Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Speaking of Relco!

Expand Messages
  • Jeffrey MacHan
    Hi Gang, The VECRR has always been equiped with Relcos and VEW has been running for almost 9 years with one. At the last National Train Show I was asked by
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 26, 2002
      Hi Gang,

      The VECRR has always been equiped with Relcos and VEW
      has been running for almost 9 years with one.

      At the last National Train Show I was asked by someone
      whether there was a big difference in locomotive
      performance with Relco versus non Relco equiped
      trackage. I couldn't really answer the question...at
      least not from personal experience. I had simply
      installed the Relco on faith. Time to experiment.

      Last night I decided to finally install a Relco cutoff
      switch on one of the VECRR sections. I have 2 Relcos,
      one operating in VEE and the other in VEW so basically
      I would need to install cutoffs in both modules if I
      ever wanted to shut them off. Since I wanted to be
      able to turn them on as well without having to take
      the layout apart (one of the disadvantages of a layout
      in suitcases is that access to components beneath the
      baseboard means lifting the base out of the suitcase)
      I decided to place a DPDT slide switch along side the
      power and control cables that are hidden inside the
      handle recess.

      It took me a few tries to get the wiring worked out,
      simple as it was. I really need to exercise the old
      noodle more vigorously! I cleaned the track and loco
      wheels thoroughly and threw the switch into the
      cut-off or Relco bypass setting. The 0-6-0 purred
      along nicely around the layout, over switches and back
      into the service lead and stopped...nudge...and on it
      went. Back and forth. Nice but not very encouraging
      for shows and operations. Too many stalls.

      Then I tried the other 4 wheel loco in my roster, the
      railbus. It made its noisy way around and at first I
      thought that it ran slower than what I was used to.
      Probably just my imagination! And then a couple of
      stalls.

      Time to flip the switch and inject some Relco buzz
      into the DC circuit. I must point out that I use
      common return wiring on the VECRR and the Relco is
      only used on 1/2 of the circuit, the common side.
      This allows me to use MRC sound systems to add diesel
      and steam sound effects synchronized to the track
      voltage. The Relco would render the sound system
      unusable if it was installed across both DC leads.

      The Relco enhanced operation was just as quiet as the
      non Relco test and the locos ran around the layout
      with no stalling even over my notorious curved
      switches.

      Next it was time to test a MTL F7. The loco having
      8-wheel contact with the rails versus 4 for the
      previous 2 tests made the test more interesting in
      fact. With the Relco off, the loco ran well. In fact
      it only stalled once, at a slight dip at a joint,
      which I did NOT immediately fix. Adding the Relco did
      not affect performance in the least, still smooth and
      steady but this time the F7 ran through the trouble
      spot at the rail joint.

      Then it dawned on me! Running with the Relco has
      actually had a perverse effect...it has hidden from
      observation questionable spots in the trackage. With
      the Relco OFF the F7 would hesitate at spots that
      needed adjustment because of dirt and uneven joints.
      With the Relco ON these trouble spots could go largely
      unnoticed.

      I'm very happy with the initial results of my tests.
      I will still install a cutoff switch in the other
      module so that I can trouble shoot my trackage
      everywhere on the layout.

      My recommendations: keep your track level and free
      from dips and kinks, especially at joints!

      Oh, regarding the Relco...definitely install a cutoff
      switch if you have a Relco (or the Gaugemaster
      equivalent). The straight DC operation will help to
      diagnose problems with the track and force you to keep
      it clean. Adding a Relco or Gaugemaster is highly
      recommended for anyone running trains in a dusty
      environment (like train shows) and I plan to continue
      using mine.

      As for recommending a Relco for most home layouts, I'm
      still wrestling with that one...but I don't think that
      the extra expense is really necessary. I'll leave the
      final decision up to you!

      Cheers,
      Jeffrey

      __________________________________________________
      Do you Yahoo!?
      Y! Web Hosting - Let the expert host your web site
      http://webhosting.yahoo.com/
    • Jeremy Brandon
      ... A very embarrassed Jeremy writes ... Prompted by Jeffrey s experiments, I have measured some parameters of the Relco. I am sorry to say that I gave
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 27, 2002
        --- In z_scale@y..., Jeffrey MacHan <jmac_han@y...> wrote:
        > At the last National Train Show I was asked by someone
        > whether there was a big difference in locomotive
        > performance with Relco versus non Relco equiped
        > trackage. I couldn't really answer the question...at
        > least not from personal experience. I had simply
        > installed the Relco on faith. Time to experiment.

        A very embarrassed Jeremy writes ...

        Prompted by Jeffrey's experiments, I have measured some parameters of
        the Relco. I am sorry to say that I gave misleading information
        previously and I would like to put it right. My humble apologies. (Do
        not believe everything you read in books!!)

