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Braid Dressings and Comm Drops

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  • Braid Dressings and Comm Drops

    I've been aware of braid dressings and comm drops for about, oh, the last 50 years. Supposedly they improve the performance of electrical bits -- either reducing contact resistance or providing lubrication, or both. But for some reason I've been very skeptical about their alleged benefits, to the point where I've never actually tried them. This despite the fact I actually own a bottle of "Innox", which seems to be the braid dressing of choice.

    I can't say that I've ever seen a competitor furtively dosing his car with either of these products, which tends to validate my skepticism. But that may simply mean said competitors are more furtive than I give them credit for.

    Why would I doubt the value of these products? Good question. I guess it is in keeping with my long-time resistance to salesmanship. The harder they pitch the snake oil the more I suspect their trying to sell me hokum. I just react that way to a purported miracle in a bottle.

    But I have always been willing to change my mind when presented with credible evidence. So speak up if you can present me with some of that. You might get me off the dime.

    Ed Bianchi
    York Pennsylvania USA

  • #2
    I don't see comm drops used in 1/32 slot racing since it is either impossible or very difficult to apply them to most 1/32 motors. But I never used them back in my 1/24 days either. Braid dressing is a different matter. I started my 1/32 racing days with Scaley sport track and about half of the track sections were used and some would barely provide enough power to the car to keep it running. I read about INOX, probably here on HRW, and bought a bottle. It is not only a great bearing lube but also works great to improve braid conductivity. When applied to a cars braid it takes a few laps to distribute it around the track and the improvement in performance is amazing. After switching to a 4 lane MDF track with tinned copper braid the loss of power isn't as noticeable, at least on the lanes that get used the most (the middle lanes) but I run the track by myself or with one other person most of the time so the outer lanes don't get much traffic until race days. If I don't run the outer lanes with a car loaded with INOX racers complain about irregular power distribution. So, on race days, I try to run about 15 minutes on all lanes with a car loaded with INOX on it's braid before the racers show up. Also, I have applied a drop of INOX on HO cars to treat the rails and get better performance. Other products may or may not do the same thing but I will swear by INOX.

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    • #3
      I’m right there with you Ed I have a bottle of Voodoo drops given to me when I was drag racing
      I’ve never used it after hearing rumours of it’s long term ill effects
      Dave
      Peterborough Ont
      CANADA

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      • #4
        I usually break in new cars by running them on my taped track at 4 volts with the Trackmate set for an audible alert for fastest lap and do other things while they run. When times plateau I often add a drop of braid juice and the fastest lap alert starts to sound again for the net few laps. More noticeable when the track hasn’t been used for awhile. Seems to help clean off some of the oxidation on the tape.
        Mike V.
        Western North Carolina

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        • #5
          Okay, I think you have proved that "braid juice" works on copper tape. What brand by the way?

          I have a Trackmate system on my braided track. I'm thinking of trying your test and see if I get similar results.
          Last edited by HO RacePro; January 23, 2022, 09:40 PM.
          Ed Bianchi
          York Pennsylvania USA

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          • Mickey thumbs
            Mickey thumbs commented
            Editing a comment
            Best way to find out is to test it. My tape is a 3M product sold by Professor Motor. I sat my power to 4 volts, unhook the controller and “hot wire” the terminals.

        • #6
          I use SCC Power Booster on my braids. It definitely cleans oxidation off the copper. I believe it provides a slight power boost... less friction or better conductivity? I don't know. If I think my motors need cleaning, I run them in water for 10 minutes at 5v. That really wakes up a tired motor. I don't use anything else on the motors, except an occasional oiling.

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          • #7
            Comm drops will at least temporarily increase the performance of a motor because they reduce friction and increase conductivity. In my experience the benefit will only last a short time, but you would still be tempted to use them if your lap times would go down for part of a heat. The problem with comm drops is that they can cause dust from the motor brushes to get stuck in the commutator slots, causing a short circuit. If the commutator is only partially shorted the car will slow down and if the short is complete the commutator will get hot enough for the motor to burn up. I don't think that it is worth the risk.
            Braid conditioners can do several things. First of all, they can be used to remove the gunk that accumulated on a car's braids. For that purpose, the best procedure is to apply a drop or two to each braid, wait a minute or so and wipe off the braids. If you leave an excess amount of braid conditioner on the braids and run the car around the track it will act as a lubricant and the car's lap times will go down a little. That effect will only last a short time. Once again one would be tempted to juice the braids before the start of a race. There is a downside to having the car's braids dripping with juice, braid conditioner is a solvent for the adhesives used to stick down copper tape and track braid. When I ran at TurboTrax in Branford, CT the braid in front of the driver's stations came unstuck due to the excessive use of braid conditioner. Braid conditioner can be used to clean both copper tape and track braid with the risk of having to repair them sooner than you should. I believe that most braid conditioner is actually automatic transmission fluid. ATF is a powerful solvent that can dissolve asphalt and attack plastic, causing it to become brittle and break easily. Inox has been mentioned, it is mostly lanolin, so it won't attack plastic and probably has a minimal effect on the adhesives used to stick down copper tape or track braid. Inox seems to improve conductivity and also reduce friction. Like braid conditioner the reduction in track times would only be temporary and I would never use it as comm drops.

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            • #8
              I just ordered some INOX after reading this thread. Hope it works.

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              • Modlerbob
                Modlerbob commented
                Editing a comment
                Let us know your reaction to the INOX when it arrives

            • #9
              Modlerbob I got the Inox yesterday. I used it to oil up 4 cars that needed some fresh oil and put a couple drops an a their braids. As a lubricant I think it works great. I had been using heavier oils that I had on hand, this is noticeably better. My track rails weren’t too bad so I can’t really say if it did much there, but it didn’t hurt them. I would buy it again when. This bottle runs out. The needle tip is handy too.

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              • #10
                Been using INOX for quite awhile. It does help clean the braids.

                Yet as it cleans the braids can get "gunked" up over time. Some Ronsonol lighter fluid is an excellent braid cleaner when this occurs.
                -Harry

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