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Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: crb on October 06, 2015, 03:03:21 PM



Title: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 06, 2015, 03:03:21 PM
Hello fellow train lovers.  :)

I'm a newbie and finally have my G scale brass track laid and have been having fun playing with my train.  I think I read once about some type of oil that can be used to help the train glide across the track more smoothly?  I have a Bachmann Big Haulers starter set (I substituted with Bachmann brass track since it is being used outside).  Does anyone know what kind of oil, if any, should/could be used?

Thank you in advance!

Chris :)


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 06, 2015, 05:02:52 PM
I don't recommend a lubricant for the track.  Most lubricants are an organic oil, which is an insulator, not a conductor.  It will reduce traction, reducing the number of cars you can pull.

If you must have a lubricant, there is a product called RAIL ZIP that is supposed to work.  Years ago I tried it on my rails following the directions and my engine just sat there and spun its wheels.  Now occasionally, very, I will put a cpuple of drops at the top of my grade and let the train spread it out.  I haven't done that for several years.

What diameter (radius) curves are you using?  If you are having a problem with binding on the curves go to a larger diameter curve.  Our general recommendation, is to use the largest diameter that will fit in the space.  Everything will run better and look better.  Four foot diameter curves are great for under a Christmas tree, but not for a more perminant layout.  It puts a lot of wear and tear on the rolling stock and the track.

Chuck

PS too much lubricant and it will attract dust and dirt, which will not improve your engines performance.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Kevin Strong on October 06, 2015, 09:00:58 PM
Bachmann (and others) make what's called a "conductive lubricant." It's designed to be used on electrical wipers and the like. I've seen it used on wheel treads as well, which (obviously) come contact with the rails. It's supposed to maintain/improve electrical conductivity. I don't know of anyone routinely using this stuff outdoors, though.

Later,

K


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 08:30:08 AM
Thank you for the input!  I am using 4' diameter curves, and believe it or not, the curves aren't the problem.  It slows down tremendously on the straightaways and keeps derailing in the same spot.  I am currently working on more leveling (tedious process, for sure!), but it just seems to not run as smoothly as I had thought it would.  It speeds up and slows down (without me changing the speed) and comes almost to a complete stop at times.  I will see what happens after I work on leveling some more and clean the track again.  Who knew this would be so much work?  A labor of love, for sure.  :)  I will hold off on lubricant for now and see what happens.  I so appreciate all of the help and advice available here!  I don't know ANYONE that has a train garden, so I rely solely on what I can find online for help.  Thanks so much!


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on October 07, 2015, 09:59:56 AM
CRB,

IMHO do not use oil or lube on your track.  Conductive lube on parts of the loco that conduct electricity are fine.

Bill


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 10:13:14 AM
It sounds to me that your track isn't level, side to side, and quite possibly dirty.  Make sure the rail joiners are tight.  When I put my track together, I use a small dab of conducting grease in each joiner.  I am now securing the connections with rail clamps or screws.  This will give better electrical connections from rail to rail.

I suggest that you go to a hardware store and get a dry wall sanding pole and some green Scotch Brite pads.  This is an easy way to clean the track.  Also check to see if the wheels are clean.

This is what I use to clean my track.

(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/track%20cleaning%20a.JPG)

(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/track%20cleaning%20b.JPG)

(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/track%20cleaning%20c.JPG)

(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/track%20cleaning%20d.JPG)

(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/track%20cleaning%20e.JPG)

Where do you live?  It is quite possible that there is a local club or informal group near where you live.  They would be a valuable source for local help.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 10:21:07 AM
Great tips and pic tutorial!  Thanks, Chuck!  I have been using a fine grit sandpaper to clean the track.  Not sure how it has gotten so dirty already, since it has only been outside for a couple of weeks.  I live in west central Ohio, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  I belong to my local garden club, and none of them have ever heard of railroad gardening.  I am blazing a trail into the unknown.  ;)


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 10:23:55 AM
Do you use anything in particular to clean the train wheels?  Or just the scotch brite pad??  My Bachmann track has brass rail joiners that are held in place by screws.  I have power connections in two different areas of the track (about 50 feet of track total).  Does that seem like enough?


