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3480Re: Lighting the Ludwig

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  • Jeff Rothfus
    Mar 5, 2001
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      Hi Kim -

      I was hoping *you* could help *me* (<grin>), but I'll share what little I
      know ...

      The recent discussions on Z-92 were in German, and sadly I don't speak
      German. I've tried both Babelfish and FreeTranslation.com, but neither
      translates key German technical terms (which makes the translation
      considerably less helpful).

      On 3/5/01 you wrote:
      > I looked at the lighted cars by Marklin and used a similar approach.
      >I have no idea about the graphite paint,

      The proper term is "conductive paint". With conductive paint, you can
      literally "paint a wire" --- or (more correctly) paint a "conductive
      trace" similar to a printed circuit trace.

      You can make your own conductive paint by mixing ground pencil lead
      (graphite) into ordinary paint or lacquer. Or, you can buy conductive
      paint ready-made at auto parts stores, where it is sold as a kit to
      repair torn traces on rear window defoggers.

      >Could you please describe to
      >us how the graphite paint pick up works?

      In larger scales, there's a famous method of train detection called the
      "Twin-T". The method shorts left and right wheels together by soldering
      a resistor laterally across one axle, and then measuring the voltage
      across the rails.

      I first saw conductive paint used in Z-scale as a replacement for the
      Twin-T's resistor. The author simply "painted" the Z's axle, bridging
      the plastic insulation on the backside of the metal wheels. (You
      apparently can vary the effective resistance of the connection by varying
      the amount of pencil lead you mix into the paint).

      What I still don't know is how you transfer the current from a rotating
      axle to a stationary wagon chassis. The Z-92 discussion spoke of
      "varnished wire" (apparently for thinness), "graphite paint", and "rotary
      towers" (apparently the Babelfish translation for "bogies"), but I was
      never able to understand any more than that.

      Perhaps now you can help me ...

      How do you attach your brass strips to the wagon chassis?

      How do you manage to apply sufficient pressure on the axle to maintain a
      circuit, without applying too much drag to the entire train?

      HTH

      Cheers,
      jeff
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