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Jennifer S.

Back into the hobby after 20 years electrifying HELP

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I started my first electrified dollhouse over 20 years ago. I stopped, because the wiring just got too difficult. I used a CirKit wiring system. I did manage to wire the house, but getting the lights in and wallpapering it properly to work got to be too much. Now 20 years later, I want to get back into the hobby and try doing it again. I’ve read a lot and realized how many mistakes I’ve made. I want to solder the joints, but the Mylar is still on the tape. How do I remove it  to solder the joints now that it’s on the walls and has brads already in place? I will also have to rip out some wallpaper to fix the outside entry lamp on the inside. Any suggestions? I want to do it right this time.

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Just peel the Mylar back. I’ve used my xacto blade to peel and cut it away.

 

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Welcome Jennifer S.

I have a love hate relationship with dollhouse electrical.

If you quickly swipe the Mylar with the soldering iron, it will melt off of the copper.

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3 minutes ago, Mid-life madness said:

If you quickly swipe the Mylar with the soldering iron, it will melt off of the copper.

But then don't you have melted Mylar on the tip of your soldering iron? In addition to inhaling the fumes from melting Mylar?  I think using Sable's suggestion to tease the plastic away from the copper with the tip of an Exacto knife is a much safer method. 

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1 hour ago, KathieB said:

But then don't you have melted Mylar on the tip of your soldering iron? In addition to inhaling the fumes from melting Mylar?  I think using Sable's suggestion to tease the plastic away from the copper with the tip of an Exacto knife is a much safer method. 

That is what Carl from https://cr2s.com/  taught us? Just clean the tip with the tip clean sponge then put a little solder on the tip.

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The fumes of melting mylar are toxic, Carrie.  I would also use Sable's method.

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Thank you all for your suggestions. If I peal off the Mylar, won’t it pull out the brads with it around the joints? If so, do I need to place new ones in exactly the same place? I have so many more questions. Not sure if I should use this thread or not. Any suggestions on removing wallpaper to get at old connections? 

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Hi Jennifer,

This is the perfect place to ask questions. It is your thread.....so keep them coming and I'm sure everyone will chime in with their suggestions.

 

If you accidentally pull out the brads, you can use eyelets instead. In fact, eyelets are much better to use for connection vs. the brads, and they have a better surface area to conduct through.....Most miniaturists tell you not to use the brads at all. Eyelets are the way to go. I don't know why  CirKit still sells them. Normally I put scotch tape over my connections.

Are you going to re-wallpaper any way? I hate to say this, but I would probably start over with the tape wire.  Give us some more details.

I wallpaper onto card stock templates. That way the paper isn't sticking directly onto the tape wire. I have had to go in and fix a faulty connection and it made it easier to fix the wallpaper later on.

I also avoid the connections by mitering the tape wire to fold back on itselfrsz_img_2055.thumb.jpg.1d7cfc7df0d9c61aeedf541df21b4d91.jpg

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I’m glad I found the right place. Thank you for helping me. When I started, I tried the eyelets, but for some reason I had a really hard time getting them into the copper and wood, so brads were easier. I ended up finishing the whole first floor with wallpaper and all. I had a terrible time with the sconces and chandelier with the plug-like connection made by CirKit, but eventually they worked with the help of Clairebell brass, although, in time they started to lose the connection. Anyway, only the first floor and part of the second are complete. Then, I later wire taped the entire house. I tried to use the fold method as best I could, but often it needed connections with brads. It’s a big Victorian house with 3 stories made be Real Good Toys. 

I was thinking if I soldered the brads to the copper, then the connection would be more stable. I can try the eyelets, but I remember having a hard time with them. Since 20 years ago, I now know how to solder.

I haven’t started on the house yet. It’s still in the basement, but I’m hoping to bring it up within the next week or so. Then, I can see what state it’s in. The front porch light is hanging down and will need to be reattached from the inside. That’s where I’ll need to peel back the wallpaper and remove the molding. I’ll also have to redo the chandelier, because the wires got ripped out. I attached it from the ceiling to second floor, but the connection was faulty. If the sconces don’t work, I’ll have to redo the whole thing. Probably the junction splice will need to be reattached. I’d hate to have to redo the whole thing. I’ve been reading about what you suggested with using card stock to put the wallpaper on. I’ll do that moving forward. Maybe you’re right, though, that it will need to be redone.

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MDF dollhouses are notoriously difficult to electrify with tape wire. You may want to use the round wire system :eekout:(Sorry). There is a tool that helps with the eyelet insertion, but I haven't used it on MDF.  I also have had rotten luck with Clare Bell, but that could just be me! It won't hurt to put solder on the brads. I am not trying to discourage you, just sharing some of my experiences.

Bam Bam

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I've done my share of saying "magic words" while doing wiring.  :crazyeyes:   I have learned quite a bit and even am getting better at soldering!  Yay!

You may discover that after so long some of your brad connections have corroded and may need replaced.  And you may even want to start over in some spots...I know I've done that often when renovating houses for clients.  Removing old wallpaper may be done with a sponge and warm water- some folks add a touch of fabric softener.

Doing the folded corners as best you can is a big help - the less connections to cause problems, the better!

While MDF may be a bugger at times, using eyelets (and the insertion tool!) is the way to go.

Connecting fixtures to the tape wire is best using eyelets as well - even better is soldering!  With a craft knife, carefully slice through the clear covering, being careful not to cut the tapewire. Cut down a small length to allow enough space for your wire attachment.  Peel back the flap - I hold it back with a smidge of painters tape.  Solder your fixture wire and then release the plastic flap back over your wire join.  I then use packing tape or scotch tape over the join.  

As far as sconces.....I fought with-and ruined-far too many fixtures trying to use those plug-in adapters.  While they are ok for certain situations, my experience has been that they do not hold a good connection for very long.  It is far better to plan your wiring lay-out so that the sconce wires can be put through a hole in the wall and then soldered onto a tape wire run on the other side of the wall.   This may require a channel to be cut out of that side of the wall in order to hide the wires.

ok- those are my suggestions for now.  :)  

Good luck!

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Thank you so much! All wonderful advice. I found my old electrifying kit. Looks like I don’t have much tape wire left, so I’ll need to buy some more and possibly a whole new kit, if I go that route. I’d like to do so, if at all possible, because I know how to do it. I don’t know much about round wire. I discovered I have a special tool for inserting eyelets. It has a wood handle and is called the EZ Punch and says it’s for MDF boards. 

Do either of you know where to get good wallpaper online? I have the sheets with numbers on them to reorder it, unless they aren’t made any more.

Thank you again for the support.

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miniatures.com is a good source.....but there are TONS of online mini shops to buy from.  I always like to support the ones in my state, or at least the closest to me. :ohyeah:

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Thank you! I never heard of wallpapering a ceiling until reading some articles today. Why is that needed, especially if you already painted them?

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You might want to wallpaper a ceiling for a texture or a faux "painted" effect or if the wood surface is too rough for paint to smooth out or ... the house tells you to do it! :D 

 And you want to paint/seal the ceiling before wallpapering or the natural acids in the wood will eventually leach through and turn the paper brown.

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