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Loconet Wiring Upgrade
By Paul Anderson
This web page was last updated on March 1st, 2012
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This is the underside of York River and you can see that the LocoNet wiring does not take a direct route through the module. There is 65” of wire before the LocoNet terminates in the next module.

The object of this project is to shorten the LocoNet’s path through the module to cut down on the resistance in the wiring, replace the male connector with a female socket to decrease the number of connectors in a Setup and conform to the new proposed Standards for LocoNet wiring.


This is the right hand end of the module when facing the front and shows the original wiring.


This is a RJ12 Modular Surface Mount Box with the cover removed to show terminals.


Remove and retain the screws and straighten out the wire.


Cut off the terminal lugs and discard.


 

Strip about ” of insulation from the ends of the wires.

Start with a piece of LocoNet wire more than long enough to make a continuous run through the module. Slit about 3/8” of the end of the outer casing on each edge.


Grasp the flap of outer casing on each side (no wires) and pull. The outer casing will peel apart to reveal the wires I pulled back about 2”.

 

Trim off the flaps of outer casing.


Strip about ” of insulation of the end of the LocoNet wire.

Start with one side of the cable and twist and solder each wire pair together. Do the connections in order and untangle any of the wires so they do not cross each other. This will make for a neater connection. It helps to clamp the LocoNet cable so it does not pull as you work.

In my situation I had only one cable to splice to the connector since the through cable was connected to the original module wiring at the other end of it.


In most cases you will be splicing the original LocoNet cable (in the module) and the new through cable with the connector. In that case you will have 3 wires to twist together and solder. If you are splicing together 2 LocoNet cables with the connector, start by aligning the ends of the wires and then tape the two cables together. Make sure the order of the colours match between the cables. 



All wires now twisted together and soldered.


Apply Heatshrink tubing to the connections. It is best to use the smallest tubing that will fit over your connection before shrinking. I use a hot air gun (paint stripper) to shrink the tubing. You may also use a barbeque lighter but be careful of how much heat you give them as it is easy to burn the shrink tubing. A soldering iron will also work using the barrel not the tip and gently stroking the tubing.


 To make a strain relief I cut a piece of 0.060” styrene to fit over the width of the socket and drilled 2 holes in it and used the original screws to secure it


I folded the wires over the bar and tied them down.


In this second version I drilled 2 extra holes and used them to secure the cable. This is much simpler than my original.

Original Wiring

 

 Original LocoNet cable removed, foam excavated to accommodate socket and socket mounted. Remember to leave some slack in the cable at the box.


Remember to excavate enough foam so the cover will go on.


 You can see the new LocoNet cable running below the track power wiring. This being a corner module the next module is permanently attached so the wiring passes through a hole into the next module. This modification to the wiring reduced the length of signal path through the module from 65” to 44”. The third module in this corner set has a reduction from 72” to 34” for a total of 59” or almost 5’ of signal path.


This is Glen Tay with a very similar modification. The reduction in signal path is greater because there are LocoNet connectors on both the front and back of the module. The reduction is from 77” to 44”.

The slots in the foam that the LocoNet wires are pressed into are made by my Hot Wire Cutter. The wire is a snug fit in the slot and is an ideal way to keep it under control and out of the way.