PJ Knight
Having just fitted a decoder to my Bachman Jinty, I've noticed that the wheels are in need of cleaning, in the past, pre DCC, I would have used the Peco wire brush and scraper, run directly from my H&M controller.

Now I'm guessing this isn't going to work with my Power Cab, any solutions out there?

Regards

Paul 
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newbryford
Wire brush on wheels.... not recommended IMO.

Cleans off the muck, creates grooves in the wheel surface, which fills with more muck........

I pretty much only use IPA (not the beer) or lighter fluid on a cotton bud or Woodland Scenics Tidy Track wheel cleaner - which incidentally is great for using with DCC systems. The best £20-odd I've ever spent on cleaning wheels in 40 years of exhibiting..... So much so, that I have two - one on my layout kit and one near my workbench


(I do have a slightly different way of simulating the Tidy track with a bit of track, kitchen roll and IPA but isn't easy to describe)

Cheers,
Mick
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Iain Morrison wimorrison
You can use 12v if you have DC running enabled in CV29 and do as you used to 🙂

What I do is I use 2 Peco brass brushes (PL40) tapes together with a spacer between to match the wheel spacing and I either clip them to the track with the loco I want to clean set at full speed then hold the loco upside down in my hand and move the brushes in line with the wheels as they turn or I use an old DC controller as do the same - i do this every few months and it works a treat.
Iain Morrison
Modelling h0e using Z21 with iTrain automation and Railcom
There are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know
http://www.wimorrison.co.uk
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Bunkerbarge
You can connect your powered brush to your DCC layout and still operate the loco with your controller, however, with such irregular and unreliable contact as you will get from the brush there is a very real possibility of interference disrupting the signal and creating potentially unreliable operation.

Another solution is that a DCC loco can be run on a straight 12V DC so you can connect the brush up as normal.

However, at the end of the day, as has already been said wire brush cleaners can have a tendancy to leave very fine surface scratches, which then accelerates the build up of muck in the future.  Various fluids with some sort of swab applicator is a better way of doing it.  I wouldn't use cosmetic cotton buds as they leave lint.  Tamiya buds are far better as they are a much tighter weave and do not leave lint.  If you buy a bottle of 'Track Magic' you get a lovely little fine round brush, rather like a tiny bottle brush, which is perfect for applying the fluid to wheel flanges.  This is what I use and the results are beautifully clean wheels.  You do still need to rotate the wheels at least once once during the operation, you could simply put it on the track for a half a revolution.
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PJ Knight
Thanks Guys, problem solved, much appreciated. ðŸ™‚
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Iain Morrison wimorrison
go on then, give is a clue on how you solved it 🙂

BTW brass brushes will not scratch the wheels - engineering has known since the start of the industrial revolution that brass is softer than steel and makes an excellent bearing that will wear and not damage the steel shaft 😉
Iain Morrison
Modelling h0e using Z21 with iTrain automation and Railcom
There are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know
http://www.wimorrison.co.uk
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Bunkerbarge
go on then, give is a clue on how you solved it 🙂

BTW brass brushes will not scratch the wheels - engineering has known since the start of the industrial revolution that brass is softer than steel and makes an excellent bearing that will wear and not damage the steel shaft 😉


I have seen one or two damaged crankshafts in my time that would attest to the fact that brass can indeed damage steel given the right conditions.
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PJ Knight
I going to borrow a Woodland Scenic Tidy Track wheel cleaner, from a former work college who I've found out has got one, and will use some 'Track Magic' which I have.

Its been great to get all the replies, shows what a great community railway modelling is.
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Iain Morrison wimorrison
Bunkerbarge wrote:


I have seen one or two damaged crankshafts in my time that would attest to the fact that brass can indeed damage steel given the right conditions.