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 10:29:26 AM
Most of us gave up on sandpaper years ago.  No matter how fine the grit size, it seems to leave scratches in the rail that will collect dirt.  Brass track needs to be cleaned every couple of days.  

For the wheels, I use a smaller green scotch bright pad, the size that you can get in a grocery store for cleaning pots and pans.  You will need a hardware store for the larger size.  Or you could cut one of the larger pads into smaller strips to clean wheels.

Or you could use a small power drill, like a Dremel, with a brass wire brush to clean the wheels.

I have two power connections for my layout which has a main line of about 90' in length. So your two for 50' should be fine.

Chuck

Chris

You might go over to one of the other Large Scale forums and introduce yourself and say where you live and ask if there are any formal or informal groups in west central Ohio.  This site is great for Bachmann products, but the other sites have more participation, because they aren't restricted to just one manufacturer.

I use <mylargescale.com>.  

Another one is "large scale central".  I don't have it's URL.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 10:43:21 AM
Good info, Chuck!  Thanks for sharing!  I will try your suggestions and let you know how it works out! 


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 12:11:07 PM
Hi crb! These big trains have a tendency to get their tracks dirty real fast. A fellow poster here told me that it's not actually grease, but residue from the wheels!  Short of spending at least $60.00 on a track cleaning car to help maintain your tracks, you can try using Isopropyl  alcohol to clean your tracks. If you don't mind getting on your hands and knees and using a little (or  lot depending on your track size) of elbow grease, Isopropyl alcohol strips grease and other surface contaminants without damaging the track. Just wet a paper towel with it and wipe!For really bad oxidation, I use 2,000 grit Emory cloth to polish the rails. Gets them nice and shiny.
Enjoy your train and have fun!
Later,
Andrew


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 02:42:21 PM
Andrew

There are two different things that show up on the track.  Tarnish which darkens the surface of the rail and the fine grained black dust.  The tarnish comes from the metals in the brass reacting with gasses in the air, primarily oxygen and sulphur and some of its compounds.  This tarnish is an insulator and can effect the electrical contact with the engine and the rails.  The fine grained black dust is ground up brass from the friction of the harder wheels rubbing against the softer metal, brass, of the rail head.  If you have plastic wheels on your cars, some of the black dust is from the flanges being ground down by the harder rail.  I have heard of people, who run the same cars a lot, having their flanges on plastic wheels being entirely ground away.

All of this grinding is more pronounced with the smaller curves (4'diameter).  

Chuck


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 03:33:16 PM
Thanks, Andrew and Chuck!  I will definitely try the rubbing alcohol.  It is getting dark too early here in Ohio, so my train time is severely limited!  I am hoping to get it running smoothly before the nasty winter weather sets in.  I so appreciate all of the advice that I receive here!


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 05:43:05 PM
Chuck:
I remember our previous conversation about what the residue on the tracks is and I've noticed how fast the track gets dirty from plastic wheels. The metal wheels take quite a bit longer to dirty the track . I had a fellow modeler say that he gets the same thing on his h.o. scale track and he suggested trying the rubbing alcohol and it works great for removing the residue on the rail head.  I've found nothing that will remove the tarnish on the brass rails except the 2,000 grit Emory cloth and wet sanding. I' bought a 27 year old Ll starter  set last year and the only thing that workrd to clean the tracks that came with that set was 2,000 grit Emory cloth. The Scotch Brite pads were totally useless to clean it. I think that you and I talked about that ,too, on my Verdigris topic( which I finally solved by taking and removing each 3 foot rail section from the ties and then washing them with Dawm and a wire brush. I then wet sanded the rails in the area where the verdigris was forming, throughly flushed anbd cleaned out the ties and rail beds and the problem finally completely  went away. A lot of work that was!I have two other passenger cars (Ll brand) that I want to replace the  plastic wheels with metal wheels on. I need wheels that are smaller than the Bachman wheels are. It's ironic in a way as I have 16 extra pairs of Bachmann metal wheels and they're too tall for these cars as the cars are lighted using  copper track skates and the Bachmann wheels raise them up too high for the skates to make contact with the rails. I'm looking at some wheel sets from a place in California and they have their shop a short distance from where I'm currently living so I can drive over and see if they have what I need.. As far as I can tell, the wheel diameter on those cars is slightly over 1 inch, or about 29MM and this place lists 2 different wheel sizes that just may be what I'm looking for.
Thanks for your time, Chuck!
Andrew


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 07:31:51 PM
I' m confused.

