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Keeping the Power On | Tracks Clean

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There seems to be quite a bit of interest in radio controlled and battery powered loco's especially from modellers who experience frequent loss of power and dirty tracks under standard DC or DCC control. I'm just curious as to how big a problem this is.

In my own experience yes, I've had the occasional loss of power but never anything that couldn't be remedied within a few minutes. I operate exclusively DCC and almost all the loco's I use outdoors are fitted with sound decoders with just a couple of them fitted with stay-alive capacitors. I have never felt the need to fit stay-alive capacitors or power packs as mandatory for the simple reason that I have such few problems with loss of power or sound cutting out. I don't consider myself to be adept with a soldering iron - in fact I'd be ashamed to show some of my soldering efforts - and I don't pay particular attention to detail so my setup is pretty rough and ready to say the least but I never feel that I'm going to turn on the power and encounter a problem.

Every section of my track is either bonded to the adjacent section or to a short length of power bus which runs round half of the layout. There is one connection from the DCC controller to the power bus.

As for keeping the tracks clean I don't do anything at all to protect it and it remains outdoors the entire year. My track is all Peco Streamline code 100 with nickel silver rails and at the start of a running session I normally go round with a track rubber to polish the rail tops, and a paintbrush to brush away any debris. Then I send out the track cleaner filled with a solution of IPA. The track cleaner is almost invariably hauled by a Heljan class 26 which rarely ever fails to make it round the first circuit, after which I'm up and running for just a few minutes work. If I'm operating again the following day then I can sometimes get away with just sending out the track cleaner.

My loco's are in the main relatively recent offerings, even though many are now a decade or more old, and most have multiple wheel pickups.

So if you are having a lot of problems through loss of power or dirty tracks I would be interested in hearing how your particular layout is set up, what track you use, whether you've soldered connections and bonded rail joints, what stock you run, etc, etc.....

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  • 1 month later...

IPA is good but has anyone tried K2 contact spray?    I don't have an outdoor layout but my unheated garage  is pretty cold and dank.  I have used K2 on DC, DCC  and more recently on RC control with track re-charging.   

I have also used K2 on electrical and electronic circuitry  to keep contacts clean.

worth a try?


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