Author Topic: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint  (Read 2337 times)

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Rossford Yard

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2023, 11:33:20 PM »
0
I'll try it. 

Related question, but how does anyone get rid of the bronze on the Atlas C55 frogs?  Would the stuff above help?  What about silver polish?  BTW, my frogs are wired, so I don't have too many stalls, but also do a lot of slow switching.

Thanks in advance.

bbussey

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2023, 11:59:13 PM »
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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.

I handlay, so I use rail joiners cut in sections the width of a railroad tie as the footing for the hinge and the phosphor bronze wire as the "lock" to prevent the point rail from sliding out of the hinge.  the rail joiner hinge is soldered to the corresponding PCB tie.  I solder the feeder wires to the stock rails and frog point rails.  The copper ties conduct to the point rails and closure rails.  The feed to the frog goes to either a relay or a Frog Juicer.  Yes, solid .008" wire, about an inch long straddling the hinge, which doesn't affect movement in any way.  I have no "springy-ness" so that isn't an issue.  P-B wire drilled through the throwbar and soldered to the point rail tips insure full mobility of the point rails independent of the throwbar orientation.  I used to use solid closure/point rails, especially on longer turnouts, but they are a pain to get right and keep intact when directly soldered to the throwbar.  The rail doesn't want to flex and occasionally the solder joint pops.  When turnouts are built with hinged point rails and no slop, it isn't obvious, and the point rails aren't fighting against the throwbar.  Eventually I'm changing all of my solid point rails to hinged.

The tolerances of commercially-available turnouts are too loose for my preference ... although I have replaced the point rails and throwbar on Atlas c55 turnouts, which tightens up the tolerances.
Bryan Busséy
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peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2023, 12:25:01 AM »
+1
I'll try it. 

Related question, but how does anyone get rid of the bronze on the Atlas C55 frogs?  Would the stuff above help?  What about silver polish?  BTW, my frogs are wired, so I don't have too many stalls, but also do a lot of slow switching.

Thanks in advance.

It is actually copper.  The Atlas frogs and guardrails are cast from some sort of pot metal, then copper plated, and lastly that is plated with nickel silver to match the rail color.  As the thin layer of nickel silver wears down (usually by abrasive track cleaning) it exposes the copper plating.  If you keep on cleaning the track, that will eventually remove the copper plating, and expose the base metal (which is silver).  This is one of the reasons that there are complaints about Atlas turnouts.
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Sokramiketes

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2023, 09:26:26 AM »
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I handlay, so I use rail joiners cut in sections the width of a railroad tie as the footing for the hinge and the phosphor bronze wire as the "lock" to prevent the point rail from sliding out of the hinge.  the rail joiner hinge is soldered to the corresponding PCB tie.  I solder the feeder wires to the stock rails and frog point rails.  The copper ties conduct to the point rails and closure rails.  The feed to the frog goes to either a relay or a Frog Juicer.  Yes, solid .008" wire, about an inch long straddling the hinge, which doesn't affect movement in any way.  I have no "springy-ness" so that isn't an issue.  P-B wire drilled through the throwbar and soldered to the point rail tips insure full mobility of the point rails independent of the throwbar orientation.  I used to use solid closure/point rails, especially on longer turnouts, but they are a pain to get right and keep intact when directly soldered to the throwbar.  The rail doesn't want to flex and occasionally the solder joint pops.  When turnouts are built with hinged point rails and no slop, it isn't obvious, and the point rails aren't fighting against the throwbar.  Eventually I'm changing all of my solid point rails to hinged.

The tolerances of commercially-available turnouts are too loose for my preference ... although I have replaced the point rails and throwbar on Atlas c55 turnouts, which tightens up the tolerances.

Can you provide some more details of the 1" long .008" solid wire solution?  Is it that long so you can solder it at the ends and it has some give over that distance?

With the hinge soldered to the PCB tie, I assume that tie is lower?  Are the PCB ties you're using thinner to compensate? 

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2023, 10:04:59 AM »
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I'll try it. 

Related question, but how does anyone get rid of the bronze on the Atlas C55 frogs?  Would the stuff above help?  What about silver polish?  BTW, my frogs are wired, so I don't have too many stalls, but also do a lot of slow switching.

Thanks in advance.

I think the solution is to KEEP them from turning bronze. Maybe try the tricks of No-OX or graphite to cut down on the track cleaning required in the first place.

peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2023, 11:08:58 AM »
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I think the solution is to KEEP them from turning bronze. Maybe try the tricks of No-OX or graphite to cut down on the track cleaning required in the first place.

 :trollface: Or use another brand of turnout where the frogs are cast from solid nickel-silver.  :trollface:  Yeah, I know . . .
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2023, 11:35:29 AM »
+3
:trollface: Or use another brand of turnout where the frogs are cast from solid nickel-silver.  :trollface:  Yeah, I know . . .

Show me another N scale Code 55 track line with North American tie spacing that has more than one size turnout and I'll be all over it!  :P

peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2023, 12:44:47 PM »
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Show me another N scale Code 55 track line with North American tie spacing that has more than one size turnout and I'll be all over it!  :P

Well, that is the problem looking for a solution and no takers.  Thus I used the troll face emoticons, and "Yeah, I know . . ." sentence.
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bbussey

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2023, 01:10:24 PM »
+2
Can you provide some more details of the 1" long .008" solid wire solution?  Is it that long so you can solder it at the ends and it has some give over that distance?

With the hinge soldered to the PCB tie, I assume that tie is lower?  Are the PCB ties you're using thinner to compensate?

Yes, you solder the wire ends up to vicinity of the hinge. I use Micro Engineering rail joiners, which are thin so no need to compensate for the added thickness.

