Japanese Wheel Cleaner for N Gauge

Above is the box for a nifty little item I picked up from PlazaJapan on eBay. Its from a Japanese manufacturer called Tsugawa Yokou, and its an interesting, simple, and seemingly very effective device (and did not require any soldering or decoder installation! :-)).

Below is what you get, and although all the materials and instructions are completely in Japanese, its not that hard to figure out! Plug the two alligator clips to a power source and start cleaning!

For only about $20 USD, this is a pretty cool device. I haven't used it a lot yet, but I expect I will. In my experience, I have really wanted an easier method of cleaning wheels for a long time (I always hated to put dirty wheels on 'just cleaned' track! Arg!)...this seems to do the job!

Below is a short video showing it work. The wheels basically sit on a foam material with enough conductive material in them to transmit power to the locomotive. Cool, huh?


  1. I'd seen those too…they work well, do they?

    One day, someone clever will figure out an easy way to clean the wheels on non-motorized trucks…

  2. have u tried them on a loco with traction tires ??

    is it safe :)

  3. Yes! No problem! The foam material doesn't have enough friction to be a problem. I think the bigger concern is whether or not the type of cleaner you use on the foam is safe for the rubber tires. Probably a lot safer than using the brass wires of the Minitrix version!

  4. thx,

    so we need to put some kind of cleaning fluid onto the sponge ??

    I was under the impression the sponge would be somewhat abrasive in order to do the cleaning - hence the question abt the traction tires

    what fluid r u using - 91% alcohol ??

  5. Hi Sid,

    Yes, I believe that is the correct way these should be used. To be honest, I can't specifically remember what the instructions (in Japanese) said about this matter! I am pretty confident that the sponges on their own won't do a whole lot clean the wheels!

    I used a product called 'rail cleaner' or something that I picked up at the hobby shop. Faller also makes some rail cleaning fluid that I've used before as well, just more expensive! Supposedly it is safer than using alcohol for the traction tires.