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Introduction to Model Railroad Wiring and Electronics

Xuron® Model 450 TweezerNose™ Pliers

Xuron® model railroad wiring tools are designed for the hobbyist, whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out.

From wire stripper to desoldering tool, pliers, flush cutters and track cutters, Xuron Corp. offers what you need to make your layout look great and be fully functional.

Tools and Skills Required for Model Railroad Wiring

Tom’s Corner: Tips, techniques and commentary from Master Model Railroader Tom Piccirillo

Tom Piccirillo Author and Master Model RailroaderIn recent years, the most-exciting model railroad innovation has been in the field of electronic control. Micro-size components allow the installation of incredibly sophisticated circuits inside small-scale locomotives. These circuits not only allow individual control of trains on the same track, but also provide realistic sounds that emanate right from the locomotive itself. The resulting realism creates a whole new dimension to model railroading.

Installation and/or maintenance of these micro-circuits still falls to the model railroader, and he finds himself having to deal with micro-size wiring and component replacement when something needs repair or replacement.

Full-size tools for house wiring are simply too bulky for use on models, but Xuron Corp. manufactures small precision hand tools to help with model railroad wiring and layout tasks.

Cutting & Stripping Model Railroad Wire

Wires need to be cut to length and stripped of insulation at the connection point. To avoid nicking the wire strands, precise control of the cutter opening is required. Only a precision tool will do the job correctly, and Xuron Corp. has just the right one for the job . . . the model 501 Adjustable Wire Stripper/Cutter.

V-shaped, razor-sharp cutting edges are controlled by a thumbwheel and take the guesswork out of setting the right size for the wire being stripped.

This is a toolbox staple for all hobbyists. It quickly and easily strips and cuts wire sizes 10-26 AWG (2.56 mm – .405 mm) and includes a full bypass cutter for added versatility.

Precision Pliers

Model railroad wiring is a delicate and precise process that requires careful attention to the smallest of details. It’s also an ideal match for precision instruments like Xuron 450 (smooth jaws) and 450S (serrated) TweezerNose™ Pliers. The extra-fine tips of these pliers grab component leads without disturbing adjacent components and reach into tight locations, making placement easier than ever before.

Model railroad wiring components are easily placed with the Xuron® Model 450 TweezeNose™ Pliers.
Xuron® Model 450 TweezeNose™ Pliers being used for component placement on an electronic printed circuit board

Flush Cutter

Component leads protrude from the solder-side of the printed circuit board and usually need to be trimmed after soldering. The Xuron #410 Micro Shear® Flush Cutter does the job quickly and easily.

This all-purpose cutter is rated for soft wire up to 18 AWG (1 mm), and is a perfect choice for cutting electronics wire.

Xuron® Model 410 Micro-Shear® Flush Cutter in use.
Xuron® Model 410 Micro-Shear® Flush Cutter trimming printed circuit board component lead wire

Wiring a Model Railroad Includes Desoldering

Removing electronic components from printed circuit boards requires “desoldering” component leads. This is best accomplished by soaking up melted solder with a copper braid designed specifically for this task. With the Xuron® Desoldering Braid Dispenser, you simply dial-out the length of braid you need and place it in contact with the solder surrounding the lead to be removed. Heat with your soldering iron, and the braid will soak up the solder so you can remove the lead from the board. No more burned fingers!

Xuron® WickGun™ Desoldering Braid Dispenser removing solder from a printed circuit board.
Removing solder from a printed circuit board with the Xuron® WickGun™ Desoldering Braid Dispenser

Model railroad wiring and electronics do not have to be complicated or difficult as long as you have the correct tools and some helpful direction.

Xuron Corporation has a wide variety of model railroad tools to help you make your layout look great and be fully functional. Download our hobby/craft product brochure to see our full selection. Xuron® tools can be found at your local hobby shop or online through your favorite hobby retailer.

Giveaway Time for One Lucky Model Railroader’s Tool Box Subscriber!

Periodically we offer a tool or set of tools to a subscriber randomly drawn from our mailing list. Our next giveaway will be a custom tool set that includes two of the tools detailed in this post, plus our track cutter:

🔵 Model 501 Adjustable Wire Stripper and Cutter

🔵 Model 450S Serrated TweezerNose™ Pliers

🔵 Model 2175B Track Cutter

🔵 Bonus: All three tools come wrapped in a protective canvas pouch to keep them safe and organized.

If you’re already a subscriber, the only requirement is that you open and read our emails … that’s it! Entry is automatic for active subscribers.

If you’re not yet subscribed, please use the form below. Anyone who subscribes (and confirms) by midnight, January 14, 2022 will also be automatically entered.

We’ll draw the winner’s name on January 17, 2022. If your name is selected as the winner, we’ll send you a personal email after the drawing date to let you know you’ve won. You will need to respond within 48 hours to claim your prize, or your prize will be forfeited and a new winner’s name drawn.

Xuron® Model Railroad Custom Kit Giveaway

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Tom Piccirillo

Tom Piccirillo started building scale models at age 12 after discovering a copy of the April 1964 issue of Model Railroader magazine for sale at a local corner store. After receiving his degree in mechanical engineering in 1974, he pursued a management career in well-known industries, such as Burroughs Corporation and Ohaus Scale, and holds patents on electronic connectors. His most-recent tenure was president of Micro-Mark where, for 24 years, he developed and marketed ingenious tools for builders of scale models. Tom is a prolific author and has written many how-to articles for the hobby press, including Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman, The NG&SL Gazette, Fine Scale Modeler, Dollhouse Miniatures, and Great Model Railroads. In 2009, Tom earned his Master Model Railroader certification, and has been awarded the Paul Mallery Trophy for model building excellence. Currently a member of the Hobby Manufacturers Association, Tom consults for major USA and international producers of tool and hobby products, providing editorial and photographic services in addition to Marketing Analytics. He is perhaps best-known for the construction and operation of the O scale Somerset County Traction System, which he has described not only in magazines, but also on Public Television. Tom is also former-president of The New Jersey Live Steamers, where he operates his home-workshop-built 1/12th scale locomotives and cars. He is restoring an antique Mercedes-Benz automobile, and is an accomplished jazz rhythm guitarist.

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