All I can say is that the green pad on a sanding pole does the job.  I can clean and polish my 90' mainline in about a minute.  The passing sidings will take another minute.  Many of my friends use the same system.

Chuck


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 08:18:31 PM
The verdigris was on the rail head and down on the sides and bottom of the rail beds. It would grow back if I only did the tops of the rail heads. Maybe some contaminants were trapped between the rail bed and the bottom of the plastic ties? I don't know. It was all at the ends of the tracks and not in the middle. Kind of strange. I bought it from an Ebay seller who lived back east and it came that way. The Scotch Bright pads, while effective at removing the wheel residue, were no match for this stuff and it literally had to be sanded in the areas that I could get to with the Emory cloth and wire brushed away in the areas that couldn't be reached with the Emory cloth (such as the plastic ties/rail bed and crevices where the Emory cloth couldn't quite reach). The main thing is that it's gone and hasn't returned. I'll never buy any track or trains from back east again unless they are brand new and factory sealed and the seller can prove it! That  Ll. starter set I mentioned earlier was supposed to have been in excellent condition when I bought it from a seller in Michigan last year,but it cost me a lot of time to clean and restore. The tracks were tarnished,the locomotive barely ran, and one of the passenger cars didn't light due to one of the track skate wires being broken off deep inside the car. Well over 6 hours of finger numbing work just to remove the heavy brown tarnish from the tracks. Of course, I cleaned the entire rail head and sides on the 12 pieces of curved track. It was a lot of work, but it paid off beautifully if I say so myself! That little 0-4-0 Pennsylvania locomotive now runs like a champ and on its' own tracks and both cars are now brightly lit, so I did something right. I'm almost tempted to take the cars apart again when I get the new metal wheels and install LED lights and an on-off switch in them for daytime running but,nah.
Also, I was told by the guys at our local G Scale train shop (Reno Rails ) to make sure to clean the entire rail head and not just the tops. Of course, they also tried to sell me a $110.00 track cleaning car, but I passed on it, and that's why I clean both sides of the rail head. I just like the track to be as clean as I can get it. The rubbing alcohol totally strips the wheel residue from the rails and leaves nothing behind.
Anyway, I hope I didn't confuse you further with this ramble.
Have a great day Chuck and as always, it's a pleasure to chat with you !
Andrew


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 08:28:53 PM
I cleaned the darned track with rubbing alcohol, spent a couple of hours with my torpedo level and stone, and leveled from side to side.  It ran like a turtle.  I took a Scotch pad to the track....got cramps in my fingers from scrubbing the darned thing, scrubbed the train wheels, and it ran even worse.  *sad face*
I am starting to feel like I am not meant to be a train engineer.  :(


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 08:55:59 PM
Maybe your power supply or power outlet isn't up to snuff? Do you have any test equipment to test the track/power supply voltage? Have you checked you power connections to ensure that they are intact and making proper contact with the track and power supply? Do you have any other powered rolling stock or just the one loco? Also, did you buy your loco new or used? These Bachmann locos are usually pretty bullet proof, but if it's an older loco the chassis may be worn out .


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 09:06:18 PM
Hubby tested the voltage (he's a mechanic) and said all is well.  I tightened all the screws on the rail joiners and tightened the screws where the power hooks to the track.  The locomotive is the only powered one.  I haven't tried to attach any cars to it, this is just the locomotive that won't run worth a darn.  I purchased it new, as a set, which included the power pack.

This was supposed to be fun and is just frustrating.  Of course, I'm not the most patient person either.  :(

I am wondering if I were to purchase a battery operated locomotive, if I would be better off????  

P. S.  It is of note that when I first received my starter set, and set it up in the house, with the standard track, it worked just fine.  The issues have come about since I put the brass track outside. 



Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 09:16:33 PM
Andrew

I've never seen track with the "verdigris" you describe.  That track has to have been subjected to some unusual conditions.