        For 15 V AC input, the Relco produces 250 V (RMS) AC output. For 10 V
        AC input (from the Märklin Z controller) its output is 167 V (RMS)
        AC. The output has a frequency of 200 kHz and comes in bursts 50
        times per second. The step-up transformer between the oscillator and
        the output is 1:16. The wire used on the track side of the
        transformer is 0.5 mm (0.02") diameter (24 AWG?).

        Air changes from an insulator to a conductor in an electric field of
        3000 V per mm. The peak output is 1.4 times the RMS output: 350 V and
        234 V respectively for 15 V and 10 V input. So the maximum gap
        between the wheel of a loco and the track at which the Relco is still
        effective is 0.12 mm and 0.08 mm respectively (0.005" and 0.003"). If
        the input is below 5 V the oscillator does not function, otherwise
        the Relco seems to be effective at any higher voltage, although the
        maximum gap is affected proportionally.

        Because the Relco is always active when it is switched on,
        the "cleaning" effect is continuous and seems to improve the contact
        between the pick-up wheels and the track even when the neon light
        does not appear to be lit. The improved contact leads to a reduced
        contact resistance, which means that more current "gets through", so
        the loco goes slightly faster with the Relco than without it. This
        effect is in addition to its cleaning action. A Relcoed loco can ride
        over slight undulations in the track so long as the gap between its
        wheels and the track does not exceed the maximum value described
        above.

        I think that explains the effects Jeffrey has reported.

        The downside of the Relco is that the track needs cleaning much more
        frequently to remove the black deposit that forms (is it burnt oil?),
        but a Jörger track cleaning car takes care of that!

        I apologise again for having previously posted misinformation. Jeremy
      • MASALOWE@aol.com
        I am not an expert on electronics but I have the following observation regarding my long term usage of the Relcos (2 + years): 1) Most of my engines will
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 27, 2002
          I am not an expert on electronics but I have the following observation
          regarding my long term usage of the Relcos (2 + years):

          1) Most of my engines will consistently run smoother with much less stalling.
          The ones that don't are just plain dirty (very dirty) and need a good
          cleaning.
          2) Great running engines will become perfect runners with the Relco.
          3) Good running engines will become great runners with the Relco.
          4) Poor running engines will sometimes run good with the Relco.
          5) All engines should still be cleaned on a regular basis in order to keep
          them running the way they were meant to.
          6) Track work should always be kept clean in order to provide the best
          performance because a dirty track means dust and debris will get into the
          engine and a dirty engine never runs like a clean one!

          I am impressed by the in depth analysis that both Jeffery and Jeremy detailed
          in their postings! We have a very smart group of people in this list! I
          should have stufied more when I took science classes!

          As far as Jeremy's comment about Relcos requiring the track to be clean more
          often-I think track needs to be cleaned on a regular basis with or without a
          Relco (but with a Relco-you can go longer without noticing a decrease in
          performance). I never noticed that it made any more black deposits than
          without. Mine are constantly on and since I don't have any fancy electronics
          (like Jeffery) I find no reason to turn them off. They have been
          consistently reliable in their effectiveness since the day I bought them
          (over two years ago). So it is my un-scientific opinion that the electronic
          track cleaners are a "must buy" purchase for anyone who wants better
          performance!

          Thanks! -Scott-


          In a message dated 10/27/02 1:05:58 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          Jeremy.Brandon@... writes:
          > I think that explains the effects Jeffrey has reported.
          >
          > The downside of the Relco is that the track needs cleaning much more
          > frequently to remove the black deposit that forms (is it burnt oil?),
          > but a Jörger track cleaning car takes care of that!
          >
          > I apologise again for having previously posted misinformation. Jeremy
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jmac_han
          Hi Ole, Loco wheels on a Relco equiped layout are spotless after cleaning. There is no pitting in case you might be wondering. Of course when they are dirty,
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 27, 2002
            Hi Ole,

            Loco wheels on a Relco equiped layout are spotless after
            cleaning. There is no pitting in case you might be wondering. Of
            course when they are dirty, they are quite dirty.

            I use a Micro-Trains Speedi-driver to clean the loco wheels
            before and after and usually during train shows. Also, contrary to
            some opinions expressed elsewhere, the Speedi-driver does
            not scratch the nickel plated wheels on our locos. I have been
            using the Speedi-driver just as long as the Relcos (9 years) and
            have enjoyed excellent results. I highly recommend both to
            runners.

            I presume that track gunk will collect on loco wheels with or
            without the Relco. If a loco starts to hesitate during a train show,
            it is because there is a layer of crud on the drivers so thick that
            the Relco can't operate through it.

