RE "Caking up" and short circuits
I <have> heard of some modellers experiencing short circuits and issues around plastic frog turnout when using graphite.
On furthur close inspection,
the modellers in question admited that they had
- Obtained "graphite powder" / "dry-lock-lubricant" from a hardware store
- added Metholated spirits or similar to form a slurry/paste
- and slopped the resulting goo (s)lavishly over any and all visible rail.
I'm going to say this 1 time,
<This form of application is OverKill
Sing it with me, in the key of "smooth running"
1 - clean all rails and wheels
(that includes ALL locos and rollingstock,
method of "cleaning" is up to you)
2 - swipe (literally "to pass over lightly and swiftly")
over the rails with a graphite stick/"woodless artists pencil"/carpenter's pencil
3 - run trains over said treated rails.
With the wheels and railheads thusly coated,
you should be in good stead
At the first sign of wheel/rail-contact-related hesitation,
give a targetted "swipe" with the graphite stick...
If you play host to any "foreign", "visiting", or "not-usually-used" locos/rollingstock,
ensure they get a wheelclean BEFORE heading onto the graphited rails.
(You wouldn't vacuum the carpet,
then walk thru the house with muddy boots now, would you???)
As always, your mileage may vary,
but there's a weight of evidence worldwide says that this technique works...