We have some yard sculptures that are made from copper pipe.  They have a very heavy verdigris patina.  I asked the artist how he created the patina?  He said that he washed his sculptures in "miracle grow" to get the heavy green effect and it took a number of washings.  Is it possible that your used track came from a railway that was from a garden that was heavily fertilized with miracle grow?  As an aside, he said that one of the owners of miracle grow once asked him the same question.  He now gets all the miricale grow he needs.

There are many ways to clean track, everyone has a preferred method, they aren't all the same, but if they work that is all that matters.

Chuck


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 09:20:34 PM
There are battery powered g scale train sets out there Bachmann makes a decent one but for the most part the ones that run on battery power are pretty cheap and phony looking.  Now, if you have a lot of money to spend and if you or your husband can do it, you can convert a Bachmann Big Hauler over to battery power and a remote control system. Be prepared to spend several hundred dollars on such a system. At least you wouldn't have to worry about track cleaning nearly so much since the train wouldn't require track power to run it. I've thought about it,but I've dismissed the idea as financially unpractical as I have 8 locomotives from 3 different manufacturers in my collection and the cost to convert everything over to batteries and R/C would be in the thousands.
Try this test: Take the loco and place it on either a thick towel or piece of foam rubber. Even the foam insert that it came in would work. Make sure that it's stable so it will not fall over! Then take the power supply and wires and touch the ends of the wires to the insides of the wheels, one on each opposite side. Don't try running it too fast or too long. Do this test on each set of wheels with the exception of the middle set. The loco draws power from the front pilot, the forward set of wheels and the rear set. Not the middle set. Try that and see how she runs. I do this with my locos when I need to clean the wheels or just test them. Just be extra careful to not let it fall over and you'll be fine.
Let me know how that works.
Andrew


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 09:38:54 PM
Andrew,

Thank you for your time and patience with all of this nonsense!  I tested it like you said to do and all of the wheels turned when touched with the wires.  I really think it is all related to the wheels not making good contact with the rails, but I don't know what else to do to fix it.  I used very fine, crushed stone for the ballast.  I am now wondering if perhaps I should lightly mist the stone, and use something to tamp it down, to try to get it more level and less likely to shift?  Sound like a reasonable plan?


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 09:42:55 PM
Chris

It is very hard to diagnose problems remotely.  We can offer general suggestions.  This is why I think you should try to find someone locally who might be able to help.  

Battery power is another choice, but it has its own set of problems.  It needs to be installed.  It depends on your skill level how easy that will be.  I have several battery powered engines.  I had help to get them up and running.  I can do a lot of things, but I wasn't comfortable doing the wiring.  I prefer track power, but I run trains at places that don't have track power, so I needed some powered by battery.

From my experience, over 30 years in the hobby, track power is the easiest.  All power systems have advantages and disadvantages.  This is another place where local contacts will be helpful.  You can ask questions, and see what others are doing and find out why they made those choices.  When I started, there wasn't a pool of help.  We were few and far between and mistakes were made and we learned from our mistakes.  The help is out there, you just need to find a local group.  Most if not all of the people I know in the hobby want to see beginners succeed.  They are the future of the hobby!

Don't give up, there are solutions.  It just may take some time.

Chuck


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 07, 2015, 09:48:10 PM
Thanks, Chuck!  I've been trying to join MYLARGESCALE.COM, but the sign up process doesn't seem to be working right now....go figure!  LOL

I will continue to try that to see if I can find some local people to network with.  I fully understand that it is difficult to diagnose from afar!  :)

I am going to try something else tomorrow and see what happens.  Maybe by the first snowfall I will have it all worked out.....LOL


