Author Topic: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint  (Read 2333 times)

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Ed Kapuscinski

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Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« on: January 09, 2023, 09:49:15 PM »
+4
Homies, I have stumbled upon something incredibly handy.

https://conrail1285.com/fix-your-atlas-code-55-turnouts-with-conductive-paint/

I had been struggling with a bunch of older Code 55 turnouts that weren't getting great electrical conductivity to their closure rails. This was annoying because I went through the hassle of powering the frogs and was STILL having issues.

I know the electrical contacts that power these rails can be somewhat questionable, especially as the switches age, and I have found a solution: Conductive paint.

https://www.amazon.com/Bare-Conductive-Electric-Paint-10ml/dp/B00KBXT6JW

I apply a small line of it to connect the closure rail with its nearest stock rail, let it dry, and voila, MUCH smoother performance down the yard ladder.


C855B

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2023, 10:55:03 PM »
0
Great tip, Ed! I just so happen to have a tube of Bare paint sitting on the bench. Thanks!

bbussey

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2023, 01:57:52 AM »
+2
Or, feed wires to all rail segments.  8)
Bryan Busséy
NHRHTA #2246
NSE #1117
www.bbussey.net


ednadolski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2023, 08:42:32 AM »
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Does it last or do you have to periodically re-apply?

Ed

Philip H

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2023, 08:45:06 AM »
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Or, feed wires to all rail segments.  8)

On the turnouts?  Perhaps before installation, but once in I agree with Ed that its not worth the hastle.
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2023, 08:53:38 AM »
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That looks like carbon (graphite) based paint.  It has a higher resistance than metal (like silver or nickel) based conductive paints.  Has anybody measured its resistance in this application?  It might not be as good as one would think.

Paint a test strip on a piece of plastic, about the same length and width as it would be on a turnout, and measure its resistance.  I'll be curious what resistance it has.
. . . 42 . . .

spr1955

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2023, 09:38:30 AM »
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Nice idea, longevity would be the question.  A little off topic but i see an orange feeder wire to the frog connection. I use a #57 drill to drill a hole down throught the connector ring and through the subroadbed, then feed a stripped solid wire feeder up from the underneath the layout, usually a #26 wire (it is a short piece) bend it over a bit to hold in place, solder and clip off, pretty much hides the feeder to the frog.

C855B

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2023, 10:42:01 AM »
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... Paint a test strip on a piece of plastic, about the same length and width as it would be on a turnout, and measure its resistance.  I'll be curious what resistance it has.

I've done exactly that, and the answer is "very little". IIRC there was some, maybe an ohm or two per inch with a 1/16" bead, but whatever it was when I tested it was negligible.

peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2023, 11:28:23 AM »
0
That's good to hear. That resistance would be low enough for its intended purpose.
Other thing that I'm thinking of is the expansion and contraction rates of the various materials at the point where the paint transitions from the plastic tie to metal rail.  There is a possibility that in time the paint might crack, opening the electrical circuit.  Unless the paint is flexible enough to withstand the movement or flexing.
. . . 42 . . .

mark.hinds

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2023, 01:15:05 PM »
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Another string to our bows, perhaps.

However, I prefer soldered jumpers or feeders, as appropriate.  I usually install these when I lay track, so every non-soldered rail joint either has a hidden wire jumper or power feeders to the track blocks on either side.  Then I never have to worry about it again. 

I have no Atlas turnouts however,  I did some investigative surgery on a sample, and was not impressed with the copper jumper strips embedded in the ties, which seem to be inadequately attached to the rails. 

bbussey

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2023, 01:56:53 PM »
+2
On the turnouts?  Perhaps before installation, but once in I agree with Ed that its not worth the hastle.

What hassle?  Drilling two holes and soldering a feeder wire to the two point rails?  Or soldering a .008 phosphor bronze wire in the web between each pair of rail pieces around the hinges?  Ten minutes at most with either option is a hassle?
Bryan Busséy
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NSE #1117
www.bbussey.net


Philip H

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2023, 04:25:55 PM »
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What hassle?  Drilling two holes and soldering a feeder wire to the two point rails?  Or soldering a .008 phosphor bronze wire in the web between each pair of rail pieces around the hinges?  Ten minutes at most with either option is a hassle?

For some of us lessor mortals with soldering irons - yes, especially after installation.  oh and I'd have to source the phosphor bronze as well, necessitating taking internet  time away from TRW . . .  :trollface:
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2023, 06:00:38 PM »
+1
Yep. Especially those of us who aren't the best at soldering.

I'll do it, but when there's a perfectly functional way to avoid it?

Sign me up.

nickelplate759

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2023, 06:43:38 PM »
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What hassle?  Drilling two holes and soldering a feeder wire to the two point rails?  Or soldering a .008 phosphor bronze wire in the web between each pair of rail pieces around the hinges?  Ten minutes at most with either option is a hassle?

A few questions:
When you add the phosphor bronze wire across the hinge, is it solid wire?  If so, does that make the points springier to a significant degree?

If you add feeders directly to the point rails, do you drill the hole for the feeder in the foot?

The challenge for me when adding feeders or jumpers to things like Atlas or Micro Engineering code 55 turnouts is not melting the ties.  Usually I can pull that off, but sometimes.....

I realize that adding feeders/jumpers to scratch-built turnouts with wood or PC ties is a lot less fraught.
George
NKPH&TS #3628

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

ednadolski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2023, 07:49:03 PM »
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Especially those of us who aren't the best at soldering.

In a tight place like that it can be very easy to bridge or solder something that you don't want soldered (as me how I know...  :facepalm:).

Ed