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conductive grease on dodgy wipers/wheels?

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conductive grease on dodgy wipers/wheels?
Posted by Gerome on Saturday, October 4, 2008 9:55 PM

Ok, I think there is a bit of info in the archives about this, and I checked on another forum site.

But I am now wondering if there is such a thing as a good conductive grease to use between  wipers and wheels where I suspect the contact is intermittent for some reason (flexing or distortion perhaps).

This is for that Stewart/Kato I posted about earlier and now that I have the trucks all apart, I thought a little conductive lube would be a good idea.

I was mistaken in thinking that dielectric grease for spark plugs, for example, is conductive.  It isn't.  Dielectric grease has just just water displacement and sealant properties in a silicone paste.

Has anyone ever used anything like Cool Amp Co.'s Conducta Lube http://www.cool-amp.com/?gclid=CPPhwZeJj5YCFRZZiAodOHieEQ which has silver particles in it,

Or the stuff I heard about with conductive graphite in it?

I am wondering if this might be a problem getting it on the rails even if I used even a tiny amount on the inside of a loco wheel for pickup.  Or perhaps there is a question about compatibility with plastic?

Has anyone used a conductive lube for this purpose?

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Posted by Jacktal on Saturday, October 4, 2008 10:29 PM
There might be a compatibility problem with plastic,a chemist could tell you.But I'd sure bet there is a compatibility problem with traction....
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Posted by Mark R. on Saturday, October 4, 2008 10:34 PM

Personally, I wouldn't do it.

Wheel / axle wipers when properly adjusted, cleaned and polished will work their best. Conductive grease on wipers sounds more like a band-aid fix instead of a cure. Also, that grease will leach outwards towards the wheel tread just by centrifugal force, it will then start attracting dust, dirt, cat hair and who knows what !!!  Now you have an even bigger mess to take care of.

I've always been a firm believer for the best moving contact reliability - clean / dry / polished.

Mark. 

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Posted by tangerine-jack on Saturday, October 4, 2008 10:39 PM
TV tuner cleaner is the ticket.  It cleans and lubricates electrical parts.  I believe it's also sold and electronic cleaner/lube at auto part stores.  Tuner cleaner is available at any Radio Shack.  No more problems with conductivity, use it to clean your track as well and totaly eliminate all problems.

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Posted by modelmaker51 on Saturday, October 4, 2008 11:40 PM
I missed the other post, what loco exactly are you talking about? Grease or oil near wheels is always a bad idea. as the other poster said it's just an open invitation for dirt and other crud. Kato's rarely have pick-up issues, continuity problems usually occur between the pick-up and the lightboard on top of the motor, the early SD40-2's were notorious.

Jay 

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Posted by jeffrey-wimberly on Sunday, October 5, 2008 4:14 AM
Available from Bachmann. Conductive contact lube.

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Posted by mfm37 on Sunday, October 5, 2008 5:37 AM

Atlas sells conducta lube. Use it sparingly. One drop goes a long way. I use a micro brush to apply it. Dip the brush, then wipe off the end by rubbing it on the neck of the bottle so that it is just damp with oil.  Just touch the brush to the contact surface.

It can be purchased separately or in their Loco maintenance kit.

BTW, their bearing lube is excellent but comes as a grease. About 30 seconds in the microwave makes it liquid. Apply while it's liquid same as above with a microbrush. 

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Posted by Gerome on Sunday, October 5, 2008 10:54 AM
 mfm37 wrote:

Atlas sells conducta lube.

 jeffrey-wimberly wrote:
Available from Bachmann. Conductive contact lube.

 

Thanks for the info.  However, you may already know that these products do not actually conduct current.  They are cleaners that do a very good job of cleaning and then permit good the metal to metal contact through the thin film of solution that is left on the surfaces. 

CRC does the same job and is much less expensive. I like to use this stuff for wheels and commutators etc.  (WD-40 does the same thing but leaves an odor.) 

A conductive lube or treatment actually has conductive metal or material within it to enhance areas where metal to metal contact is poor or cannot be maintained or depended upon.

However, I concur with those who would not put a substance on which can move down to the track through centrifugal force and pick up lint and debris.

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Posted by loathar on Sunday, October 5, 2008 12:35 PM
That conductalube looks like a 2 oz. bottle. That works out to $960/gal. !!! I thought gas was bad!
I agree if everything is adjusted right, you shouldn't need conductive grease. It will only help to pick up dirt.
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Posted by Gerome on Sunday, October 5, 2008 4:00 PM
 davidmbedard wrote:

Send me your Stewart units, Ill fix them for you.  I think you are the only person in the world that has this issue with a Stewart F unit.

David B

Well that is singling me out for a bit of a slam.  However you don't have the benefit of the earlier post about this loco but which I did not repeat here in the post about lube, the problem is most likely the Soundtraxx decoder with which almost everyone has problems, I think you'll agree.

However, the good news!  I stripped the wheelsets and pickups down to the wire and cleaned and polished everything really well.  I also noted that the pick ups are wires pinched in large versions of the plastic cap connecter rather than actually soldered to the brass pickups.  I took these off and repositioned the wires and reassembled and the unit seems very smooth running now. Smile,Wink, & Grin [swg]  Just a little loss of contact makes those stupid LCs act up.

However, since the pickup problem was evident when flexing the truck back and forth sideways after it had stalled/lost contact, I believe it was a loose pickup wire under one of those caps, or simply that the truck was not rotating enough as one brake cylinder was hitting the footrail on the shell.

In any case I am not the only one now in the world with a fussy Stewart FT.  In fact, I have 5 Stewart pairs and this was the only fussy one, I think because I simply have good NCE decoders in the rest.

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Posted by mfm37 on Sunday, October 5, 2008 4:56 PM

 loathar wrote:
That conductalube looks like a 2 oz. bottle. That works out to $960/gal. !!! I thought gas was bad!
I agree if everything is adjusted right, you shouldn't need conductive grease. It will only help to pick up dirt.

 

Fortunately it goes a long way. I've had my 2oz bottle for 4 years and it's hardly got any out of it. I paid $10 for it. If I dump it out today, that's $2.50/year or less than $.10/loco. In 4 years, a gallon of gas would evaporate or turn to varnish.

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