Braid care

Squeezing out those last few tenths

Braid care

Postby wixwacing » Sat 19 Jul, 2008 12:26 am

<br><br>Over the last few years I have been asked time and time again by relative novices about race prepping cars. So, after dishing out heaps of personal secrets to help the newcomers I then have to try and beat them !! But like the master chef, there is always one recipe I never give away! So, I'm not going to start now!

But, what I will do is give you the benefit of another important aspect of race prep.

Braids !

Yes, Braids.

The amount of time I have been asked to look at a sick or ailing car and the main problem is braids!! Even hardened campaigners have been just as guilty!

So, I will say this once and once only.

If you use soft copper braids on your comp car it is not unreasonable to either change them or reverse them for EVERY meeting they are used at. If you reverse them to the clean side then they will need discarding after their second meeting.

Why? Simple, the arcing process of braids on either dirty or contaminated rails causes minute slag inclusions on the copper strands. This will build up over a short period until you can actually measure the resistance in tens of ohms with a multi meter. A trackside fix on raceday is to apply either Voodoo juice or a similar concoction and then vigorously back brush the braids with a stiff brush or tooth brush. This will ease the problem.

A second fix is to use hard copper or OFC braids (oxygen free copper). These don't seem to be as susceptible as the soft coppers and they last a lot longer before slowing up the proceedings. A drawback with harder copper is the greater difficulty in getting an even contact with both braids at every part of the track. A good source of this is the flat car audio wire available from all good electrical hobby stores.

A third alternative (and one I am using more and more after extensive testing) is the 'tinned' braid as used by Scalextric and others. This seems to be a hard copper with a base metal coating of some kind (possibly tin?) Anyone that races Scalextric cars old or new knows that the last thing on these cars you have trouble with is the braids whereas models like Fly and Ninco eat braids for supper.

So, if you're in for some serious comp racing. Change those copper braids EVERY TIME! or do as I do and use tinned braids.

Another couple of quick tips, If you are caught with your braids down and have no spares you have some options.

1. Twist the braids longitudinally so the outer edges run more on the rails.

2.Turn down the last eighth of an inch (3mm) of braid so the braid tip is the main contact


3. Comb the ends of the braids out with a fine metal brush or in it's absence, tease them out with a pin.

One last word. After not having used your track for several days do you find that you can't get a car to do a full circuit until the rails are cleaner!! Well, if the problem is oxidisation on the rails, give each braid a small squirt with either three in one oil or singer sewing machine oil. This should get you round OK. This will also help the track joints to stay good.

If the problem is dust or dirt, just put three cars on in a row (Rally cars are ideal for this). As you drive round the front car becomes the snow plough and the other two the tractor!!

Let me know how you go !<center>

When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Good tips for routed track owners with verdigris problems...

Postby loopedeloop » Sun 03 Aug, 2008 8:42 am

I like the three-in-1 oil tip.
I have been using CRC for the same purpose, applied to the braids. It allows the car a few cleaning laps while picking up the gunk off the power rails on my routed/copper tape Track. Once the car stops due to gunk, respray the braids, wipe clean, spray, then run again.
It also seems to act as a traction compund when it gets on tyres too :grin:
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Re: Braid care

Postby yankfaraway » Wed 06 Aug, 2008 2:44 am

I have been using a commercial compound for cleaning braid for years, and when I ran out recently, I used the spray that is meant for cleaning commutator plates just before I went to the track. I was astounded by the effectiveness of this stuff. Its an awful mess if you spray it on, so spray it on a rag or a brass brush.

By the way, Hi, Geoff!
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Re: Braid care

Postby loopedeloop » Wed 06 Aug, 2008 3:09 pm

Hi Rob! (3) :grin:

The CRC i'm talking about is similar to WD40. They also make another product called CO Contact Cleaner which sounds similar to the one you use. I use it on my RC Car motors, brushes and comm.
A very powerful cleaner which doesnt harm most plastics. Does an excellent job cleaning braids and track rails but removes acrylic paints in a flash so I only use it on the track when totally necessary.
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Re: Braid care

Postby PerryV » Fri 28 Aug, 2015 11:54 pm

I use Parma Braid Juice, it cleans the cars braid, leaves nothing on the track and reduces any burning of one side.
There is many brands available, Parma, Koford, Go Fast, Lucky Bob and others.
You can also use half a drop on the Electronic Controllers and wipe off extra with a cotton tip. ( Difalco, Professor Motor Controllers.)

I know its an old post, but this is what I use.
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Re: Braid care

Postby dvd3500 » Mon 31 Aug, 2015 7:48 pm

I read about using automatic transmission fluid and "Marvel's mystery oil" here:
I can confirm that using Marvel's seems to make the braids last longer. According to wikipedia it is mostly just mineral oil ( I am no chemist so I have no idea if this is better or worse than 3 in 1 oil (Marvel Mystery oil is not available outside of North America as far as I know)
I have been testing using automatic transmission fluid on rails and they do seem to keep them from oxidizing but they also pick up a bit more dust. To get around this I lay the track face down one paper towels or suspended across two working horses while it dries and then wipe it down with a clean lint-free cloth before assembly.

I have since resorted to using copper tape with conductive adhesive on really bad track (like my goodwood chicane and the Scaley classic pit).
Thanks to the way the track fits together I get extremely good contact. Maybe even better than the brand new Sport track!

Just my .02 €
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