Smoke units

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  • Member since
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Smoke units
Posted by mgbbob on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 1:58 PM

Hi Crew,  I have a post war locomotive with a below par smoke unit.  I figure there must be a way to clean it out.  It does smoke but just weak.  Any suggestions?

 

KRM
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Posted by KRM on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:01 PM

Bob,

Would help to know What Locomotive so we can answer your question. There were several kinds.

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 2:27 PM

If it's what I'd call the Lionel "Silver Pot" smoke unit there's several things you can do. First, the heating element grounds to the pot, it's the tab you have to fold up to disassemble the unit.  If the area around where the tab folds down is crudded up and nasty the heating element won't work properly.  Clean that area thoroughly so it shines.  This happened to one of my smoke units.

You may have to replace the fiber pad inside the smoke unit. If it's old and nasty it won't evaporate as it should.

Since you're getting some smoke I'd assume the heating element itself is ok, either it works or it doesn't, it's like a mini-toaster coil.

Make sure the puffer pipe isn't clogged with old smoke pill residue.

As I said, this is for the old smoke pill type of smoke unit.  More modern ones you're on your own, I haven't messed with one of those.

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Posted by mgbbob on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 4:05 PM

Hi folks,  it is a 2037.

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 6:23 PM

A few drops of an acetone based nail polish remover should help to burn off the residue.

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Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:17 PM

As folks have been saying, make sure the contacts are clean and well joined. Clean out excessive smoke pellet residue from around the tube that the bellows send the air up through. Replacing the wadding in the unit is not a bad idea, if it wasn‘t recently replaced. do all of this, and you should be in much better shape. Also, if you use smoke Pellets, remember, ONE AT A TIME. Extra Pellets don’t equal more smoke- 

 

they are kind of like candle wax. When you blow out a candle, for a few moments, the heat is still present,bbut not high enough to combust, so the hot wax smolders, producing whisps of smoke. In a smoke unit, a heating element does the job of melting the Pellets, so they slowly vaporize into similar looking smoke. The ammount of heat is fixed- so if you put in too much material, the heating element will be unable to melt it all, and you will have reduced smoke output. 

 

these units also work with liquid smoke fluid, but be careful not to fill the unit up too much, they aren‘t necessarily the finest at keeping in the liquid (which theh weren’t even designed for) in, so put in too many drops, and some might leak out onto the tracks. it won‘t hurt your Loco, but you’ll probably want to clean up any such “spills”. 

As far as I know, there is no superior choice on whether you use Pellets or fluid. Both have their virtues, and their shortcomings. smoke output is, as far as I know, about equal, but, of course, I’d imagine many folks have come up with their own strategies and choices for optimal smoke output.

"If it don't work, then gosh darn it, get a' fixin!"

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Posted by northernpike on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 9:27 PM

My postwar steamers have the old pellet smoke units.  JT Megasteam works really good.  Smoke pellet scent to be exact.  Just make sure unit is clean and vent hole not plugged.  Good luck!

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Posted by mgbbob on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:44 PM

I used a dental pick to remove what build up that I could get to and then added a shot of nail polish remover.  Seemed to work.  Smoking pretty good now. 

 

KRM
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Posted by KRM on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:47 PM

I also use JT Megasteam in all of my smoke units regaurdless if they are liquid or pill units and it works fine for both and keeps them clean compaired to the pills..

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by mgbbob on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:01 PM

I have some Megasteam that I purchased several years ago.  I don't think it goes bad.  I am adding about 5 drops at a time.  I don't know if that is right.  I am getting okay steam from both of my post war locos.  Nothing like what I see in the videos.  I may still need to take the units apart.  I don't know what is "normal"

 

KRM
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Posted by KRM on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 5:33 PM

Hard to say because it depends on what you are compairing it to. Got to look at apples to apples to decide that. Also how much voltage is also a factor. Maybe put it in netural at full voltage for a few minutes then start it out. If it smokes like crazy you good. 

 10 drops won't hurt.

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Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling

 

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Posted by Michael6268 on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:06 PM

You wont get anywhere near the smoke you see in todays modern locos...

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Posted by lionelsoni on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 6:18 PM

One way to coax more smoke out of an older locomotive, if you've got a few volts of headroom from your transformer, is to wire some anti-parallel diode pairs in series with the motor only (not the smoke unit).  This forces you to give the locomotive, including the smoke unit, a higher voltage to get the same speed as before.

Bob Nelson

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Posted by cwburfle on Thursday, February 08, 2018 6:39 AM

2037 Locomotives are usually good smokers. If your 2037 is smoking poorly, then there are a couple of likely causes.
Number one would be having too much smoke material in the smoke unit. Overfilling the smoke unit actually diminishes the amount of smoke generated because the unit cannot get hot enough.
This can also lead to a clogged vent hole, and/or a stuck pistion.

It is also possible that the smoke element has been replaced with a reproduction that was out of spec. (too much resistance).

When I run into a smoke unit that has been grossly overfilled, I disassemble it and clean out all the old smoke material and replace the liner.
It can be difficult to get the smoke unit apart without damaging the heater element. I use an old hair dryer that gets very hot to soften / melt the smoke material to avoid breakage. (the smoke unit will get quite hot, I hold it with pliers, and or a rag to protect my fingers).

Along run a drill bit through the vent hole (fingers only, don't want to make hole bigger).

Wipe out the piston's cylinder and the piston. If you have one handy, add a 2026-44 smoke spring.

Make certain the gap between the smoke pot and the piston cylinder is clear.

 

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