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  • Topic: How often do you clean?

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    • August 5, 2017 5:31 PM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      How often do you clean?

      How often do you clean your track? Do you clean every time you run? Or every so many runs? Or do you clean when you start having problems?

    • August 5, 2017 6:23 PM EDT

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      I would think you want to limit the responses to track power or battery power, rail type and similar environments.

      More information will give you quality responses.

      I'm guessing track power, but you seem to be frowning in your picture, so maybe you have battery ha ha!

      (just kidding, welcome to the forum!)

       

      Greg

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    • August 5, 2017 6:28 PM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      Sorry. DCC Track power.

    • August 5, 2017 6:59 PM EDT
      • Santa Ana, CA
         
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      Every time I run.

    • August 5, 2017 10:59 PM EDT

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      OK, what rail brand, material, types of joiners

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


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    • August 5, 2017 11:23 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      You'll have to forgive Greg.  He's an engineer, he cain't hep hissef.  

       

      When I ran track power, I found it necessary to clean some parts every time I ran.  Others, not under the trees, not as often.  Stainless steel track needs the least cleaning.  Nickle silver is next, followed by brass.  Aluminum needs the most cleaning,  which is why battery folks love it.  The rail head develops a "tooth," that allows the drivers to grab on, much like the 1:1 guys do with sand.  As you learn your layout, you will learn what needs the most cleaning, and what you can put off.  Curiously, stainless gives the least electrical conductivity of the metals listed above, but has the least corrosion, making it the superior choice.  Aluminum gives the best conduction, but is plagued with horrid corrosion.  I haven't noticed any problems with different metals being joined, though it is a possibility.

       

      Rail clamps (of any ilk) give the best mechanical and electric connection.  All other connectors are way down the chart, except for battery guys who don't care about electrical connection.  Personally,  I use Hillmans, because, even though I use onboard batteries, I still appreciate the mechanical connection

       

      Welcome to LSC.  Grab a chair and join us at the station.  Bart usually has coffee on, and the 10:27 will be here, soon, if she's on time (unlikely).

      This post was edited by Steve Featherkile at August 6, 2017 7:39 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • August 5, 2017 11:35 PM EDT
      • Cape Cod,
         
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      There is something about this year, my track has been filthy every time I run. I think the trees are dropping lots of goo. 

      The first run of the shift the wedge plow goes out to push aside any leaves, twigs, acorns, pine cones or the occasional ballast spreading by some critter that might be lurking and ready to derail the train. 

      I then treat spots as needed throughout the season but as I said this year has been messy and today I used my pole sander with scotch brite pad and a bucket of soapy water to scrub my near 600' of brass track. 

    • August 6, 2017 2:44 AM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      Steve Featherkile said:

      You'll have to forgive Greg.  He's an engineer, he cain't hep hissef.  

       

      When I ran track power, I found it necessary to clean some parts every time I ran.  Others, not under the trees, not as often.  Stainless steel track needs the least cleaning.  Nickle silver is next, followed by brass.  Aluminum needs the most cleaning,  which is why battery folks love it.  The rail head develops a "tooth," that allows the drivers to grab on, much like the 1:1 guys do with sand.  As you learn your layout, you will learn what needs the most cleaning, and what you can put off.  Curiously, stainless gives the least electrical conductivity of the metals listed above, but has the least corrosion, making it the superior choice.  Aluminum gives the best conduction, but is plagued with horrid corrosion.  I haven't noticed any problems with different metals being joined, though it is a possibility.

       

      Rail clamps (of any ilk) give the best mechanical and electric connection.  All other connectors are way down the chart, except for battery guys who don't care about electrical connection.  Personally,  I use Hillmans, because, even though I use onboard batteries, I still appreciate the mechanical connection

       

      Welcome to LSC.  Grab a chair and join us at the station.  Bart usually has coffee on, and the 10:27 will be here, soon, if she's on time (unlikely).

       

       

      Thanks!

    • August 6, 2017 7:44 AM EDT
      • Berkshire, Ma.
         
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      Steve Featherkile said:

      You'll have to forgive Greg.  He's an engineer, he cain't hep hissef.  

       

      When I ran track power, I found it necessary to clean some parts every time I ran.  Others, not under the trees, not as often.  Stainless steel track needs the least cleaning.  Nickle silver is next, followed by brass.  Aluminum needs the most cleaning,  which is why battery folks love it.  The rail head develops a "tooth," that allows the drivers to grab on, much like the 1:1 guys do with sand.  As you learn your layout, you will learn what needs the most cleaning, and what you can put off.  Curiously, stainless gives the least electrical conductivity of the metals listed above, but has the least corrosion, making it the superior choice.  Aluminum gives the best conduction, but is plagued with horrid corrosion.  I haven't noticed any problems with different metals being joined, though it is a possibility.

       

      Rail clamps (of any ilk) give the best mechanical and electric connection.  All other connectors are way down the chart, except for battery guys who don't care about electrical connection.  Personally,  I use Hillmans, because, even though I use onboard batteries, I still appreciate the mechanical connection

       

      Welcome to LSC.  Grab a chair and join us at the station.  Bart usually has coffee on, and the 10:27 will be here, soon, if she's on time (unlikely).

