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Graphite Treatment to Rails.

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If you can see the graphite on the rail you have used to much as John says it is a layer of graphine

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6 hours ago, john new said:

A year or two back there was a mass of publicity for the amazing science discovery of IIRC graphine as an electrical conductor.  Basically science catching up and corroborating what railway modellers have done for years, rub a pencil on the track!

Graphine is a Belgian software company.  Graphene is a layer of carbon one atom thick aranged in a honeycomb fashion. It's the world's first two dimensional solid and it does have very different properties from ordinary graphite. For one thing it is about 150 times stronger than steel and about 1000 times more conductive than copper. It was first created by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester in 2004. Though their initial paper was rejected twice by Nature, they were awarded the 2010 Nobel prize for Physics for their discovery.

 

I'm sorry to disappoint you Laurence but you'd be very unlikely to get a layer of graphene by simply rubbing even the softest pencil along a rail. To produce the first ever samples, Geim and Novoselov required an incredibly sophisticated piece of scientific apparatus- a roll of sticky tape! but it was what you did with the sticky tape that was important. Full instructions about how you too can make small samples of graphene here. 

https://youtu.be/EX8ClPVkD1g

BTW even a single layer of graphene, one atom thick, though largely transparent, can still be seen with the naked eye.

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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10 hours ago, Giles said:

I too use graphite on DCC (Denton Brook, and The End of The Line before that...). It greatly improved reliability. Denton Brook has a 1:10 gradient, and the use of graphite reduces the adhesion performance to something like scale capabilities. The Garrett will cope with anything that fits, whilst the little Fowler can only cope with two wagons. All in all, it works very well!

1 in 10 is pretty extreme by any standards - I rest my case for more normal railway grafients.

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The phrase "putting lipstick on a pig" comes to mind.

 

Electrical pick-up is ensured by keeping at least two live metal wheels firmly against continuously live rails on each side of a locomotive.  Or that sufficient temporary electrical storage for movement is on board.  That proper situation is not guaranteed by either makers of RTR locomotives or technically unaware construction and/or laying of track.  It's the job of a successful miniature working electric model railway builder to make sure the first sentence of this paragraph is completed as task number one. Then no "fixes" are ever needed.

 

Andy

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17 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:

The phrase "putting lipstick on a pig" comes to mind.

 

Electrical pick-up is ensured by keeping at least two live metal wheels firmly against continuously live rails on each side of a locomotive.  Or that sufficient temporary electrical storage for movement is on board.  That proper situation is not guaranteed by either makers of RTR locomotives or technically unaware construction and/or laying of track.  It's the job of a successful miniature working electric model railway builder to make sure the first sentence of this paragraph is completed as task number one. Then no "fixes" are ever needed.

 

Andy

The words missing from the above are "in theory".

 

You call it a "fix" but it's no different to cleaning the track and you need to do that in order for your live metal wheels to be firmly against continuously live rails in any case.

 

Even the best laid track, and the most perfectly built locomotives, will benefit from the application of graphite to the rail tops. With graphite there's no need to keep cleaning the rails and so there's no need to buy cleaning products or devices s to clean them with. Before I used graphite I had to clean the rails if the layout had been left without cleaning for a few days but now I can go to the layout and reliably run trains straight away, even after weeks without running it. There's also the cost saving in that one stick of artist's graphite cost me £1.50. I'm still using the same stick after 5 years and at the current rate of wear it'll still be going in another 15 years or more.

 

I've read many times of layout exhibitors having running problems and the need to keep cleaning the track but I did a three day exhibition, without running problems, and didn't need to clean the track at all. That would not have happened without graphite.

 

It is a lubricant but I have a 1 in 18 gradient on one of my layouts and a tiny 0-4-0ST, weighing only 110g can still haul a load of 6 wagons up it, so to anyone using less severe gradients, and main line locomotives, it really shouldn't cause a problem as far as adhesion is concerned.

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What's wrong with slippery rails, anyway? Rather prototypical I would've thought... :tease: :sarcastichand: :blum:

 

 

 

Fast forward to 2:15 to see what I mean.  

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2 hours ago, Ruston said:

The words missing from the above are "in theory".

 

You call it a "fix" but it's no different to cleaning the track and you need to do that in order for your live metal wheels to be firmly against continuously live rails in any case.

 

Even the best laid track, and the most perfectly built locomotives, will benefit from the application of graphite to the rail tops. With graphite there's no need to keep cleaning the rails and so there's no need to buy cleaning products or devices s to clean them with. Before I used graphite I had to clean the rails if the layout had been left without cleaning for a few days but now I can go to the layout and reliably run trains straight away, even after weeks without running it. There's also the cost saving in that one stick of artist's graphite cost me £1.50. I'm still using the same stick after 5 years and at the current rate of wear it'll still be going in another 15 years or more.

