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    • April 15, 2019 2:44 AM EDT
    • I'll check it out, thanks Bill!

    • April 14, 2019 1:13 PM EDT
    • Eric try some of the conductive grease that Bachmann sells (and others) you can put it on with a brush, Bill

    • April 14, 2019 2:26 AM EDT
    • Frankly, I am just going to get some spares.  If there was a way to get a drop of solder onto the point where the spring tucks under the crimped edges, it eluded my limited soldering skill!

      I am glad this kicked off a bit of a discussion.  I learned quite a bit!

       

      Eric

    • April 12, 2019 6:14 PM EDT
    • Not a competition Dave, it's interesting to figure this stuff out. I think the major issue is depending on a not too tightly crimped assembly that wants to pass power.

       

      My experience has been that this plating is not very thick and battery "juice" will kill it quickly too.

       

      If I got one, perhaps I would take a shot at soldering all the connections, although it might be just as easy as buying a spare:

      https://www.mouser.com/datasheet/2/209/EPD-200819-1171435.pdf

       

      Greg

    • April 12, 2019 5:38 PM EDT
    • Thanks Greg, and the nickle plating explains how Eric was able to solder to it. 

    • April 12, 2019 5:36 PM EDT
    • ok, My mistake.

    • April 12, 2019 3:57 PM EDT
    • If you look at the picture, you will see it's not tin, tin is not shiny and also subject to oxidation.

       

      I did some research, many battery holders specify the springs are 65C spring steel, nickel plated. So that seems to be the normal plating.

       

      Definitely not tin.. and since chrome plate is really normally copper, then nickel, then chrome, the nickel makes sense, cheaper and no need to add chrome (chrome on bumpers was added to slightly turn the color more bluish from the more yellowish nickel, the chrome plating is pretty thin, and the nickel shows through)

       

      Greg

    • April 12, 2019 5:35 AM EDT
    • Cliff Jennings said:
      Greg Elmassian said:

      Unfortunately most of those components are chrome plated steel, just ripe for corrosion and moisture issues. Who hasn't had the springs rust on a battery powered unit?

       

      For sure, Greg. And I hope Piko's contacts are made of brass or SS, but maybe they aren't... Yet Eric was able to solder to them, right? Did that solder joint hold, Eric? If so, that would be... what, nickle-plated brass, Greg?

      Anyway Eric, if your holder's contacts are plated steel, and they continue having issues, maybe keep a few on hand as spares. At least they're cheap, and the 9v clips make them easy to swap out. 

      More like tin plated steel.

    • April 12, 2019 3:54 AM EDT
    • Interesting account of the ups and downs of garden railroading.

    • April 12, 2019 3:45 AM EDT
    • Gents,

      I was able to get a good solder joint to the female terminal, run the wire through the hold in the center of it, and make a not-so-good solder connection to the spring.   I used a really thin wire that gave way when I changed batteries, but the repair served its purpose.

       

      As for the terminal-spring junction, I saw no visible damage or discoloration.  Corrosion is an issue here, which is why we store batteries outside their devices.  I suspect that this particular one just wasn't crimped right.  I'll try jiggering the spring and see if that works.   In the meantime, Cliff, it is great to know this is not a custom part!  

       

      - Eric

    • April 12, 2019 2:42 AM EDT
    • they are steel, brass would not stay springy

    • April 11, 2019 9:07 PM EDT
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      Unfortunately most of those components are chrome plated steel, just ripe for corrosion and moisture issues. Who hasn't had the springs rust on a battery powered unit?

       

      For sure, Greg. And I hope Piko's contacts are made of brass or SS, but maybe they aren't... Yet Eric was able to solder to them, right? Did that solder joint hold, Eric? If so, that would be... what, nickle-plated brass, Greg?

      Anyway Eric, if your holder's contacts are plated steel, and they continue having issues, maybe keep a few on hand as spares. At least they're cheap, and the 9v clips make them easy to swap out. 

    • April 11, 2019 8:31 PM EDT
    • Unfortunately most of those components are chrome plated steel, just ripe for corrosion and moisture issues. Who hasn't had the springs rust on a battery powered unit?

       

      Ideally these joints would be spot welded or soldered, but since they are assembled into a plastic housing not a usual condition.

       

      Greg

    • April 11, 2019 5:59 PM EDT
    • Eric, thanks for your reports, I enjoy the detail you go to, and the family aspects of your stories.

       

      Your battery holder reminded me of a similar one I bought today, but for other purposes. FWIW, here's the 6-cell version of what I bought, which looks a lot like yours:

      https://www.ebay.com/itm/252415714274

       

      Concurring with Greg's points, and in view of the crimped connection between spring and clip, I can't help but wonder if the springs have a tendency to walk out of position while running and therefore vibrating. If so, you might need to occasionally take a pair of needlenose and turn them clockwise back into the clip to reseat them snugly. Just a guess though, I don't have one of your units.

       

      Cliff

       

       

    • April 11, 2019 11:20 AM EDT
    • Thanks Eric! I only saw faraway shots of the "battery holder"... those typically have no soldered connections, and just rely on the metal to metal crimps.

       

      Perhaps owners could solder those connections to avoid issues, was there any visible corrosion or discoloration where the electricity was supposed to flow? I wonder if your higher humidity accelerated the condition.

       

      In any case I understand and thanks.

       

      Greg

    • April 11, 2019 3:57 AM EDT
    • P.S.  All else having failed, here is a link to that quick video clip:  https://1drv.ms/v/s!Al9dghtWN_3bgYFBbae8VwQ225j_EA 

    • April 11, 2019 3:41 AM EDT
    • Greg,

       

      This is the failed battery clip:

      My camera had a hard time focusing, but the failure occurred where the spring leads into the female terminal.   You can see where I jumped the break by (badly) soldering a wire from the spring to the terminal which temporarily solved the issue.   The spring itself winds under the back of the terminal, so I suspect the break happened in there.  I do not believe I did anything to break that connection, so I think I just got the one bad part in PIKO's stock.   Per their customer service guy, this was a first for them.

       

      If it illustrates the failure better, I performed a test when I trouble shot that I could use to visually show the problem in my correspondence with PIKO.  You'll note if I used a the male and female terminals, nothing happened in my highly sophisticated test circuit:

       

      I knew it had to be one of the terminals, because touching the test wires to other metal bits on the battery clip lit the bulb:

      From there, even with my electrical engineering mental block, I reasoned the only break point could be that spring going to the female terminal, something a quick continuity check with my multi-meter confirmed.

       

      - Eric

       

    • April 9, 2019 5:20 PM EDT
    • Eric, when you can, would post a picture showing what broke on your track cleaner? Perhaps it is an area that others can watch to avoid the issue you got, or do you believe it was just a bad solder joint from the factory?

       

      A picture of the failed part would be great.

       

      Greg

    • April 9, 2019 12:00 PM EDT
    • glad to hear

    • April 9, 2019 3:52 AM EDT
    • About 96 hours from problem ID'd to part in hand.  THAT is customer service!  Diesel Dan is back out on the tracks getting them ready for the weekend.

       

      - Eric