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  #1  
Old 03-03-2008, 06:16 PM
zippydog zippydog is offline
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Default DIY Power Taps for Carrera Track?

OK guys,

I'm about to finally expand my Carrera Digital 132 setup and am wondering about power taps to ensure consistent power over the whole course. I get the concept of power taps, but if you've used Carrera track before, how have you done DIY taps in your setup to ensure a solid connection with the smallest possible wires?

I'll drop in a picture of Carrera track to help keep the conversation focused....

thanks in advance for your tips/suggestions!


-Paul
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File Type: jpg close shot track 2.JPG (23.3 KB, 228 views)
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2008, 06:34 PM
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I bit the bullet and bought Carrera jumper cables, cut them in half. I inserted the "stock" end into the track for connection and then wired them into my terminal blocks.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2008, 08:23 PM
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S Sawtelle S Sawtelle is offline
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Default Carrera Power Taps

Bamarambler's suggestion is probably the easiest way to fabricate power taps for Carrera track. If you don't want to purchase the Carrera jumper cables (or just like a challenge...), you can easily fashion your own taps with some 14 or 16 gauge stranded copper wire. You'll need four (4) pieces of wire for each power tap (track section).

Step 0 - Cut the wires to whatever length you require. In general, the longer the wires, the more difficult they will be to work with when installing the taps. If you haven't already done so, install your terminal blocks (or other connection points) to the underside of your table so you can determine how long the power tap wires need to be.

Step 1 - Crimp/solder whatever electrical terminals you plan to use for wiring connections to one end of each wire (you can do this after attaching the wires to the track section; however, it's generally easier if you do it beforehand).

Step 2 - Next, strip off about 2" of insulation from the other end of each wire and "stuff" (technical term...) the bare wire up inside the hollow rails. You might want bend and/or fray the bare wire a little bit to ensure if makes good contact with the inside of the rail channel.

Step 3 - To secure the wires in place, you have a couple of choices - the "hard" way or the "easy" way. The "hard" way is to solder the wire in place. Since Carrera's track rails are a stainless steel alloy, you'll need special flux to do this right. Unless you're a glutton for punishment, consider the "easy" way instead. The "easy" way is much more low tech - simply use some hot glue (don't be stingy...) to secure each wire in place. If hot glue is too high tech for you, duct tape can be used instead.



Steve
Team Super Tires (R)
www.slotcarcorner.com

Last edited by S Sawtelle; 03-03-2008 at 08:32 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2008, 05:10 AM
zippydog zippydog is offline
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PERFECT!

Thank you Steve -realy appreciate the detail!

-Paul
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  #5  
Old 03-18-2008, 07:06 PM
zippydog zippydog is offline
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Done!

Really easy.

I got some 4x16 ga. wire from Home Depot that worked just perfectly. I'm using Carrera track and the wire fit neatly into the holes on the sides of the track for a very clean install. Duct tape worked very nicely.

As a result, I have pleanty of juice on the whole track.
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  #6  
Old 03-18-2008, 08:18 PM
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One of the German Carrera fan sites recommends using brass paper fasteners soldered to wire for contacts. I will take pictures and post here, as I am going to try to reproduce this method at my house!
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2008, 11:19 AM
GregP GregP is offline
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"I got some 4x16 ga. wire from Home Depot that worked just perfectly. I'm using Carrera track and the wire fit neatly into the holes on the sides of the track for a very clean install. Duct tape worked very nicely."
Zippydog,
Did you make the connection/fasten direct to the rails with duct tape? Is there a noticable improvement in the power distribution? I'm getting ready to try some power taps on my carrera track also.
Greg
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2008, 02:28 PM
zippydog zippydog is offline
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Greg,
Yes, I stripped about 3" of wire, frayed them and stuffed them into the rails.
Then, secured with duct tape.
I also used duct tape to hold the bundled wire in place as it came into the track (through the side hole).

I can't speak to a noticeable difference, because I did this as I was setting up a new track which combined two Carrera sets (Hot Pursuit and Formula Racing + a few curves).

I have no "before" reference for the new setup, but I can say I sure don't see any issues with power anywhere on the track.
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2008, 04:18 PM
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For the lazy amoung us with $ to spend Professor Motor makes some great Carrera power tap tracks. The very long wires appear to be attached by using a tight fitting connector which jams into the railing- no solder. They also use hot glue for strain relief. On my 98' even one additional tap makes a hugh difference in keeping power levels consistant. I have 5 tap sections.
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2008, 09:51 AM
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Is 20 feet a fair average for distance between power taps? For now, I am still running double wall warts to power my track.
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2008, 11:17 AM
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I'd count joints. The metal rail material itself is pretty low resistance compared to a home car motor. If you're doing it cheap and easy (plain wire and tape/glue into the rails at both ends), I'd space them about every 10--15 joints.

If you have a more secure and elaborate method, like terminal blocks, every 15--25 joints probably is okay.

Last edited by thatguy01; 11-11-2008 at 11:24 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2010, 07:48 AM
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I'm planning to get some 14 or 16-ga wire and make my own taps for my Digital 132 track. From this thread, I understand how to insert the taps under the track pieces at a few points around the track. But where do I connect the end at the BB? Do I just insert it into the track piece that has the BB on it? Or do I have to remove the underside cover of the BB and wire it under the BB somehow?

Also, if I am going to put multiple taps on my track, do I run them all back to the BB section?

Thanks.
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  #13  
Old 04-02-2010, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrumPhil View Post
I'm planning to get some 14 or 16-ga wire and make my own taps for my Digital 132 track. From this thread, I understand how to insert the taps under the track pieces at a few points around the track. But where do I connect the end at the BB? Do I just insert it into the track piece that has the BB on it? Or do I have to remove the underside cover of the BB and wire it under the BB somehow?

Also, if I am going to put multiple taps on my track, do I run them all back to the BB section?

Thanks.
Take your pick, really, on both questions.

You can open the BB if you choose to, but you can slip the taps into the rails without taking the bottom cover off the BB.

You don't need to run them all back to the BB, but you can, and splice into the original tap. I daisy chain mine. The first one comes from the BB to a piece of track- the next goes directly from there to the next piece of track, etc. The goal is to get the juice around any joints in the track.
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2010, 09:05 AM
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i went with 18g wire on my track, i did 6 power taps and the thing flies!

i just bent the little metal prong out on a given piece turns, straights its all the same. put some of the wire in underneath it and bent it back into possition. didnt need hot glue or anything just some tape to make the wires run smoothly under the track. i did ever 5 feet or so, but next time i plan on wiring ever single piece of track daisied up just like mentioned right above me by b.yingling
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  #15  
Old 04-02-2010, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sotvotkong View Post
i went with 18g wire on my track, i did 6 power taps and the thing flies!

i just bent the little metal prong out on a given piece turns, straights its all the same. put some of the wire in underneath it and bent it back into possition. didnt need hot glue or anything just some tape to make the wires run smoothly under the track. i did ever 5 feet or so, but next time i plan on wiring ever single piece of track daisied up just like mentioned right above me by b.yingling
wont make a big differance on your track since you copper topped itwill it?
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