AmFlyer posted:

Two different questions. The engine will definitely run smoother and "better" without all the sparking and dropouts.

So is it possible that new Gargraves track is a better "electrical path" than original Flyer track? Assuming, of course, that both types are clean?

Mark in Oregon 

  The cleaner path has an effect for sure. My track varies from the 30s to present day stuff.

  The new stuff with it's better pin connections and smooth tarnish free surfaces definitely makes a difference, requiring less wire drops, and having less voltage drop over distances. Both work and I'm not chomping at the bit for new; but I won't deny new is going to be better unless (maybe) I start soldering to improve or jump over the weaker older connections.

A diffence in metal quality, thickness, shape, the number of joints and path connections and quality all play into the puzzle to different degrees.

Here is one for you; pressure also cuts resistance. Same sq. inch contact will have less resistance with more pressure applied. (supprisingly less resistance. If you want to chase the math it's out there)

  With less resistance you'll have less sparking as the intended path is more sound. The sparks occur during brief interuption or high resistance from wheel to track, which may fade once the intitial voltage jump of the connection is made if the connection can flow the amps.  As amp draw rises the weak connections begin suffering again at some point creating heat based on resistance seen, which adds more resistance... it can be a viscious cycle at some point in connection deterioration. 

  Wheels moving on the track prevent heat build up there; it's issues are mostly because it does move around. But weak connections at track joints can be another story.  E.g., with a heavy draw and some running time, you can spot weak connections with an IR thermometer or even a finger if it's very weak.(Ive had hollow O pins glowing red hot, careful of that finger )

 (I expected less ohms on the smoke units 25-30Ω & didn't ever bother with the actual math; pure guesstimate. Thanks for that.  Gilbert's approach to electrical is a bit unusual to me, it dives deep into theory early on for even simple things. I had to teach myself far beyond it (like working on TVs, coin op, and electronic controls) for years before I really began understanding the approach and lingo. It's learning approach may have been easier had I known nothing when I encountered it. It seems intent on making an engineer out you vs a knowledgable tech. Not bad; just more intense progression and assumption of student knowledge. I don't care for the technique myself and like my teacher lean towards Plato's advice; to teach well, the teacher must assume the student knows nothing)

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Adriatic posted:

  The cleaner path has an effect for sure. My track varies from the 30s to present day stuff.

  The new stuff with it's better pin connections and smooth tarnish free surfaces definitely makes a difference, requiring less wire drops, and having less voltage drop over distances. Both work and I'm not chomping at the bit for new; but I won't deny new is going to be better unless (maybe) I start soldering to improve or jump over the weaker older connections.

A diffence in metal quality, thickness, shape, the number of joints and path connections and quality all play into the puzzle to different degrees.

Here is one for you; pressure also cuts resistance. Same sq. inch contact will have less resistance with more pressure applied. (supprisingly less resistance. If you want to chase the math it's out there)

  With less resistance you'll have less sparking as the intended path is more sound. The sparks occur during brief interuption or high resistance from wheel to track, which may fade once the intitial voltage jump of the connection is made if the connection can flow the amps.  As amp draw rises the weak connections begin suffering again at some point creating heat based on resistance seen, which adds more resistance... it can be a viscious cycle at some point in connection deterioration. 

  Wheels moving on the track prevent heat build up there; it's issues are mostly because it does move around. But weak connections at track joints can be another story.  E.g., with a heavy draw and some running time, you can spot weak connections with an IR thermometer or even a finger if it's very weak.(Ive had hollow O pins glowing red hot, careful of that finger )

 (I expected less ohms on the smoke units 25-30Ω & didn't ever bother with the actual math; pure guesstimate. Thanks for that.  Gilbert's approach to electrical is a bit unusual to me, it dives deep into theory early on for even simple things. I had to teach myself far beyond it (like working on TVs, coin op, and electronic controls) for years before I really began understanding the approach and lingo. It's learning approach may have been easier had I known nothing when I encountered it. It seems intent on making an engineer out you vs a knowledgable tech. Not bad; just more intense progression and assumption of student knowledge. I don't care for the technique myself and like my teacher lean towards Plato's advice; to teach well, the teacher must assume the student knows nothing)

Although I've been in this hobby for years and years, I still know very little about what actually makes things work, so that would be me... 

Mark in Oregon

 

Gilbert track is made from a relatively heavy gauge steel and the railhead is almost flat making for a large rail to wheel contact area. As Adriatic pointed out, traction is good but the susceptibility to sparking is greater. In a layout using Gilbert track virtually all the resistance and voltage drop is in the track connections and the brass sliding contacts in the turnouts. The turnout contacts can be cleaned to eliminate the resistance. Track pins which are solid steel must be clean and tight. I also use a light coating of conductive grease on the track pins.

Since Gilbert track is not plated it can be sanded or polished if desired. There is a process called burnishing that some S gauge operators have done to their track to improve performance, it is a lot of work. There are posts here about that process, search on burnishing.

GarGraves S track is made from a lighter gauge of steel and stainless steel is available for optional order. The railhead is not as flat as the Gilbert track resulting in a smaller wheel to rail contact area. This contributes to less sparking. Compared to Gilbert track the GarGraves also has a smoother finish which contributes to less sparking as well. The GarGraves track pins are brass and seem to work ok when joining two pieces of GarGraves track.

