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

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    Sep 9, 2019

    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.


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

    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.

    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
    SRman, York Paul and jakesdad13 like this.
  2. Jim Freight

    Jim Freight Full Member

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    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.
    York Paul likes this.

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