Switch idea

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Tudor, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Tudor

    Tudor New Member

    I was brainstorming this morning about stalls on switch frogs. I was wondering if you could take graphite paint, and paint it onto the plastic frog.Graphite being conductive should keep the pick-ups from loosing power over the frog. Has anybody tried this? Not sure the logistics yet, but I think the idea is worth tinkering with.
  2. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    It might work, but you should be very careful not to cause a short cirquit...
  3. jatravia

    jatravia New Member

    I don't know if it will work but Radio Shack sells conductive paint markers (I forget exactly what they are called). It may work. I'd only be concerned that whatever you paint the frogs with will ware making the track dirty and causing you other problems.

    Joe <><
  4. Tudor

    Tudor New Member

    The markers might work better and be easier to control. Sure, you would have to be carefull to only pain the rail portion to keep it from short circuiting. Ya might have to re-do it every so offten too, because the paint will eventually wear off. Just thought it might be an idea to ponder, and tinker with...
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I was wondering once about the brass foil used by stained glass window makers. I think it has a glue strip on one side.
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    My engineering intuition tells me the graphite or conductive paint is a bad idea. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it and let us know what happens.

    In almost every case, engines stall at frogs for one of the following reasons:

    1) The frog is unpowered (usually has insulating plastic around the frog). There will be stalls unless the locomotive can pick up current from other parts of the turnout while on the unpowered frog. These unpowered frogs can also cause shorts if the insulating plastic is worn or cut away and wheels bridge the opposite polarity metal pieces.

    2) The frog is powered, but depends on point rail contact with the adjoining stock rail for getting power of the right polarity. This system is notorious for the points not making good electrical contact, and the frog being left unpowered. The solution is to install a feeder from an electrical contact to the frog. The electrical contact changes the polarity of the frog when the turnout is thrown. The solution requires an SPDT electrical contact somewhere in the throw mechanism for the turnout.

    3) There are vertical irregularities (vertical bumps or curves) in the rails while passing through the turnout. This can cause the wheels of the locomotive to lift at just the wrong moment, breaking electrical contact. Check with a very straight edge, and then make adjustments if needed.

    Note that the conductive paint is not a part of the accepted solution for any of these causes.

    yours in stalling
  7. Tudor

    Tudor New Member

    Good points... I haven't really looked at the logistics of it all yet. I do understand DC current cery well. Not an engineer by trade, but a retired aircraft electrician, and other electrical engineering tech. So, I understand what you are saying, and all are good points to consider when tinkering. I am going to take appart one of my spare turnouts though, and consider the conductive paint, if it could be used with some level of success. It might not, but it may lead to other ideas in the process. I think I may also consider tinkering with brass, or copper like mentioned above too. Actually, I may have some of that. I know they use self adheisive conductor on circuit board projects sometimes. I bet you can get that at Radio shack in rolls for not much. Anyway.. Just some initial thoughts, and was wondering if anybody has played with ideas to remedy stalling on the frogs..

    To work I go, lol...
  8. tverskaya

    tverskaya Member

    Heh, so basically the solution is to replace the turnouts by fancy turnouts with well-functioning powered frogs. :)
  9. Tudor

    Tudor New Member

    That would be too easy, and no fun.. hahhah

    Hey. If Thomas Edison had the oportunity, I don't think he would have just went out and bought one of those new, fancy light bulbs, he was more happy with trying to get HIS to work, hahhah..
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Edison's great idea was to make bulbs that burnt out and had to be replaced regularly.

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