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cheekychops

Recommend a robust plug..

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Can anyone suggest a robust plug to carry the DCC bus between and to boards.

 

In more detail. I have the simple NCE 'starter' DCC control. I have 4 boards: 2 scenic, 1 cassette and 1 storage sidings. I need to connect from the floor where the NCE unit will be positioned to the each board separately (when the layout is in not fully assembled) and between boards (when exhibiting). I have used computer type connectors (MAPLIN) and found them ineffective for frequent assembly/disassembly. I am not sure how robust DIN PLUGS are?

 

Should I use a 4+ pin variety to take a low voltage DC supply for accessories, lighting?

 

Please also recommend a supplier?

 

Many thanks

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Robust: Canon  XLR, which are fairly cheap in 3-pin and 4-pin arrangements, but get more expensive for higher pin counts.  

They're a bit like a "DIN on steroids".   Used a lot on touring musician's equipment, so good enough for roadies to bash around.

If you need to mix pin counts for different uses, then they're available in different colours which will help matching them up (eg. silver-to-silver, black-to-black), etc..

 

DIN is fine if you go with the better engineered stuff.  Some of the cheap DIN bits are not very good. 

 

 

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It depends on how many wires you want to connect. For two wires you could use the ones that you can buy to put in the middle of mains wires for such things as a cut lawnmower cable. They may not be made for repeated plugging and unplugging but they look very robust.

 

https://www.diy.com/departments/b-q-white-10a-in-line-wire-connector/753979_BQ.prd

 

Robert

 

 

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Looks like this post is in the wrong section!

 

An excellent robust and cheap 4-way connector is the Neutrik Speakon connector. It is designed for industrial speaker connections so is roady-proof, and good enough for 40 Amps so you can put nice fat 2.5mm2 4-core flexible speaker wire in the plugs.

 

https://www.rapidonline.com/neutrik-nl4mp-speakon-l-speaker-socket-20-0860

https://www.rapidonline.com/neutrik-speakon-nl4fx-loudspeaker-plug-20-0856

https://www.rapidonline.com/evolution-xpc-prof-425-speaker-cable-black-20m-02-0640

 

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43 minutes ago, Robert Stokes said:

It depends on how many wires you want to connect. For two wires you could use the ones that you can buy to put in the middle of mains wires for such things as a cut lawnmower cable. They may not be made for repeated plugging and unplugging but they look very robust.

 

 

Sorry, that's a bad and dangerous idea.   Using any plug which is designed and regularly used for mains voltages as a low voltage connection risks someone plugging the wrong pair together, and there is 240v mains at the rails. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Nigelcliffe said:

 

Sorry, that's a bad and dangerous idea.   Using any plug which is designed and regularly used for mains voltages as a low voltage connection risks someone plugging the wrong pair together, and there is 240v mains at the rails. 

 

 

Or DCC to your lawnmower!

 

note, Nigel’s point is extremely valid

Edited by Talltim
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Posted (edited)

I use aviation / bulkhead type connectors that plug and lock together on my sectional exhibition layout. Come with many wire options and have proved to be completely reliable so far. Bit of a fiddle to wire the 9 pin versions. 

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/GX20-19mm-Aviation-Plug-Socket-Circular-Multipole-Connector-Bulkhead-2-12pin/153523122701?var=453510603238&hash=item23beb0f20d:m:mUdMSfUs_E-kNYQCWuFPXSQ

Edited by JimFin
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cheekychops said:

I have used computer type connectors (MAPLIN) and found them ineffective for frequent assembly/disassembly.

 

Not sure exactly what you mean by 'computer type connectors', but if you mean the sort that are intended to connect things internally (e.g. the power for an internal hard drive, DVD writer, etc.) many of these types are not intended for frequent connection and disconnection and are only rated for reliability for a limited number of connection cycles - e.g. 30 cycles for many Molex connectors. XLRs, as mentioned by Nigel can be rated into the 1000s of cycles.

 

Edited by sharris

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1 hour ago, Nigelcliffe said:

 

Sorry, that's a bad and dangerous idea.   Using any plug which is designed and regularly used for mains voltages as a low voltage connection risks someone plugging the wrong pair together, and there is 240v mains at the rails. 

 

 

 

Yes, I suppose that you are right. I think it extremely unlikely that anyone would come to an exhibition with mains equipment having that sort of connector but I suppose that you have to guard against even that remote possibility.

 

Robert

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There are some cheap tow bar plugs and sockets, the plastic versions. 7 or 13 pin, obviously robust and meant to be plugged/unplugged frequently. They start at about £3.00 each . The other advantage is any you buy, now or in the future will fit, long term standard.

