Review of DAPOL Motorised Track Cleaner

Many years ago my brother & I had a large, three track, oval layout controlled by Hornby's ZERO 1. When it worked it was great but keeping the track clean was a real problem.

With the 'new' Hornby DCC system clean track is also a must but parts of our son's layout are difficult to reach, the old Triang cleaners we have were OK but not 100% efficient so I was very interested when DAPOL announced their 'OO' Motorised Track Cleaner D800.

The RRP is =A360 but got ours from Rails Of Sheffield for about =A354 with p & p 'free'.

The track cleaner has two types of motorised cleaning heads and vacuum system. It also comes with 'UK Couplings' and is DCC ready.

The cleaner has the following functions :-

Motorised revolving sprung abrasive head for rail surface stubborn dirt

Motorised revolving sprung buffing head for polishing the rail

Rail head foam attachment for cleaning fluid fed via on board reservoir

Vacuum cleaner function for dust & dirt removal (with dust box)

..... and as I said above is DCC ready with an 8 pin DCC socket onboard for independent control of the motor whilst the unit is being hauled by a loco.

I must say at this point I found the instructions that came with the unit totally inadequate, especially for something costing almost =A360.

As the unit came pre fitted with the vacuum fan I tried this first without the DCC chip using a non DCC fitted loco. Stopped the loco after about 2 minutes and inspected the dust box. Despite my previous efforts with a small 'dust buster' type vacuum cleaner the bottom of the dust box floor was covered with rubbish.

OK lets fit the DCC decoder. You must firstly remove on of the axles to get access to a screw which in turn releases the top of the body. Warning ! the wheel axles are very flimsy and ours snapped almost like a 'green stick' fracture of a bond. Tried to replace it with a spare Hornby axle but it did not fit ! As a short term measure repaired DAPOL axle with tape :-(. Chip was easy to fit after that.

Now for the sprung abrasive head ( to be honest there is not much visible difference between this and the polishing head ). Removed the vacuum fan with the special tool provided and pushed the abrasive head into place. Reversed a DCC loco up to the unit and one of the hooks flew off the coupling to be lost on the shed floor. Once it was set in motion you could see the difference to the rails.

Tried the buffing head with a little track cleaning fluid. The fluid is drip fed via on board reservoir to a foam pad. The 'drip feed' is achieved via a plunger set in the bottom of the reservoir. Again was impressed with results. The loco pulling the unit also improved with a 'clean' signal / power delivery.

I did e-mail DAPOL about the axle & coupling but did not get a courtesy of a reply. To be honest that attitude is very common with e- mail communications as companies tend to prefer, in my experience, telephone contact.

So my overall scores :-

Performance 9/10 Value for money 7/10 Build Quality 6/10 Design 7.10 Features 8/10 Instructions 1/10 Manufacturer Customer Service 0/10

Reply to
Dragon Heart
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PS With NEM coupling pockets it should be easy to replace the problem coupling.

Reply to
Dragon Heart

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