Rail clamps

D

Dgs8899

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I am looking at rail clamps for my lgb track to improve electric conductivity. I also have a lot of aristocrat track with the little screws to join the track. Is that sufficient or do people recomend putting on rail clamps on the aristocraft track as well.

Thanks. David
 
D

Dgs8899

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Sorry of course i mean aristocraft!
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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The stock Aristo joiners with the screws are the worst in the spectrum of stock joiners. Most of the conductivity comes from the little #@$@#$ screw and where it is on the oval slot you can see for yourself how small the contact patch is.

Clamps on Aristo and USA Trains track for sure. There is a wide selection of clamps available, to fit your budget. Will be the best thing you have ever done for your layout.


Greg
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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Now, while I respect Greg's opinion and experience, I have relied on Aristo screwed fishplates for 10 years - two different railroads in different gardens, but the same track.

It's a funny old thing, and they probably (almost definitely) wouldn't work for the sort of current that Greg uses on his 5-loco lash-ups, but for ordinary DC operation with low current draw locos (I frequently double head a pair of Bachmann Connies) I've found them to be OK.

I use clamps for LGB track but have used the screwed fishplates even for connecting Aristo to LGB (I bought quite a lot of second hand LGB flexi) which is not entirely straightforward as the rail profile is slightly different on the bottom flange - right where you want to put a rail joiner :rolleyes::rolleyes:

But, at the same time, I am an expert in cheap :nod::nod:
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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Now, while I respect Greg's opinion and experience, I have relied on Aristo screwed fishplates for 10 years - two different railroads in different gardens, but the same track.

It's a funny old thing, and they probably (almost definitely) wouldn't work for the sort of current that Greg uses on his 5-loco lash-ups, but for ordinary DC operation with low current draw locos (I frequently double head a pair of Bachmann Connies) I've found them to be OK.

I use clamps for LGB track but have used the screwed fishplates even for connecting Aristo to LGB (I bought quite a lot of second hand LGB flexi) which is not entirely straightforward as the rail profile is slightly different on the bottom flange - right where you want to put a rail joiner :rolleyes::rolleyes:

But, at the same time, I am an expert in cheap :nod::nod:
We found on the Ruschbahn that the Aristo Screws lasted a good long time when used with LGB Graphite Paste, though every now and again one joint would go belly up so was replaced with a Train Line Clamp. 2005 - 2013 and I think only about 3 or 4 of the dozens of joints failed.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I used them for quite some time too. Some people have good results,. some terrible. Depends on the climate, and many factors.

But I will stand by the comment that they are the worst of the factory supplied solutions... it's amazing but well greased, the LGB slip on joiners do very well by comparison. Perhaps because one end is spot welded to the rail, and they have a large contact patch, high quality brass and are well fitted to the rail.

On Aristo and USAT joiners, well greased AND checked periodically for looseness, they clearly can work, had that for several years, but some people give up on track power because they did not maintain the screws.

Greg
 
PhilP

PhilP

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Greg,
Was this a case of your Stainless track being Aristo?
If so, were the joiners steel, or brass? - If the latter, then two dissimilar metals, and you would have bi-metallic corrosion once the damp got in.

PhilP.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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Yes yes and yes.

Track I have tried (meaning actually used over time on the layiout)

  • Aristo brass
  • LGB brass
  • USAT brass
  • H&R stainless
  • Aristo stainless

Joiners/clamps I have used:

  • brass aristo joiners (with stainless screws)
  • brass USAT joiners (with stainless screws)
  • brass LGB joiners
  • Aristo extruded clamps (2 screw)
  • San Val SS clamps (4 screw)
  • Train-Li brass clamps extruded (2 screw)
  • Hillman brass clamps
  • Hillman nickel plated brass clamps
  • Split Jaw brass clamps (with SS screws)
  • Split Jaw stainless clamps (with SS screws)

And I have probably left a few out.

I have not seen any galvanic corrosion other than some nickel plating failures. I expected more, like SS screws in brass threads.

The worst situation is SS screws in SS joiners, that can lead to seizing/galling unless you grease.


You don't want me to start on the greases I have tried... I've run tests as long as 10 years on various greases.

Greg
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

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What seems to be coming out here is whatever you are using to connect track/rail sections is make sure before you start that all the metal present is clean (and bright) where they join and where the electrons flow through. Apply a little non conductive grease/graphite paste (or similar) where any of the joins/screws/bolts/clamps are to minimise the rate of onset of corrosion/oxidation of any metal to metal joint that will ultimately result in impaired electrical conductivity.

Personally I was a convert to track clamps, over joiner type and later still the "direct to rail" type. The real benefit of track clamps over other methods of joining track is, apart from adding a further layer of protection from the inevitable onset of corrosion at the track joint, they stabilise track formations reducing the risks of derailments. If you convert from the outset to "direct to rail" clamping you get the added benefit of being able to lift out any track section without disturbing the adjacent section.

If you really want to lick the old conductivity issues, very long term from the outset, then you need to "bond" the track sections. That is soldering flexible wires between any rail join. A bit over the top to my mind and it could hamper you if you have a rapidly evolving layout and it needs to be done right. But done right it's pretty bullet proof........until the ravages of your local climate may make individual soldered joints fail. Sometimes you just can't win.

