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Hi.

I am looking at various options for the second stage of my Pike here in the Antipoties.  I use DCC with track power & wondering if Micro Engineers G-Trak with Aluminium rail is a goer?  


John
 

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Aluminum is not a great conductor of electricity. If you're running track power, stick with Brass or Stainless. Aluminum is the cats pajamas for Battery R/C or Live steam.
 

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John, another problem with aluminum is feeding power to it. Aluminum oxidizes in air almost immediately. You will have all kinds of conductivity problems with joiners and attaching track power.

Not that aluminum is impossible, but you should go stainless... you will thank me for it.

I run dcc, check out my web site under track, and read the page on the pro's and con's of various materials.... 

Just open the trains menu, then it will reveal more sub-menus...

or you can search for aluminum...

Regards, Greg
 

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I've read Dave Goodson (Curmudgeon) saying something about a shotgun and ME track. If track power is your future then stainless is the way to go. Track cleaning is just getting the dirt off.

-Brian
 

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John,
I have a mix of Aristo, LGB, & USA 332 brass track, with one LGB NS switch, and about 50 ft of Micro Engineering aluminum track.  I used to have 100 ft of the aluminum track down, but replaced 50ft of it with brass on a line that would occasionally be used with track power. There was a noticable difference in conductivity between the aluminum and brass.  For battery power, the aluminum track is just fine.  
JimC.
 

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Hi John,

I have found the decoder and loco mfg makes a big difference in track selection for dcc track power operation outside.  Definitely go with stainless if running Aristo and Bachmann due to poor track/wheel pickup. LGB and USA engines have sliders which make a significant difference and run fine on brass with minimum maintenance. LGB and Zimo decoders are also superior to competition for operation on dirty track. I will be testing Aristo with QSI on LGB brass track this spring. Good Luck!

Alan
 

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Hello,

I run analog DC with Micro Engineering NS G track, and so far have had great results. No conductivity issues so far, touch wood.
 

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I have a 90' test loop of SV code 250 aluminum in the house that's powered with DCS and that loop is a real pain-in-the-butt to keep clean.../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/shocked.gif
After about 2 hours of running it needs to be cleaned with naptha and what comes off the rails is really black..and that's after running indoors!!
Infact I can hear the pickup wheels arcing after a few hours. The DCS programming track stays clean. Aluminum is more electrically conductive than brass or stainless and falls just below copper. There's plenty of anti-oxidizing aluminum paste on the market to keep any electrical connections & railjoints from corroding..infact most all power companies  wires are aluminum along with the high tension cross country lines are aluminum so it does work outdoors...

What I've wondered is why doesn't aluminum foil corrode?? 

Maybe DCC on aluminum rail won't corrode as fast since it's sort of a ac power??
My DCS powered rail is DC powered..maybe I'll try AC power to see if that reduces the need for frequent track cleaning.
 

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Posted By Chucks_Trains on 01/14/2008 2:11 PM


What I've wondered is why doesn't aluminum foil corrode?? 


That's a great question, Chuck. Maybe it's an alloy, or coated.
As far as condutivity, you are right about the using of aluminum by power companies (due to the cost of copper.) It works fine for this since the wire doesn't need to have a conductive surface except at the terminations, which must be treated with an anti-oxidant paste. The main problem of using it for track purposes is that the whole conductor will be 'accessed' for power. It's obviously not possible to put paste on the whole track without making a huge mess, so conductivity of the core is no help because of the oxidation on the surface.

I started using NS, and really like it. I chose it over SS because I tried 'Pewter Black' on NS, and liked the way it darkened it without painting.
 

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Dave F: Not true, aluminum is the fourth best conductor of all metals. (silver is the very best, followed by copper then gold). However, aluminum oxide is one of the best insulators around.

I'm guessing that aluminum foil doesn't appear to corrode because in the package it isn't exposed to air, and afterwards its life expectancy is pretty short.
 

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I will allow myself to stand partially corrected. True, raw aluminum is a fine conductor, but within the realm of practical applications of aluminum rail, due to the oxidation issues, I stand by my statement that it's not the best chioce for track power situations.
 

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Ok then, I see Aluminum is not the best for track power but may be just find for a static display. So then as far as NS go's who has the best value for the code 250 ns $$ and what is the most common lenghts avalible the hobbie shop.  I am starting a SP common standard tressel for main lin as a display stand at about 6' long plus the end bulk heads at each end and this would make the over all lenght around 7'.  
I was wondering also what is the standard size for a tie 8" x 8" x12' or is it a larger size? 

Thanks in advance.
Tony Czuleger
 
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