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Author Topic: Track lubricant?  (Read 14448 times)
Old John

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« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2015, 12:39:28 PM »


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.

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« Reply #31 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.

Chris Smiley
Train newbie, faerie garden oldie
Chuck N

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« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2015, 04:41:49 PM »


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.


The power supply doesn't care who made the track.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 04:43:48 PM by Chuck N » Logged
Ray Dunakin

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« Reply #33 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.

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A Trainman

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« Reply #34 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 Cheesy

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.  Roll Eyes

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!

Chuck N

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« Reply #35 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. 



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« Reply #36 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!


Chris Smiley
Train newbie, faerie garden oldie
Chuck N

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« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2015, 05:00:23 PM »


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. 



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« Reply #38 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
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