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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#1 Posted : 12 January 2023 17:08:53(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
Hi everyone,

I'm working on some higher-level planning for block operation, and came upon a potentially expensive problem: the desire to use contact tracks, but the fact I have about 1000 axles worth of Trix and Roco freight/passenger cars needing conversion to AC wheelsets

I have to do some DCC research to see how the 2 rail guys handle this, but it appears at a glance the account for locomotive draw, and not the cars behind it.

Anyhow, in the spirit of working with what I've got, does anyone have ideas for bridging the existing axles? Two ideas I had are below, but I'm open to suggestions!

1- Find some sort of conductive paint to use from axle shaft to wheel over the insulated bit. This sounds almost too easy, but I don't know an appropriate paint and I worry about reliability

2- Solder the world's shortest wire patch from shaft to inside of the wheel, of course making sure I avoid anything that could interfere with the rails etc... This is assuming the electroplating will accept solder- which I haven't tested yet

Any experience or ideas?

Edited by user 12 January 2023 20:31:37(UTC)  | Reason: factual edit

FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline cintrans  
#2 Posted : 12 January 2023 17:28:08(UTC)
cintrans

Aruba   
Joined: 11/07/2018(UTC)
Posts: 82
Location: Aruba (general), Oranjestad
Hi

Maybe a simple (or dumb) idea, but for the cars i would just switch every other axle around....
Meaning on one car one isolated wheel would be on the right side the other axle the isolated wheel would be on the left side....

Could also work for non-driven axles on a lok i guess...

Regards
Jean-Pierre
Offline rbw993  
#3 Posted : 12 January 2023 17:40:18(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 902
Originally Posted by: cintrans Go to Quoted Post
Hi

Maybe a simple (or dumb) idea, but for the cars i would just switch every other axle around....
Meaning on one car one isolated wheel would be on the right side the other axle the isolated wheel would be on the left side....

Could also work for non-driven axles on a lok i guess...

Regards
Jean-Pierre



That would only work with metal bogies. You can buy a conductive ink pen to connect the insulated wheel to the axle. I have used this method. A Google search shpould turn up something you can get locally.

Roger
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Offline pederbc  
#4 Posted : 12 January 2023 17:45:43(UTC)
pederbc

Sweden   
Joined: 11/06/2007(UTC)
Posts: 155
Location: Eslöv, Sweden
Hmm, i don’t understand how a turnover of axles will unisolate? It would if there’s a connection between the axles, but most often there isn’t.

On dc loks there must be a pickup on each side. Remove the cable attached on one wheelside from the circuit board (or whatever) and connect to the other wheelside. Then connect a cable from the previous point to a pickup shoe (if possible to attach).

Peder
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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#5 Posted : 12 January 2023 18:17:34(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
As they sit, the axles don't work regardless of direction, since they are insulated.

Roger has the right idea with an ink pen, much like my paint idea. Its added to the list. I prefer a paint for removal later if necessary, but ink might come off with a solvent.

I need to check the electrical specs, but I was looking at something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/M...n%2Caps%2C140&sr=8-3
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline rhfil  
#6 Posted : 12 January 2023 18:35:58(UTC)
rhfil

United States   
Joined: 05/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 281
Location: NEW HAMPSHIRE, Somersworth
You mean contact tracks and not circuit tracks. Circuit tracks are activated by a slider. Would not your ac loco activate the contact track? There are a number of current conducting paints/pastes/grease/adhesive available on Amazon.
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#7 Posted : 12 January 2023 20:33:29(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
Originally Posted by: rhfil Go to Quoted Post
You mean contact tracks and not circuit tracks. Circuit tracks are activated by a slider. Would not your ac loco activate the contact track? There are a number of current conducting paints/pastes/grease/adhesive available on Amazon.



VERY good correction- yes, contact tracks! (with C track) Edit made above
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline French_Fabrice  
#8 Posted : 12 January 2023 20:56:30(UTC)
French_Fabrice

France   
Joined: 16/05/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,441
Location: Lyon, France
Hello,

I'm taking another point of view.

1) you want to make blocks (probably for automation and use of a dedicated software like Rocrail, Itrain or TrainControler or another one?)
2) unfortunately you have many axles isolated, which may generate issues in your blocks if you use the well known method of contact tracks

-> Instead of using contact tracks, try to investigate in optical sensors. Optical sensors avoid the "isolated axle" issue. As you are thinking, it is a possibility.

I've recently experienced Busch IR sensors. It works absolutely fine.
Of course it may have drawbacks:
-The Busch sensor is viewable. It is not invisible as contact tracks are
-The price...

