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Discussion Starter #1
Lots of garden railroads have water features with tracks running along side and on bridges over the water.

And derailments do occur.


So... what do people do with their loco ends up in the drink?


Not just splash splash in a piddley puddle,

but fully submerged, water in the cab, under the hood and soaked through and through.


Did it destroy the electronics?

Wipe out the motors?

Rust the gears?

Did the loco become a mantel queen?

Did the shell and minor parts become just bashing fodder?

Did you disassemble it, dry it out, regrease the gears and it is now running?

Did you just pour the water out, put it back on the track and it is still running?
 

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It depends a lot on the engine that went swimming. The original LGB engines had minimal electronics, and were designed to be run in the rain and would after a good shake most likely be fine after a dip in the pool.

I once had to return an LGB mogul to LGB for a new sound card because it got left out in the rain one too many times. Now nothing is left out if rain is forecast.


A while back I was talking with a friend about what to do if your cell phone fell in the drink. His suggestion was to use alcohol.


Others may disagree with this solution, but this is what I would do if a modern (read recently made with circuit boards) engine fell into a water body. I would go to a drug store or super market and buy as much rubbing alcohol as I would need to fill a tub large enough to hold the engine (and tender). Shake as much water out as you can, then I would then immerse the wet locomotive in the tub of alcohol. Water is soluble in alcohol and alcohol has a low viscosity. The alcohol should extract all of the water from the engine. Remove from the tub and drain thoroughly and let dry. You will probably need to lubricate the engine before use.


Freeze drying is another possibility, but that might leave a thin layer of conducting salts on the circuit boards.

I'd be interested it any other ideas that might come up, or if some of you think that there are problems with alcohol drying.


Chuck N
 

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Most circuit cards are protected from water to a certain degree. If you do dip your loco in the water take it out and dry it with a hair dryer. purchase some contact cleaner and spay down all electronic and electrical parts then ensure everything is dry before applying power again. I have done this several times with multiple electrical things and have had a 90% success rate.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes, Alcohol can be used to dry electronic devices. But you don't need to submerge it.

I have "repaired" a cell phone or two, a couple of calculators and a pedometer that have gone into a toilet (thankfully AFTER flushing!) a sink of dirty dishes, and a rain filled street (nearly didn't retrieve a cell phone before it was swept down the storm sewer!).

Just take the covers off, remove any batteries, and pour the alcohol over it to wash the water and dirt off and then let the alcohol evaporate. Blow drying the alcohol can help, but be careful to not ignite the alcohol with sparks from the blow-dryer motor or heater!!!! (Another reason to remove the batteries!)

SOMETIMES you lose the printing on labels or markings on components and sometimes a speaker will be toast afterwards (but that is usually because there was some part, like the speaker cone, made of paper and was ruined by the water first). Water soluable components are probably already ruined and you run the risk of ruining some component that is alcohol soluable so it can be a bit risky to pour alcohol on it, but I have never made a water logged device WORSE by using alcohol to remove the water.

Sometimes water can get to places that it is difficult to get alcohol to wash over, like inside a display assembly that has only one hole for liquid to enter. Then the best course of action is to put it directly in front of a dehumidifer air outlet until the water evaporates, which can take weeks! I recommend against dissassembling some components, such as LCD displays... the design of the "Zebra" connectors (that are used to get signals to the transparent electrodes on the clear glass front) is such that they can usuallly only be compressed ONCE to make the electrical connections and if the seal that has formed is broken, seldom can it get put back together and make good electrical contact again.


The main thing is to not apply power while it is wet with either water or alcohol. Both are conductors and that creates shorts between circuits that may not be intended to carry the same voltages and currents and thus burn out components. Of course if it is turned on when it hits the water it may be too late at that moment. Even if the power switch is off, if it is battery powered the water can short the battery voltages across the switch (essentially applying power) or carry the battery voltage to places it shouldn't hadda oughta be.

