Author Topic: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?  (Read 1049 times)

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OldEastRR

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Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« on: November 12, 2021, 12:23:32 AM »
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Since I've been putting buildings and scenery on my layout I find I knock a lot of stuff over while hand-cleaning the track. I know there's N scale powered track cleaners but do they run on DCC? Or are there passive cleaning cars which do a good job?

keeper

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2021, 04:15:06 AM »
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DM-Toys does offer the Tomix track cleaning car as either DC or DCC versions.

https://www.dm-toys.de/en/product-details/Tomix_6426.html

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Maletrain

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2021, 09:08:40 AM »
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There are all sorts of track cleaning devices.

The Tomix one is the only active one that I know of, using a motor to vacuum the tracks.  I have a DC model that was converted to DCC.  All that DCC "control" really does is turn the vacuum motor on and off, and limit the voltage so that the setup designed for 12v DC is not damaged by DCC power (14v square-wave AC).  https://www.dm-toys.de/en/product-details/Tomix_6426.html

There also is what amounts to a small tank car with a drip valve onto a pad to put solvent on the rails. https://tonystrains.com/product/cmx-clean-machinetm-n-scale

There are other systems that are basically metal frames that hold rollers in place over the tracks that can pick up dirt.  https://www.centerline-products.com/

And one type has a heavier, abrasive roller to scrub corrosion off the rail heads.  https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/scale-aztec-eliminator-track-cleaner-1816810243

Some of these also have bar magnets attached underneath to pick up ferrous bits of junk and stone ballast that are loose on the roadbed.

There is also the home-brew method that mounts Masonite pads under regular cars, using 2 glued-on posts sticking through holes in the car floors to keep the pads aligned on the rails and resting on the railheads due only to the weight of the pads. https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/6034  And there are all sorts of embellishments on that concept, for instance


It is safe to say that you can find people who swear by and others who swear at each of these options.

So, this might become an interesting thread.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2021, 07:54:00 AM by Maletrain »

nkalanaga

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2021, 02:22:47 AM »
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I clicked on that Aztec link.  It doesn't seem to have any links to anywhere you can actually see, much less buy, a track cleaning car. 

It does have a link to "How to shrink your pores"...
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Maletrain

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2021, 07:53:15 AM »
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I clicked on that Aztec link.  It doesn't seem to have any links to anywhere you can actually see, much less buy, a track cleaning car. 

It does have a link to "How to shrink your pores"...

You are right, there are pictures of the Aztec car in that link, but it does not seem like it is really a model railroad link.  Try this one: https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/scale-aztec-eliminator-track-cleaner-1816810243

I also went back and edited my previous post, in case that other link is some sort of phishing site.

learmoia

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2021, 09:01:01 AM »
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Aztec shut down operations a few years ago, and I believe the founder passed away a month or two ago?
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Maletrain

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2021, 09:46:10 AM »
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Aztec shut down operations a few years ago, and I believe the founder passed away a month or two ago?

But those track cleaning cars still come up on eBay, which is where I bought one.


learmoia

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2021, 03:23:36 PM »
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But those track cleaning cars still come up on eBay, which is where I bought one.

Sure, but there is a finite supply of rollers..  unless someone comes up with a retrofit solution.
~Ian

Maletrain

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2021, 06:17:44 PM »
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Sure, but there is a finite supply of rollers..  unless someone comes up with a retrofit solution.

I don't think those rollers will wear out any time soon.  They are large and heavy, and even if they wear down a bit, I would expect them to still rub corrosion off the rail heads.  They are set ups so that their axis slightly off perpendicular to the rails, so they scrape a little as they roll.

I am not really interested in the scraping, anyway, so I just substituted a brass piece the shape of the abrasive roller and cover it with "Handy Wipe" material like I do with the Centerline cars. 

JMaurer1

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Re: Track-cleaning car N -- DCC?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2021, 01:39:13 PM »
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Didn't Atlas import the Tomix one at some point? Anyways, I have one of the Tomix and SEVERAL of the Aztec ones. There are at least two different versions of the Aztec cleaners. One is the TrackStar: a boxcar with a brightboy roller mounted at a slight angle inside of it to provide friction to clean the track and the other is the Preditor: a gondola that has several rollers that you can install...a brightboy and a (for lack of the correct word) paper-type towel (handi-wipes) that you can add alcohol for cleaning or use dry for wiping the track dry, and it also has a brush and a magnet for picking up and moving debris. I have a train of them that starts with the gondola and then several of the boxcars. They work great but work better as maintenance than cleaning really dirty track. For that I have a brightboy on a stick that I can scrub bad sections and still get into bridges to clean them.

Although John closed Aztec in 2019 and sold his machine shop equipment, the website is still up (but it has no pictures and a bunch of non-related links): http://aztectrains.com/category/track-cleaning/

John Claudino died earlier this year. I knew him for over 25 years and always looked forward to seeing him at the train shows in the area. In addition to the track cleaners, he also made DCC chassis for old Atlas non-dcc engines and he did limited run N scale rolling stock (including several cars that I provided the info on). Great guy and he is missed.

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