Locomotive wheel cleaning

Every once in a while, there is a thread dealing with the subject of track cleaning. How about locomotive wheel cleaning?
I have a Digitrax DCC layout, and wheel cleaning is a problem. I have used a wire wheel in a Dremel tool, but I can clean only a portion of each wheel, then I have to power the locomotive, spin the wheels slightly, then go back to the Dremel. Has anyone found a way to simplify this process?
Jeff
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For diesel engines, I take a piece of ordinary paper towel, wet it with alcohol, put it over a piece of track and lay one set of driving wheels on the track and the other set over the paper towel. Hold onto the engine, turn up the power and the wheels will turn on the alcohol-coated paper towel. There's an impressive black 'gunk' streak on the paper towel when finished. Repeat with the other set of driving wheels. I would think your Dremel wheel-cleaning method would work well with cars since the wheels in the trucks are free-wheeling.
-- Roy

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There's a neat gadget you can buy that is a brass brush with power pickups - the brush has two sides so it doesn't bridge power. All you have to do is clip it to the track and touch it to the pickup wheels, which get cleaned as they spin.
A while back we had a minor brainstorm and mounted a second one underneath a piece of track attached to a block of wood. That way, you could power up all the wheels at once, and you could push the engine back and forth over the brush and get the non-powered wheels clean too. It's very handy on steamers. *
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http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MRPics http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintageHO
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Several things work well for me:
Make a cradle from some Athearn-style kit boxes or anything similar and cushion it with a couple of dish-cloths, or something similar. Put the loco in it- upside-down and use jumpers (available from many places that sell electrical stuff) to connect the loco to the power source. With Digitrax you can use a nine-volt battery to spin the wheels while you run the Dremel. One battery can provide power long enough to do quite a few locos, if you work quickly. As an alternative to the Dremel, you can use a cotton swab, such as a Q-TIP, dipped in the alcohol
Wet a paper towel with 98% isopropyl alcohol (available at most drug stores) and lay it across the track such that enough axles can contact the rail to cause the loco to pick up power and turn the wheels. Hold the loco with your hand and let the wheels spin on the towel until you have wiped them all clean.
Get a 12" plastic food container from your local market and place a section of track cut to fit in it. Connect jumpers from the power source to the track and put enough 98% isopropyl alcohol in the thing to just cover the tops of the rails. Run the loco S-L-O-W-L-Y for a minute or so until the gunk melts off. Be careful not to spray alcohol up onto the loco, lest you also remove some paint that you wish to keep.
You may also try using 70% isopropyl. I have never done that, but I suspect that it would remove wheel dirt as well as the stronger percentage, but it has the advantage of -usually- not being strong enough to remove any paint.
There's three. Find one you like, or come up with an idea of your own and let us all know what you find.
Froggy,
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Kadee's Speedi Driver Cleaner #236 is ideal for locomotive wheels:
http://www.kadee.com/htmbord/page159.htm
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire http;//www.billsrailroad.net
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A bit O.T. on loco. wheel cleaning. Some posts have said, connect wires to power supply and thence to loco. etc. When I set up my control panel I incorporated in it an RCA(?) socket connected to the track supply. Using wandering leads with an RCA jack, one can take controlled power off this socket to anywhere one needs it, such as cleaning loco. wheels, running little power tools etc. Regards Bill.

used
wheel,
back
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William Pearce spake thus:

Small detail: you mean a phone jack (1/4" plug). RCA connectors are called "phono" plugs/jacks (because they were originally used as phonograph connectors).
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My connector plug has a central pin, not 1/4 inch in diameter and an outside sleeve, the socket has a central sleeve and an outer sleeve. What are these fittings called? Regards, Bill.

wires
I
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It sounds like an RCA plug to me.

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William Pearce spake thus:

Yep, you're right: they're RCA, or phono, plugs/sockets. I missed the part where you said you set these up yourself, because these are rarely used by manufacturers for power connections. But hey, if it works ...

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Thanks for the confirmation. I'm not an electronics person, I just bought something that looked like it would do the job, i.e. supply and return in one fitting. This arramgement is a convenient way of getting a power supply without having to stuff around with alligator clips to the track, or undoing and doing up terminal screws at your controller output. Regards, Bill.

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William Pearce wrote:

Sounds like an "RCA" connector, (or a so called "phono" plugs/jacks), which is what you called it originally. These are not a very good connector, but will suffice for many non-critical applications. It is an AUDIO (electrical) connector, not a power connector.
One problem with using connectors for purposes for which they are NOT intended is OTHER persons not being familiar with the device may ASSUME it is being used for it's intended (audio) purpose, and conect other devices to it, improperly. This can lead to BAD things, like smoke, cuss words, and unexpected expenses.
Dan Mitchell ===========
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