            Jeremy mentioned the Joerger track cleaning "car". I don't run
            one since Manfred has not yet made a chassis that I can drop a
            Micro-Trains box car shell over (Hint, Hint!). I do use his cleaning
            tool with the same pad on the end. I can give it a ringing
            endorsement. It is a great cleaning accessory. It is amazing the
            stuff it picks up from my trackwork.

            Cheers,
            Jeffrey


            --- In z_scale@y..., Ole Rosted <Ole.Rosted@g...> wrote:
            >
            > How do "relco treated" loco wheels look?
            >
            > regards Ole Rosted
          • Ole Rosted
            On Sun, 27 Oct 2002 18:05:01 -0000, Jeremy Brandon wrote: Hi, ... WHAT? - Are you saying that using a RELCO will cause black
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 27, 2002
              On Sun, 27 Oct 2002 18:05:01 -0000, "Jeremy Brandon"
              <Jeremy.Brandon@...> wrote:

              Hi,

              >The downside of the Relco is that the track needs cleaning much more
              >frequently to remove the black deposit that forms (is it burnt oil?),

              WHAT? - Are you saying that using a RELCO will cause black deposits?
              In case it really *is* burnt oil - was that not the kind of deposit a
              RELCO was supposed to remove?

              How do "relco treated" loco wheels look?

              regards Ole Rosted
            • Dieter_Mac_Nolte@t-online.de
              Dear Jeffrey, ... On my special request Manfred Joerger was so kind to manufacture for me a cleaning car, using as a base an American Gondola from Maerklin. It
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 27, 2002
                Dear Jeffrey,

                jmac_han schrieb:
                > Jeremy mentioned the Joerger track cleaning "car". I don't run
                > one since Manfred has not yet made a chassis that I can drop a
                > Micro-Trains box car shell over (Hint, Hint!).

                On my special request Manfred Joerger was so kind to manufacture for me a
                cleaning car, using as a base an American Gondola from Maerklin. It works great.
                However this car causes additional drag to work satisfactory. I use it at
                the beginning of shows or exhibitions for cleaning of my tracks, not as a
                regular car in a 'normal' train for continous cleaning.
                So far, I have not tried so moisture the 'Cleaning filt' of the car with a
                cleaning fluid. But I think this may work, especially in track lengths difficult
                to be reached.
                So, in principle at least American gondolas of Maerklin may be converted into
                'Cleaning Cars' by Manfred Joerger.

                Greetings

                Dieter


                Dieter W. Nolte
                E-Mail Dieter_Mac_Nolte@...
              • de Champeaux Dominique
                About track cleaning, I have a question to all of you guys: I intend to purchase an Aztectrains track cleaning car, what do you think of this device? Cheers
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 30, 2002
                  About track cleaning, I have a question to all of you
                  guys: I intend to purchase an Aztectrains track
                  cleaning car, what do you think of this device?
                  Cheers
                  Dominique

                  ___________________________________________________________
                  Do You Yahoo!? -- Une adresse @... gratuite et en français !
                  Yahoo! Mail : http://fr.mail.yahoo.com
                • jmac_han
                  ... Here are my comments borrowed back from David Karp s Zscale.org site. Comments on the Aztec Track Cleaner Jeffrey MacHan Concerning the Aztec car...every Z
                  Message 8 of 8 , Oct 30, 2002
                    --- In z_scale@y..., de Champeaux Dominique <ddechamp71@y...> wrote:
                    > About track cleaning, I have a question to all of you
                    > guys: I intend to purchase an Aztectrains track
                    > cleaning car, what do you think of this device?
                    > Cheers
                    > Dominique
                    >
                    Here are my comments borrowed back from David Karp's Zscale.org site.

                    Comments on the Aztec Track Cleaner
                    Jeffrey MacHan
                    Concerning the Aztec car...every Z scale layout should have one.
                    During train shows, I run 3 trains continuously on the Val Ease
                    Central. Each train has an Aztec car behind the motive power to
                    polish the track and to improve the performance of the trains.

                    They work well on the home layout to condition the track after
                    cleaning with another agent. The Aztec car will remove residue and
                    particles left behind from the major cleaning operation. I usually
                    run a locomotive with just the cleaning car for about 5 minutes
                    around each circuit of the layout. You can see the grime and oil that
                    is collected on the abrasive roller which is skewed 2 degrees from
                    perpendicular to the track direction. As a result, the roller rolls
                    while skidding along the rail head. This keeps drag to a reasonable
                    level and provides the scrubbing effect that cleans the rails. Very
                    ingenious on the part of John Claudino of Aztec. Putting the car
                    further back in a train consist may cause derailments due or
                    uncoupling because of the drag from this car.

                    They are a little pricey but one per layout is a good investment.
                    ************

                    Other opinions can also be found here:

                    http://www.zscale.org/articles/cleaning.html including David's
                    excellent commentary.

                    Cheers,
                    Jeffrey
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.