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My children's layout is on a folding 5' x 8' board. When not in use it's kept in a fairly dry garage.

When I took it out this weekend, the dcc trains ran fine for a while and then started to behave a bit erratically.
I noticed that on a locomotive that the lights flickered as it went round the track.
Is this dirty rails at work?

I've read that you need to clean tracks and wheel sets on a regular basis, but how often?
Is there's a rubber for the track but is something that will do this automatically?

Also how about rolling stock and loco's. It's quite hard with diesel locos to clean the wheels, as the gearing prevents access to all the wheel at once?

Any suggestions would be most helpful.

Fabben
 

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C&L finescale do an excellent track rubber - the best I've used by far. They also do a fibreglass brush which is excellent for cleaning wheels. they have excellent mail order.

You'll probably have to clean quite regularly - also vacuum the track after cleaning - it reall helps. If you can cover the layout with one of those low cost super lightweight plasic sheets sold as a painters drop cloth or sheet at the hardware store, it'll stop much of the muck hitting the layout between sessions too. (they are useless for painting with as they tend to tear and wrap round the shoes, but great for layout protection :) :) )

Richard
 

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QUOTE (fabben @ 7 Jan 2008, 11:09) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>....Also how about rolling stock and loco's. It's quite hard with diesel locos to clean the wheels, as the gearing prevents access to all the wheel at once?

Any suggestions would be most helpful.

Fabben
You need something to hold a loco upside down for easy wheel cleaning. Either cut a slot in a foam plastic block or you can buy something ready-made by Peco - part number PL-70.
Peco also do a wire brush and scraper PL-40 which can be used to supply a voltage to the loco so that the wheels rotate while being cleaned. I do not know how well these will work with DCC, however.
There may be other similar tools available from other suppliers.

The sheets Richard refers to as "painters drop sheets" are more often referred to in the UK as 'dust sheets' - I use one on my loft layout when I'm not running trains and it does keep the dust off but is easy to remove.

Regards,
John Webb

PS: Richard - you typed your answer before the /quote - happens to all of us at least once!
 

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The Peco wheel cleaner works just as well with DCC as it does with DC. I soldered a couple of crocodile clips on the wires on mine and clip it onto the main track to use it.

There are several variations on the market of a truck with a roller or pad attached that is soaked in some form of proprietary cleaner and then towed around the track to clean it. I use one myself and find it very good. Unfortunately I have had it for a couple of years now and cannot think what it is called or where I bought it from. It is just a brass roller wrapped in a strip of J cloth and dropped into a well cut in between the bogies of a small truck. It is amazing how much muck it picks up off apparently clean track.
 

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QUOTE (ahammond @ 10 Jan 2008, 13:37) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Peco wheel cleaner works just as well with DCC as it does with DC. I soldered a couple of crocodile clips on the wires on mine and clip it onto the main track to use it.

There are several variations on the market of a truck with a roller or pad attached that is soaked in some form of proprietary cleaner and then towed around the track to clean it. I use one myself and find it very good. Unfortunately I have had it for a couple of years now and cannot think what it is called or where I bought it from. It is just a brass roller wrapped in a strip of J cloth and dropped into a well cut in between the bogies of a small truck. It is amazing how much muck it picks up off apparently clean track.
Also the Bachrus Wheel Doctor http://www.bachrus.com/wheeldoctor.php

Andrew Crosland
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I of to the St Albans railway exhibition this weekend (12JAN) so I'll see if there's "cleaning" things around.

Is a vehicle cleaner, that runs over the tracks, better than a track rubber then?

Also I haven't come across anything that does rolling stock - is that just a manual job or has someone come up with a "lazy man" solution.

Fabben
 

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My layout has a hinged lid and drop down front which keeps all the dust off it. I clean wheels with a track rubber. If you inch loco wheels round you can clean all of the wheel. I finish off by cleaning with a kitchen towel moistened with lighter fluid, taking care not to set everything on fire.
I'm not too sure of the wire brush cleaning method. Won't this scratch the surface of the wheels making dirt accumulate faster?
 