Re-oilng/greasing mechanical parts is a good idea, but you have to be very careful to use the correct oil/grease for that application and to not get it where it doesn't belong (those of you that have worked on "record changers" [remember them?] may have some idea about grease in the wrong places making things worse!)


I have assumed those things would be true for trains that have gone in the drink, but I wondered if anyone here had any stories to relate to the subject.

I run only live steam and all the parts are designed to get wet so I have no understanding of the problems presented to the person that is running electric trains outdoors. How badly do gears rust? Do the motor armatures rust? Can you dissassemble to the point where you can get to the rustable parts for rust prevention servicing?

Are the electronics more susceptable to water shorts destroying components? (Cell phones and calculators run on just a few volts and the batteries are not caapable of releasing high currents into a short circuit, but trains run on 18 to 28 volts from high current track power or high capacity batteries and I wondered if that was a problem with the electronics (that have a voltage regulator that steps the operating power down to around 6 volts) and might not take a short to a 20 volt high current capacity supply.)
 

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We're probably only talking about engines running on track power here. With track power, most likely the engine went in with the power not present. But, if it is battery powered, it may have been running with the power on as it dove in the water. If this happens, most likely something is going to get fried and need replaced. But you still need to displace the water and make sure everything is well dried out before you try putting the power to it. I'm running my layout around the hot tub with the pool on the other side. I made sure the track joinds were smooth, but there still is no gurantee they won't go for a swim.
 

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Happened at the botanical last summer. A phoenix sound car tumbled into the lower pond and sank to the bottom.

I fetched it and dumped out the water. I wasn't sure what to do with it. One of the guys took it up to the office.

The next day, it was on the train and running quite normally.
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 01/02/2009 7:25 PM
Lots of garden railroads have water features with tracks running along side and on bridges over the water.

And derailments do occur.


So... what do people do with their loco ends up in the drink?
Say ...OH C*it.................


Not just splash splash in a piddley puddle,
..No
but fully submerged, water in the cab, under the hood and soaked through and through.
.. 3 foot deep pond.


Did it destroy the electronics? ...Note yet


Wipe out the motors?.... Yes.. lots of work

Rust the gears?.. Not yet.


Did the loco become a mantel queen?..lt Could of been..


Did the shell and minor parts become just bashing fodder?.. Extra cleaning


Did you disassemble it, dry it out, regrease the gears and it is now running?.. Yup


Did you just pour the water out, put it back on the track and it is still running?
.. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.. but did pour the water out as running to the house.




Welcome to my world.... laf...





This happen to my NW-2 with the sound turned off at the time or I would of heard it running.


I was working on the stop adjustment on my Swing bridge and being I was in the Fish pond waist deep. I fig. I would just put on some alligator clip from to the bridge plug that was on the bank to the tracks and use my TM's for power for the bridge motor.

I forgot behind me ( Town of Butthead Cove ) there was a NW-2 setting there with a gon hooked to it and had tools in it.

I started to get power to turn the bridge to ck the stops Switches and then........ I head a big splash.. I seen the waves and looked down by my feet in the water and I could see something that was not suppose to be there.

Eng. was setting about 3 foot deep and bubbles was coming out of it.. Boy did I move Fast ..

Got it to the house and got mama's hair dryer and spent most of the day drying out the eng.. Had to take the shell off to get to the Electronics. Had to dry them to and ya .... lots of Alcohol and a brush.. The Sierra sound sys. and speaker turned out fine.



Ck'ed the motor block gears and nothing in them.. They were dry. So guess there was enough grease to seal them... The Darn Eng. been running for 4 yrs now and runs/sounds great.

Sure don't want to do that again. Now set besides setting block also, set a bricks on the track leading to the bridge for anymore adjustments..
I use that reminder in my sign and logo now.

.Now that it over....I can laf..


Oh... by the way.. the Gon was floating like a boat, but tools that was was in it was in bottom of pond. Now looks like Bachmann make good boat to.. laf...
 
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