       

      Thank you Steve for a well thought out response. and welcome aboard Daniel.

      cheers Richard

    • August 6, 2017 8:16 AM EDT
      • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      Daniel Collins said:

      How often do you clean your track? Do you clean every time you run? Or every so many runs? Or do you clean when you start having problems?

      Yes.

       

      I use stainless steel track, and I run a damp rag on a pole sander over the track before each time I run trains. This is to get the grit and bird droppings off the track. Then when I notice issues, jerky operation, or my locomotives equipped with Sierra sound boards blowing the horn a lot, I will clean the track with the damp rag again. I will use the sanding screen when the damp rag doesn't do the trick. Your Mileage may vary.

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    • August 6, 2017 9:18 AM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      One other thing... Don't use abrasives of any kind to clean the track, with the exception of the fiberglass drywall sander.  The abrasives leave micro grooves in the railhead which then get filled with gunk, seriously degrading conductivity.

      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • August 6, 2017 1:00 PM EDT

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      So Daniel, my answers depend on the rail material and the other things I mentioned.

       

      If you have rail already, then it will depend on the climate you have and also to a degree if you have locos with skates or not.

       

      If you don't have rail already, get stainless, and I wipe my rails for dirt and bugs for 5 minutes before running if I have not run in a month. I use a swiffer, adn it really takes me 5 minutes.

       

      Big difference between rail material types.

       

      So do you have rail already, and if so, what type?

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • August 6, 2017 2:16 PM EDT
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Swiffer is a great idea. I hadn't thunk of that, before.

       

      Edited to correct Bill Gates mistake.  I hate autocorrect.

      This post was edited by Steve Featherkile at August 7, 2017 12:42 AM EDT
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • August 6, 2017 4:59 PM EDT

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      I am not personally familiar with your area, but at 4,500 feet, I would imagine oxidation would be minimal, but it also depends on your rainfall of 19 inches yearly and your humidity is not super dry.

      I'd go with stainless with any track power setup, but I see you already have some track.

       

      OK, with no more information I can give no more advice.

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • August 6, 2017 6:05 PM EDT
      • Peeples Valley, Arizona
         
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      My track is either Piko brass, or Aristocraft brass. And our 19 inches of rain shows up in July/August and December/January. The rest of the year is bone dry.

    • August 6, 2017 8:41 PM EDT
      • Scottsdale, Arizona
         
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      Daniel, if your cars have plastic wheels the plastic will leave deposits on the rails especially in the Arizona heat and you will have to clean the track more often.  So I have converted all of my rolling stock to metal wheels.  There is a post on this website about metal wheels.  It would be good to read.  I use the Bachmann 31 mm wheels.  They are inexpensive and have fit everything I own (over 50 cars).  

    • August 6, 2017 9:08 PM EDT

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      Very good advice.... how often to clean is probably broken down into 1. cleaning, and 2. removal of oxidation.

      With the thermal cycles, you should start out with rail clamps or solder jumpers.

      I'll point you to a page with a lot of information:

      https://elmassian.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=228&Itemid=262

      If you are not soldering jumpers, buy QUALITY rail clamps.

      That's 10 years of experience boiled down into a web page and a few sentences.

       

      Greg

       

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
      PLEASE NOT­E: Please do NOT use private messaging, i­f you have­ a questio­n, feel fr­ee to emai­l me priva­tely, u­se regular­ email onl­y: greg@el­massian.co­m

    • August 7, 2017 1:43 AM EDT
      • Ottawa/Nepean, Ontario, Canada
         
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      Well you asked, and somebody has to answer...

      We NEVER clean the rails...the track as a whole does need twigs, pine/spruce cones, vines and other crap removed. Of course I use Battery/radio control. We also operate the railroad, and require good control of each locomotive. We also don't want to fart around with wiring or poor electrical connections.

       We are happy, and frustration proofed...!!  There are other ways to run your trains, and you are free to choose the one that fits your needs best...Having fun is the main objective.

         Fred Mills

    • August 7, 2017 1:48 AM EDT

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      He said track power...

      and you do clean your track as you just admitted.

       

      Greg

      and I am happy and frustration free from chargers, worn out batteries, no room for sound systems, ability to have remote control in small locos and I can run smoke any time I want.

       

       

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • August 7, 2017 9:34 AM EDT
      • Chaco, Paraguay
         
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      first - welcome to the forum

      second - just ignore, when the guys start pecking at each other about which power system is better. (they do that for nearly two decades now...)

      third - answering your question

      i had outdoors and indoors layouts for forty years. all brass. mostly LGB.

      outdoors, before running i revised the track and used a broom against leaves, twigs and bird's shit before every running session.

      out- and indoors i use a block with sandingpaper nailed to it, when i notice, that trains stutter or slow down on their own. (outdoors that block was nailed to a broomstick too)

      most members here will advise you against using sanding paper, but i'm content with that method i used for four decades...

       

      generally speaking, because of oxidation, the more you run, the less you clean.

      (and having one or two cars that draw sanding paper or kitchen cleaning pads over the rails helps a lot too)

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      My Chaosplace ->  

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