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Posts Tagged ‘Electronic track cleaner’

Canute Road Quay is by its nature a pretty simple layout and therefore operation is kept reasonably simple, although being DC control not DCC control there still seems a reasonable number of wires involved!

The four track sections are coloured in this diagram

I have allowed for four track sections being the left hand headhunt and run around loop, the right hand head shunt, the front quayside headshunt and finally an isolating section  within the engine shed road to allow for more than one engine to parked in the shed / coal stage area. These simple four section allows for flexible control especially when I want to have more than one locomotive on the layout at anyone time.

Controllers

Keeping track and wheels clean are essential to good slow speed running.

I am only using one controller for the layout and am using the trusty Gaugemaster W series hand held controllers (that like my transformer box I swap between Canute Road Quay and Fisherton Sarum).  I have therefore used a common DIN plug and socket wiring arrangement between the two layouts. Some time ago Gaugemaster changed their housing for the their W series hand held controllers to a smaller overall but deeper housing and to be honest I prefer their original style and therefore have obtained a number of the original housing style controllers. The other advantage of using Gaugemaster controllers is their excellent mo quibble lifetime warranty and repair service, which although I have only called upon once proved to be excellent and quick (I will state the usual disclaimer that I have no connection to Gaugemaster other than being a happy customer).
I have also been using on Canute Road Quay their WS version of the hand hand controller that has a braking and acceleration simulator built in via a small thumb operated wheel on the side which allows for nice realistic slow speed acceleration and stopping.

Track and wheel cleaning

The WS controller, Din plug and socket and also the track with sprung wire contacts to the inset brass contact screws can be seen in this picture. The on the control panel the switches are coloured as follows: Red – Track sections, Blue – Points, Black – unclouplers and Yellow – lights

As with any layout especially small shunting layouts where locomotive speeds are low, to ensure nice smooth running cleanliness of both the track and the locomotive wheels and picks is essential.  before any running session I clean the top of all the rails bu lightly rubbing with a soft wooden coffee stick of the kind that can be obtained from any coffee shop, this is not abrasive but picks up any dirt easily and by doing each rail separately it does not cause any issue due to the inset track areas or those sections of track that are slightly overgrown with grass and weeds etc.
I have also , as I am not using DCC, fitted a Gaugemaster High Frequency (HF-1) track cleaner into the controller circuit, which although not liked by some, means that during the hours that the layout might be operated at a show ensure ongoing cleanliness and good running.

A close up of the screws and springs to provide power to the temporary track for the Trix track cleaner within the fiddle yard.

For wheel cleaning I have tend to use a Trix/ Minitrex (66602) wheel cleaner, the kind that sits on a straight section of track to transfer power from the track to the brass wheel cleaning brushes area to rotate the locomotive wheels. These are now also marketed by Gaugemaster (GM60)(apologies if this post is being a bit like an advert for them but it’s not intentionally that way) as there is not really a straight section of track suitable on Canute Road Quay I have inserted a couple of countersunk brass screws, that are wired directly to the controller,  into the top surface of the fiddle yard on which I can place a short length of track. As can be seen in the picture left this has a couple of sprung wire droppers to transfer  power via the rails to the wheel cleaner, therefore allowing me to clean a locomotive wheel off scene and can be easily removed from the fiddle yard to allow for movement of the cassettes..

I will cover the operation of the points and uncouplers in a future Controlling Interest post, so what this space.

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