2019-05.3: Helpful DCC tools for your toolbox

19 May 2019

Average: 4.4 (15 votes)
35:56 - May 2019 Act III - Helpful DCC tools (2019)

Alex "The Crazy Russian" Kolesnikov says "You got the tools to do the right job". But we think he means "Use the right tool for the job." Let's find out.

Act IV: Pelle Soeborg's Daneburg Subdivision ...

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AK, Thank You for sharing.  Your video and podcast efforts to help bridge the gap between the manufacturers' technical manuals, and us DCC newbies is Very much appreciated.  This video provided an EXCELLENT insight into the tools used by a professional DCC installer.  I have some of them, but I too will be purchasing some tools presented during the video; specically an anti-static mat and gloves.

I would like to confirm your advice against using Acid flux for electronics.   Plumbers use acid flux to "sweat" copper pipe together.  it works great for plumbing, but you are correct to advise folks to NOT use it for electronics.  The acid will eventually corrode the electrical connection, which is why Rosin flux is use for electronics.

In my youth I installed a anti-theft system in my first new car.  Not knowing any better, I used acid flux for the solder connections.  10 years later, I began to experience intermittent false alarms.  Debugging the system was a nightmare, because all of the solder joints looked fine, but the internal contact between the wire and terminals was compromised.  The "solution" was to disable the alarm.  Eventually I cut-off the wires, cleaned the terminals, stripped-back the wire, and resoldered ALL of the connections.  ROOKIE ERROR!!

I have seen videos on Youtube demonstrating how well acid flux works for electronics.  (The saying, "Don't believe everything you see on the Internet", is true!)  It does a great job of cleaning the metal surfaces, the solder joint will look great, and the circuit will operate fine for years.  Imagine a decoder installed in a favorite locomitive that runs fine for years, but then starts to require troubleshooting.  One of the last things that wil be suspect is the solder joints, since it has been operational since it was installed.  Now imagine the wiring for an entire layout that develops mysterious problems after years of faithful operation.  :-O

Take care and God bless!