See there: https://www.marklin-user...on-Busch-infrared-sensor

Have nice thinking BigGrin
Cheers
Fabrice
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Offline Mark5  
#9 Posted : 12 January 2023 21:04:38(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,317
Location: Montreal, Canada
Hello John,
Certainly one possibility for contact would be changing only one axle per car, which would reduce the amount 75% per car with 4 axles and 50% per double axle; you get the idea. Not sure if wheel colour match would be an issue. You could also do both the conductive ink pen and change only one axle to ensure certain contact.

Either way instead of 1000 axles guessing you might be down to 250 to 400 depending on your rolling stock.

- Mark
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam, so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by Mark5
Online 1borna  
#10 Posted : 12 January 2023 21:22:27(UTC)
1borna

Croatia   
Joined: 21/12/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,127
Location: Hrvatska
Soldering the wire on the inside of the wheel could easily damage the thin plastic insulation and that wheel would start
to "dance" and become unusable. A long time ago (half a century ago) I wrapped short springs from ballpoint pens cut
to size on DC shafts.
Regarding the application of conductive paint, I came across a post on a forum in which the author warns that it
happened to him the paint (resistor in it) became very hot when left under voltage for a long time and eventually caught
the wagon on fire!
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Offline cintrans  
#11 Posted : 13 January 2023 00:01:42(UTC)
cintrans

Aruba   
Joined: 11/07/2018(UTC)
Posts: 82
Location: Aruba (general), Oranjestad
[
That would only work with metal bogies. You can buy a conductive ink pen to connect the insulated wheel to the axle. I have used this method. A Google search shpould turn up something you can get locally.

Roger



You'r right, that would not work with plastic bogies....
But it would work on coaches that have the copper pick-up strip connecting the two axles for the lighting of the coaches....

Regards

Jean-Pierre

Offline rhfil  
#12 Posted : 13 January 2023 00:43:57(UTC)
rhfil

United States   
Joined: 05/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 281
Location: NEW HAMPSHIRE, Somersworth
Depending on what exactly you are trying to achieve it might be possible to use the contact tracks as on/off switches with the loco turning on and then have a single ac car at the end to turn off. That would remove the necessity to convert every car.
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Offline applor  
#13 Posted : 13 January 2023 02:10:20(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,574
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Wagons etc are easy because you can just swap the whole axle for AC. You certainly don't need every axle to be AC, really just the end card, end axle (maybe a few in between the end card and loco just for visibility)

What is tricky are some of my Roco AC for Marklin locomotives actually have a DC axle on the front bogie, which means they wouldn't register on the S88 contact until the driving wheels reached it resulting in messed up stopping distances.
For those Roco ones I found the wheels were isolated by a double ended plastic socket. Therefore I drilled out the end of the socket to make a plastic cylinder. I tried filling the gap with conductive liquid but it didn't give contact, the best (and easiest) solution was to buy some tiny cheap metal springs from ebay china, cut them down in length a bit and use those in the middle of the cylinder. Perfect continuity all the time.
modelling era IIIa (1951-1955) Germany
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Offline Bigdaddynz  
#14 Posted : 13 January 2023 02:16:25(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,520
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post
Any experience or ideas?


I've used this conductive 'varnish' on a couple of my Trix B44 locos.

https://www.jaycar.co.nz...ductive-varnish/p/NS3030

I had to apply three coats before the wheels were bridged. I can't make any comment about long term reliability.

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Offline Mark5  
#15 Posted : 13 January 2023 03:40:31(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,317
Location: Montreal, Canada
Hi John,
I had a thought that may help. Something I have been working out in my drawings and plans.
That is to have 1) magnets and reed switches for one group of locos say Steam, then 2) say circuit track or something slider triggered for diesel and 3) perhaps contact track for electric. This way Rocrail could direct any train from that group to a specific service area or station. JohnJean may tell me that is unnecessary since Rocrail knows where each loco is at any time.

My point is that you may not know which form of feedback for your s88 modules will work best for you until you have your layout planned out and the rolling stock is likely the last thing that you find imperative to bring into its full glory.

Perhaps changing a few cars and building some consists by various methods is best rather than going through all 1000 axles or say 350 cars methodically at once. Why not keep that option as a possibility and just work on how your track should be laid out for the length of trains you desire before diving into that phase of the project?

Step by step.... I am one to talk though, I went all in with a lot of things all at once trying to run before I can walk. I have way too much M-track and now planning on using C for my shadow say. I have a good number of Roco and Piko that fit my era, without a plan to change over my wheels to AC. Signals I have just about the right number (thank you), but have a good number of the old M-track era signals to unload, though I may use a few in less visible areas. ...