If you really want zero sparking use solid NS rail. My permanent S gauge layout uses MTH/SHS .138 NS rail. There is never any sparking.

Tom

Thanks Tom

"Sparking" in and of itself doesn't really bother me, except that I find I have to polish the tender wheels more often when sparking does occur. I mentioned it here only because I see it happening less with the GarGraves product, and wondered if there might be a connection.

 I actually had/tried/used some of the American Models sectional (solid rail) track. It also showed no sparking, and since it was brass, it reminded me of a slightly larger version of the old brass Atlas Snap Track. That stuff, however, is long gone.

When I was "doing" 2 rail 0 scale, I did burnish the small amount of track I had; it did take a lot of effort!

I like the fact that GarGraves track is readily available, is still made in the US and has a certain "old school" charm to it. In my recent dealings with them, I find they are very helpful, and also "readily available" by 'phone. 

My only wish is that they would see fit to make a turnout less "Flyer-like" and produce a #6 or something along those lines. Has anyone here tried constructing such a thing using GarGraves components? If so, I'd like to see the results. If not, perhaps that's something I might consider trying myself...

Mark in Oregon

Hi all, this has been a great thread. I did want to share a few things I have seen.

all of the older transformers and many of the newer ones were designed with out regard to the condition of the input power.  That is to say how clean it is.  If the power condition was figured at all it was assumed to be inductive.

because of the dramatic growth in consumer electronics our power has become more of a capacitive load.  This causes hooks and other problems in the incoming power. 

Those issues are passed they the transformer and seen on the secondary side. Rectification to dc does help to some extent but you still get spikes.

depending on the area that you live these issues can cause problems not only with your layout but in other places as well. Am example being do you have to replace incandescent bulbs all the time? 

The above problem are greatly multiplied on multi Wire circuits and in areas that are adjacent to any large retail or commercial business 

 

I think my wife is onto me, She was walking around singing

”Honey you can’t hide your Lionels”

 Lol. Shopping areas are the worst. Industry is usually more careful. I've had to chase power flukes with modern electric components clear to high tension lines. Being wye or delta made a difference even at the 120v knockdown.  There is no way of knowing how things react until you try and designers rarely seem to have or even consider, wye AND delta access. After a day or so of strike outs, I checked to see what the engineer used (takes time and lots of calls)

There will always be trouble somewhere, sooner or later. You can usually change things to accommodate a workaround, finding where and why on a board is the challenge. Electromechanical is much more forgiving. 

Strummer, I've rarely met a guitarist without some electrical experience... sooner or later those knobs, pickups, cords or effects don't cut it and things get opened. Sooner or later the info from both activities will meet, then "look out world...it aint Strummer it's "Strutter""  

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





The American Models website states that their track is brass, not nickel silver, and they say it has better conductivity than NS (but they don’t mention that the oxidation that forms on brass inhibits it’s conductivity). The golden color of the AM tracks also suggests it is brass.

Bill in FtL

Adriatic posted:

Strummer, I've rarely met a guitarist without some electrical experience... sooner or later those knobs, pickups, cords or effects don't cut it and things get opened. Sooner or later the info from both activities will meet, then "look out world...it aint Strummer it's "Strutter""  

...  ...

Well, I do know a little  : I have replaced a pot or two in my Les Paul, but I leave any work on my hollow bodies to the experts.

When it comes to "amperes and wattage and volts" and how those apply to my trains: that's when I get confused. Seems I never had to think about those things much in N and H0... 

Mark in Oregon

Bill Nielsen posted:

The American Models website states that their track is brass, not nickel silver, and they say it has better conductivity than NS (but they don’t mention that the oxidation that forms on brass inhibits it’s conductivity). The golden color of the AM tracks also suggests it is brass.

Bill in FtL

I have a very hard time believing that. Silver is the best metallic conductor. At 62.1 on Siemens conductivity scale

nickle come in right under brass, at 14.3 and 15.9 respectively. All other properties make nickle the better choice.

A nickle silver alloy would be ideal for track application.

low thermal expansion. More resistant to oxidation not to mention is a harder metal.

i don’t think they are comparing apples to apples.

I think my wife is onto me, She was walking around singing

”Honey you can’t hide your Lionels”

Those turnouts were made by Right of Way Industries back in the 1980's. I bought some from a vendor at the DuPage train show in 1990. He had these and also some #8's. I installed the NJ Industries solenoids with auxiliary contacts to remotely operate the turnouts and to switch the power feeds to the correct terminals for the straight and diverging point positions. I used some of these in a layout I made with GarGraves flex track, they worked fine.

Tom

I think the greater mass of S compared to HO helps break through the oxide, whether brass or NS. The “silver” in NS only refers to the color of the metal, there is no actual silver in the alloy. I have noticed a color difference in my HO rail depending on the manufacturer (I use mostly Atlas rail with Peco Oe turnouts for my On30). One definitely has a more yellow hue to it, though at the moment, I can’t remember which one it is.

Bill in FtL

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