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QUOTE (poliss @ 10 Jan 2008, 23:01) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>My layout has a hinged lid and drop down front which keeps all the dust off it. I clean wheels with a track rubber. If you inch loco wheels round you can clean all of the wheel. I finish off by cleaning with a kitchen towel moistened with lighter fluid, taking care not to set everything on fire.
I'm not too sure of the wire brush cleaning method. Won't this scratch the surface of the wheels making dirt accumulate faster?

***The brass bristles are reasonable for cleaning but I prefer the better control of the fibreglass brush... you can place it where you want on the wheel and not risk taking off more of the blackening etc than necessary, and the fibreglass are "sharper" as far as the dirt is concerned but won't damage the wheel at all.

Both ways work - its really down to choice.

Re rubbers, Peco's effort sheds muck everywhere, and is a bit coarse so can scratch the track - which is why I like the C&L - its finer, bigger, cleans better and doesn't redecorate the ballast area when you use it.

However

No matter how you choose to do it, vacuuming the track reasonably often and covering it between sessions will be a huge help in lessening frequency of cleaning

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 10 Jan 2008, 14:16) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Re rubbers, Peco's effort sheds muck everywhere, and is a bit coarse so can scratch the track - which is why I like the C&L - its finer, bigger, cleans better and doesn't redecorate the ballast area when you use it.

I second that, as well as the C & L, Express Models (I think) sell a much softer one. The Roco one is also a good product. I'm afraid that the Peco one is typical of many Peco products, good at the time, but now sadly in need of undating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
At the St Albans show I came across someone who was cleaning the wheels of his "O" gauge loco with something called byutolate (I know I've got the name wrong, but it sounded something like that). It's a glue, which he then cleans off before it dries - not come across anything like this before.

Also I was recommended something called "ZIP" which (if I remember rightly) you apply to the wheels and it cleans the wheels and lasts upto 3 months or so. It also transfers itsself to the rails as well.

I've not come across any of these techniques before, I was just wondering if anyone else has seen/tried these?
 

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QUOTE (SPROGman @ 10 Jan 2008, 13:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also the Bachrus Wheel Doctor http://www.bachrus.com/wheeldoctor.php

Andrew Crosland

TRIX do an excellent loco wheel cleaner for OO/HO 66602 or N 66623. Its a block that sits on the track & picks up the track current that way, this then provides power two lines of brass wire bristles on its top. The loco is simply held and rested on the bristles which transfer electricity to the wheels which rotate at whatever speed you select on your controller. I have used one for my N & 009 for many years and follow up with liquid lighter fluid. (FLAMMABLE!)
Glass-fibre pens are good but do scratch the wheels which need cleaning more often. Brass is a bit softer.

David Y
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What about Deoxit, I found this product on DCCSupplies web site.
Is this any good.

Apologies for my growing list of possible options - but I'm on a voyage of discovery and I keep on bumping into more solutions to the problem.
The internet is a case of two much information sometimes. It's really useful to find out, on this forum, what works and what doesn't for other members.

Fabben
 

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The back of hardboard is an excellent track cleaner. I have a small rectangle with a lump of lead glued on top towed round behind a very powerful old US diesel chassis. Every now and then take a wire brush to it to remove the collected muck. When it is near worn away, glue a new piece on. Leaves a minmal residue on the track, costs next to nothing, very effective. The idea came from Pendon Museum. Vacuuming the track, and dust sheeting between sessions is a good plan for general dirt control.

Notes on dirt.
With clean all metal wheels on the stock, careful grease lubrication, and a ban on traction tyres for the abomination they are, wheels very rarely need any attention.

New acquisitions (locos and stock) are 'quarantined' and run in on a test track to 'polish up' tyres until there is no more dirt deposition. Usually takes a couple of hours. Have encountered wheels which are too soft, and always dirt up. These are replaced.

Every now and again on the main layout a vehicle will be seen hobbling or rocking as it moves. Stop the train and inspect and there will be a dry 'cake' of black dirt on one or more wheel tyre. And that's all the wheel cleaning necessary. I would like to eliminate this, but the incidence is so small (about once every 4 months) and random so far (has not re-occurred on same vehicle, but then there are 600+running) as to make finding the cause problematic.
 
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