And I am sure that others will be able to find more examples where catastrophic damage has occurred - all the examples of damage from brass bearing to shafts that I have seen have been after many thousands of hours running under high load conditions - which is far from representative of what you will see when cleaning wheels on a model railway.
Iain Morrison
Modelling h0e using Z21 with iTrain automation and Railcom
There are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know
http://www.wimorrison.co.uk
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Bunkerbarge


which is far from representative of what you will see when cleaning wheels on a model railway.


I agree completely so I'm not quite sure why brass bearings came into it in the first place!

As with most things we all have our own preferences with there being advantages and disadvantages with most.  It usually boils down to what we have all become familiar with over the years more than anything else.
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Rod Tonkin
I've been using a PECO wheel cleaner with DCC for many years. The brass brush has not caused any damage to the wheel treads of my locomotives.

I simply connect the brush and scraper to the powered rails, place my locomotive in a cradle select the locomotives address, set the speed to full and apply the brush and scraper to the powered wheels. This process has successfully cleaned the powered wheels of my model locomotives for years.

Rod Tonkin

Perth Western Australia
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AHJAY
All a bit case by case irrelevant.

(1) harm of one thing to another... used badly then of course harm can happen. Its not just material vs material. I had a hard stainless steel motor shaft on a jet unit seriously scored by nylon fishing line when I had a fast jet-boat.

(2) Wheels are very, very rarely steel on RTR. They are usually a high copper content nickel or zinc alloy. It varies brand by brand and mfr by mfr so even the same brand does not always have the same wheel alloy on all locos.

(3) The harm is more likely the premature wearing of the very tenuous plating added to wheels rather than the wheels themselves - especially now blackening is common. Yes, it is possible to also groove rather than polish the wheel quite easily if you are overly agressive.

(4) Each to his own. Cotton buds are gentle, brushes are convenient. we all make our own choice.

Personally I do not use powered cleaners or brushes because they are not selective in any way and I do not want to wear off blackening from the flange area or the front edge and face of the tyre.

I will usually use a very fine fibreglass pen initially to take away blackening (which is simply an oxide and so harms power pickup efficiency) from just the rear face where the pickups run and also at the flange root and inner tyre area. I then follow up with cotton buds where later cleaning is needed.

regards, Ahjay
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LarryG
I keep the track clean and that in turn keeps the wheels clean enough for DCC. But then again, the 'stay-alives' also keep things rolling. Half of my trackwork is outdoors and because locos never ever stall out there in the garden, it is tempting not to go around with a Peco track rubber before each days session. Bad mistake!  The wheels pick up the muck and the locos then stall when indoors either when setting out from a station or when shunting. It is easier to clean rails than wheels. When wheels do need cleaning, I use  one of those fibre burnishing sticks, but not vigorously.

Some months ago, I connected the whole layout up to a Gaugemaster DC controller and tested all the locos that were awaiting sound decoders. I found DC so disappointing after three years of DCC and precise control, or pricewise control if I believe auto-respell. ðŸ™…
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Ian White
I to use a Peco Wheel Cleaning brush to clean my loco wheels, connecting to the rails. However a word of advise, don't do what I thought was being cleaver and dip the brush into some Methylated Spirits (or similar) to help with the cleaning. What happened next was a disaster, although I had given the brush a good shake to get rid of any surplus, there was just that one drop, which went into the decoder and smoked it up.

There is one thing that nobody has mentioned and that is also keeping the wheels of your rolling stock clean. Generally, I use a cotton bub dipped into Meths (no decoders to worry about) and clean them by hand. I did see a U tube video recently where the modeler had placed a cleaning cloth over his track, then put a small amount of cleaner onto the cloth and ran a wagon back and forth over it to clean the wheels. I'am yet to try out this method to see if it works, although I think that I would use a spare piece of track that I have, rather than use the layout.

Ian White

Perth, Western Australia   
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m.bryan
Good point about keeping rolling stock wheels clean.

Plastic ones being the worst!

Mick
Mick
DCCConcepts Tech/Customer support
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