Battery v Track power - a personal perspective

Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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Wow, a year and a half old thread brought back to life!

In any case, that track cleaning device is no longer available, nor the website.

That cleaner was marketed under "Norm's Track Cleaner", reviews were not great and concern was that it flattened rail heads by going crosswise.

In any case, that unit did indeed grind oxidation off the top of the rail, along with a fair amount of material.

I'm commenting because I found that the phrase "track cleaning" is often very misleading. I break it down between:

clearing (removing large bits of debris, like leaves, twigs, ballast)
cleaning (removing dust, dirt, tree sap, etc, but NOT oxidation)
oxidation removal (the part of the brass rail that won't conduct electricity)

I use different methods for all of these.

for clearing, I have a powered rotating brush, that also creates a breeze, will sweep anything away:


for cleaning, I use a "wet wipe" on a pole, that removes all greasy deposits:

not solvent based, more like a household cleaner for walls and counters

and for oxide removal I (used, now stainless rail does not need) I used various methods:
this one worked well:



All of this an much more on my page on track cleaning/clearing/oxide removal:
Track Cleaning

Greg
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,680
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Wow, a year and a half old thread brought back to life!

In any case, that track cleaning device is no longer available, nor the website.

That cleaner was marketed under "Norm's Track Cleaner", reviews were not great and concern was that it flattened rail heads by going crosswise.

In any case, that unit did indeed grind oxidation off the top of the rail, along with a fair amount of material.

I'm commenting because I found that the phrase "track cleaning" is often very misleading. I break it down between:

clearing (removing large bits of debris, like leaves, twigs, ballast)
cleaning (removing dust, dirt, tree sap, etc, but NOT oxidation)
oxidation removal (the part of the brass rail that won't conduct electricity)

I use different methods for all of these.

for clearing, I have a powered rotating brush, that also creates a breeze, will sweep anything away:


for cleaning, I use a "wet wipe" on a pole, that removes all greasy deposits:

not solvent based, more like a household cleaner for walls and counters

and for oxide removal I (used, now stainless rail does not need) I used various methods:
this one worked well:



All of this an much more on my page on track cleaning/clearing/oxide removal:
Track Cleaning

Greg
Thanks Greg, so my device is a ‘Clearer’. Have often looked at those Bog Brush ‘Clearers’ and thought nice, must make one as I know it will be more effective than my feeble effort. Plus from what I have seen the Bog Brush makes a pretty good job of Snow Clearing as well.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
21,519
2,562
Tamworth, Staffs.
Hmmm.

Wonder if we need to define 'bog-brush'? :think::eek::nod::nod:
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
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Well, I think the offset wheels had more effect on "clearing debris" that the inventor ever thought. I know it was only sold as a device to remove oxide.

I've never held one in my hand, but it looks to be of substantial weight.

How are the "scrubber" wheels faring?

I love the "bog brush".... I've adjusted mine differently from the recommended "top of the rails", so it is about halfway to the ties... I can do rough ballasting, and with that setting it will sweep out up to 3/8" ballast... but don't stand in front of it ha ha!

Regards, Greg
 
Martino

Martino

Kit bashing, The UK narrow gauge, The GWR, Aviatio
Before running my battery power (I’ve given up on track power, but that’s just me) i wander round the line with my low power, cordless, Black and Decker leaf blower (20V MAX Lithium Electric Leaf Blower | LSW20 | BLACK+DECKER) - although there is an updated version, cost is about $70 although mine was cheaper and a bundled purchase with a strimmer (weed whacker for my North American friends). Held at the right distance it removes leaves, twigs and minor detritus without disturbing ballast. It gives me the chance to walk round and inspect the line prior to running and is VERY effective without being overly complicated.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
13,680
3,201
70
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Well, I think the offset wheels had more effect on "clearing debris" that the inventor ever thought. I know it was only sold as a device to remove oxide.

I've never held one in my hand, but it looks to be of substantial weight.

How are the "scrubber" wheels faring?

I love the "bog brush".... I've adjusted mine differently from the recommended "top of the rails", so it is about halfway to the ties... I can do rough ballasting, and with that setting it will sweep out up to 3/8" ballast... but don't stand in front of it ha ha!

