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Powerail Conductor Systems Troubleshooting

We have been informed of, seen and inspected a number of VAHLE systems that have been improperly configured and/or installed (not per VAHLE Specifications). We feel it is a tribute to the quality of VAHLE components and design that these systems continue to operate reliably despite the incorrect installation. However, longevity may be reduced. There are systems that will not operate or function properly if the installation or configuration is not correct. It is our experience that operational issues can easily be fixed by reviewing the system configuration and/or adjusting the installation.


The most common problem concerns allowances for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. It is critical to use expansion sections as shown in our catalogs for certain configurations. The expansion sections will only work properly if fixpoint and sliding hangers are installed at their proper positions. Moreover, sliding hangers must not be installed cocked or against a joint or feed that will restrict the expansion/contraction of the conductor system. Symptoms of this issue include: warping or bending of the conductor rail, joints pulling apart.


The contact brush is the “wear item” on the system. The contact brush is composed of copper graphite. As the brush wears carbon graphite dust can build up in the housing. The dust should be periodically removed as it is conductive and can cause shorts. If you choose to vacuum the dust you will need to use a vacuum that is designed so that the intake does not flow (designed for cooling) through the motor. We also offer cleaning components (see optional components).


The proper installation of joints and joint covers is critical to a properly operating system. After installing a joint (and before powering up the system) run your finger over the connection. The connection should be snug, secure and smooth. If there is an edge or burr use an emery cloth to remove it. An edge will act as a file on a contact brush causing it to wear quickly and cause a build up of graphite dust; in extreme cases an edge can cause a collector brush to jump or break. Joint covers must be in place for safety reasons. To identify problem joints on an existing system you can pull a collector through the housing. The collector should not snag, or jump (do not have power on the system when doing this) when passing over a joint.

If you have any operational issues regarding VAHLE components or systems please call us . Our experience is that problems can be easily and quickly resolved. Our goal is to provide you with maximum performance and minimum hassle. Call us at 800.725.9796; we can help!

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