Sticky points / switches

Airbuspilot

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I live in Cyprus where we have 10 months of sun and 2 with rain, mid July to mid September its very hot and very little cloud So not the best environment for outdoor plastic. I am having problems with some points in the garden, the motors are working OK but some points fail to make full travel. It seems most will operate to straight with no problem but when set to turn they travel to about the 75% position and cause problems.

I thought of WD 40 but not sure if this is best, is there a preferred method of lubrication?

Robin
 

Northsider

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You could possibly use a silicone lubricant instead -it doesn't 'dry' the way some oils can. Or graphite powder, though this may not be an option if you are using track power, because it will conduct electricity!
 

JimmyB

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Even in the UK regular maintenance is the best, I use GT85 silicon spray, but it can "dry" and leave a residue, WD40 also works, but it is a case of cleaning and checking at least every couple of months, there is no "spray and forget" solution.
P.S. I spent 3 years in Cyprus, which I loved, and so totally understand your weather. I was there one year when it snowed in Limassol.
 

Rhinochugger

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I live in Cyprus where we have 10 months of sun and 2 with rain, mid July to mid September its very hot and very little cloud So not the best environment for outdoor plastic. I am having problems with some points in the garden, the motors are working OK but some points fail to make full travel. It seems most will operate to straight with no problem but when set to turn they travel to about the 75% position and cause problems.

I thought of WD 40 but not sure if this is best, is there a preferred method of lubrication?

Robin
I'm sure I could come out and fix it for you. I assume you have a spare room - it would probably take a couple of months :devil::devil:

Grit and dust in the switch boxes is often a cause of such problems - the boxes themselves are reasonably well protected from rain, but are obviously not sealed as the arms need to move.

For people who use electric point motors, it's a regular maintenance job.

I don't have many points, and deliberately chose to stay with manual operation, so the 'hand of God' usually gives the blade that extra push :nod::nod:
 

Brixham

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What voltage are you using for your points? 12 to 16 may not be enough, 24 volts ac makes them snap over happily. Also, what thickness wire are you using? Very thin wire causes voltage drop.

I have also found that some motors are unhappy with some points, a swap around sometimes helps.

It’s worth looking inside to make sure that the rack is centred on the gear....if not they would work well one way but not the other.I’m assuming you have the 2 terminal epl type and not the 3 terminal solenoid ones.

Malcolm
 

dutchelm

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I was going to add make sure the rack is central. Just check there is a bit of slack at each end of travel.
I don't know how they manage it but occasionally the motors somehow manage to jump a cog. A case of removing the lid centralising the motor & carefully lowering the rack back on.
 

Airbuspilot

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Even in the UK regular maintenance is the best, I use GT85 silicon spray, but it can "dry" and leave a residue, WD40 also works, but it is a case of cleaning and checking at least every couple of months, there is no "spray and forget" solution.
P.S. I spent 3 years in Cyprus, which I loved, and so totally understand your weather. I was there one year when it snowed in Limassol.
My wife considers anything less than 25 degrees to be arctic, snow in Paphos is not an option. I will look for the silicon spray, not always easy to find things here but a car spares guy might be OK.
 

Airbuspilot

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The points work on 20 volts, theres enough "punch" under normal conditions but after months of sun they are getting sticky. We also have a lot of dust in the air, car went through car wash yesterday and covered in dust this morning so that doesn't help.

The decoders are ZIMO with very thin wires, I have built them into the motors and used the existing wires. I used small diameter shrink tubes as protection and soldered a connecting loop on the end, my main worry was mechanical rather than electrical as I thought the wires could break easily.

I modified all the motors myself and was very careful to check mechanical operation so I am fairly happy there.

The one thing I considered, but didn't do, was filling the electrical screw holes on top of each unit to keep the rain out, they are disconnected so not an issue. Is this something you would do in the UK weather?
 

duncan1_9_8_4

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I always oil the metal slides with oil. WD40 is too thin. Use oil from DIY shop. I do it every time I clean the track.
 

Greg Elmassian

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I favor dry lubricants, oil thickens in the cold and it WILL attract grit and dirt.

What I have found to work well is a "spray teflon", a liquid carrier that does not harm plastic, but carries the lubricant into nooks and crannies and then evaporates, leaving dry teflon. It is white so some people prefer a similar compound but one that leaves graphite or molybdenum.

I have both, and have used for years. I also use powdered graphite or molybdenum in axle journals when the journal is plastic, again, lubricants held moisture, dirt, grit in my experience.

Also the dry lubricants do not thicken in the cold.

Greg
 

JimmyB

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The one thing I considered, but didn't do, was filling the electrical screw holes on top of each unit to keep the rain out, they are disconnected so not an issue. Is this something you would do in the UK weather?
I use a silicone lubricant (it is called grease but is not grease), as below in all electrical screw holes outside, then spray over with silicone spray (GT85)


 

Airbuspilot

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I use a silicone lubricant (it is called grease but is not grease), as below in all electrical screw holes outside, then spray over with silicone spray (GT85)


Thanks Jimmy. I found PTFE spray and will look for the “grease”. I fixed the shrink tubes to the motors with epoxy as I want then to stay in place, I was reluctant to permanently block the holes with epoxy but I guess the grease will be removable if a repair is needed.

Robin

looks like I won’t need Rinochugger for two months after all.
 

phils2um

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I was reluctant to permanently block the holes with epoxy but I guess the grease will be removable if a repair is needed.
HI Robin,

This is what I've been using to cover the screw holes. https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/b00005456/ It works quite well at sealing but can be removed without difficulty if necessary. Here's a pic of the tape "in action". The bottom turn-out was just relocated in this photo and the tape had not been replaced yet. You can see the outline from the previous piece on the switch motor cover.

3M tape - 1.jpeg
 

Airbuspilot

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HI Robin,

This is what I've been using to cover the screw holes. https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/p/d/b00005456/ It works quite well at sealing but can be removed without difficulty if necessary. Here's a pic of the tape "in action". The bottom turn-out was just relocated in this photo and the tape had not been replaced yet. You can see the outline from the previous piece on the switch motor cover.

View attachment 304677
Thanks Phil, another good idea. I will check around the DIY stores here but some things are not easy to find, theres always amazon!
Robin
 

Dan

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One issue I had with my LGB EPL drives not driving properly is the switch not being level (read twisted) which will cause binding of the points to not move all the way.