But they did need a separate device to hold it together. They could use the electrical connectors like on my stereo to be more like those you mentioned. They used a metal guide on a drill press to drill the holes at a set distance.
     
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have been looking at the 1/4" phono jack/plug method. Radio Shack is out of stock right now. Other suppliers seem a bit pricey or require bulk sales. I just want to try a couple of modules and see if it will do the job, (a solid lock), before I invest in quantity.
     
  18. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    How about the ends of an extension phono cable. Remove the ends and try those. The female ends have handles like the male ends. So you don't need the chassis mounted females.
    Around here they are available at discount stores that accept donations as well as regular stores.
     
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That thought did cross my mind. But such connectors do not have the threads necessary to mount them solidly, so that modules would lock firmly in place.

    I have finally found a place which has the phono jack portion, with long threads. Just need to find the same for the male side.
     
  20. Chris Hall

    Chris Hall TrainBoard Member

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    The plugs he uses are the Hirschmann Test and Measurement banana plugs and sockets, RS part numbers 738878 and 738525. not exactly cheap though at around $5 a set, though obviously the more you buy the cheaper they get.

    https://export.rsdelivers.com/produ...ann-test-measurement-male-banana-plug/0738878

    This is on my radar for a future modular layout I’ll build once I’m back home and all my stuff arrives (god knows how long that will take with shipping these days!) so I’ll be interested to see how people have connected their modules together as well.
     
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