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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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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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