Keeping LGB point motors/switches dry

JimmyB

JimmyB

Learning; but slowly!
23 Feb 2018
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Weston-super-Mare
#1
I have purchased some LGB point motors and and accessory switches. On assembly the "mating" is not as good as i would expect, and the terminals are exposed i.e. no covers. This does not seem to present a "weather proof" item, and wanting these to last I am inquiring what other members do to ensure the longevity of their items, short of removing after use and taking inside.
 
G-force1

G-force1

Prevarication Rules!
4 Aug 2015
3,072
1,152
North Middle Earth
#2
I have purchased some LGB point motors and and accessory switches. On assembly the "mating" is not as good as i would expect, and the terminals are exposed i.e. no covers. This does not seem to present a "weather proof" item, and wanting these to last I am inquiring what other members do to ensure the longevity of their items, short of removing after use and taking inside.
First I coat all the vulnerable (ish) bits with silicon grease to keep the damp at bay and then add a specially cut piece of roofing felt to fit the top. I use torch-on felt so the heat of the sun will eventually stick it down but not so tightly that it cant be peeled off easily.

104793_5d1da9ae8657cf89999f756252df7138.jpg


The wee beasties still creep in so an occasional clean out is still needed.
 
Madman

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
12,595
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Pennsylvania, USA
#3
I used to have several EPL switch drives on my layout. I found that I had to take them in come the Fall and service (clean) them, inside and out. I found that out because previously I had let them stay put outdoors through all of the seasons.

Moisture gets in and doesn't always find it's way out. As mentioned by G-Force, critters find their way in and they too don't always find their way out, which turns the switch drive into a crypt.

When you do clean the insides, let them dry thoroughly . Before reassembling them, spray some WD40 on the parts. It is also a good idea to have the switch drive as well as the turnout itself sitting on something hard like a flat piece of paving stone. This prevents git and moisture from fouling the points and laying in the switch drive.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#4
You should have seen the state if some that I recovered from the Railway that I dismantled last year. You got some of the curves Jimmy. The EPL motors had not been used for a lot of years, some had Ants nesting in them. All cleaned up and were got working with a little TLC so bringing inside in UK could be a little over the top. g-force suggestion looks sound and what Madman says about cleaning may well be worth doing every 2-3 years in UK.
 
Wistow vale rlwy

Wistow vale rlwy

Registered
20 Feb 2010
199
25
WISTOW NORTH YORKSHIRE
#5
I put a 'blob' of clear silicone sealer in the terminal screw holes and around the entry for the wiring.
They stay out all seasons, some coming up 10 years, and flush them out with WD40 at the start of each season.
 
JeffofSpace

JeffofSpace

Registered
19 Jul 2018
75
22
41
Seattle
#6
Yeah, will go ahead and remove just to be safe for Seattle winter...beyond a touch wet here.
 
JimmyB

JimmyB

Learning; but slowly!
23 Feb 2018
912
395
64
Weston-super-Mare
#7
Many thanks for the ideas:
  1. Silicon around the terminal screws.
  2. Roofing felt over the tops of the unit.
  3. Remove for periodic cleaning and maintenance.
This would seem to be my initial starting point, and should work if I stick to it.
 
G-force1

G-force1

Prevarication Rules!
4 Aug 2015
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North Middle Earth
#8
Many thanks for the ideas:
  1. Silicon around the terminal screws.
  2. Roofing felt over the tops of the unit.
  3. Remove for periodic cleaning and maintenance.
This would seem to be my initial starting point, and should work if I stick to it.

I don't like the idea of using silicon sealer around electric terminals, it contains acetic acid which is, well, an acid. Not a good idea. I use Silicon GREASE.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
21,275
2,467
Tamworth, Staffs.
#9
I don't like the idea of using silicon sealer around electric terminals, it contains acetic acid which is, well, an acid. Not a good idea. I use Silicon GREASE.
Not if you look for a 'neutral cure' silicone.. Dow do one (probably several) Toolstation list one, probably many others..
Most the silicones used in the double-glazing industry a acid-free, as well. :nerd:
 
stockers

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
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GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
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Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
#10
I use LGB gear grease - because I have some!
As for the weather - mine live out all the time and i have just replaced my first failure (a point motor) after 12 years - not bad is it - and it was secondhand to begin with..
 
Madman

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
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Pennsylvania, USA
#11
I don't like the idea of using silicon sealer around electric terminals, it contains acetic acid which is, well, an acid. Not a good idea. I use Silicon GREASE.

Ah yes, I recall now having tried that some years ago. The screw heads oxidized. Being brass they turned green and were rendered useless as they crumbled when I finally was able to get a screwdriver through the silly-cone down to the head of the screw. I should have known better being in the construction business. Over the many years I have seen silicone caulking do some ugly things when placed against copper or other such building materials.

I wonder if dripping some wax into the openings might be a better solution ? I think I tried hot glue at one point. It removes easier when placed in the fridge for fifteen minutes.

Biko switch drives have rubber covers that have nubs which fit into the holes where the screws are. Even with this seemingly bullet proof design, moisture finds it's way in.

It's not always water getting in as you might think. Condensation forms inside the switch drives all on it's own. Maybe miniature umbrellas would prevent not only direct water entry, from above only, but shade the drives from the sun, thus preventing condensation.

We're overthinking this issue I fear. On my own railway I removed all of the switch drives and control the turnouts with manual labor. It's foolproof.....And believe me I know the fool personally.
 
Last edited:
G-force1

G-force1

Prevarication Rules!
4 Aug 2015
3,072
1,152
North Middle Earth
#12
We're overthinking this issue I fear. On my own railway I removed all of the switch drives and control the turnouts with manual labor. It's foolproof.....And believe me I know the fool personally.
Here, it's a long walk! :(
 
LGB333

LGB333

Member
15 Feb 2015
44
9
McLean Virginia
#13
I remove the ELP motors for the winter...…….only takes a minute to remove the two screws holding it onto the switch track.
 
P

phils2um

Registered
11 Sep 2015
177
197
Ann Arbor, Michigan
#15
I've not done anything special but mine have only been through one and in a couple of cases two winters. Where we're at that means being buried in snow for two to three months with a few freeze-thaw cycles thrown in. The only maintenance performed was to lube them a couple of times a year. I've been using a teflon spray lube. So far they've survived fine.

Phil S.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
#16
I use LGB gear grease - because I have some!
As for the weather - mine live out all the time and i have just replaced my first failure (a point motor) after 12 years - not bad is it - and it was secondhand to begin with..
Alan, if it is an EPL one I would be very surprised if it is not repairable. Well worth pulling to bits to see, though they do have a way of construction that must be reverced so take pics as you go. I have restored what may would think to be basket case EPL Motors without failing thus far.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
22,954
3,092
North West Norfolk
#18
the acetic acid releasing silicone seal is long gone from the usa, and would guess the uk too.

by the way, it's silicone, not silicon...

Greg
Reminds me of my late Father-in-law when debating whether a scone was pronounced 'scone' or 'scon'

He said, 'It's scone until it's eaten, then it's scon.'

:D:D:D:D







oh, alright, please yerselves :rock::rock::rock::rock::rock:
 
stockers

stockers

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24 Oct 2009
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Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
#19
Alan, if it is an EPL one I would be very surprised if it is not repairable. Well worth pulling to bits to see, though they do have a way of construction that must be reverced so take pics as you go. I have restored what may would think to be basket case EPL Motors without failing thus far.
I have very few faults with my railway John, and one of the reasons I suspect is because I maintain it. One motor in 12 years - not exactly expensive is it. Do you put secondhand oil in your car? - thought not.