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11 minutes ago, Right Away said:


No No

It is very bad practice to use mains type connectors in low voltage DD or DCC applications .

 

I would like others recommend XLR plugs and sockets, I believe available in a number of options 3/4/5 connections plus panel mounted and inline variations.

 

I have used them on various layouts Oil Drum Lane, Chebstone and the club layout Whiteacres all of which have done many exhibitions.

 

I agree with a previous posting a bit like DIN plugs on steroids First Class option.

 

Terry 

 

 

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You want to take a look at a radio control gear.

 

XT60 connectors are good for 60 amps, and used to connect batter to car, so built for frequent unplugging.

 

For easier handling you may want XT90's they are physically bigger, and as the name suggests, handle more power too, far more than we will ever use in model railways.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/slp/xt60-connectors/n6z46ton7doh3bb

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Robert Stokes said:

 

Yes, I suppose that you are right. I think it extremely unlikely that anyone would come to an exhibition with mains equipment having that sort of connector but I suppose that you have to guard against even that remote possibility.

 

Robert

 

You also have to consider your successors coming to your model, plugging it together to check it works and killing themselves with mains at the track. 

Connectors intended as mains plugs/sockets should never be used for low voltage circuits, too many opportunities for errors, regardless of how careful and "only used my me, in my shed" one might be. 

 

 

I see "Right Away" is also trying to kill people with more mains connectors for low voltage circuits.  And do it expensively !    I paid about £2 per XLR when I bought a batch for Burntisland's lighting rig, from a reputable source: Farnell.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nigelcliffe
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IT's been said but repeated again: do not use anything that could be plugged into the mains.

Neutrik SpeakOn plugs have been mentioned - an excellent choice or you may prefer the near identical ones here

https://tinyurl.com/ydqxnxlq

From China and an obvoius copy,  but at a fraction of the price.

These are 4pole and there are matching sockets to go with them. Cables go into screw terminals on the plug (all the pins are safely shrouded). The sockets are panel mount and solderable or 4.8mm push on connections. OPeration: push in and twist 1/8th turn.

These are designed for festival type sound systems  and robust.

 

steve W

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I use 1/4" mono  jack plugs and sockets. If you need four connections across a board join and worry that the wrong plug might go into the wrong socket then put one socket and one plug on each board. They're splendidly chunky and robust.

 

2111321342_plugandsocket1.jpg.46c8383175fde8791ff54413da05bd73.jpg

 

If you needed six cross board feeds then I suppose that stereo plugs and sockets could be used though I've not had to do this myself.

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Another user of audio connectors, for me though phono plugs/sockets for the power bus on my last couple of layouts.  Maybe not massively robust, but cheap and cheerful and had no issues with reliability.

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Posted (edited)

Automotive connectors are what I use.

 

051303_1_large.jpg

 

They come in various sizes from 2 way to 15 way and are rated up to 10A.

 

Link to product: https://www.autoelectricsupplies.co.uk/product/39

 

They clip together easily and securely.

 

You can see them in use on Mauch Chunk where we used 12 way connectors for all inter board connections.

 

49347112882_1732df1fa9_b.jpg

Edited by Gavin Liddiard
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Or someone comes along with an extension lead.

 

NEVER use mains connectors for low voltage.

 

Stewart

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2 hours ago, Neil said:

I use 1/4" mono  jack plugs and sockets. If you need four connections across a board join and worry that the wrong plug might go into the wrong socket then put one socket and one plug on each board. They're splendidly chunky and robust.

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/uploads/monthly_2020_01/2111321342_plugandsocket1.jpg.46c8383175fde8791ff54413da05bd73.jpg

 

If you needed six cross board feeds then I suppose that stereo plugs and sockets could be used though I've not had to do this myself.

 

I'd be wary of using audio jacks for power applications (particularly multi-pole) as they can be prone to momentarily shorting and misalignment of connections during insertion and withdrawal.

 

 

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Guest MM1991
7 minutes ago, stewartingram said:

Or someone comes along with an extension lead.

 

NEVER use mains connectors for low voltage.

 

Stewart

If someone is plugging in an extension lead then they should be looking at what they are connecting to

 

I've personally never seen an extension lead with that connection on it

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Provided you are happy with using a soldering iron I would recommend the use of Sub-miniature D type connectors. I have used them to carry the power across the baseboard joints on my layout for over twenty years without any problems at all. Once assembled they are robust and depending on the manufacturer they are rated at 5 Amps or higher.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-subminiature

Geoff

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20 minutes ago, MM1991 said:

If someone is plugging in an extension lead then they should be looking at what they are connecting to

 

I've personally never seen an extension lead with that connection on it


my grandfather had two, homemade to help the lawnmower reach the bottom of the garden...

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