*Doors and Gates
Access points into yards, garages and other structures, doors and gates, regularly need maintenance. For those of you who like to work on these applications on your own, CAIG Labs has several products that will help you do a better job and make your work last longer.
Doors and gates have several places where maintenance may be required, and this may be mechanical or electrical/electronic. For example, in addition to rusty hinges, you may be dealing with other mechanical applications such as inadequate (used up) lubrication on sliding mechanisms or chain drives on automatic gates. Likewise, there may be electronic applications as well including remote opener controls, motors, locks and emergency power supplies.
The simplest door that needs the least maintenance will likely be doors that are entirely in the interior. However, even these doors could use a spot protection and lubrication now and then depending on where you live.
Two places that may need this kind of lubrication and protection are where the latch bolt slides out from the face plate on knob/latching mechanism and on the hinges. For both of these applications, we recommend MechanicALL in an oiler applicator.
Apply the MechanicALL to the harder points to lubricate using the needle oiler. These include the thin lines in between the door hinges as well as the thin break between the face plate and the latch bolt. These areas are often times so tight that it does not appear any lubricant is getting where it needs to go. Do not worry, the MechanicALL is designed to penetrate the thinnest of grooves between the metals, providing lubrication, removing and protecting from oxidation.
For any gates, garage doors and other sliders that have exposure to the outdoors, consider grease, in addition to, the MechanicALL. This will provide some additional lubrication along with significant protection. If you are working on something like a chain drive for a gate or garage door, you can skip the MechanicALL and go right to the grease. Using one of CAIG’s L260 Greases Infused with DeoxIT® on such applications will also provide the benefit of cleaning the oxidation away. The grease can be applied by itself on slider tracks and chains, and right on top of the MechanicALL on exposed/outdoor hinges.
Lastly, whenever you maintaining a powered gate or door, you should also clean and protect both the controls and any electronic locks. For this application, DeoxIT® D Series is the choice for you. Apply the DeoxIT®, whether by spray, pen, wipe, brush – the choice is yours and whatever provides you with the easiest application and most comfort should be what you choose. (Click Here – scroll down ¾ of page to see applicator choices) You will want to apply the DeoxIT® to electronic locks, key fobs, switches, power supplies/batteries, and other connectors involved in your powered doors and gates.
*Gaming, Communications, and Audio/Video
Obviously, these are diverse areas, but they do involve many of the same connectors and basically, the same maintenance. In Gaming, Datacom and A/V, you will be dealing with sensitive equipment that operate on low voltage and utilize plated connectors. Hopefully, you have at least managed to maintain this equipment by keeping it indoors and away from water. If not, and you are repairing a water damaged device, you need a little more direction. Do not worry, at CAIG Labs, we have dealt with this extensively. Go to CAIG.com and contact us for instructions.
If you are just maintaining your fairly well-kept electronics, then DeoxIT GOLD G-Series will be the product for you. This product line is designed to remove slight oxidation and when using a spray, the flushing action will also remove dust, debris and other contaminants. The GOLD excels in sealing up the plating on the connectors, protecting and lubricating the same, and ensuring that you have the highest level of conductivity.
Using the DeoxIT GOLD G Series on all the metal connections/connectors you are using, including edge connectors, DIMMs, USBs, HDMIs, VGA/D-Subs, Ethernet, and Composites. If you cannot get the product into the socket, make sure to cover the jack/male portion of the connector and mate and disconnect the connection several times; the DeoxIT GOLD will migrate into the socket.
In addition, make sure to treat the actual power supply connections of your device. If you are just dealing with a simple plug to a wall outlet, there is not much maintenance, and a visual inspection simply making sure that the plug prongs are relatively free from oxidation is enough… if there is oxidation you can see, then use DeoxIT D-Series.
For devices with their own power supplies, the application of DeoxIT will lead to an increase in battery life and a reduction of heat. Apply DeoxIT GOLD G-Series or DeoxIT D-Series to the connector surfaces on the battery and the device. Again, the GOLD should be sufficient unless you can see visible oxidation and, in that case, use the DeoxIT D-Series.
Lastly, there is at least one other place you ought to think about cleaning during your routine maintenance – your display screen(s). Today’s modern displays are made with plastics and other materials that are susceptible to blurring when exposed to certain chemicals, including ammonia and alcohol. Accordingly, you should never clean a modern display with any such chemical or any product containing such chemicals. Instead, use a product that was made specifically for these new displays and touch screens, CAIG Labs Screen Cleaner.
