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Offline Poor Skeleton  
#1 Posted : 17 October 2020 20:42:30(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 262
Location: England, Cambridge
Testing my recently returned 88889 today, I noticed the loco was stalling at the same location (on a point/turnout/switch depending on where you are and how pedantic you want to be) consistently. Needless to say it was one of the least accessible points on my layout. After quite a bit of investigation I realised no power was getting to the switch blades. If you're familiar with the anatomy of Z scale points (I'm not going to offer all the options again) you'll know there are little gold contacts near the pivot point that makes the contact and in this case there was not contact being made. No amount of cleaning seemed to be have any effect and in the end I removed the point from the layout to inspect more closely.

What I found was that the gold wipers were actually quite black and even after treatment with an array of solvents from my arsenal (and some kettle descaler, for good measure) they were certainly much cleaner but by no means bright and shiny! Still contact seems to be restored and I'll return it to the layout tomorrow, assuming nothing untoward has happened overnight.

However, I thought it would be interesting to see what the other points on my layout were doing and it seems all of them are presenting several tens of ohms or resistance, which makes me think they'll all be problematic at some point (haha!) in the future.

I'm interested to hear if anyone else has experienced the same problem and, if so how they go about cleaning the contacts? My track cleaner of choice at the moment is WD40 contact cleaner, but it made no impact on this occasion and I'm worried may even have made matters worse. I'm hoping I don't always have to remove a point from the layout to fix this problem.

I'd be really interested to hear other people's experience and advice on this subject.

All the best


Chris
Offline Zme  
#2 Posted : 19 October 2020 20:40:07(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 187
Location: West Texas
Hello

I don't recall which track you have. Is it Marklin?

If you want that contact cleaned, a substance with a light acid in it may clean it up. If it is removable, perhaps it could be soaked in Lemon juice or Coke. The lite acids in these may clean it up to the point where it begins to work. Be certain to keep an eye on this, to see how it is working and not damaging anything.

WD40 an issue? I don't use it on my layout so have no experience with this either. Do you think this may have contributed to the discoloration or contact issue, I know it leaves a substance layer on metal when it dries.

It is odd that the switch was previously working, but now stops for no obvious reason.

I have yet to find a discussion of switch issue which could offer a recommendation from the internet. Don't know why, but perhaps few have issues with the switches, and when there is a problem, it is just replaced.

Trying to help.

Best wishes

Dwight
Offline Poor Skeleton  
#3 Posted : 19 October 2020 21:07:02(UTC)
Poor Skeleton

United Kingdom   
Joined: 09/10/2015(UTC)
Posts: 262
Location: England, Cambridge
Originally Posted by: Zme Go to Quoted Post
I don't recall which track you have. Is it Marklin?

If you want that contact cleaned, a substance with a light acid in it may clean it up. If it is removable, perhaps it could be soaked in Lemon juice or Coke. The lite acids in these may clean it up to the point where it begins to work. Be certain to keep an eye on this, to see how it is working and not damaging anything.


Yes it's all Marklin track, (well aside from a few lengths of Peco flexible in the hidden section).

Originally Posted by: Zme Go to Quoted Post
WD40 an issue? I don't use it on my layout so have no experience with this either. Do you think this may have contributed to the discoloration or contact issue, I know it leaves a substance layer on metal when it dries.

It is odd that the switch was previously working, but now stops for no obvious reason.

I have yet to find a discussion of switch issue which could offer a recommendation from the internet. Don't know why, but perhaps few have issues with the switches, and when there is a problem, it is just replaced.


I'm using WD40 contact cleaner rather than regular WD40, which claims to leave no residue and doesn't as far as I've been able to tell.

I removed the point and the contacts were quite black and required quite a bit of scraping with a glass pencil to get them bright again. Contact is now a lot better, but not 100%, I think. I did try cleaning with vinegar, which seemed to help, but by the morning the contacts were dark again, so I suspect that leaves a residue that corrodes the contact.

Thanks for the suggestions, I suspect I'll be adding to this thread as I make more discoveries!

Cheers


Chris
Offline Zme  
#4 Posted : 19 October 2020 21:34:11(UTC)
Zme

United States   
Joined: 02/10/2013(UTC)
Posts: 187
Location: West Texas
Hi. Don’t know what I was thinking. It was not long ago, we had a discussion about the WD contact cleaner. That should not be a issue.

I have noticed some metal polishing which occurs with the use of the ultrasonic cleaner. I have to leave items such as brushes or wheel contacts in a bit longer for this noticeable change to happen. When finished, they look like new.

Best wishes for a solution.

Dwight
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