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Model Railroading > Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators


Date: 01/09/20 13:16
Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: miralomarail

Was wondering if anyone has any Idea's for cleaning Commutators on HO scale loco's.  I was trying to get a  " Penn Line " switcher last night to run, which might be older then I am.
The wheels shine, but, I figure the  Commutator  must be filty then.

Any Methods or Idea's for cleaning ?

TIA Tom



Date: 01/09/20 13:47
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: g-spotter1

I have used either a "brightboy"  track cleaning eraser cut to the correct width, or 1500-2000 grit sand paper mounted on a piece of square wood or plastic stock.  While running the motor at medium rpm, apply the polisher until the commutator shows bright.  Don't overdo it.  Note:  The down side to using a track cleaner, is material lodging in between the commutator plates.  Not ideal.  As a result, I prefer the sand paper tool.  Also, avoid the fine wires and soldier of the armature windings.   Damage to those spells trouble.  In general, due to friction forces applied by the brushes, cleaning is only necessary  on heavily oxidized plates.  A few hundred revolutions is usually enough to do the trick without any cleaning.  I have found modest improvements in motor performance on old open frame type motors by cleaning as a general rule of tune-ups.
 



Date: 01/09/20 14:28
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: Auburnrail

Remember that in the old open frame motors, the magnets eventually become weak, thereby increasing
the amp draw while drastically losing power.
George Andrassy



Date: 01/09/20 18:38
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: ALCO630

i use a rergular pencil eraser. It's not abrasive so it does more of a polishing. Then I clean the grooves out with an X-Acto knife. 

Doug Wetherhold
Macungie, PA



Date: 01/09/20 19:31
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: santafedan

I have used Rail-Zip.



Date: 01/09/20 19:31
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: santafedan

santafedan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have used Rail-Zip.
Also, contact cleaner.



Date: 01/09/20 19:59
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: ZbigniewChrysler

Don't EVER use sandpaper on any electrical contact, commutator, relay, or switch.  It will imbed tiny particles of grit into the copper and cause rapid failure.  Use crocus cloth, available from McMaster-Carr, or a Pink Pearl eraser.  Maybe your club could go together and buy a roll of the crocus cloth, one foot will last a lifetime.  The Pink Pearl erasers have no grit in them, others do and cause the same problem.



Date: 01/10/20 06:21
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: HB90MACH

I just use alcohol on a q-tip. Works good.  Cut any oil that found its way there with physics and time too. 



Date: 01/10/20 09:38
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: g-spotter1

ZbigniewChrysler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Don't EVER use sandpaper on any electrical
> contact, commutator, relay, or switch.  It will
> imbed tiny particles of grit into the copper and
> cause rapid failure.  Use crocus cloth, available
> from McMaster-Carr, or a Pink Pearl eraser. 
> Maybe your club could go together and buy a roll
> of the crocus cloth, one foot will last a
> lifetime.  The Pink Pearl erasers have no grit in
> them, others do and cause the same problem.

I have been using this technique for over a half century.  No failures yet.



Date: 01/10/20 09:46
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: Westbound

For my HO motors I use a short length of basswood, perhaps 1/8 x 1/8 inches square with one end cut at a 45 degree angle. 



Date: 01/21/20 13:57
Re: Cleaning HO Scale Motor Commutators
Author: BurtNorton

I use a little contactor cleaner and a Pink Pearl eraser. Use the eraser to clean, then the contact cleaner to get rid of and losen and grime. Repeat once or twice. I dont recomend anything crazy like WD-40 or some other flammable solvents unless you want to go kaboom. I always hear one on awhile about some newbie railroad electricians or laborers using flammable solvents to clean electrical components, losing both their eyebrows and jobs shortly after combustion.

Posted from iPhone



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