*Slot Cars and Trains
Although slightly different, both slot cars and model trains utilize the same basic system for getting power to run: the power supply is the track they are running on.
For a slot car, the contacts for the electricity are picked up by the swiveling blade, or “guide flag” on the slot car, which provides the power to run around the track. The vehicle is controlled by a hand-held speed controller that filters in the voltage amount; the more that the trigger is pressed, the faster the car can go.
For a train, power goes out from the train transformer or power pack through one wire connected to the track and into one of the rails. Electricity goes up from the rail through the metal wheels on the locomotive and into the electric motor, causing it to run.
In addition, there are also three-rail tinplate trains that take power from the center rail and return the power on the outside two rails. This allows small children to make any track
arrangement without having to deal with the short circuits that result from reversing loops. A reversing loop is any arrangement where the train ends up back on the track.
Dirt and oxidation can ruin a model’s appearance, but the same dirt can destroy its operation if it coats the electrical contacts. Left unchecked long enough, dirt build-up on wheels can even cause a derailment.
Regardless of whether you are dealing with a train or a car, you will definitely want to clean/ maintain the two main connection points: the track and the vehicle. In addition, you will want to make sure any power switches or controllers are properly cleaned and lubricated as well as any on track accessories like building lights, crossing gates, signals and electric track uncouplers.
For train tracks, maintenance is very easy. Use DeoxIT D-Series in a wipe applicator. Simply run the wipe around the track making sure to wipe all the metal tracking, thereby applying the DeoxIT to the same. You do not need to apply significant pressure, rather, just makes sure the wipe touches the metal surfaces. Don’t worry if you see some black or dark green residue on the wipe… that is just dissolved oxidation and other contaminants that your train will not have to deal with any longer.
A slot car track is made of plastic segments with two steel rails in each lane. These steel rails run the entire length of the track. One of the rails provides power to the slot car while the other rail provides the ground. Some slot car tracks are composed of several smaller track pieces which are clipped together using interlocking sections; however, other slot car tracks are made up of a relatively small number of longer sections of track which means that there are far fewer seams throughout the entire race circuit. Regardless of what kind of track you are dealing with, again, run the wipe around the track making sure to wipe all the metal rails, applying the DeoxIT to the same.
With the track clean, you should also make sure that the connectors and switches relating to the power supply to the track are working properly. Voltage supplied to the train and car tracks by the power supply are typically between 8 to 18 volts. These switches and connectors should be treated with DeoxIT D Series. Alternatively, on any larger switches or outdoor power supplies, like in a G Scale or Garden Train, you may want to use a deoxidizing grease as well to add more protection from the elements.
As to the actual vehicles, these have fairly sensitive low voltage connectors that should also be maintained regularly. Model trains run on electricity going up from the rail through the metal wheels on the locomotive and into the electric motor, causing it to run. From there it goes back down through the wheels on the other side of the locomotive, into the opposite rail and back to the transformer.
Prior to beginning work on a model car or model train locomotive engine, blow any dust out of gearboxes and wheels using DustALL air duster from CAIG Labs. Then, to make sure the wheels are free from corrosion and other debris, use DeoxIT D Series to lightly wipe the wheels to ensure connectivity.
In addition, don’t forget electrical contacts inside the trucks as well. It may be necessary to partially disassemble the trucks to get to the contacts. Clean the backs of wheels and the metal contacts by lightly applying the DeoxIT to the same.
Similarly, on slot cars, power for the car’s motor is carried by metal strips next to the slot, and is picked up by contacts alongside the guide flag (a swiveling blade) under the front of the slot car. You will want to apply the DeoxIT D-Series to the metal contacts alongside the guide flag.
Lastly, while slot car off the track or the train engine trucks apart to clean wheels and contents, you should take one more step and lubricate.
For model train engines, remove the engine shell by turning the engine upside down and removing screws or gently prying open the plastic tabs, and set the shell aside. Blow away all visible dirt, fibers, dust and debris using DustALL air duster from CAIG Labs. Next, with our X10S Oiler Pen with needle applicator apply small amounts of this oil to the wheel bearings, axle bearings, gear shaft and motor bearings. Make sure to use a very small amount as any excess will make a flick off and make a mess.