 

I've read many times of layout exhibitors having running problems and the need to keep cleaning the track but I did a three day exhibition, without running problems, and didn't need to clean the track at all. That would not have happened without graphite.

 

It is a lubricant but I have a 1 in 18 gradient on one of my layouts and a tiny 0-4-0ST, weighing only 110g can still haul a load of 6 wagons up it, so to anyone using less severe gradients, and main line locomotives, it really shouldn't cause a problem as far as adhesion is concerned.

 

It's a fix if you need to do it to achieve perfect running, even if you have clean track. It's only a benefit if you don't need to do it when you have clean track, but it saves cleaning track more often.

 

Andy

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

What's wrong with slippery rails, anyway? Rather prototypical I would've thought... :tease: :sarcastichand: :blum:

 

a71c30c6e0e57d02978165b10e3dfd4e.jpg

Braking. 

 

Andy

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The arrestor wires seem to have worked...

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Graphite is one of those strange ideas that probably shouldn't work (because it's slippery), but does.

 

 

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There appears to be a train on the wrong line.

 

I can see the problem, there's a #19 on the front.  It's a wrong number!

 

*gets coat & runs.

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1 hour ago, F-UnitMad said:

What's wrong with slippery rails, anyway? Rather prototypical I would've thought... :tease: :sarcastichand: :blum:

 

 

 

Fast forward to 2:15 to see what I mean.  

Once a spam can, always a spam can.

it may have lost the panels,

but it's still behaving like one. :)

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3 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:

 

a71c30c6e0e57d02978165b10e3dfd4e.jpg

Braking. 

 

Andy

Last time I checked, model railway engines didn't have brakes. :fool:

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4 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

Last time I checked, model railway engines didn't have brakes. :fool:

 

I was thinking that pictured loco was an F-unit gone mad . . . 

 

I don't know what your experience is but I find worm gears make incredibly good model brakes. :rtfm:

 

Andy

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I have been using graphite for many years, with no problems. First heard about it from Gn15 forum theGnatterbox, and many narrow gauge modellers used it.

It does make track slippery, so could be a problem for some , but for the short trains I run it is fine. In fact by being slippery, trains just slide over some small problem areas  , especially useful for slow running.

Traditional track cleaners/rubbers are abrasive and scratch the rail, so dirt can bed in easier. I have found best way is to deliberately roughen top of rail by using a track rubber, then apply graphite. I tend to use a cheap carpenters pencil. Probably not very pure, but it still works.

 

One thing you learn from running some models is that when you cut the power, train does not stop immediately, so you learn how to control (drive?) it so it stops where you want. Adds a bit more fun to running trains as well.

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2 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:

 

I was thinking that pictured loco was an F-unit gone mad . . . 

 

Very good!! :rofl:I missed that one!! :good:

 

2 hours ago, Andy Reichert said:

 

I don't know what your experience is but I find worm gears make incredibly good model brakes. :rtfm:

 

Andy

They do, & equally fortunately model rolling stock doesn't have the mass to keep pushing a loco down the track once the power is cut. 

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You haven't seen the effect a pair of whitemetal K's A31 auto trailers have on a Baccy 4575...

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1 hour ago, The Johnster said:

You haven't seen the effect a pair of whitemetal K's A31 auto trailers have on a Baccy 4575...

With lots of wheelslip to get started?

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On 14/01/2020 at 20:48, Tanllan said:

A cautionary tale: When I began to ballast the track on my shunting plank I used real, genuine, loco ash that I got from the Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway, and to my eye it looked quite realistic. Fast forward a few years ( I was now using a Lenz DCC system) and a Sunday afternoon 'playing trains' as opposed to modelling. None of my locos would work reliably. Cleaning track and wheels had minimal effect.

Clearly there was something else amiss. Putting the same locos and controller on a simple bit of flexi track gave good running. So there had to be a problem with the layout.

 

So with the controller disconnected and no stock on the rails a DVM, set on the Ohms scale, was connected across the track. To my surprise there was a reading of around 50kOhms. Despite having changed to DCC a few years earlier the old section switches were still connected. Using these I was able to determine that the leakage on some part of the track was worse than others - and the better the ash ballast looked the lower the leakage resistance between the rails was. So in the period between laying the ballast and that afternoon the molecules of carbon in it had been busy re-arranging themselves to the extent that the leakage current was messing up the DCC control system.

 

I had no option but to painstakingly dig out a large amount of the ash ballast.

So I would be VERY wary of applying carbon to the rails as, given time, it may well build up and start to create all sorts of interesting routes for the electricity to avoid having to go through the motors in your locos.

Geoff

20200112_174521_cropped.jpg

Hi,

 

Fifty kOhms between the rails should not cause DCC locos to slow down. However the resistance at DCC voltages (as opposed to what the DMM applied) may be much less. With conductive particles closely packed in a dielectric like a mix of air and glue once the voltage gets above a certain level the dielectric starts to breakdown and conduct.

