Saw it the other day at the LHS - it has a pair of geared down motors that each drive a spinning pad. Not sure how good it works. I have tried the TTX car and that really cleans quite well. If course, my tried and true wood block with 3M sheetrock 'sandpaper' really does a good a good job as well(use it on the bottom of a 40' boxcar).
I have had one of the MNP cars for about 2 years. It works pretty well. I have a lot of hidden track and it did a very effective job cleaning this track. .
It took a good bit of tinkering to get the right amount of weight (a lot!) to keep in on the track. I also got slightly coarser cleaning pads from MNP. The ligher pads clogged with crud pretty quickly and became ineffective. And I use a second felt pad between the sandpaper and the disk to provide additional pressure.
I also coupled it between an ABA set of locos that have the rail power jumpered between them. Since I use DCC, I ran the MNP car from the analog throttle and the locos from a decoder. No reason a decoder couldn't be installed in the MNP car, though.
Downside is that even with the extra weight it tends to snag and derail. The pad spinning horizontal to the rail will catch on some road crossings, station platforms, etc. I have some guard rails that stick above the running rail slightly on sharp curves (I have some long-wheelbase locos that need this sort of help) that have been a particular problem. I avoid using the car in any area that I can't reach easily because of this.
I have recently purchased a set of cars made by Lux Modellbahn of Germany. This includes a scrubber car and vacuum car. The scrubber looks like the material used in plastic brillo pads. It is on a wheel that is mounted perpendicular to direction of travel (e.g., sort of like a motorized roller). I believe this is somewhat more effective than the MNP unit, and seems much less derailment-prone (though the vacuum has a brush that can stand to be shortened). The scrubber raises a considerable amount of dust, so the vacuum is really needed. However, the scrubber doesn't seem to clog. I believe it will eventually wear out, but replacements are readily available. If you can afford the cost, I'd strongly advise looking at the Lux cars. .
Cost for the LUX set is about 2-3 times the MNP car, but I believe it is a more effective product. Sorry to say this because I like the folks at MNP and they did try to assist in making their product work for me.
The horizontal scrubbing action worried me for exactly the reasons you experienced some problems. I think I'll stay with my combination of Aztec and elbow grease.
I guess what the world needs (?) is a powered roller a la the Lux, but of a felt material, and some sort of cleaning material like Flitz.
I've used Flitz, but if you get any on the rail sides (where it is hard to remove), it will turn green in a day or so -- not very prototypical. I like the Flitz cleaner, though: it cleans without scratching, leaves a tarnish resistant residue of some sort, is non-toxic (approved for food service use), and leave the rail head quite shiny. But applying it to ballasted track (HO or N) with a cloth is hard because the cloth snags on the ballast if the cloth is either thick (like a couple of layers), or even slightly loose. And of course, on unreachable track in tunnels, etc., it is well nigh impossible to use.
The easiest method is still a bright boy where you can reach: quick and sure, but it does scratch the rails which probably necessitates more frequent cleaning.
in article L8t1c.2326$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Rick Stern at email@example.com wrote on 3/3/04 2:39 PM:
Regarding track cleaning fluid, I've not heard of Flitz. But I suggest you try the product available from Fricko (through Walthers) called "cleano". I think this is the same product as something that Fricko used too call "Dr. Bonzola's Oil" that I've used for many years. It is superior to any other contact-enhancing solution I've found. It is colorless on the rail. Normally it doesn't affect traction unless you have really clobbered the rails with it. I find that a drop every 10' or so is normally adequate, plus put a bit in front of any loco that hasn't run for a while to treat its wheels when it goes into service.
Flitz is a metal polish not specifically designed as a track cleaner. There was a brief article in MR (or MR'ing, I don't remember). At any rate, it is a paste not a liquid. The "residue" it leaves on the surface is basically an anti-tarnish coating which is invisible and does not change the electrical characteristics at all. The stuff if terrific with the caveats I've mentioned below.
in article yrG1c.32$ firstname.lastname@example.org, Rick Stern at email@example.com wrote on 3/4/04 5:47 AM:
was mentioned a year or two back in one of the mags. It seems to work for me in my limited experience _ I haven't polished the whole thing, but the bit I did worked quite well. I think I found it at WalMart....
Jeff Sc. Shiny, Ga.
Don't bother to reply via email...I've been JoeJobbed.