Jul 8, 2019
Should be an S then.
Not having to do with conductivity so much as as keeping the rails clean. I very seldom have to run any track cleaning cars or other cleaning procedures on my track. I do not use Atlas track, I used Micro Engineering track for my layout.
Polishing the rails? Really? Not if you are dealing with pollen from pine trees and the gummy mess they make on your track and wheels. In Big Bear Country we were forever cleaning our track and wheels. So, excuse me if I wooh-haw that one. You guys are real funny. Environmental build up is what we cleaning professionals call it. Oh, and it's a bit different but the same here in Idaho country. It still happens with rag weed, corn, alfalfa and tumble weed pollen. Aiiyiiyii !!
Back tracking a minute here.
David and I have talked on the phone and if I read him correctly. David operates his trains with DCC and I doubt he has any block wiring on his layout.
Allow me to set this up with regards to my layout. I have block wiring, Analog DC and Cab A and Cab B. I can throw a cut off switch or DPDT electrical toggle on Cab B and cut in DCC. A complicated reversing set-up for handling my wyes and reverse loops. Most of my wyes or reverse loops require me to reverse the main to come back out. Or said another way to reverse the polarity. As such the train never has to stop and can continue running through these, as smoothly as a Sunday morning pancake.
Now see if you can follow me on this.
Any metal wheels, for example the Kato passenger cars which are wired, to add lighting. If they run through a reverse loop and the tail end of the train is still hanging out on the main you can have a short. This means I have to be sure my reverse loops are actually longer then the train is. I'd have to diagram this but some of my reverse loops come back out on the other side of a two track main. No risk of crashing.
Even so I don't subscribe to hard and fast rules and may add a passenger car or two. Usually making sure they have plastic wheels and add them to the tail end of the train. Same would be true of a freight train. Just not all the time. After all I like a lighted drum head on the tail end.
Okay you followed me on the passenger cars and now you have a better understanding or not!
On the freight cars. If one metal wheel makes contact over the isolation cut (between the main and reversing loop on the tail end of the train) and I've reversed the main so the train can come out you will have a short. Also true if I have a caboose with lighted markers bringing up the rear.
Do I need to say plastic wheels will run through or over any isolation gap irregardless of polarity and there's no short. If I have a DPU operating at the end of the train it's most likely already playing tug of war with the front units. Do you get it!
It has nothing to do with the gauge of track and more about polarity of the track. I will admit it can at times but isn't likely. My layout? It's not likely. As I build it and lay track, the track is checked for proper gauge as I install it. We might experience spread of the rails as the track wears ages due to hot and cold movement. It's polarity in the points, frog, and across the isolation gaps that gives me my greatest grief.
Oh and by the way the only time I bend any track is when I'm forming up flex track, for a curve. You can mess up the gauge of ANY flex track by bending it before you are ready to use it. Don't ask me how I know. Okay, you can.
So where does the crud that you clean off of the track, go?
Do you want me to answer that. I didn't think so. I will anyway. A paper towel to clean the wheels and a rag to clean the track.
I used alcohol and a cloth diaper
"Metal wheels have only been available for a short time for years."
This would be a good time for Charlie Vlk to appear. Metal wheels have been available for twenty or thirty years in one axle length. They were included on some Con-Cor cars. The wheels were metal, the axles were brass and there were plastic centers in the wheels for insulation. They were the first low profile wheels, with flanges that were prototypically sized perhaps even a little smaller. The treads were unfortunately quite wide. I converted many cars to these before the replacement wheels became common.
Yeah I did want you to answer. I do the same with plastic wheels except I use a pencil eraser on the wheels so where is the benefit of metal wheels? I am not seeing it. I just converted all my cars (several hundred) from the high profile flanges to standard profile so to change to metal wheels would entail a significant expenditure. There has to be a corresponding benefit to justify that significant cost.
Here's the deal. Okay maybe not but... I've cleaned as much gunk off of my metal wheels (any gauge) as I have off of plastic wheels. Period.
The ConCor wheels as mentioned by Bill Pearce, floated after some wear and tear and would go out of gauge. No matter what you did as in glue them, heat them up, they wouldn't reset. Requiring replacement. Now whose wheels work best?
Like Bill P., when it comes to cleaning the wheels, I've used a pencil eraser. When it gets real bad, I've resorted to removing the gunk off the wheels with a small screw driver. The problem is you can scratch the surface of the tread or wheel. Not a good idea. The scratches will attract more gunk.
I don't see any benefit to metal wheels. Most of mine add drag, don't look realistic, go out of gauge and at some point I end up replacing them. I've been perfectly happy with my MTL's, Delrin wheel sets.
We don't need any stinking metal wheels.
I have found that delrin wheels shed thin pieces of plastic as they run. Metal wheels don't.
May I ask how you've come to this conclusion? I can't say that I've ever noticed my derlin wheels wearing away over time. That said, I've never really studied the issue closely. I'm actually converting to metal wheels but for different reasons.
I bought a set of 3 mini brushes at Ace Harware ($4.00). 1 of each, nylon, brass, stainless steel, mini brushes. Nylon cleans my plastic wheels and my metal wheels...stainless steel cleans my switches where the point rail contacts the stock rail. The brass one has come in handy for a number of other cleaning purposes.
I take all the wheelsets off a car and place them in a bath of 91% alcohol to loosen the gunk. Then I just roll them between my thumb and index finger while brushing the wheels. Reinstall...done...2 minutes per car.
I have a mixture of cars...some with plastic and some with metal wheelsets...I run what comes on the car when I get it. JMHO
I don't think what you are seeing is delrin shedding thin pieces of plastic but rather just "gunk" on the rails. If delrin sheds like that we would all be in a big heap of trouble with all the delrin gears in our locomotives. Not to mention all the other delrin made products outside of model railroading.
If delrin is shedding on our rolling stock wheels, the guys who run N-Trak will eventually have tiny wheels given that they run for hours and hours at a single train show.
I agree with Mike. I'm not a chemist so I do not know the reason why, but Delrin or plastic wheels tend to pickup the gunk on the rails. For some unknown reason, this gunk does not seem to stick to metal wheels. The gunk issue was worse, back when I was in HO scale in the 1970's. Every so often, I'd have to use the back of an x-acto blade to clean the gunk off my plastic wheel treads, then give them a rinse with water and let them air dry.
The "gunk"that I see on my wheelsets has a color that is reminiscent of brass. Possibly it is brass oxide? Never did an analysis of it and don't intend to. The bottom line is that I am not going to spend the money to convert my rolling stock to metal wheels. That goes for body mount couplers also. You can sing the praises of metal wheelsets and body mounted couplers all you want. It just ain't gonna happen here.
"May I ask how you've come to this conclusion?"
Simple. Observation. I examined several wheels and noted that tin layers of delrin were flaking off.
can you supply a photo of this happening? IF this is the case I need to look into it...so far I have never seen that but if it is happening I would like to know what is going on.
I don't think it's Delrin that you see flaking off. The engineering property of Delrin is phenomenal and one of it's excellent properites is high load abrasion resistance which is not expreienced in N-Scale environments. And certainly Delrin does not come off in sheets in an abrasion situation.
As Joe said, please post a picture or two and we'll help you get to the bottom of what you are seeing.
With running metal wheels on everything, I get no crud on the track. Also the oxidation of the rails is also removed by the metal wheels.
I have a good air filtration system so no dust or any other sort of foreign material gets on the tack either.