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October 01, 2020, 12:58:15 AM
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Author Topic: Wheel Cleaners  (Read 6899 times)
rbryce1

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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2012, 08:55:10 PM »

Guess I don't get the pony, huh?
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Doneldon

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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2012, 12:34:22 AM »

The only thing I can think of is the fact that denatured alchohol is flamable, so a spark could cause an HO scale fire inside your engine due to a spark from your engines electrical system.  

Did I win the pony?

rb-

No pony for you. The fire won't be HO scale; it will be full twelve-inches-to-the-foot scale.

                                                                                                                                -- D
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CNE Runner


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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2012, 10:07:19 AM »

As was mentioned above, the major problem with alcohols is their flammability. Model railroads use electricity...electricity can cause sparking (a lot more than you think between locomotive wheels and rail surface - hence the need to clean track)...sparking can be the ignition source for residual alcohol (perhaps some spilled on ballast, under ties, between point and stock rails of turnouts.

'Rubbing' alcohol is probably what most of us use on our layouts. Rubbing alcohol can be [legally] blends of either ethanol or isopropanol and other denaturing agents. For example the government (U.S.) requires that ethyl-based rubbing alcohol be composed of (per volume): 8 parts acetone, 1.5 parts methyl isobutal ketone, 100 parts pure ethanol. Nasty huh?

Alcohols are not considered electrical conductors (EC's)...much like pure water. A nice article on this fact can be found at: http://www.angelfire.com/ab6/hershey/saec.pdf

Friends, it is of paramount importance that you ask a person, giving advice, to cite their source(s). All too often I have seen posters give anecdotal evidence as support for their stance (anecdotal = personal experience/observation). You want to know the science behind some of these statements. As RichG advised; "You would do better with an Internet link..."

In summary: Why would you use a product that is non-conductive, and flammable, for the cleaning of electrical components (i.e. tracks and wheels)? Doesn't it make more sense to use a product that was designed for that purpose?

Regards,
Ray
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"Keeping my hand on the throttle...and my eyes on the rail"
M1FredQ

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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2012, 12:04:38 PM »

The trouble with alcohol is that it has a drying effect on surfaces. The metal wheels and track

do not have absolutely polished surfaces. Thus dirt and grime and sludge will enter these

micro crevices  and attract more dirt grime etc. With weaponry the same issues arise, You

want your surfacea areas where metal moves upon metal to be as frictionless as possible.

This is where Break Free does a wonderful job. Once the metal surface areas are clean those

metal "pores" are filled with the teflon from the Break Free. Weapons undergo intense heat especially from "rapid fire" sessions where 60 or 70 rounds have to be delivered downrange

in 60 seconds or less!!! 

Our model or toy trains do not generate anywhere near this type of heat not to mention the

teflon is suspended in vegetable oil. The probability of spontaneous combustion or fire

hazard is extremly low.

My son and I wipe down our track with "goo gone" lightly applied to a old rag and then follow up with a dry rag. A lot of the "black carbon deposits" come up and the track is "very clean"

The trains run smoothly without a hitch. !!!!!!!!!!

Hope this helps
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rbryce1

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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2012, 09:25:53 PM »


rb-

No pony for you. The fire won't be HO scale; it will be full twelve-inches-to-the-foot scale.

                                                                                                                                -- D


I thought we were talking about 1-2 drops of alcohol?  That must be some really potent stuff.
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Doneldon

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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2012, 09:59:43 PM »

rb-

A drop or a gallon, it will still be 1:1 scale.

                                                    -- D
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rbryce1

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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2012, 10:58:46 PM »

So I still don't get the pony, huh?
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ebtnut

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« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2012, 03:25:26 PM »

Denatured alcohol and Q-tips should be fine for rolling stock wheel cleaning - no sparks there.  Maybe backed up with a small screwdriver to clean substantial crud build-up.  Here's the thing with dirt build-up on rolling stock - a little dirt won't hurt much.  It may put some dirt back down on the rails though as noted above that can be a bit of a two-way street.  What happens over time is that the dirt can build up enough that it will be almost the same thickness as the wheel flange depth, creating derailments.  It appears that plastic wheels tend to pick up dirt faster, apparently from static electricity, so metal wheels (or at least metal treads) are better.

I usually use a Kadee wheel cleaner on motive power.  It consists of a pair of brass brushes separated by a plastic plate.  The brushes are hooked to clip leads that you clip onto the track.  There's a spare lead for clipping to the insulated drawbar of steam locos.  Turn your track power up and the wheels clean themselves as they spin.  The unit will work with anything from N to O scales. 
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