I’ll snap a photo later and add it to this post.

UPDATE — This photo is of one of my latest turnouts, part of a #8 crossover.  In this design, the phosphor bronze wire is one long piece that has square folds with the two ends inserted through holes in the throwbar.  The throwbar is an HOn3 PCB tie with the copper removed from the top side.  The wire is soldered to the bottom of the throwbar and the electrical gap is cut after.  The wires are folded over at the tip of the point rails and soldered to the inside web of the point rails from the throwbar to just before the hinge, and then soldered to the closure rails beyond the hinge.  The rails are free to pivot as the throwbar moves.  The junction of the point and closure rails, the wire and the rail joiner hinge are barely noticeable even before paint.  The wire provides conductivity to the point rails from the closure rails, which conduct indirectly from the stock rails via the PCB ties.  I like using HOn3 ties for throwbars because they are a little wider to accommodate the hole for the throw wire.


« Last Edit: January 12, 2023, 12:17:17 AM by bbussey »
Bryan Busséy
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NSE #1117
www.bbussey.net


Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2023, 01:41:11 PM »
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Well, that is the problem looking for a solution and no takers.  Thus I used the troll face emoticons, and "Yeah, I know . . ." sentence.

And my use of the razz emoji in response!

basementcalling

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2023, 01:57:07 PM »
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At this point I am ready to just sell mine and use the money to go the Fast Tracks route. It's not just the connectivity issue that prevents the Atlas Code 55s from being bulletproof.
Peter Pfotenhauer

wazzou

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2023, 02:02:27 PM »
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I'm in the same boat, but I am going to jump in on the C40 route.
I have a pretty healthy cache of ME C55 flex currently, but I am hesitant to make the leap until I can feel confident I can secure the needed C40
flex needed moving forward.
Bryan

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peteski

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #27 on: January 11, 2023, 02:02:53 PM »
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And my use of the razz emoji in response!

Yeah, I was being overly cautions to erase any doubts which would paint me as an Atlas hater. I'm not.
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mmagliaro

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #28 on: January 11, 2023, 02:30:41 PM »
+4
Ed,
Okay, it's time for me to chime in here and throw a wet rag on your conductive paint   :trollface:

Seriously, I have used that carbon-based stuff experimentally, and here are the problems I suspect you will face eventually.
I have tested this stuff on, among other places, Kato Mikado drivers that lose their contact between the rims and phosphor bronze contact strips (or the strips and the center hub pickup).

1. It will lose contact.  Conductive paints (or glues) are just a glue with enough conductive material mixed in with it to conduct electricity.
It's not a strong, flexible 2-part epoxy.  Sooner or later (a few months at best), it will lose contact with those rails.  I abandoned the carbon-based products for this reason (and reason 2, below), and went with a thicker, sturdier cement made by MG Chemicals (Nickel Print), and eventually a silver-based material from Applied Technologies (of Exton, PA).  But on a track rail, where the expansion/contraction and flexing will be much worse than on a driver, I'd go with one of AT's 2-part silver conductive epoxies rather than their "paint" or "ink" products.

2. Conductivity.  As another poster pointed out, the carbon based resistance isn't too bad "an ohm or two", depending on what you are doing.  But 1 or 2 ohms can be devastating.  Consider 1 amp through a ohm load.  That will drop 1 whole volt.  If you have a handful of engines that happen to be conducting through, say, two of your patched-up turnouts, you could be dropping 2 volts through there, or more.

A whole amp x 1 volt = 1 watt of power.  That carbon stuff will get really hot and probably melt if it doesn't go up in a whiff of white smoke if it has to dissipate that much power.   For one or two locos, with a brief, intermittent moment when the carbon has to
conduct, sure, it will work.  But if you ever lose contact for an extended period (which is the whole problem with those turnouts, right?) with more load (short circuit... oh boy), it can fail catastrophically.

I'm afraid I fall into the "solder jumper wires" camp on this one.  If you really must use that conductive stuff,
you could try this: hide a short piece of wire in there that bridges most of the gap, and put the goo only at the tips to bridge it to the rails.  This accomplishes two things.  1. The wire can expand/contract and flex, so maybe you'll get lucky and it will take up most of the flexing so the glue joints don't break.  And 2, the carbon goo will only be bridge a fraction of an inch.  As such, it's resistance will be down in the hundredths of an ohm, hopefully, so even under heavy current conditions, it won't drop much voltage and won't have to dissipate much power.


mmagliaro

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Re: Fix your Code 55 turnouts with Conductive Paint
« Reply #29 on: January 11, 2023, 02:41:16 PM »
+5
I looked up the specs on this Bare stuff here:
https://faqs.bareconductive.com/hc/en-gb/articles/204848011-What-is-the-resistance-of-Electric-Paint-

55 ohm "per square", at 50 micron thickness.  This means that if you make a square patch of this stuff, of any side length,
the resistance from one side to the other is 55 ohm.  If you make the length 2x the width, then the resistance across the long
distance is noe 110 ohm.  The resistance decreases or increases linearly with the thickness.

Soooo... math time.
9mm across the rails.  Let's say that stripe if 3mm wide (about 1/8").  3x length compared to width means resistance will be
165 ohms (pretty awful) for a 50 micron thick strip.  But it your strip is 1/16" thick, that's 32x thicker than 50 micron, so the resistance would be 5 ohms, which is still pretty terrible.

Another tidbit from their website:
"Electric Paint has not been tested with a power source exceeding 12VDC or 50mA. You can use Electric Paint in applications with a higher voltage or current, however, we can't take any guarantee that the paint will work."