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Author Topic: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!  (Read 374 times)

Offline whb64

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Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« on: May 07, 2017, 12:18:09 pm »
I see a lot of people use a dremel tool to dig out a trench so they can run a wire.  Even as small as magnet wire is you will still need to putty and sand the trench you just made and if you're like me, it's never going to look perfect like before the trench was ground out.

Instead use electrically conductive tape.  You can get copper tape used for guitars OR if you don't want to spend money on shipping you can use metal foil tape that you can get at any Lowes or Home Depot.

Run the tape inside the parts that don't have room for a wire.  It is thin enough that even pieces that fit flat together can usually still go together with no issues.  For something like the Enterprise D nacelles where the support pylons are one piece and there is no way to get inside, you can just run the tape on the outside.  Use a tool to get the tape down in the details on the model (I use a wood skewer) and on the ends leave some sticking out and fold it over on itself.  Then make a small hole in the tape to solder your wire to.  You can prime the tape (self etching primer is recommended) and not lose the electrical property of the metal tape that is under the primer and paint.

Don't forget you will need to run two lines (busses) one for ground and one for your positive voltage.  This should make people's lives a lot easier when it comes to running wires to places that normally don't have enough room for conventional wires.

I may be new to building lighted models, but I was trained in electronics and engineering :)

Offline jazzydog

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 01:55:16 pm »
Great tip! Thanks!

Offline Plaztek

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 02:52:24 pm »
That's awesome. Great idea thanks.
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Offline starsiegeplayer

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2017, 12:10:13 am »
That's an interesting idea. 

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 07:29:04 pm »
Idea noted: I just picked up the latest repop of the Enterprise D kit in clear, as it turns out. So I added the copper tape to my Amazon list for later purchase. Odds are pretty good I'll wind up picking up enough to do several models. If it works out, I'd probably even use it instead of magnet wire in tight spaces.

Offline whb64

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2017, 08:59:05 pm »
Idea noted: I just picked up the latest repop of the Enterprise D kit in clear, as it turns out. So I added the copper tape to my Amazon list for later purchase. Odds are pretty good I'll wind up picking up enough to do several models. If it works out, I'd probably even use it instead of magnet wire in tight spaces.
I know the copper tape is conductive on both the top and bottom, the foil tape should be too but I'll check to make sure.

There is a company that sells a copper tape 'trench cover' specifically for the Enterprise D.  They show it being used to cover the trench routed out on the gull wings, but also state it can be used for power too, so this definitely works.  I'm using it on my Reliant build for the roll bar. 

Remember to leave enough on the ends to double it back on itself (sticky side of course) and make the tab ling enough so when you solder the wire in the hole you make in the tab that you don't get heat transfer to the plastic area.  If your iron is preheated it should be a quick solder task and not an issue, just an FYI to be careful.   If you are using it for buss lines, take extra precaution to ensure no bare wires are exposed near the busses so nothing will short out.

I haven't tried this next one yet but I see no reason why it won't work-  Another way to solder the wires to the ends is to measure the length of tape you need and then peel back just enough on the ends to fold and make your tabs and then poke your wire holes and solder before taping it to the kit. 

Offline jazzydog

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 06:00:21 pm »
Don's Light and Magic makes conductors for the D. I emailed him about a week ago and he said he will be taking orders thru 2017!

Offline whb64

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 08:06:26 pm »
Don's Light and Magic makes conductors for the D. I emailed him about a week ago and he said he will be taking orders thru 2017!
I knew someone had it for the D just couldn't remember who.

This is the same concept only more 'universal'.

Offline Gadgetron_3000

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 01:47:07 pm »
Back in late-2013, Modelman Tom experimented with using thin and conductive copper tape with his clear Enterprise-D.  This way he didn't have to trench out the plastic either.

He revealed his "secret sauce" in this YouTube video: https://youtu.be/k-leYOAcI6M

Check out all the videos he posted with that kit he built.  Pretty interesting.

:)
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Offline scottminium

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Re: Wiring Tip- Don't dig trenches!
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2017, 07:08:28 pm »
any pics of your experience with this technique?  I need a solution for my 2500 D in progess now.  Thanks!
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