S-Gauge Train Maintenance - Commutators, etc.
Commutator Cleaning, etc.
By C. Zizzo
Hobbyist, model trains:
Recently, I brought to a halt all the S-Trains list discussions on using Wahl's Clipper Oil and other cleaning and lubricating remedies by challenging everyone to try CAIG Labs' DeoxIT® M260 Grease (mineral based).
The DeoxIT® M260Cp (w/copper particles) is a "conductive" lubricant INTENDED for commutators and other moving contacts. It improves contact, lengthens life, reduces ozone, eliminates most sparking and, in general, is a panacea for whatever ails your trains electrically.
Use it on e-units, transformer wipers, track surfaces, wheels, bearings that conduct electrically, live catenary and pantographs, you name it. The product will improve your railroad like it does the prototypes.
The boys on the S-list called my bluff, so I ended up ordering about 60 jars of the stuff from CAIG. They were very nice and included instructions for use on trains. They also included a sample of their DeoxIT® contact cleaner for everybody and I wrote up instructions, based on what I was told, and included it.
I use it on everything! The original instructions, by the way, called for a "VAPOR THIN" coating.
Stop using oils and volatile products on electrical contacts. Alcohol should NEVER be applied to a running commutator. It could flash over if you have spilled, or whatever may still be on the applicator and start a fire that would peel your skin off. Also, oil will ruin the insulation between commutator segments and destroy the motor. It can also flash and burn.
After disconnecting the power source, the DeoxIT® would be an excellent contact cleaner.
DeoxIT® GOLD (formerly ProGold)
DeoxIT® GOLD GxL (formerly ProGold GxL)
DeoxIT® SHIELD (formerly PreservIT)
DeoxIT® FaderLube (formerly CaiLube MCL)
DeoxIT® FaderGrease (formerly CaiLube MCL P20 & P40)
DeoxIT® Grease Type M260 & L260 Paste (formerly CaiLube Grease).