Read more about the whole project here.
In the last post, I talked about how I cleaned the track to help with the electrical connection the Straco Express locomotive needed to make with the track, and for the track to relay current around the oval. I did get the train to run, but performance was marginal.
As you can see from the video above, there's a severe voltage drop about halfway around the loop. In other words, about as far away from the terminal as possible. Now keep in mind that the power pack for this train set is comprised of two "D" cell batteries, so we're not talking about a lot of power, to begin with.
Well, the Straco Express is a marginal product and needs all the help it can get to operate with even just a hint of dependability.
I gave the SilClear a try. In addition to coating the terminals, I also brushed it on the battery contacts. I also coated every pin. Because it spreads, I coated the top two-thirds of the pin. When I inserted the pins into the rails, the tight connection spread the SilClear further down the pins. This effectively coated the pins without any leakage.
The results were good -- almost too good. As you can see from the video below, the train whizzed around the track. Unfortunately, it went fast enough to jump the track.
And there's still a voltage drop on the far side of the oval.
If you look at the videos carefully, you can see the featherweight track rising and falling as the train passes over it. I think that once the track is affixed to the board that derailment may be less common. I'll also crimp the track connections again once I'm ready to install the track permanently. That should address the power drop issue.
Still, I was impressed by the difference SilClear made. I may try it on my O-gauge layout.
The next step is to begin work on the board itself. Stay tuned!
One final note: If you're wondering why I didn't back off on the throttle to prevent high-speed derailment, I couldn't. The red control lever on the power pack is just a directional on/off switch. Push it to the right, train starts up in one direction. Move to the center, power's cut and the train stops. Push the lever to the left, and the engine goes in the opposite direction.