Like a train engine, for a slot car, apply the X10S oil to bearings and bushings (note: some bushings will have a small hole where oil can be dripped through the bushing and right onto the axle). If there is no designated oiler hole, just apply to the axle right next to the bush and spin the wheels a little to ensure that the lubricant is properly applied.
In addition, on slot cars, grease should be used to lube the gears – this will help with both smoothness and how noisy the car operates. Use CAIG’s L260 Grease with DeoxIT for the extra benefit of removing oxidation.
Now that you’ve made sure the tracks are free from debris and oxidation, you will see a marked difference in vehicle speed. You may want to slow it down around the turns to stay on the track!
*Remote Controlled Water and Ground Vehicles
For those of you using remote controlled vehicles such as trucks, cars, and boats, maintenance should be a key part of your hobby. These vehicles more than other hobby applications seem to get more contaminants and oxidation glitches as they are regularly used in outdoor environments and often make contact with water.
For these remotely controlled vehicles, there are 2 main pieces of maintenance: electronic for the controls, antennae and power; and lubrication for the mechanical aspects.
For electronic maintenance, use DeoxIT D-Series products. – scroll down ¾ of page to see applicator choices). You will be using the DeoxIT® products on all charging/power supply connections… simply put the DeoxIT on the metal surfaces of the connectors and let it go to work. This includes any batteries and the connectors located in both the controller and the vehicle.
Likewise, unscrew any antennae from vehicles and/or controllers. Remove any dust and debris from the antenna socket using DustALL air duster from CAIG Labs. Use a DeoxIT D Series wipe on the threads of the antennae connect – Simply run the wipe around the metal surface applying the DeoxIT to the same.
Preventative maintenance should also include lubrication. Sometimes, older, dirty lubricants such as grease need to be removed prior to re-lubrication. If this is your situation, try using CAIG Labs Electronic Cleaner Wash. In some applications, such as a complete disassembly of the differential housing, you should definitely use a product like this to remove existing, old grease from all components.
You should check bearings and determine if there is excessive wear on a ball by running your fingernail across the groove that the individual balls ride in. If this groove is deep and uneven from use, it should be replaced along with the balls. This would be a complete rebuild and not covered here. However, generally, a differential rebuild kit will contain both of these parts.
Assuming that then differential balls and groove remain viable, when re-assembling, be sure that the differential balls are lubricated with a small dab of grease. Use CAIG’s L260 Grease with DeoxIT for the extra benefit of removing oxidation. Avoid over lubrication and only use a very small dab of grease.
Also, all shocks should be maintained regularly to ensure proper function. Remove the shocks from the vehicle, remove the springs and remove the cap on the shock. Drain any remaining fluid from the shock and check the color. If the fluid is dark grey, the shock that has worn the coating from the inside of shock body, and replacement of the shock body and piston may be required. If the fluid is a milky/brownish color, re-fill with the type of fluid recommended by the manufacturer.
On RC boats, it is important to maintain the stuffing tube/prop shaft area. This area must be regularly cleaned and lubricated. Whether you have a fast-electric drive or any nitro/gas hull, this maintenance is essential.
To service the hull drive, loosen the prop shaft from the coupler screws, and once you can turn the propeller without any sign of movement from the motor, the boat’s transom strut must be separated to free the prop shaft. Then, remove the old grease from the prop shaft using CAIG Labs Electronic Cleaner Wash. Likewise, swab out the stuffing tube, and if the shaft passes through the strut, clean the strut as well so that its bushings or bearings are free of any old grease/debris. Avoid applying this or any other cleaners to your hull’s gel-coat or paint, as it could cause damage to the finish.
Now that the grease has been removed, apply marine-grade lithium grease to the stuffing tube, prop shaft and strut bushings will keep them spinning smoothly at all times. CAIG Labs Marine Grease for Mechanical Applications is ideal for this application.
In conclusion, anywhere in your various hobbies, applications and other projects, if there are two pieces of metal making contact with one another, you should consider some maintenance. Whether metals touch in a mechanical or an electrical/electronic application, you can be assured that there will be friction. This friction will result in the metals wearing, and ultimately lead to your equipment not working.
Likewise, if the metals are corroded, chances are you could lose connectivity. Depending on where the problematic connection is located, your entire application may fail.
Using a little TLC by maintaining electronic connections and lubricating mechanical friction points will provide you with increased performance and equipment life!