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Conductive foam

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Hi Guys.


Yesterday I spotted, on ebay, a Gaugemaster wheels cleaner in 'N' gauge.


In place of two rails are two strips of conductive foam. Apparently, placing the loco on these strips, turns the wheels, so cleaning. them. The strips being supplied from a suitable controller.


I'd never heard of this foam before and had a look round Google to see what was available.


What I found reminded me that I had a small piece of foam that a computer chip came wrapped in once.


I tried this and on my meter, it passed a voltage but the resistance was enormous. With my very limited knowledge of electronics, this told me that there wouldn't be enough power to turn the motor on a Bachmann 37 (00).





Does anyone know how Gauemaster manage it, because I have been looking for a method of cleaning wheels on the modern diesel for some time now, without success and this looks just the job.


Dropping a 6 axle drive loco onto a couple of strips of foam sounds absolutely ideal to me.



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Wet a kitchen towel with a solvent of your choice, meths, IPA, lighter fluid etc.

Lay over the track.

Put the wheels of one or two axles on the paper towel and at least one axle set with pickups on the rails which are not covered.

Turn the power up while holding the loco still.

As the wheels rotate on the towel they will be cleaned.

Repeat for other wheels as necessary.


Sorry it doesn't work with non powered axles. For that I use cotton buds and solvent.

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Conductive foam has been around for a long time.


When I was a youngster, with my very first motorbike, I had some trouble with the ignition coil and got an old 6 volt car coil as a replacement. This was many times bigger than the original moorbike coil. I needed to insulate the coil from the motorbike frame and found some foam in my Dads garage.


With the engine running, I started to push the foam in around the coil. I was being taught at school, that rubber is an insulator. I was nearly thrown across the patio as this foam touched the top of the coil.


My dad thought it was very funny, telling me it served me right for using his stuff without asking. It was experimental foam, from his work. This was about 40 years ago.

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