 

The goods yard on a club layout I'm involved with is ballasted with powder collected from a foundry. It is thought to be used casting sand which had a resin coating which is now blackened. I tested its resistance in powdered form but I should have tested it once glued down with ~14V applied. Time will tell if we've made a big mistake.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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19 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

What's wrong with slippery rails, anyway? Rather prototypical I would've thought... :tease: :sarcastichand: :blum:

 

 

 

Fast forward to 2:15 to see what I mean.  

Playing at it!

This is proper wheelspin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh9g5rftUMg

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Hi,

 

Whilst getting traction data for my experimental Gradient and Curve calculator I noticed I sometimes got variable results for the amount a loco could pull depending on what loco had been on the track before.

 

Suspecting tiny amounts of oil were getting on the inside edge of the rail I tried putting small amounts of talcum powder on the loco wheels to soak up the oil.

 

The pull of the loco increased well beyond the norm. 

 

Like graphite, talc is often said to reduce friction but I guess it depend on the application. Talc is too white for most model railway track but the brown variant of Fuller's Earth?.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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12 hours ago, kevinlms said:

With lots of wheelslip to get started?

Heavy handed driving will induce wheelspip, yes, but it is the sliding overrun if you have to stop from speed, fortunately not a normal occurrence on my layout, that you have to be aware of.  My fiddle yard roads have dead section 'autostops' at the ends, but I drive the train all the way in this instance and manually slow down to stop it...  

 

The A31s have their bogies replaced with Stafford Road/Shapeways prints which run very freely with Hornby wheelsets, and I doubt the train could be moved if not for these.

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I am absolutely a convert to graphite which I started using about 2 months ago. My layout is DCC and although I had few stalling problems with larger locos, my 0-6-0 tanks would often stall on the points. All 22 points bar one are insulfrog, a legacy of a model railway from the mid 1980s and brought back to life 3 years ago. With the use of a 2B graphite stick, I hardly ever get a stall from the 3 tank engines and if I do, it is to do with one of the wheels not making contact with the rail because of slightly uneven points which I can do nothing about given their age, apart from replacing them. All my locos move more smoothly now and are particularly good at shunting speeds.

However, one note of caution. Adhesion. I have had to remove the traction tyres on a loco drive Hornby 2Pbecause they were always coming off on 2nd radius ciurves and it started to slip badly with a modest load and no gradient. And the my old 4F, Airfix tender drive started to do the same. This must be the graphite and I cleaned it off the curves where slipping was occurring. The answer is to graphite points only and to allow the locos to spread it round the track, not to apply it to the whole of the track, After cleaning, I now have both engines working well although I did isopropyl the traction tyres on the 4F.. Prior to graphite, I used to thoroughly clean the track before each session, so dirt was not a problem but the graphite has made all the difference to running. I have not had to clean the track for 2 months now following the commencement of winter running.

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14 hours ago, NIK said:

Hi,

 

Fifty kOhms between the rails should not cause DCC locos to slow down. However the resistance at DCC voltages (as opposed to what the DMM applied) may be much less. With conductive particles closely packed in a dielectric like a mix of air and glue once the voltage gets above a certain level the dielectric starts to breakdown and conduct.

 

The goods yard on a club layout I'm involved with is ballasted with powder collected from a foundry. It is thought to be used casting sand which had a resin coating which is now blackened. I tested its resistance in powdered form but I should have tested it once glued down with ~14V applied. Time will tell if we've made a big mistake.

 

Regards

 

Nick

Nick,

The DVM concerned was 'hobby' type device and in no way calibrated. I agreed totally that under DCC power conditions the impedance of the ballast might have been completely different. The performance of the locos was degraded such that they behaved erratically - not just running slow. The worst parts electrically, were where I had been sparing with the PVA but looked the most realistic.

Anyway I have learned my lesson - no more real ash type stuff near the rails. Hope your club layout doesn't suffer the same problem

Geoff

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1 hour ago, Tanllan said:

Nick,

The DVM concerned was 'hobby' type device and in no way calibrated. I agreed totally that under DCC power conditions the impedance of the ballast might have been completely different. The performance of the locos was degraded such that they behaved erratically - not just running slow. The worst parts electrically, were where I had been sparing with the PVA but looked the most realistic.

Anyway I have learned my lesson - no more real ash type stuff near the rails. Hope your club layout doesn't suffer the same problem

Geoff

Hi,

 

My club layout team did an exhibition in a marquee on former sidings alongside the former LSWR mainline near Basingstoke.

 

The dust or ash stirred up by the visitors gradually degraded the running of the model trains and we didn't have a vacuum cleaner.

 

Regards

 

Nick

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