I ordered the new improved Al Kramer (“Conductor”) clamps that he has sold for years under his Ebay site. The other source is his company Roll-EZ.com.
For those following the critiques of the older versions’s problems of screws binding, there were varied evaluations of the clamps being used with LGB/Aristo/Bachma’s factory clamps. In addition, was Al Kramer’s statement acknowledging the screw binding problem and his commitment to testing the newest manufacturing before offering them or sale.
The new shipment came, he said he successfully tested them, and I bought 20 sets. Here is my report of testing:
1 - No evidence of screw binding as each screw can be hand threaded. They look great and work fine.
2 - The workmanship appears excellent - granted, it is a simple plate precisely drilled to exactly compress a factory rail connector on both sides of the connector. Thus the clamp, connector, and rail are all compressed together – sides and bottom.
3 - I have tried, per Greg’s sharp inventiveness, clamping directly to the rail instead of using the system to compress the factory connector against the rail. I used two modified stainless washers on either side of the rail, – four used total – they were compressed directly against the rail by the four screws,. I add, compared to the two methods, I have not seen any previous differences in continuity or clamp durability of the rail with the older models once the screws have been fully tightened. I think the clamped factory connectors gives added rigidity. Again, the issue in the new ones were the screws did not thread easily and would, as we say, gall.
4. My conclusion for holding stainless rail – especially on curves – the Kramer clamps, FULLY tightened, compressing the factory clamps, really hold. Stainless rail, at least that was mfg. nearly 8 years ago, has a mind of its own. On sharp curves it wants to straighten out - it won’t forget. I found these clamps give that rail a full measure of holding power. The clamp/factory connector combo holds stainless even if using the brass connectors. I use same and the Kramer clamped rail has been down for 8 years and never moved a molecule.
5. Yes, they still look absolutely non-prototypical. For concerned commentary, keep 'em in the back where you may have to walk on the track - at least out-of-site is out of comment. Besides most negative commentary on prototypicallity is just a gallery of nuisances.