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: RkyGriz on October 07, 2015, 10:16:09 PM
Hmmm... you could try that, but I doubt that it's going to be the problem. Use a level (if you haven't already) and go around the entire track. If it's level and all connections are good, then it's probably not track related. You stated that the loco is new, correct? Now, I consider the power supplies that come with starter sets to be woefully inadequate to run these trains. Some of them came with a little black transformer that has a red handle on it. This transformer has a habit of over loading and shutting off after a short time of operation. The other power supply that Bachmann provides in the newer sets is much better. It's a gray, square,  controller with a round power knob on top. It also comes with a black plug in transformer that plugs into the wall and the square controller and then to the track. This is a much more reliable power supply, but it,too, has it's drawbacks as it is only one amp and can be inadequate for larger layouts and trains that need a lot of power for lights and accessories. Like Chuck already said, it is difficult to remotely diagnose the problem and the best that we can do without actually being there is to guess at a possible best solution. It may be as simple as an inadequate power supply. It may not. The best thing to do is to take it to a local train store, or hobby store that sells trains, and see if they can help you . Remember that Bachmann offers a lifetime limited warranty on all of their locos and if all else fails, I encourage you to contact their customer service department. They will repair/replace the loco free of charge within one year after purchase if it was purchased new( proof required). You'll only have to pay the shipping to send it back to them. Repair cost after 1 year is (last time I checked) $55.00 for a standard G Scale loco( plastic drive rods) or $75.00 for Spectrum. I don't know if the Anniversary Edition locos are charged the same for replacement as a Spectrum loco as it's been 3 years since I sent my last Anniversary Edition loco back for repairs/replacement and the prices have somewhat changed. The main difference between the Bachmann Standard Edition 4-6-0 and the Anniversary Edition 4-6-0 is that the Anniversary Edition loco has metal drive rods and far more detailing than the standard 4-6-0 loco does. If all else fails, give Bachmann a call and see what they can do for you.
Don't give up! These trains can be a bit frustrating from time to time, but they're well worth it for the sheer amount of enjoyment they provide to those who enjoy and love them!
Keep us posted as to your progress.
Best regards,
Andrew


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 07, 2015, 10:17:38 PM
Chris

I hope you can get up and running before the first snow.  I enjoy running my trains in the white stuff.  If you need to shovel out the track, be sure to use a plastic shovel.  Metal ones will scratch and possibly damage the track.

Winter in Virginia
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/clear%20lake%20snow1_1.jpg)
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/snow%202013a.JPG)

Train in Colorado before moving to Virginia
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/snow1-600.jpg)
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/rack%20snow1-600.jpg)

If you want the trains to do the work, under proper conditions
Colorado
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/snow%20plow1-600.jpg)
Virginia
(http://1stclass.mylargescale.com/chuckn/455%201%20640.JPG)

This is a learning experience.  Give it time and keep asking questions.

Chuck

Andrew may have hit the nail on the head.  If you are using a starter set power supply, that may be the problem.  They really don't have the power. 

Try bringing inside enough track to make a circle and with the power supply close to the track, short wires, see if it will run, or bring in some straight track (10'-15') and see how it runs on a level track on the floor.









Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on October 07, 2015, 10:53:04 PM
CRB,

One quick way to see if the problem is with the loco or track is to take the loco back into the house and run it on the track that came with the set.  If it runs great in the house on the original track then you know for sure the problem is with your outdoor track.   If it runs like a turtle outdoors, does it do it all the way around??   Does it run better on the track the transformer is attached to??  If so the problem may be the track connections.  You should test the voltage on the track right by the transformer first.  note the reading, then test the voltage on the next connected track.  It should be the same.  continue on around if you find a section with low voltage, the most likely problem is poor contact at the joiners.  Don't worry too much about the track leveling until you get the loco running right.   I would invest in some rail clamps.  When you find a problem joiner replace it with a clamp.   I would actually recommend using rail clamps all the way around to minimize future problems.   At some point the voltage should be the same all the way around the track.  Then if your train wheels are clean the train should go around with out seeming to be a turtle.

I am convinced the problem is with your track wiring and or the original low output power supply, since you tested the loco and found it to be running right.   

Good Luck and follow the steps to isolate the real problem.   I have helped many hundreds of folks with your problems and 99 percent of the time the problem of a loco not running right is track connectors with bad contact.   Also if a loco is running right and derails all the time the problem is again 99 % the track being out of level either side to side or along the length. 

Snow plowing can be fun.  This youtube vid is on my sons layout in Denver.   We had fun this day.   Click on his name on Youtube to see his other videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7Y5fJGrJ3k

Bill


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 08, 2015, 08:25:21 AM
Chris

Along the lines of Bill's comment.  If it works on the starter set track, is it possible to move the outside track to a level space, driveway, or garage floor? This would then give us some more information, if it works or not.

