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I have been working on my large layout in my back yard in rainy florida for 10 months. 

I am having the worst time of keeping power to my track .I am using aristocraft track. I have leveled it screwed it onto landscape timbers that are set in concrete all level. I have 2 different loops each on its own controller 40 va each.

My problem is I keep losing power on the track from one piece of track to the next I fix one connection another one goes down I have been using LGB conductive grease it helps but its not a cure. I have scrubbed the track it helped but problem came back the next day. I have replaced all the aristocraft screws  and coated them with lgb grease.

All the track is flat and screwed down onto a 1 inch thick 4 inch wide preasure treated boards that sit on top of a landscape timber that is concreted into the ground. I have also put jumper plastic coated wire between track  pieces using the screws on bottom of the aristocraft track. I still seem to be getting dead spots.I finally started putting in line drops every 10 feet. So any suggestions are welcome except changing to battery engines. I have a battery bachmann 10 wheeler to run a aristocraft track cleaner it bearly pulls it . I have  5 DIFFERENT 10 wheel bachmann engines and 4 lionel engines 
one is a dual motor unit. I also have 2 20 ton USA engines all have the same problem, I also clean all engine wheels 
after use. one loop is 120 feet the other one is 85 feet. I have the track covered with canopys to keep off rain,  

I HAVE BEEN USING THIS SITE AS I WENT ALONG BUILDING IT AND THANK EVERONE FOR THEIR INPUTS ON PROBLEMS  THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I COULD NOT FIND A SOLUTION IN THIS FORUM THAT I HAVE NOT ALREADY TRIED JOHN
 

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Lost and Confused,
I used Hillmans rail clamps and a little conductive grease instead of the Aristo jointers and have not had any problems with conductivity. I run a track cleaning caboose around a few times before running trains and that usually works to clean the track. It has a scratch pad under it. I also have another small loop about 35' long using Aristo jointers and one track connection and so far no problems.
 

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Over 16 years ago, when I took my trains out of doors and started laying track, we tried track power.
We ate the LGB joiners in half at the sharp bend with current, moisture, and acidic soils.
I gave up.
I have not had a dead spot since, and basically the only clamps are for lift-out bridges.

Like Leon said, put in rail calmps.
I looked into that 16 years ago, and to me, the addtional cost was prohibitive, so I yanked the brass (it's in the shop area), and laid aluminum with stainless joiners.

TOC
 

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Best (and cheapest) way is to solder jumper wires between the sections.  We've not had a single continuity problem in 11 years and the track gets watered 2-3 times a day. 

 

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John,
Rail clamps do work and I use them at switches, bridges, etc or any place I may need to remove a piece of track but I think soldering jumpers across the rail joints and because the wiring in switches is poor at best, solder jumpers across all switches it's easy and it works...
 




Check out how the how-to at http://4largescale.com/trains/P20.htm
 

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I suggest running the screw all the way in and out of the joiner to eliminate burrs, then when you tighten them down, the torque you feel will relate to them being tight enough.

I use an anti-corrosive spray, but I use SJ all stainless clamps. If I were using brass, I would use a grease with graphite, or preferably, moly in it.

Regards, Greg
 

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If Ur using brass track, solder it, my LS layout soldered together in 91 with "0" failures, 
same with my HO layouts,been soldering them together for over 50 years with no 
failures either...
Paul R...
 

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I use rail clamps and solder joints.

Sometimes the soldered joints fail due to weather extremes, but it is usually only once a year. If it is a loop oftrack and engines stall, there are 2 breaks in the track.

I find thatv 2 axle engines need more power pickups and I either tie 2 engines together electrically, or add a car with power pick up, or a tender with power pickup.

The bachman 10 wheelers are light and do not pickup power well. 20 tonner i have runs very welll due to its sliders and weight, and it runs without additional pickup on my RR.
 

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I use the Aristo SS track  and the screw clamps and a little conductive grease.  Been running for 5 years so far.  Later RJD
 

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I used a conductive grease from a electronics store. I did like Jerry and packed the joiners with grease both sides of the Aristo and one side of the LGB. I ran this way for 18 years before I had problems.:) The track was screwed to 2x6 boards.:) Then I changed over to battery power that was the best thing. No more track cleaning!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif 
 

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L&C,

Sorry to have to tell you this, but with brass track and that nice moist Florida air, you will have to clean Brass track several times a day.  You could have all the best soldered connections, but in the end, the surface where the wheel meets the rail will be oxidized and non-conductive. 

Other suggestions inlcude:
1. Run power from your power supply to several points on your railroad.  Run separate lines.   
2. Buy the LGB track cleaning locomotive. Run that around your railroad before each running session, and maybe during the running session if trains start acting up.  The aristo track cleaner is not going to cut it for really getting the oxidized surface clean.
3. Are you using plastic wheels? If so, this could be compounding your problems.  
4. Screw all the tracks together using the Aristo track screws.  Clamps are very expensive, and those provide a positve mechanical connection.  The screws are embedded in the wax at the bottom of the track.  Or you can buy bags of them from aristo.  Put a little conductive paste on the end of that little hex driver that came with the track to keep the screw from falling off. 

Good luck!

Mark
 

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Pleased to meet you, Lost!

You may find more advice here than you really needed/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif

Oh, forget it. I'm too ADD today to make a good reply today. This is the 3rd time I've started this posting/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif I even had to go back and edit this one.
 

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Torby,

What's your excuse for the other 365 days this year!! Kidding!

Mark
 

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How have you been cleaning the top of the track? Are you just using the Aristo Track Cleaner or are you first removing the oxidation with something else? I find that initial cleaning with a burgandy colored ScotchBrite Pad works well and then we polish the top with an LGB Track Cleaning "Eraser". This shines the top up and slows down the oxidation of the surface. If you have ever cleaned the track with sandpaper, this will often cause the track to oxidize faster. Also, are you running plastic wheels on your rolling stock? I've seen this leave residue on the track that inhibits conductivity..
Russ
 

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L&C, there's one other thing that you could try. It's a TV tuner cleaner sold by Radio Shack. Comes in an aerosol can. Twice in the 14 years that my railroad has been outside (it's LGB sectional track), I've had a section go dead. Each time, I just shot some of the TV tuner cleaner (it's plastics compatible BTW) into the gap between the rails, so it got into the joiners. Waited about 15 minutes, and then ran trains without a problem. And the dead spots did not recur!! Obviously, your problems are far more severe. Even though this stuff is not cheap, it might be worth a try. Best of luck to you!!
SandyR
 
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