The tale of a Lux-Modellbau E9301 Wheel Cleaning Tool

Discussion in 'Tools' started by Jim Freight, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    :hismiley:

    I succumbed to buying one of these for the following reasons :-
    1) Embarrassing number of fragile locomotives that need wheels cleaned.
    2) Increasing age related lack of dexterity and eyesight, aka clumsiness in handling.

    I first heard of this tool on the McKinley Railway YouTube video number 34 :-



    They have used it for many years and demonstrate it's use very well.

    Anyway Hattons have started to stock it at a more 'affordable', ho, ho price of £148, I know, ouch!
    But In my view if this will save me dropping two locos over the next 10 years it will have paid for itself. Maybe even just one loco the prices some are today.

    It arrived and I connected it up, comprehensive instruction booklet, all in German, luckily we use the same numerals and electrical notations. All my locos run on DCC with a typically 6 to 8 delay for acceleration and deceleration, which of course makes wheel cleaning more of a challenge, reducing delays to 0 would make life easier but extremely tedious. Motor connected to a simple 12VDC analogue controller and the track wires to nearby track.

    Switched on, set the motor going at nominally 10V, put on a dirty loco that defied manual cleaning, no movement, tried a Hornby 0-6-0 and a few Bachmann nothing, no interest from the locos. So tried a clean loco, just the same, arrrggh!

    Close inspection revealed two issues which may have suited old models e.g. pre 1970's.
    1) the flanges of these contemporary locos could not reach deep enough to touch the metal spring wires which power the loco across the pads.
    2) the wires were too close together, i.e. they would probably have been ok with the narrow back to back of Super 4 era Triang or Trix Twin but not my contemporary locos.

    So was it design or sloppy tolerances/build quality?

    Eliminating the tedious detail, the resulting mods were done in such a way that if they failed I could send it back unmarked, they were ultimately simple. The pictures that follow illustrate the overall unit and the the dismantled state (post the mods described below) which is easy as these parts just lift off each other.

    The fix was in three stages.

    1) The washers with flats cut into them (4 positions) were rotated by 180 degrees which lifted the springs in the centre area.
    2) Rubber sleeves were cut to length and split to fit them in place between the long grey central plates and the frame of the cleaning/polishing unit without dismantling the whole unit, this raised the spring to a working height.
    3) Further rubber sleeves were split and inserted between the grey plates to increase the back to back distance.
    All this took a fair bit of juggling to ensure the polishing bars would oscillate freely and the loco was powered. The sleeves used were approximately 1mm thick and are RS (Radio Spares) part number RS399-760, expandable rubber sleeves for wiring (not heatshrink). But anything similar would no doubt work as well.

    The pictures :-

    The basic unit after modification.
    mb1.JPG

    Dismantled.
    mb2.JPG

    Mod step (1) Washers in 4 positions rotated by 180 degrees
    mb3.JPG

    Mod steps (2) and (3), raising the wire at the ends and the centre sleeve insert to adjust the back to back in 4 positions.
    mb4.JPG

    This tool now seems to do the intended job, but with the price of this tool I should not have needed to spend an afternoon to make it work. I have also asked McKinley what they would advise.

    At least the mods are simple and effective, I may dismantle it completely and fit complete sleeves or spacer tubes later on, watch this space for further updates :hammer:, Jim
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
    Eve, SRman, York Paul and 1 other person like this.
  2. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    In response to a 'review' of the issues I sent to Hattons, they say they will pass my issues through their supplier to the manufacturer.
     
    Eve and York Paul like this.
  3. Eve

    Eve Full Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 18, 2020
    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for posting this, I've just received the same item from Hattons, and experienced the same non-performance as you have. I have e-mailed Lux-Modellbau with my complaint and also directed them to your article on this site, and the 00 Gauge Association standards for track and wheels, I suspect that HO standards are different from 00, hopefully they'll reply with a positive answer.

    I've also just ordered the chloroprene cable sleeving from RS. I don't quite understand the flats on washers and 180 degree rotation? do you mean slots rather than flats, so a u shape is made? presumably 1mm thick plasticard would do as an alternative for the washers?

