Initially I was going to wire the underside of my layout with quick clip solderless connectors, like you’d use in automotive applications, because I didn’t want to be cutting and joining wires for hours at a time and dealing with those associated problems.
I was going to use these T-Tap connectors (or probably more accurately these Scotch Locks ) to tap into the bus wire, I got a few, but couldn’t get them to clip reliably – maybe the thickness difference between my bus and feeders was a factor? Anyway I wasn’t happy and thought there must be a better way.
I spent some time at my local Jaycar Electronics, looking around and chatting with the guys and come across This Automatic Wire Stripper [Amazon Link] and it turned out to be an absolute lifesaver.
This truly is an easy-to-use inline wire stripper. It auto adjusts to the thickness of the wire too. The jaws clamp on and removes the insulation from wires instantly. Not just from the ends of wires, but it can open up perfect solderable sized gaps right in the middle of long lengths or wire.
When I saw this tool in action at the store I had to have it, all I could think was the time I’d save, and the cleanness of the job. The jaws split open the plastic insulation but the internal copper wire remains untouched so there is no loss of electrical integrity.
I’ve got heavyish gauge BUS wire under the layout and lighter gauge track feeders… a lot of feeders. With this tool I managed to join up my feeders and keep the BUS intact for as long as possible to reduce the possibility of electrical inconsistencies (very important for some DCC Systems).
I can’t praise it enough, I’d still be under there cutting and soldering if I didn’t buy it for this job!
Check it out on Amazon – Inline Wire Stripper
And here;s a link to the Scotch locks, they might get you out of a bind – or help join a wire in an unsolderable location!
So this automatic inline wire stripper can do a bunch of stuff:
Unique automatically adjusting jaws firmly grab wire and cable from 10-26AWG
Instantly removes insulation-clean and perfect every time.
Includes wire cutter for 10-22AWG wire
Besides stripping wires insulation, it can also crimp 10-22 AWG insulated terminals, crimp 4-22 AWG non-insulated terminals and crimp 4-8 mm ignition terminals.
Pretty much it seems like a durable wire cutter that can last for years of hard work, and this is only a cheap one! (although mine was a bit more, because of the “Australia Tax” haha). But I’m still pretty darn happy with it! and I hope you will be too!
Here’s a how-to video of a similar model by Sparky Direct