Most starter set power supplies put out between 0.5 and 1 amp.  Most single motor engines require between 0.5 and 1 amp to run.  If your engine has smoke, lights, and sound, try turning those off.  There should be a switch for smoke, and I don't know about the other two. 

For one engine we recommend a power supply with a minimum output of 3 amps, more is better.  I use 10 amp units.  I have a streamliners that requires 7 amps.

Chuck


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 08, 2015, 09:06:25 AM
Chuck N,

Love those snowy pictures!  I hope I can get mine running before the white stuff makes an appearance! 


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 08, 2015, 09:17:18 AM
You guys are all so helpful and have given me many things to try!  I will work on all of your suggestions over the next few days (darn work schedule...interfering with my train time!) and see what happens.  Hubby has a voltage meter, so we can test the voltage over the track and see what we come up with.  I am, indeed, using the small gray, square power supply that came with my train and it says it is 1 amp.  Hubby and I had wondered if perhaps it wasn't powerful enough.  My sounds are controlled by a 9 volt battery in the tender, and I don't have other lights (yet!).  So, perhaps I need a larger power supply.  But, I will try all of your suggestions first. 

Just out of curiousity, is there any sort of rule of thumb (ie-footage of track vs amperage needed)?  I understand that a lot of it depends on how much stuff you are trying to power, so maybe distance around the track doesn't really matter so much.  However, I have only been trying to run the locomotive....without any other cars attached.  So I haven't exactly been draining power from what I am running. (if that makes sense)

Thanks again everyone....you are all so kind to share your wisdom!!!  :)  (And if anyone wants to make a road trip to Ohio, my doors are open....LOL)


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Old John on October 08, 2015, 12:39:28 PM
CRB,

I think your power supply that came with the set isn't strong enough, they are usually intended for "around the Christmas Tree" operations.  I had 1,100 feet of code 250 track outdoors and used several MRC 6200's for my power supplies and hadn't any power problems.  I lived on a barrier island in northern Florida and keeping the track clean was solved with scotch brite pads - salt air and the occasional ocean incursions made track cleaning a constant task.  Sand and proper lubrication were my biggest problems.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 08, 2015, 12:51:10 PM
Thanks, John!  I am going to experiment with several things before I buy a different power supply pack, but would love to hear from others, if it comes to that, are there brands that work better than others?  Can I mix and match brands?  (ie-I have Bachmann brass track, but I don't see that Bachmann offers a high amp power supply box.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 08, 2015, 04:41:49 PM
Chris

The length of your track has very little to do with the power needed.  Brass is an excellent conductor.  

The gauge and length of the wires between the power supply and the track can have an effect on the power and voltage available to the track.  If the gauge wire is too small it will add to the resistance and long leads can also have an effect.  Most recommend a gauge wire of 14 or bigger (a smaller gauge number).  Remember, the higher the number for the gauge, the smaller the diameter of the wire.

As a rule of thumb when I figure my power needs I use the following:

For each motor in an engine 1 amp (motors draw between 0.5 and 1 amp), a diesel with two motors would be 2 amps.

Smoke lights and sound may add another amp, in total, not each.  This depends on the engine and the components.  Smoke units could draw more.

Lighted cars will add to the draw. I have some lighted passenger cars.  They draw 0.5 amps per car.

For example, I have a USAT streamliner train with 6 lighted cars at 0.5 amps per car that is 3 amps.  It is pulled by two diesels with two motors each, 4 amps with lights, no smoke.

Total 7 amps.

I use Bridgewerks power supplies.  They are at the higher end of cost, but they are made in America and have a great warrenty.  I have  3, 10 and 15 amp power supplies.

There are others out there, but I can't comment on them because I have no experience with them.

Chuck

The power supply doesn't care who made the track.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Ray Dunakin on October 10, 2015, 02:10:19 AM
I use conductive lubricant on the wheel treads. I have a lot of tight curves, and without lubricant the wheels squeal a LOT. Not only is this annoying, but it also means that there is excessive wear taking place on both the wheels and the rails. Plus it creates extra drag that your loco has to overcome.

I've used lubricant on the wheel treads for a long time, including when I was running on track power. I'm currently running on battery power, so electrical pickup and track cleanliness are no longer an issue.


