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First Static Grass Attempt - Big Failure

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  • Member since
    January 2018
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First Static Grass Attempt - Big Failure
Posted by kenben on Friday, April 2, 2021 3:16 PM

I bought a Woodlands Scenics Static King so I could add sme static grass to my new layout. It didn't work. All the grass lays flat! 

I inserted a 9V battery (first defect in the Static King is the battery lid will not close and lock once you connect a battery). I put the screen for 4mm on. Attached the grounding wire. Applied glue to the area (a 50/50 mix of water and Elmers glue). Attached the grounding anchor to the wet glue area and attached the grounding wire. Powered on the Static King and started lightly shaking the Static King over my wet area. All the grass just fell flat.

Is there a tric to this that I'm missing?

Thanks for any help.

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Posted by speedybee on Friday, April 2, 2021 3:42 PM

Maybe you're holding the static applicator too high above the surface? I've found it works best to get the applicator as low and close to the surface as you can without physically touching the standing grass... So like within an inch or so.

Also check that your 9v battery is good. 9v batteries quickly drop down below 9v.

I don't have a static king, I ended up buying a psg1, but from what I recall you can plug a static king into a wall wart type cord if you're certain you have the right voltage and polarity... Iirc I read someone saying the static king plug is center ground, which is the reverse of the conventional center positive

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Posted by Mark B on Friday, April 2, 2021 3:49 PM

It appears you've done everything correctly. My guess is that there is an electrical issue in your Static Master. You said the battery holder was ill fitting. Hard to tell if other internal issues may be causing your problem. I have been told that you do not want want to touch the ground wire as it does have a high voltage. I have a Noch applicator and follow the same method you describe and get great success.

Perhaps return to dealer or Woodland Scenics for replacement.

Mark B.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, April 2, 2021 3:51 PM

There are plenty of videos out there using the static king.  Maybe you need the wall wort (ac adaptor) instead of the battery, or as Speedybee says, maybe the battery is low.

WS has an instruction pdf on their web site.

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/instructions/FS639inst.pdf

Mike.

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  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
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Posted by Pruitt on Friday, April 2, 2021 4:54 PM

Sounds just like what happened to me a few months ago.

I have a Static King also. I tried a couple of 9V batteries I had around that still seemed to be good (they would run my Digitrax wireless throttle just fine). One was an off brand; the other a Duracell. I bought a brand new Duracell, and it worked so-so. I went to Batteries + Bulbs and bought a universal wall wart for the same price WS wants for theirs, but I didn't have to pay for shipping, or wait for it to arrive.

Static King works great with the wall wart! Here's a bad picture of some of the trackside long grass I've done with it.

It also takes a bit of practice. After an hour or so you'll find the rhythm that works best for you.

One thing to note - don't go to Best Buy and purchase their "universal" adapter. It only works for center positive devices, and there's no switch to make it negative center, which the Static King is (though the information that comes with the Static King doesn't tell you that). You would have to cut the lead that comes off the wall wart and reverse the wires. The Batteries + Bulbs adapter has a switch to reverse the polarity.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 2, 2021 5:42 PM

kenben
Powered on the Static King and started lightly shaking the Static King over my wet area. All the grass just fell flat.

I have not tried to apply static grass in over a decade. My attempts were failures as well.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
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Posted by Deane Johnson on Friday, April 2, 2021 6:25 PM

I've had the same experience with the Woodland Scenics unit.  9v. battery is a joke.  The door won't close either.  I bought the WS wall wart and it works pretty normal now.

It's very important to get the screen as close to the glue as possible.  I'm thinking the glue needs to be on deep enough to hold the grass stems vertical as they dry.

I don't use the 4 legged plug-in device that sits in the glue.  I use a "T" style push pin instead which seems to work OK.  I got tired of the 4 legged device getting clogged up with glue and with the clip falling off the clamping location.

  • Member since
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  • From: Columbia, IL
  • 367 posts
Posted by wdcrvr on Friday, April 2, 2021 9:55 PM

I have a static grass applicator that I made from an electric fly swatter.  It uses a 9v battery.  Can someone tell me how I can convert that to a wall wart to get better source of power?

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, April 3, 2021 2:03 PM

Also consider which static grass flock you use.  I found the Woodland Scenics flock to be too short and very disappointing.  I get Silflor flocking now, in 4 and 6 mm lengths and lots of colors.

I have a Gras-Tech applicator.  It's powered by two D cells.  That works well for me.

So the glue remains sticky and the surface doesn't dry out, I only do about a square foot at a time.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by kenben on Saturday, April 3, 2021 8:26 PM
Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. I'm brushing on my glue which is a 50/50 mix of water and glue. this surface is painted plywood. I'll also be applying onto foamboard. I'll use a wall wart and "T" pin and get as close as I can to the surface.
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Posted by trevorsmith3489 on Sunday, April 4, 2021 2:17 PM

I had colleagues at my model railway club who had poor results on their layout When they used my Noch applicator.

My Noch applicator had produced good results on my layout.

The difference was the glue.

I used good quality PVA glue applied without thinning. This is brushed on to the base surface a small area at a time, the static grass applied and the excess grass is vacuumed away. The vacuum helps the grass to "stand up."

This is left to dry before the next area is worked on.

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  • From: Fullerton, California
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Posted by hornblower on Sunday, April 4, 2021 2:20 PM

Pruitt
I tried a couple of 9V batteries I had around that still seemed to be good (they would run my Digitrax wireless throttle just fine)

 

Static grass applicators use A LOT of power.  An old 9V battery that still manages to run a wireless throttle might already be below 50% battery life.  USE a BRAND NEW battery!  As soon as you see less than perfect results, change the battery again!

 

Hornblower

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    September 2020
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Posted by JR Santa Fe on Sunday, April 4, 2021 11:37 PM

I bought the Static King unit last year and hadn't used it yet, so after reading the original post I decided to experiment with it.  My first try, using a new battery, 4mm grass, and the WS static glue wasn't very successful.  The grass mostly laid down like the OP's.  I noticed that the 4-pronged anchor is painted black, so I took my multimeter and checked for continuity between the top prong and the bottom of the feet, and unless I made contact with a spot of bear metal, there was no continuity.  The paint was preventing electricity from flowing through the thing, and I would think that it should be.  So I wire wheeled paint off the center prong and the feet, and then had continuity.

I tried it again, with 7mm grass and the 4mm grass, and although it seemed to work better now, it didn't look like the videos I've seen where all the grass is standing up.

So I think I'll try using a wall wart to get more power.  If I don't already have one that will work, I'll have to buy the WS unit.  I understand it has to be center grounded.  I watched a Martin Welberg Scenic Studios video on Youtube (called Railroad Hobby Show Clinic) where he talks about using more power and getting better results.  

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