Carpet as a Base and fears of fire

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Carpet as a Base and fears of fire
Posted by PunMaster on Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:38 AM

I am just getting into the O gauge part of the hobby and I see a lot of layouts with a green carpet base and I like how it looks for what I am planning for my layout. I just have concerns about, well, fire. Is there a type of carpet I can get that will not catch fire?  Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Posted by wrmcclellan on Thursday, August 22, 2019 8:24 AM

Interesting question. You can read this...CFR stands for Code of Federal Regulations

https://www.cpsc.gov/Business--Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Carpets-and-Rugs

 

Regards, Roy

            

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Posted by Roger Carp on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:17 AM

Hi Punmaster,

 

Please contact me at Classic Toy Trains for help with your question.

 

Sincerely,

 

Roger Carp

Senior editor

Classic Toy Trains

262-796-8776 ext. 253

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Posted by phrankenstign on Friday, August 23, 2019 1:36 AM

Roger Carp

Hi Punmaster,

 

Please contact me at Classic Toy Trains for help with your question.

 

Sincerely,

 

Roger Carp

Senior editor

Classic Toy Trains

262-796-8776 ext. 253

Why be secretive about it?  I'll bet there are others who are curious now that the question has been posed.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Friday, August 23, 2019 6:22 PM

I would say, not as much as catching fire as there would be a very good chance of getting fibers wrapped around the axles and jaming them to where the engine could barely move if not bind it up completly. Now again it would depend on the carpet also.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Friday, August 23, 2019 7:04 PM

I run this Standard Gauge #8 with 24 volts and often the rollers get red hot if they're not as lubricated as I like.  So far (knock wood) I've had no problems with this loco that sparks plenty even under the best conditions.

Where I did have an issue was over on another layout with my 14 volt lighting grid:

This flamed up, but the carpet, installed in the early 1970's, did not ignite.

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Posted by cnw1995 on Sunday, August 25, 2019 10:24 AM

I've used indoor / outdoor carpet for the layout base for years without a problem. It is fire resistant per Roy's post above. I am careful about where to run accessory wiring - and using the proper gauge of wire so it doesn't get hot. I had lots of help here with that.

Doug Murphy 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...' Henry V.

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Posted by lionelsoni on Sunday, August 25, 2019 2:47 PM

Amen to Doug's advice about wire gauge.  I'll take this opportunity to expand on it a little:

Any wire has a quality called its "ampacity", which is the amount of current that it can carry without getting too hot.  Big wires have more ampacity, small wires less.  Copper and silver have more ampacity, most other metals have less.

To avoid fire, wiring should be protected against "overcurrent"--current greater than the wiring's ampacity.  This is what circuit breakers and fuses do.  Slow-blow fuses and the thermal circuit breakers in traditional toy train transformers are examples of such devices, that exploit the fact that brief overcurrents are harmless.

Some approximate ampacities for copper wire are 15 amperes for 14 AWG, 10 amperes for 16 AWG, 8 amperes for 18 AWG, and 5 amperes for 20 AWG.  These currents are not the normal current drawn by the load, but rather the currents at which the overcurrent protection opens the circuit.

So the smallest Scout locomotive, if powered by a ZW, needs its track to be wired with 14 AWG, even though it would normally never draw anywhere close to the 15 amperes that would trip the ZW's circuit breaker.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by ADCX Rob on Sunday, August 25, 2019 5:16 PM

PunMaster
...concerns about, well, fire. Is there a type of carpet I can get that will not catch fire?

It would actually be very difficult to find carpet that does catch on fire.

Rob

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Posted by teledoc on Monday, August 26, 2019 10:03 AM

Why does Roger always post “contact me......”, and appear to be so secretive.  It never adds to the answer, that other‘s can learn from.  I just can not understand his constant “Contact Me” posts.  What am I missing here???

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Posted by David1005 on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 3:08 AM
100% wool carpet does not burn. Most of the plastics will burn if you get them hot enough. And the smoke from many burning plastics is toxic.
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Posted by rtraincollector on Saturday, August 31, 2019 4:23 PM

 

teledoc

Why does Roger always post “contact me......”, and appear to be so secretive.  It never adds to the answer, that other‘s can learn from.  I just can not understand his constant “Contact Me” posts.  What am I missing here???  

according to him he passes them on to one of his editors who do a question answer thing in CTT, but it has been asked a lot of times about this, and most of us would agree he has done this on enough for his editor could go a couple years on these alone. And I have yet to see one of the questions come up in a CTT magazine. 

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Posted by teledoc on Sunday, September 01, 2019 1:14 AM

Rtraincollector, That’s my whole point.  There are members who could and would answer the question, so others can learn, publicly.  The constant “Contact me”, serves no useful purpose, and is a complete Turn Off.  Supposedly, this gets passed to Joe Mania, to answer in his column.  Funny is that Joe Mania is fairly local to my location, and just a phone call away.  If other members could answer, it would benefit many.  I’m just ranting for nothing, I guess.

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Posted by rtraincollector on Sunday, September 01, 2019 6:20 PM

Teldoc that has been a lot of peoples point, but since he runs the magazine and offeers this forum for free it's his ball game, your not alone in feeling that way. 

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Posted by Penny Trains on Sunday, September 01, 2019 6:50 PM

Do what I do.  Answer the question anyways.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, September 01, 2019 8:08 PM

I've seen layouts where people use a short-pile carpet, I think it's called "Berber," as a base for their trackage on the layout table.  The thing is, they don't run the wiring under  the carpet, they drill the table and run the wiring under the table and up through  the carpet.  That way the wiring's always accessable and doesn't lead to other issues. 

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Posted by rtraincollector on Sunday, September 01, 2019 9:31 PM

Flintlock76

I've seen layouts where people use a short-pile carpet, I think it's called "Berber," as a base for their trackage on the layout table.  The thing is, they don't run the wiring under  the carpet, they drill the table and run the wiring under the table and up through  the carpet.  That way the wiring's always accessable and doesn't lead to other issues. 

 

Yes

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Posted by mersenne6 on Monday, September 02, 2019 10:21 AM

I've never had a permanent layout - all of my railroads (in some 50 years of running) have been Carpet Centrals.  My job is such that I've lived/rented in a number of different cities and have run the trains on all types of carpet.  As was noted above, the only issue I've ever had was that of fibers either wrapping around the axles or getting caught in the lube grease.  

  Only once did I have a short which resulted in the kind of fried/melted wire pictured in one of the earlier posts.  The melted plastic from the wire had fused to some of the carpet pile but the pile itself was unharmed.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Monday, September 02, 2019 6:59 PM

I should give a bit of info.  This:

...was caused by inferior "no name" electrical tape slipping during layout disassembly.  The wires were running under the rails a short distance from the Monorail station to a connecting area beneath the Autopia.  Roughly top center to behind the blue roof structure accross the tracks in this photo:

Somehow the wires became stretched and contacted one another at a taped-over joint.  A simple short to be sure but down on the carpet six feet from my power center it got away from me before I could get the system shut down.  The charred insulation did melt onto the carpet fibers a bit, but I was able to pull everything loose with no discernable damage to the rug.

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