    Kind Regards,

    Eve
     
  4. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Hi Eve,

    The washers or discs on my unit already had a straight cut across them, changing them from being an 'O' to a 'D', I think the geometry term would equate the cut to being a 'chord' of a circle. I did not need to cut them myself they were already D shaped.

    By rotating the discs such the 'chord' was pointing downwards and the uncut part of the disc upwards this raised the spring wires upwards towards the wheels such that they made contact with the shallow flanges of my contemporary locos.

    In practice HO scale wheels should be shallower than OO, so even worse, curious, anyway mine is working ok with the mods, I'm just having to chase Hattons for more cleaning pads. :hammer:

    I didn't get any feedback from McKinley, too busy I suppose, hope that clarifies things, if not get back to me again. :thumbup:

    Regards Jim
     
    Eve likes this.
  5. paul_l

    paul_l Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    6,889
    Likes Received:
    2,136
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2015
    Two not working as advertised is worrying, especially at that price.
    Not much help to yourselves, - I have the Woddland Scenics HO loco cleaner (also purchased from Hattons a few years ago), and must admit it just worked out of the box, and does a good job on wagons and coaches as well. It would be nice if they did an O gauge version.

    Paul
     
  6. Kimbo

    Kimbo Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    2,031
    Likes Received:
    700
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2015
    O gauge version would be brilliant built in to a hidden running line but I dread to think what the cost would be. ( thinking about it a bit more, would it work with a 2-3kg loco running over it ? Possibly not unless the components were heavy duty) .
     
  7. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Locos vary enormously too regarding working out of the box, my diminutive Hornby Ruston loco runs well over pointwork without using the special pickup fitted conflat they come with, the Peckett 0-4-0 locos, not so good, they need some attention. Mind you some decoders are very fussy, I bought the Pecketts already fitted (Hornby decoder, probably a mistake), the Ruston has a Gaugemaster DCC23. :scratchchin:
     
  8. Eve

    Eve Full Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 18, 2020
    Thanks for the explanation Jim, I modified my unit today by taking the sides off and inserting the rubber sleeves. The sleeves were cut to 7mm in length, and I also placed extra sleeves over the two middle supports to stop the rubber washers (rotated 180 degs) from moving too far from the floating grey plastic strips, these were cut to 5mm length. I did it one side at a time and it now works just fine, I've test run my Bachmann WD Austerity over it with sound on and it didn't falter.

    However I've not heard anything from Lux-Modellbau, if they do I'll post it here.

    Kind Regards,

    Eve
     
    Jim Freight likes this.
  9. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    You're :welcome: Eve.
    Well I won't hold my breath for a reply, but perhaps we should charge them for our time ! :avatar:

    Regards, Jim
     
    Eve likes this.
  10. Eve

    Eve Full Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 18, 2020
    Hi Jim,

    Lux-Modellbau did finally reply and wanted to know the wheel flange heights. So I sent the OO Gauge Association standards to them. I also measured my Bachmann WD at aprx 0.8mm. I then thought of measuring my kit built SECR D1 with Markits Romford finesacle wheels with an aprx 0.55mm flange. and also my Hornby Castle (newer version) which had 0.6mm flanges. I have therefore advised Lux-Modellbau to design for 0.5mm flanges which should cover if not all, then the vast majority of models.
    BTW, although the Bachmann WD ran over the cleaner ok the others hesitated or refused, so theres a piece of work for me to do there, perhaps wrapping a couple of turns of insulation tape on top of or underneath the rubber sleeves.

    KR

    Eve
     
  11. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    72
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2019
    Hi Eve

    There's hope maybe, but for a device that has been around for some years and used by McKinley without any issues being flagged up I wonder why we are having this problem?

    You may still have a back to back issue, maybe not quite wide enough to contact the back of the wheel flanges firm enough.

    I would avoid insulation tape for all but a temporary fix as the adhesive can soon become gooey and messy.

    Regards, Jim.
     

Share This Page