I would be curious to hear about your current layout plan in your new digs.
Cheers,
Mark
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam, so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#16 Posted : 13 January 2023 07:38:51(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
Thanks all!

Lots of good ideas. Some logic and answers:

Cost aside, I'd like to convert all of my axles to the appropriate, AC, factory part number wheelsets. This is simply good housekeeping and a preventative recipe against poor running characteristics. But of course the cost is scary...

@mark5 - There is no plan yet, but I'm in the phase where I'm evaluating what I have, what I want to do, and what I need to get there. I'm in great shape for digital devices and even signals (not that you would know about the latter! LOL ), and my clear wish is to have block signaling to avoid collisions, but no automation. The latter is beyond my interest.

@applor- very interesting idea on the springs!!!

So the good news is the blocks are really only for the mainlines. Any shunting or manual operation I like to do myself, aka manually :) But I'll have a few long enough runs to warrant 2-4 trains on the same track without colliding.

Optical recognition is interesting, but the reality is the contact tracks are so easy to make and reliable with C track (and cheap/free) that is it the way to go.
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
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Offline Mark5  
#17 Posted : 13 January 2023 13:03:47(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,317
Location: Montreal, Canada
Well if you are going all in then perhaps your dealer or marklin direct could give you a bulk deal.
In our town we have "Bulk Barn" ...cheaper by the dozen.

Cheers and log in your hours. Let us know how long that takes. ThumpUp


Added later: Got curious and boom... Work out a deal for 1000.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/125581461033?

Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post
......

Cost aside, I'd like to convert all of my axles to the appropriate, AC, factory part number wheelsets. This is simply good housekeeping and a preventative recipe against poor running characteristics. But of course the cost is scary...
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam, so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by Mark5
Online 1borna  
#18 Posted : 13 January 2023 13:51:04(UTC)
1borna

Croatia   
Joined: 21/12/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,127
Location: Hrvatska
As far as I'm aware and I've done it myself several times in larger stores, they will exchange DC wheels for AC or vice versa for free when you buy.
Admittedly, this is done with new, unused wheels, while it would be a little more difficult for used ones?
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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#19 Posted : 16 January 2023 20:41:10(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
Thanks all! I have a few ideas based on this. I need to get some paint and experiment. It will be a few months, but I will report back on findings!
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline Mikael  
#20 Posted : 21 January 2023 21:44:54(UTC)
Mikael

Denmark   
Joined: 10/09/2004(UTC)
Posts: 957
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Uhlenbrock 40410 is made specifically for this problem:
https://uhlenbrock-shop.de/Widerstandslack-10-ml
Offline Minok  
#21 Posted : 23 January 2023 23:02:56(UTC)
Minok

United States   
Joined: 15/10/2006(UTC)
Posts: 2,278
Location: Washington, Pacific Northwest
The resistive paint is made for doing DC S88 detection, which uses current draw to detect the presence of the loco. The paint is like a small resistor that shows up as current draw to the S88 module for that DC variant of S88.
For the 3 conductor AC S88 detection, the electrical connection between the two rails is what is detected.. that is the 'floating isolated' rail when it is grounded to the track ground by the axle , is detected.
If a non-tiny resistance is used rather than a short (which is what the S88 AC detection is looking for), that may well not pull the floating isolated rail down to ground enough.
After all on the DC 2 rail usage, you need to maintain, and not short, the rails as you are connecting the +ve and -ve rails via that resistive paint. (I'm using + and - here for convenience ).

So what I'd try as a solution is a conductive paint that has silver in it for near zero ohm purposes. But as mentioned, the goal really should be to put proper non-insulated wheel sets in, to also get the correct flange dimensions and spacing to run on the tracks in question to get better running over turnouts.
Toys of tin and wood rule!
---
My Layout Thread on marklin-users.net: InterCity 1-3-4
My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Minok1217/
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#22 Posted : 24 January 2023 08:07:33(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,396
Location: Hybrid Home
Has this German business already been mentioned - see link?

https://www.modellbahnra...-wechselstromanlagen-ac/

The gent markets “self-made” AC wheel sets “en gros” for various sizes and makes. Even though his price list doesn’t mention it, it seems as if he is shipping abroad.
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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#23 Posted : 24 January 2023 21:52:50(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,225
Location: CA, USA
Originally Posted by: Alsterstreek Go to Quoted Post
Has this German business already been mentioned - see link?

https://www.modellbahnra...-wechselstromanlagen-ac/

The gent markets “self-made” AC wheel sets “en gros” for various sizes and makes. Even though his price list doesn’t mention it, it seems as if he is shipping abroad.



That is an interesting resource in general! Lots of good sizes and more available. thanks for posting!
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
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