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Dapol Track Cleaning Wagon - Fault?

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I have had a Dapol track clean wagon. It is DCC Fitted with Hornby 8 pin DCC chip


I wrote 8 to CV 8 to reset it. Then changed it from 003 to 099 loco ID


I set the wagon speeds to cruise 40mph and shunt 20mph. (the wagon not the train pulling it)


The track cleaner was set for vacuum and set off on the high setting, after running less than 10 feet I thought maybe 40mph speed setting may be to high? So I changed it to 20mph but it didn't have the power it initially had. I tried again at the high speed and there was no change?


Today I opened the wagon to have a look!


When I opened it a circular brass item dropped out, about 1/4" diameter and narrows looking like a plug (not the black one over the fuid compartment this is smaller and is brass) 


The switch and the chip were alright. I opened it, then partially opened the motor compartment as far as I could without damaging any wires and could see the motor. The motor is over the fan and both turn they are not jammed or seized?


At this stage as some dirt had come out and I was a little restricted, I decided to put it back together and re-test. Sadly same as before a very slow turning noise, I can only assume is the motor as I couldn't see and there are no other electrical moving parts on the wagon to my knowledge.


So, I wonder if the motor has damaged, I certainly wonder what the brass stopper is for? The leaflet that came with it only explains how to dismantle to fit or remove a DCC chip.


Comment welcome from anyone who has one, has stripped one down, or has any ideas.


Thank you



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Have you had a short circuit?  If so, you may have melted the solder that holds one of the springs connecting the pickups to the motor wiring.  As explained in the instructions, this is intentional in order to protect the motor from excessive current because it is only a 9volt motor.



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I posted a thread in the Dapol section some time ago in which I said I believed the product was not fit for purpose.  Dapol actually sells a kit of replacement parts but it involves soldering them on - and there are several.  I sent mine back to the supplier for a refund and bought instead a small, mains powered vacuum cleaner designed for vacuuming the interior of cars.  I have found it very easy to use; it is supplied with a shoulder strap so, on a larger layout, you can still reach the distant track and it comes with a range of tiny attachments that appear to be just made for 00 gauge.  It is a Draper and cost about £50 - rather less than the Dapol track cleaner plus decoder and postage.  I do also have the CMX machine but that does not have a vacuum function.



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I use the Tomex version, and have hacked and slashed at it quite substantially in order to make it work reliably with the cleaning pads.  First trick- wind the blessed thing up ALL the way.  Mine is set so speed stop 1 on DCC is 255...so, it is either off or ON.  Then, I had to fudge around the wiring- adding additional wires connecting the bogies to the decoder.  The decoder I am using is a N14SR, I think...it's a 1.3A decoder. 


Used as either the vacuum cleaner or as a track cleaner, I find it works OK.  It is better as a vacuum cleaner than as the scraper pad track cleaner, but used in conjuction with IPA on paper towel, and one of the roller type track cleaners, it works reasonably well to clean track.



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Now this is very strange


I have opened up the Dapol track cleaning wagon.


Removed the DCC chip


Loosened the surround to the motor to expose the soldered wires to the motor.


The wires to the motor have not melted?


See attached images?


I am now baffled









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I have got it back together again and tested.


I used the slider in RM to raise the speed, it came in at 5mph but only just (obviously to low I am just testing  it)


I could hear a small difference in speed up to 20mph but very small and hard to make out the difference.


I changed the loco settings so I could test higher speeds for the motor.


Again speed cuts in at 5mph and I gradually took it up to 60mph. There is a definate difference in the speed on the motor, so that is good news but, the running of the motor is not smooth. Instead of what we would expect from a smooth running electric motor the noise I get is more of a crackle. The crackle increases with speed as  the motor increases in speed. 


I will have another look tomorrow.


My thoughts at this time are...

- good it is not dead or near dead

- the motor speeds up so that has to be good also

- is the crackle sound as the motor runs due to bad power connections from the wheels and other power connection strips?

- or is the solder joint partly melted?


Comments welcome I will test again tomorrow



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Hi guys


I thought I would share this found earlier tonight...


Although here we are talking Dapol Track Cleaning Wagon read the following...


DCC Layout Wire and Wiring Accessories Bus Suppressors/ Terminators 

When any short circuit happens on your DCC powered model railway, there is a rapid collapse of track voltage followed by a voltage spike that is approximately 3 times the original rail voltage... On a larger scale layout or one with some higher voltage European DCC systems, this can be as high as 65 volts! This is enough to cause incremental damage to decoders and is one of the primary reasons for spontaneous decoder failure. The BT2 stops this problem and also acts to smooth the DCC waveform in general use, ensuring better data communication and reliable running.





I have a DCC Bus, with twisted wires, using the Radial method. But do not have termnal bus suppressors.

The problem with the Dapol Wagon is it is 9volts, it is designed to melt the solder points on the motor if there is an issue. Harold told me above, this can be caused by a derailment or short which did happen!


I think I need to get Bus Suppressors fitted. 


My problem may not be melting of the solder joint to the motor but, I thought it worth adding this information in this thread.



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