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@BradFish1 posted:

Doesn't the CRC leave an oily film since it is a "conditioner" as well?

That is my impression. The one, and ONLY, time I tried it on the layout it didn't take long for the DCS  signal strength do drop dramatically! I then re-cleaned all the main line trackage with acrylic lacquer thinner, and everything returned to normal. Never used it on the layout again.

However it does seem to work pretty well on the electrical plug/connections for the outside heated birdbaths in the winter months.

The CRC cleaner I use doesn't leave anything I can detect on the tracks, and it has zero effect on any track signal that I can see either.  It's also rated very good as a non-polar cleaner.  Lacquer thinner, OTOH, is a very polar cleaner.

The CRC cleaner I use doesn't leave anything I can detect on the tracks, and it has zero effect on any track signal that I can see either.  It's also rated very good as a non-polar cleaner.  Lacquer thinner, OTOH, is a very polar cleaner.

Must admit that I don't know what a "no-polar" and "polar" cleaner is, but both acrylic lacquer thinner and denatured alcohol work excellently on my Atlas solid nickel silver track, for some 10 years, without any issues (we had both MTH and Legacy/TMCC control systems operating simultaneously).



 

Consensus seems to be CRC QD Cleaner is good because it works very well on things like O22 switches, it does not damage plastics, and, most important, use it in well ventillated area and use it sparingly so we don't blow up the house.

What is best way to use it sparingly?

Can we spray a little on a tooth brush outside of house, bring the toothbrush into the basement (where the furnace is), and apply the CRC with the toothbrush on the switch track?

What do you think?

Fumes can go a long way.

Also, some furnaces draw combustion air from outdoors.  If spraying outdoors, don't do it near the intake. At least I don't need to say "don't ask how I know this", because I didn't learn it the hard way.

The number of unknown hazards with these products is astounding. I had never thought about the possibility of sparking a fire as a result of cleaning the track.  Thanks for the heads-up.

Consensus seems to be CRC QD Cleaner is good because it works very well on things like O22 switches, it does not damage plastics, and, most important, use it in well ventillated area and use it sparingly so we don't blow up the house.

I don't know where that "consensus" came from, but leave me out of that group.  The CRC QC ranks very low in the list of effective and long lasting track cleaning products.

Here's the Product Description for the CRC Contact Cleaner & Protectant, looks like they think it's safe for most plastics as well.

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@Mallard4468 posted:

Fumes can go a long way.

Also, some furnaces draw combustion air from outdoors.  If spraying outdoors, don't do it near the intake. At least I don't need to say "don't ask how I know this", because I didn't learn it the hard way.

The number of unknown hazards with these products is astounding. I had never thought about the possibility of sparking a fire as a result of cleaning the track.  Thanks for the heads-up.

Some of these solvents listed are real dangerous.   The vapors form some of the solvent discussed will "travel" along a horizontal surface finding an ignition source.  An example could be using one of these solvents to clean parts in an open tray, set to the side and uncovered.  Now one plugs in a small hand held soldering iron to a nearby outlet.  A small arc occurs in the outlet and a resulting flash occurs, followed by the remaining fluid in the dish burring.

Same thing could happen with a rag with enough solvent applied.

Other solvents may be a bit more volatile and not concentrate near the surface and therefore be below the ignition point at some distance.  They will smell.  Please be careful from both a fire hazard and health hazard.

Last edited by DaveGG

You could always try carbon tetrachloride, some seriously nasty stuff!

Carbon tet is listed as a carcinogen by the government. Was used by the dry cleaning industry for many years, seeps into the soil and is now considered a hazardous waste material.  My daughter works for an environmental company and every time she has to take soil samples from an old dry cleaners she finds it.

50 years ago when I was in  college, we used carbon tetrachloride as a solvent in running NMRI testing in chemistry lab, no hydrogen atoms to interfere with the chemical.

For most of my needs, Odorless Mineral Spirits rule!

I don't know what it's Polar rating is, but it is cheap, good smelling, instantly dissolves all grease, grime and oil, instantly cleans an oily paint brush,  and evaporates amazingly fast.  It is flammable, but not explosively so.

It does zero harm to metal that I can tell.  It will fade plastic if you apply it directly.

When I need to clean a small electric or metal part, I pour some into the upright cap, drop the part in it, give it 3 minutes, dump the liquid and part out onto a cloth, and I am done.  No wiping, scraping or scrubbing.  The rag dries out in about 2 minutes from evaporation.

Mannyrock

I'm using this stuff right now for cleaning track, but only when it's powered off.  I picked it based on a number of threads on polar and non-polar solvents, chart included, it comes in pretty high on the "good" side.

I used to use Isopropyl alcohol, I want to see if this stuff does a better job.  I spray it on a rag and then wipe the track with it.

It is very flammable, at least according to the label.  I'm thinking in the future for track that I can't reach I can use my track cleaning car and my battery powered Camelback locomotive, no track voltage should mean no sparks to light this stuff up, news at 11:00PM.

  

Will this tend to be unfriendly to the rubber of traction tires?

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