Regards, Greg
The wheels on the removed device are just fine, they are a quite hard fine grit type substance so show no sign of wear. In use they do indeed run nicely due as you say to the substantial weight of the beast. But from memory needed a lot of circuits to have any cleaning effect but as a remover they would be fine except for crud in Point depresions (flangeways) where the flanges tend to get riden up by Loose Ballast etc. The bog brush set up would work fine for clearing Flangeways. May just think about investing in one of these, perhaps when we emerge on the other side a new and better trading deal will emerge with the US for us Brits to import some of your superior products. Though the UK Post Office (now privatised) will no doubt come up with a newer and better way to extract the current £8 for clearing Customs and collecting Vat due.
Before running my battery power (I’ve given up on track power, but that’s just me) i wander round the line with my low power, cordless, Black and Decker leaf blower (20V MAX Lithium Electric Leaf Blower | LSW20 | BLACK+DECKER) - although there is an updated version, cost is about $70 although mine was cheaper and a bundled purchase with a strimmer (weed whacker for my North American friends). Held at the right distance it removes leaves, twigs and minor detritus without disturbing ballast. It gives me the chance to walk round and inspect the line prior to running and is VERY effective without being overly complicated.
One of these looks a possibility, up to now I only thought that big leaf collecting ones are available. However the long nizel would be an issue on my line being mostly 3ft off the ground and the power would at the moment cause complete uproar with the lose ballast that needs to be restuck. Most is good and hard in place but certain area’s need some glue. Something that I have to wait for good weather to attack. The PVA Water mix that I use does not dry out in the English Winter outside.
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I've used this model of sweeper for many years, and the gentleman running the company is tops.

You can buy just the sweeper part, and it does a great job with leaves, not just the brush action but the air flow created.

Here's a page with more info:
Sweeper Car

Greg
 
trammayo

trammayo

Interested in vintage commercial vehicle, trams, t
24 Oct 2009
20,397
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Co. Mayo
And, of course, in the 1 to 1 world, they operated as Snow Brooms too! Brill supplied six to my home town of Leeds, Yorkshire.
 
M

Moonraker

Registered
25 Oct 2009
854
79
South Australia
I've used this model of sweeper for many years, and the gentleman running the company is tops.

You can buy just the sweeper part, and it does a great job with leaves, not just the brush action but the air flow created.

Here's a page with more info:
Sweeper Car

Greg
My railway is underneath pine trees so I have problems with fallen pine needles, etc. I bought one of these sweepers about ten years ago and it still works a treat. Two trips round my layout clears everything .... except pine cones which have to be manually removed. My rotating brush is mounted at an angle off to the side. This is because I have a section of double track and need to have the pine needles swept off to the side.
It has just been refitted to a new loco. See attached photo.

Regards
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
img_2780-jpg.247441
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

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I notice you have one of the earliest models with the single U bracket, and the shelf for the motor is curved.

One modification I made was a shield just inboard of the large pulley so the bristles cannot get trapped under the belt. I'll have to put a picture up on my site.

Greg
 
M

Moonraker

Registered
25 Oct 2009
854
79
South Australia
I notice you have one of the earliest models with the single U bracket, and the shelf for the motor is curved.

One modification I made was a shield just inboard of the large pulley so the bristles cannot get trapped under the belt. I'll have to put a picture up on my site.

Greg
Greg,

Yes please. My bristles do occasionally get trapped in the belt.

Regards
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,350
1,825
North Essex
Can anyone suggest a good (UK) source of parts like the pulley and drive belt to build something like this....?

Jon.
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
21,519
2,562
Tamworth, Staffs.
Can anyone suggest a good (UK) source of parts like the pulley and drive belt to build something like this....?

Jon.
If you can't find a suitable belt/pulleys.. How about a Delrin chain-drive?
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,350
1,825
North Essex
I had wondered about Meccano pulleys or indeed one of their chain drives? Only problem I can foresee with a chain drive is that if something gets caught in the brush and jams it up, all sorts of things could happen to the drivetrain, whereas a rubber belt will probably just slip.....

Jon.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,465
949
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
David1226

David1226

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24 Oct 2009
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Abingdon, Oxfordshire
A link to a chain drive, that's useful........

David
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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529
San Diego
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I think at the speed you turn the brush, a chain drive might have issues, you might have to make a tensioner...

On the "bristle shield" you cut a circle of thin cardboard a bit larger than the pulley, then cut a hole in the center to clear the brush center diameter.

Now, make a single cut from the outside to the inside, flex it a bit to get it over the brush center, and a small bit of tape to keep the cut closed.

Now the shield keeps bristles from getting caught in the pulley, since once they are bent over, they keep getting caught between the belt and pulley and never get "out"

I'll try to get a picture.

Greg