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: A Trainman on October 11, 2015, 01:11:33 PM
Hi Cris,
I started out playing with trains about 30 years ago.
I built an indoor HO scale RR with 2 mainlines, sidings, a switching yard, tunnels, ect. When the track was clean, it was fun, when not it wasn't. I just got tired of all the reaching and stretching and trying not to make more work for my self while cleaning and polishing the track.
When I decided to to build my outdoor RR, I decided it would be trouble free. So after much research, I decided to go with battery power and remote control.

I just looked online at some higher amp transformers/track controllers and was amazed at their cost.
 
I have 2 big Hauler 4-6-0s and a  2-4-2 Lyn. that I have converted over to battery power. To convert the first one to battery power was about equal to the cost of a high end power supply. After that, it's just buying another battery and receiver for the other locos.
I'm running 14.8v battery packs from All-Battery and Crest Electronics Train Engineer.
You said your hubby was a mechanic so he must be mechanically inclined. With all the info. on the web and this site (look up Loco Bills threads on battery building and remote control), he should have no problem converting your engine over to battery.

I run my locos for at least 3 hours strait on batteries and there is no jerking or stalling or slowing anywhere on the tracks. I never have to clean the track except when debris fall on it or plants grow over it.

Speaking of track. Another money saver is aluminum track. It costs a lot less then brass or stainless. Did I mention I never have to clean it :D

One other benefit with battery power is there is no need for special track wiring for turnouts, loops or whys.

I truly enjoy running one train nonstop, on the mainline, and switching cars with another. Or, pulling one train into a siding while pulling another train out.

When I built my garden RR, I decided I wanted to enjoy it. Half of my fun is building and improving it, the other half is running it. There is no third half for track cleaning.  ::)

This is just my opinion and there are many others out there. All I know is that I'm very happy that I took this rout.

Garden railroading should be fun and relaxing and you should only have to work hard at it when you want to.

Enjoy your garden and railroad!

Adam


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 11, 2015, 04:01:08 PM
Like everything in this hobby when things work properly everybody is happy.  Friday running at a meet and my battery powered radio controlled engine failed to run.  Fortunately, I had a back up and could run.  The same thing happened today, with a different engine.

I've been using track power on my home layout for 35 years and wouldn't change.  I can clean my track in a couple of minutes.  To each his own.  There are good and bad points for all power choices. 

Chuck



Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: crb on October 13, 2015, 03:44:14 PM
Thank you for all of the input!  Adam, it was my understanding that aluminum track wouldn't hold up in the weather, so that is why I purchased brass. 

I think that we are now leaning towards the fact that the power supply just isn't large enough, so I have another on order and am waiting for it to arrive.  There are no train stores near me and the ones that I have been to that are within a couple hours driving distance, just don't have much in the way of G scale.  Maybe I should open a store.....LOL

I will seriously consider switching to battery power if this new power supply doesn't solve the problems.

I thank all of you again for your time and input!

:)


Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: Chuck N on October 13, 2015, 05:00:23 PM
Chris

Aluminum track is fine for battery outdoors.  You just have to be careful and not step on it.  It bends very easily.

I think that for track power the jury is still out.  Some swear by it and others swear at it. 

My advice to beginners is to get your feet wet with analog DC power.  Get some experience and then you will be better able to make an informed decision on your future power supply, track, battery, track with DCC, or live steam. 

Chuck



Title: Re: Track lubricant?
Post by: uscgtanker on October 14, 2015, 09:04:13 AM
hi CRB

In terms of track lubrication it's not needed on the main rail. However on switch points if you add any you will need to us some lube on those to keep them moving. At the East Troy Trolley Museum I have 7 miles of track to look after with 10 crossings and 16 switches. for use running a train every week keeps the rail clean but on modeling woodland scenics makes a great track cleaning solvent. to keep a steady flow of power in the rail make railbonds or screw the track plate joint together. On my Aristo track they all have holes at each end of the joint plate and i think they all do, but screw them together for better power flow. Unlike real rail you won't burn the joint out when you have a short, at east troy we run 600 volt dc for our trolleys and interurbans.

hope the helpful hints help you enjoying your hobby