With LGB set track, not flexi', the joiners seemingly are permanently attached - A little tip, the joiners are only held on by having a little dimple punched into their bottom side to create an strong interference fit to the rail, no spot welding involved. To remove just drill out the dimple with a 2mm bit and with a long nosed pair of pliers pull out the joiner. You now have a bare rail ready for "direct to rail" clamps to slide on to and an unmangled rail joiner for the spares "just in case" box or to sell on. There's gold in them thar LGB joiners :D Max
 
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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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Yes yes and yes.

Track I have tried (meaning actually used over time on the layiout)

  • Aristo brass
  • LGB brass
  • USAT brass
  • H&R stainless
  • Aristo stainless

Joiners/clamps I have used:

  • brass aristo joiners (with stainless screws)
  • brass USAT joiners (with stainless screws)
  • brass LGB joiners
  • Aristo extruded clamps (2 screw)
  • San Val SS clamps (4 screw)
  • Train-Li brass clamps extruded (2 screw)
  • Hillman brass clamps
  • Hillman nickel plated brass clamps
  • Split Jaw brass clamps (with SS screws)
  • Split Jaw stainless clamps (with SS screws)

And I have probably left a few out.

I have not seen any galvanic corrosion other than some nickel plating failures. I expected more, like SS screws in brass threads.

The worst situation is SS screws in SS joiners, that can lead to seizing/galling unless you grease.


You don't want me to start on the greases I have tried... I've run tests as long as 10 years on various greases.

Greg
I was going to say, let's hear about the greases :devil::devil:

But seriously, that shows some significant time invested in the hobby, and some real experience gained.

Following down my own little rut, what really surprised me about the Aristo joiners was that, when I went to re-use the track in the new house, and I removed all of the fishplates, including the factory installed ones, to clean the faces before I re-installed, the brass rail was still shiny behind the face of the fishplate.

This suggests to me, that there may be more conductivity than just the screws.

But again, that was after only 6 years in the first garden - I might well be writing something different in a few years' time :think::think::think::think:
 
Jasper

Jasper

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A recent prototype story, vaguely related. The Severn Tunnel, in the London to Cardiff line, was recently electrified using copper wire attached to an aluminium rail. Within two years this construction failed, as bacteria that thrive in the high humidity (the tunnel runs under water for several miles) caused rapid corrosion between the two metals. Solution: the overhead wire is now aluminium as well.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

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A recent prototype story, vaguely related. The Severn Tunnel, in the London to Cardiff line, was recently electrified using copper wire attached to an aluminium rail. Within two years this construction failed, as bacteria that thrive in the high humidity (the tunnel runs under water for several miles) caused rapid corrosion between the two metals. Solution: the overhead wire is now aluminium as well.
At the time of original installation we were being told by Nitwork Rail that the system used within the Severn Tunnel was copied from the Swiss .............

So probably the Swiss don't have any long tunnels underwater .............. or does the tunnel leak? :emo::emo::emo:
 
Jasper

Jasper

Hey, I'm only being creative here.
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Risky business, this copying from the Swiss....
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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At the time of original installation we were being told by Nitwork Rail that the system used within the Severn Tunnel was copied from the Swiss .............

So probably the Swiss don't have any long tunnels underwater .............. or does the tunnel leak? :emo::emo::emo:
Any idiot if they had have asked an idiot could have told them that Ally and Copper are not good bed fellows, even worse in a dark damp tunnel with Diesel Trains thrashing through all the time.
 
P

Paul M

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Any idiot if they had have asked an idiot could have told them that Ally and Copper are not good bed fellows, even worse in a dark damp tunnel with Diesel Trains thrashing through all the time.
I wish someone would tell our electricity network that. Alley clamps and copper mains cables? Not good at all
 
CharlieBear

CharlieBear

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I just laid LGB track using Massoth clamps (I think Hillman look better but seem top be unavailable) a spot of copperslip on the joints and feed connections every so often no problems with voltage drop and everything seems to run as soon as power is switched on. Purchased from Garden Rail Outlet excellent service and they came with soldering tabs too.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

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I just laid LGB track using Massoth clamps (I think Hillman look better but seem top be unavailable) a spot of copperslip on the joints and feed connections every so often no problems with voltage drop and everything seems to run as soon as power is switched on. Purchased from Garden Rail Outlet excellent service and they came with soldering tabs too.
Hillman ceased trading some time ago, only chance to get them now is old stock if you can find them (very unlikely) or second hand being sold after layouts dismantled or perhaps someone has some they do not need.
 
Gizzy

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At the time of original installation we were being told by Nitwork Rail that the system used within the Severn Tunnel was copied from the Swiss .............

So probably the Swiss don't have any long tunnels underwater .............. or does the tunnel leak? :emo::emo::emo:
Even Swiss tunnels leak, as they are often under water sources.

And the Channel Tunnel also has 'seepage'....
 
P

Paul M

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All tunnels will leak to some extent, due to joints in the infrastructure. To try and prevent any leakage would probably do more harm than good