Restarting an Unused HO Engine

On 8/17/2009 7:11 PM W. eWatson spake thus:


I was talking about the electrical connections between the trucks and the motor.
OK, now I've got an Athearn loco of the same vintage as yours in front of me. Here's the rundown of the electrical system:
The truck assemblies each have two metal plates that ride on the bronze wheel bearings, so each plate picks up current from a pair of wheels. In the stock configuration, the plates on one side of the looco have that tab that sticks up and contacts the contact strip above the motor; the other pair of plates is under the bolster (the pivot for the trucks) and rides against the bottom of the frame.
One side of the motor is connected to the contact strip; the other side contacts the frame via a spring contact.
So you can see how all these connections are simply metal rubbing against metal, with only the weight of the loco itself pressing them together. Very prone to trouble.
The loco I'm looking at was given to me by someone, and I see that it's been modified: someone soldered wires from the top contact strip on the motor to each of the truck tab contacts, and thrown away that long contact strip. It's actually pretty easy to do if you have any soldering skills and tools.
Cleaning the wheels is probably the most important thing you can do to get the loco running better. There are lots of techniques. I'd advise against sandpaper, unless it's *really* fine (at least 600 grit).
Better is to get the loco running upside-down (by using alligator clips to supply power) and use a Q-tip wetted with a solvent. Denatured alcohol works really well. Don't use rubbing alcohol. You should see lots of black gunk come off on the swab. This is something that needs to be done regularly, by the way, once you start actually running trains. Dirt continually builds up on the tracks and wheels.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Ah, running it upside down. I like that. I have denatured alcohol.
I have no idea what grit I used for the initial sandpaper. It did work pretty well. Before using it, I couldn't get the engine to move at all. I should do it again though, probably with something less than 600 just to make sure. What about fine emery cloth?
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On 8/18/2009 7:20 PM W. eWatson spake thus:

I'd say don't use any abrasives. You probably don't need it to clean the gunk off the wheels, so why take chances with ruining the shape of the wheel treads?
--
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

This thread certain has gotten long. I finally got around to using the denatured alcohol on the engines wheels, and it worked very well. Lots of grime. I'm now just into cleaning up other matters with the layout before I put it up for sale. My next post, soon, will be related to that topic.
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W. eWatson wrote:

OK, but use something finer than 600 - 1200 will do nicely.
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On Mon, 17 Aug 2009 20:04:02 -0700, David Nebenzahl
They are one and the same. -- Ray
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On 8/18/2009 8:31 PM Ray Haddad spake thus:

[groan] Oh, no, more misstatements of fact from the master himself.
Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol + water.
Denatured alcohol is ethanol (ethyl alcohol), denatured with methanol (methyl alcohol).
Not the same thing at all.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 20:43:41 -0700, David Nebenzahl

They are the same. -- Ray
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Ray Haddad wrote:

Where? If these two products are called by the same name in Oz, I'd be afraid to buy the stuff. Maybe you have different names for denatured alky and the stuff for rubbing. If so, what are they?
Cheers, wolf k.
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wrote:

Denaturing is done to rubbing alcohol. What these yokels are doing is confusing 90% alcohol with 70% alcohol.
Over here, it's called methylated spirits. It's denatured alcohol.
I'll bet they don't even know what denatured means. -- Ray
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You're confused. As usual. Both Isopropal and Ethyl alcohols are generically called "rubbing alcohols", but only the Ethyl variations are ever "denatured".
That's because "denaturing" means adding something that makes the normally palatable Ethyl alcohol toxic to prevent it being used as a beverage, whereas Isopropal alcohol is toxic to begin with, so cannot be "denatured".

No, those are just variations of how much water there is in a given mixture.

Bets?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol
(You can apologise any time now, but we won't hold our collective breaths.)
~Pete
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On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 11:18:28 -0700 (PDT), Twibil

Why? You just proved I was correct. Your attempt at apology is noted but declined, Pete. -- Ray
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Ray Haddad wrote:

Ray, you are in a minority of one (as usual). Everyone else, rest assured that other Australians do not have the same misconceptions, even though the term rubbing alcohol is not in very common use here.
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They are still both denatured whether I am the only one who knows it or not. -- Ray
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On 8/19/2009 11:31 PM Ray Haddad spake thus:

So tell us how, exactly, isopropyl alcohol (known in North America as rubbing alcohol) is denatured. Keep in mind that this word means that the substance was changed in some way from its "natural" state (e.g., adding methanol to ethyl alcohol to make denatured alcohol).
We're waiting.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Isocol, as referred to elsewhere as the commonest Australian analogue of your rubbing alcohol, is 'denatured' in Ray's sense by being only 64% isopropyl and therefore 36% something else; whatever that something else may be, the stuff is not pure isopropyl, and is therefore denatured in a legitimate Australian-usage sense of that word.
Denatured here, in this usage, simply means artificially rendered impure, or as one dictionary defines it, 'adulterated'.
Ray is right in respect in respect of common, although not the only, Australian usage.
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On 8/19/2009 11:50 PM a_a_a spake thus:

>> [Ray Haddad said:] >>

You're right about it being x% something else besides isopropyl; however, that "something else" is probably water. (Couldn't check the MSDS on that site because it goes to the same link as "contact us".) But that's what our rubbing alcohol is: isopropyl + water.
But I think you're just wrong about the denatured part of it. Since isopropyl alcohol is already toxic and not something people would drink to get drunk, there's no *need* to denature it as there is with ethanol, so I don't see what you're getting at here.

But it's not being rendered anything; it's simply diluted (again, probably with water). Which ain't the same thing as denaturing.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

That is not the point. To us it is denatured by the act of modifying it irrespective of the motivation or means for doing so. That is where you and twibil are both missing the difference between the US usage and Ray's Australian usage - you are saying that in your definition, the motivation and nature of the modification are a key factor in whether it is denatured, whereas to him (and me) those aspects are irrelevant. Your very specific form of denaturing is just a small subset of our much more general concept of denaturing.

Again, the definitions are different. To us dilution IS a form of denaturing, as might more readily be apparent if we were discussing wine rather than isopropyl alcohol. Watered-down wine is highly denatured in several ways!
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I'm not Australian. Get over it. Denaturing is denaturing. -- Ray
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On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 23:40:22 -0700, David Nebenzahl

Denaturing is the same worldwide. Quit dodging. You are wrong. -- Ray
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