Author Topic: Track & Turnout Cleaner  (Read 817 times)

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cholmes

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Track & Turnout Cleaner
« on: June 22, 2014, 04:29:15 PM »
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Today I came across a great article by Paul Lally about using CRC QD Contact Cleaner to clean and improve electrical contact on rails.  I  just tried this product on the tracks of my layout and on the contact points of my Peco turnouts.  The results are fantastic!  My engines just creep along without any hesitation.  CRC QD Contact Cleaner is available at Home Depot.  This is the link to Paul’s article

http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/no-more-track-cleaning?reply=24659873117699878#24659873117699878
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 04:32:31 PM by cholmes »

peteski

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2014, 04:47:08 PM »
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Today I came across a great article by Paul Lally about using CRC QD Contact Cleaner to clean and improve electrical contact on rails.  I  just tried this product on the tracks of my layout and on the contact points of my Peco turnouts.  The results are fantastic!  My engines just creep along without any hesitation.  CRC QD Contact Cleaner is available at Home Depot.  This is the link to Paul’s article

http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/topic/no-more-track-cleaning?reply=24659873117699878#24659873117699878

Ah, track cleaning again.  This subject is like religion or politics. For every person who swears their method works superbly, you will find another person who swears that method sucks.  I guess in the end everybody has to choose their own poison (as there really isn't one single best method which is better than all the alternatives). 

It seems reasonable that electrical contact cleaner would clean metal rails.  But there are many additional variables. For example, does this cleaner leave oily (um, protective) film behind to protect the metal surface from oxidation?  Yeah, nickel silver oxide is supposedly conductive, but probably not conductive enough to actually conduct enough electricity to supply power to the loco's motor.  If a protective  film residue remains on the surface, how much dirt will it attract and how long it will take to accumulate enough to affect conductivity?

If this cleaner does not leave protective film, how long will the rail stay clean enough before it needs to be cleaned again?

How dust free and dry is the environment where the layout is?

These are some of the many questions brought up in threads like this.  I'm not saying that your freshly-discovered method is bad, but I'm sure it will be thoroughly scrutinized. 

EDIT: spelling  :facepalm:
« Last Edit: June 22, 2014, 11:04:26 PM by peteski »
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Carolina Northern

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2014, 08:38:37 PM »
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Not restart the tracking wars - I believe anything that leaves behind a film is a bad idea. YMMV

C855B

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2014, 08:58:40 PM »
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[sigh]

CRC QD is non-residual. I use it. Works well.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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Bob Horn

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2014, 09:21:22 PM »
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I've used QD for many years, on switch points more than total track. I have also used it on loco truck pickups with excellent results. My layout fills a 2 car attached garage, most of the track cleaning is done with a CMX tanker and 91% alcohol. It has not been cleaned in about a month and I got 2 sound locos out and ran the whole 3.3 miles without a hiccup. Bob.

Chris333

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2014, 09:53:18 PM »
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I'd be worried about it messing up my paint.

robert3985

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2014, 12:26:16 AM »
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I power all of my frogs, all of my closure rails and all of my closure points.  They are powered so I don't have a problem with engines not creeping through them.  Everything else gets buffed occasionally with a soft Bright Boy.  Works excellently for me. I have no "need" for a cleaning solution of any kind.

peteski

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 01:49:01 AM »
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Everything else gets buffed occasionally with a soft Bright Boy. 

There are multiple types of Bright Boys?  I thought there was only one (rather coarse and hard) Bright Boy abrasive block sold by Walthers.  :trollface:
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eric220

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2014, 03:45:00 AM »
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FWIW, I find that a paper towel run over the rails in plenty to clean them. Taking advice from a master modeler who lives down the street, I don't use anything abrasive (including my bright boy) unless absolutely necessary in specific spots. I'd like my rails to still be there after years of cleaning.
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peteski

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2014, 04:27:33 AM »
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FWIW, I find that a paper towel run over the rails in plenty to clean them. Taking advice from a master modeler who lives down the street, I don't use anything abrasive (including my bright boy) unless absolutely necessary in specific spots. I'd like my rails to still be there after years of cleaning.

Back on the A-board member dgwinup mentioned  the "gleem" method of keeping the track clean (by burnishing the rail head).
http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=66203
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Chris333

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2014, 04:59:14 AM »
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On this page Vern (remember him) talks about rubbing graphite on the rails:
http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=38740&whichpage=72

robert3985

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2014, 06:34:19 PM »
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There are multiple types of Bright Boys?  I thought there was only one (rather coarse and hard) Bright Boy abrasive block sold by Walthers.  :trollface:

Yuck yuck!!  :D  Well, I have both and I've had 'em so long (over 20 years...maybe 30??) that I don't remember the BRAND NAME, so I just call them all "Bright Boy" (like Kodak, Kleenex and Jetway) and a couple are soft, not hard and get a bit into the insides of the railheads which is where the electrical contact between the wheels and the railheads is generally made since the wheels taper.

I rarely ever use the hard Walthers version...only if I've misplaced my soft ones, which is rarely.

robert3985

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Re: Track & Turnout Cleaner
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2014, 06:43:41 PM »
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FWIW, I find that a paper towel run over the rails in plenty to clean them. Taking advice from a master modeler who lives down the street, I don't use anything abrasive (including my bright boy) unless absolutely necessary in specific spots. I'd like my rails to still be there after years of cleaning.

Whatever works for you with the paper towel thing.  I personally don't want bits of paper being sucked up into the mechanisms of my engines.

Just because there's a "master modeler" down the street doesn't mean his advice is any good.  I know several and I wouldn't have some of them build anything for me, that's for sure.

I've been doing the occasional soft "Bright Boy" (I don't know what else to call it) cleaning of my rails for over 30 years, and on some modules, the trackwork is that old.  I don't see any indication whatsoever that the railheads are wearing away to a significant amount.

I suppose if I was rubbing the entire layout down every day for 30 years, the rails would be down to at least the web, but then again, if I did that with paper towels every day, or even with my forehead, the results would be probably be similar.   :trollface: