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Author Topic: Battling the tarry build up. The fight is real..  (Read 289 times)
OldNoob

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« on: November 13, 2017, 08:02:53 PM »

OK so i have 90 foot of brass indoor track powered by a 10amp controller connected at one terminal point.. Currently running 14 cars with all metal wheels. And each time i run it, even for just 1 or 2 passes, a black tarry film builds up on the rails.  Now i assume this is some sort of electrolysis with the brass because it doesn't build up when the track is off. So how do i attack this?
Use No-Ox?
Transmission fluid?
Brasso?
OR
Just get used to cleaning and be this guy ?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0ZQDxYvMoQ&feature=youtu.be
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 08:15:40 PM by OldNoob » Logged
RkyGriz


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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2017, 11:52:16 PM »

I use 91%  rubbing alcohol soaked into a paper towel for my modest indoor layout. While I realize that your layout is much larger, there are other things that you could try. Like using a Swiffer with a pad soaked in the rubbing alcohol and pushing it along the tracks, changing it when necessary. You could also try the same idea ,but using a dry Scotch Brite pad in place of the alcohol soaked pad on either a Swiffer or modified broom head. I like using the rubbing alcohol as it strips that stuff off and my train will run for hours on the track without my having to clean it over and over again.
Hope this helped !
Andrew
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Greg Elmassian


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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2017, 11:52:32 PM »

This is not a normal rate of buildup.

You say this does not happen when the track is off.... so does this mean that battery powered trains don't do this?


Can you replicate this with the loco alone? Some locos have terrible metal wheels that arc like crazy and make a greasy black buildup... please indicate the loco you are using and how clean the wheels are and if they clean up shiny or sort of mottled.

Greg
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OldNoob

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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 03:42:31 AM »

This is not a normal rate of buildup.

You say this does not happen when the track is off.... so does this mean that battery powered trains don't do this?


Can you replicate this with the loco alone? Some locos have terrible metal wheels that arc like crazy and make a greasy black buildup... please indicate the loco you are using and how clean the wheels are and if they clean up shiny or sort of mottled.

Greg
Good points Greg, I will try to make a battery setup and see if there is any difference.
The engine is a Anni. it can pull up to 20 cars before it starts to slip, although even with 14 , i guess there could be some arcing going on.
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doug c

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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2017, 03:49:53 PM »

"....i guess there could be some arcing going on.  .."

Turn the lights in the space off,  and see what ya see  !?


doug c
   
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R. J. Raleigh

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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2017, 01:54:38 PM »

I use Bachmann's Conductive Lubricant on the rails. The rails wipe clean with just a paper towel after each run.
I pull 12-15 cars -all with metal wheels- behind my SPC 4-4-0.
Just a helpful hint: if you use too much Conductive Lubricant on the rails, the DCC system will  shut down....a little goes a long way.
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Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947


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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2017, 10:35:50 AM »

I am  at a total loss as to why you are getting a tarry substance on your rails.  I was wondering what exactly you mean by tarry substance??   Is it thick like heavy grease?  Does it stick to your wheels?? 

All my track is brass, and from three different manufacturers, and some switches are stainless steel.  I run battery power, and some track power on my latest indoor railroad.  Interestingly even with battery power my rails get a black film on the rails, but I say film rather than "tarry".  In the section which is track power and battery power combined, I see the same black film which is no different than the battery only section.  In the 3 years I have operated the new layout I have never cleaned the rails, and just let the black film alone.  My indoor layout in Missouri was all track powered, and later battery powered. Even after over 24 years of operation I never cleaned that track either. Every once in a while, I would run a heavily weighted bobber caboose which I modified into a track cleaner by attaching a fine sponge style sandpaper block to the underside, but that was it.  I use all metal wheels and I have never cleaned the wheels on any of my cars.  I also never clean the wheels on most of my locomotives, unless I am having some erratic running.  On short wheel base locos (0-4-0) I do clean the wheels because of their tendency to stall on switch frogs.

Hopefully you will get to the bottom of the problem soon.

Bill

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Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
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RkyGriz


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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2017, 03:50:20 PM »

We had a discussion about this substance  back about 2 years ago in another post that I started on here. I think your problem is the same thing . This stuff begins to build up immediately on the tracks and causes conductivity issues between the loco and the rails. It is a black,greasy substance, but yet is is not grease! Nor is it tar. It is finely ground up brass particles that are caused by running harder metal wheels over softer brass track. Plastic wheels also contribute to this  but apparently don't erode the brass rails like metal wheels do. Read the post by Chuck N. I believe that his insights are correct and what is going on with your train.Here is a link to that post:
http://www.bachmanntrains.com/home-usa/board/index.php/topic,30072.0.html
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 03:58:09 PM by RkyGriz » Logged

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Joe Zullo

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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2017, 12:38:17 PM »

Bachmann METAL wheels are NOT steel! They are some alloy of zinc and who knows what. They are not ferromagnetic* metal. They do not rust. Mystery metal of some alloy.

*Materials that can be magnetized, which are also the ones that are strongly attracted to a magnet, are called ferromagnetic (or ferrimagnetic). These include iron, nickel, cobalt, some alloys of rare-earth metals, and some naturally occurring minerals such as lodestone.

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RkyGriz


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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2017, 04:19:10 PM »

You're right, Joe. I corrected my post in that regard.Many people refer to the Bachmann metal wheels as steel, and they are not. The tender wheels on my Hartland 4-4-0 contain some type ferrous of metal (I put a magnet on one of them), but the Bachmann wheels do not. I would posit that the Bachmann metal wheels  are made of the same type of metal used in the receivers of some modern, low grade shotguns. These receivers (the Mossberg 500 among others) are made of cast aluminum. Strong, but not strong enough in my opinion as I prefer my shotguns to be made with a steel receiver. Still, whatever they are made of is hard enough to grind away both aluminum and brass track. so they're pretty strong. Maybe the Yardmaster would like to fill in the blanks and tell us what type of metals  the Bachmann wheels are derived from?
Later!
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