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OK, after months of smoothless, flawless running on my portable indoor layout, tonight I started having track power problems. The locos sputter, stop, stall then race. I'm so frustrated. At first I thought it was a problem with my USA switched (the cheap little plastic ones). So I checked and tightened all the little wire contact screws. No change. I noticed that when I giggled the track, the train started. So, I tried screwing all the joints together around the switches. Better, but then it happened again in a curve away from the switch. I took the curves apart. Then I saw it. Black carbon dust in between the tracks inside the joiner. Is this the problem? I was planning on screwing the entire layout together at all the joiners, but I hesitate as this will make it much less portable and difficult to tear down. If the carbon dust is the problem, I can just clean out all the jointers and get back to flawless running. What does everyone think? Is this a common problem? Or, could it be something else? HELP!
 

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Ed do you use, or have you tried one of the little Aristo track cleaners. Even on my indoor track this happens, I hook up the little track cleaner, and about three rounds and all is well. I have even used it outdoors when running track power does seem to make a difference!! The Regal
 

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Did you put the conductive/anti corrosion paste in the joiner when you laid the track. I have some track that's been outside for a year with nothing more than anti-corrosion paste in the joiners, and it still has good continuity

You could just spray some contact cleaner in there, that'd probably do it. But I'd try the paste. You can get the stuff Aristo makes, or I just bought some permatex anti-sieze compound at the auto parts store. It's conductive and it resists corrosion
 

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The carbon dust is from arcing. I'm not sure grease will solve your problem, you do not have corrosion (Grease helps here), but arcing caused by intermittent contact. Grease will not help here. Not grease you can afford! (silver bearing grease is actually conductive).

I would suggest starting to convert to rail clamps. If cost is an issue, go with the new Aristo ones and just take it easy on torquing the screws down. I recommend Split Jaws. Hillman, now owned by SilverGate is also good.

Regards, Greg
 

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Ed is it all the locos or just a couple? I think you run all metal wheels?
 

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Ed,

Try taking the track apart and cleaning in between the joints.Then, if you wnat to keep your track portable, but want better connections, try takeing a bicycle innertube and cutting it into 1/4 inch strips and using those instead of screwing it together. We used the " rubber bands" at a one day train show here in KC and it took us 30-45 minutes to set the track up ( dual main-lines) and less that 30 minutes to take it down. Cliff
 

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Try a little CRC2-26 on your track cleaner and to clean your loco wheels. It will cut down on the arcing.

-Brian
 

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Ed, I'm of the same belief as Greg, if at all possible, move to direct-to-rail railclamps.

One thing you could try if you don't want the additional expense of the clamps is to take a pair of pliars and close down on the joiner so it forms a tighter connection, that definitely helps. (I feel though that any track power deployment that doesn't use all railclamps is just asking for headaches.)

Interesting idea Cliff on the rubber bands.


Raymond
 

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Ed try railclamps!!! lol Greg and Raymond have been my personal saviours in things like this and they are both VERY knowledgeable about track power. You can trust them, I promise ^^ I do know that rail clamps do make it really easy to take out track and put it back into place with very little effort. They should be a really good solution to fixing your problem while keeping your layout portable. I personally use Split Jaw rail clamps and am happy with them ^^

-Will
 

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heres Ed out doors.


Ed, there, theres another spot.

Ed's best side.

Ed stop , thats enough


Ed!!!


Ed, please stop and run trains..!!!!
 

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oh man in desperate need of one of those Aristo track cleaners saves the knee joints and time, just put em on the end of a train and forget about it. "Set it and forget it" as Ron Popeil says. Hee hee Lol The Regal p.s. Is that ED'S BEST side?!!!! hee hee (mines bigger ED)
 

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ED, Stop fooling around and solder jumpers across evry rail joint. It's a bit painful at the outset, but your conductivity issues due to faulty rail connections, be they original equipment or railclamps will forever be gone.
 

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Ever clean the engine's wheels? I've seen no mention of that.

If you solder the track jumpers, and keep the railhead, wheels (that pick-up power), and sliders fairly clean, you should be good to go. Jumpers are by far the cheapest and most secure method of getting the power to flow through the rails. You don't even have to remove the joiners and clean the area underneath, just the spots to be soldered.

 

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You can try tightening up the joiners, but I would not do this without removing the joiner, cleaning it, greasing it, and putting it back on.

I did find a perfect tool for doing this, and since I have Aristo SS, the joiners are even worse, at least the brass can conform pretty well to the rails given sufficient "incentive". SS is just too springy.

Even if you try soldering jumpers, use clamps on your switches to facilitate maintenance.

Here's the pliers, the company that sold them is no longer in business... too bad..



Ed, buy one of these cars, they are inexpensive, do not gum up like the rubber blocks, and you can put scotchbrite or drywall sandpaper on them:



They are about $60 bucks... see my site on track cleaning.... you can search or just go through the menus.

Regards, Greg
 

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Posted By Greg Elmassian on 01/14/2009 7:34 PM
You can try tightening up the joiners, but I would not do this without removing the joiner, cleaning it, greasing it, and putting it back on.

I did find a perfect tool for doing this, and since I have Aristo SS, the joiners are even worse, at least the brass can conform pretty well to the rails given sufficient "incentive". SS is just too springy.

Even if you try soldering jumpers, use clamps on your switches to facilitate maintenance.

Here's the pliers, the company that sold them is no longer in business... too bad..



Ed, buy one of these cars, they are inexpensive, do not gum up like the rubber blocks, and you can put scotchbrite or drywall sandpaper on them:



They are about $60 bucks... see my site on track cleaning.... you can search or just go through the menus.

Regards, Greg





Who the hells got 60.00 bucks GEEEEEEEEEEZ you know some of us are on a{ bujet!!!!!!!!!} thats French by the way....he he he you dam track guys always havin issues..... he he he
Nicky....
 

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Posted By Rayman4449 on 01/14/2009 5:11 PM
Interesting idea Cliff on the rubber bands.


Raymond




Ray, that is how we connected the track at the show on front Street in November, it worked great.

I don't think some of the people on here read what Ed wrote; " I want to keep the rack portable".

If he would use the rail joiners in conjunction with the home mde rubber bands, he won't have any problems and it will still be portable.

Cliff
 
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