Smoke Pellets in action?

1153 views
14 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • 87 posts
Smoke Pellets in action?
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Monday, May 28, 2018 8:35 PM

A few years ago, I bought a 2026. I remember, that for the first blissful period in which I operated her, she still had smoke pellet left in her, and the smoke output was simply stunning! 

But once that ran out, and I started using fluid, it just, wasn’t nearly as impressvive. The volume may have been decent, but it just wasn’t as thick and impressive as the smoke I had gotten before.

Now I have more pellet smokers.

and same thing, just not all that impressed with the smoke output with liquid. Nothing wrong with it, in that they still out-puff my liquid smokers (Lionel ones, from the ‘70s), but I’m just, not satisfied.

I ordered some of the reproduction pellets finally

Heard nothing but good things about them, but I have to ask. For those of you, who have used both, do the pellets produce a more impressive show? I need to make sure my memory wasn’t just exadgerating the actual experience. Sure I’ll find out eventually, once I get the pellets in the mail, but I’d like to hear some other voices. 

Lionel/Trainz smoke pellets: do they satisfy you more than liquid smoke, in the same, pellet type units? 

No, I do not want to, and will not consider converting them over to liquid only. I like to keep things original! 

And I’m really just interested in people’s personal experience. I bought the pellets, and I can’t wait to try them out. I just want to see if people have found the results to be superior to liquid smoke in pellet units, as well as how pleased folks are with pellet smoke output. I mean, there’s clearly a solid market for them, but I can’t seem to find much detailed, personal expereince out there on the Internet. I want in! Just how much of a blast can you have, with those classic smoke pellets?

I eagerly await your say..

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

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

  • Member since
    March, 2013
  • 407 posts
Posted by BigAl 956 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:34 AM

I know you desire is to keep everything original but if you really want a lot of smoke output a liquid conversion is the best way to do it. Unless you have something rare and valuable I see no real downside to converting the smoke unit.

Repro smoke pellets are adequate but far from perfect. Here is what I reccomend if you don not want to go all in on liquid...

  • Rebuild the smoke unit cleaning out all the old pill residue making sure the air feed hole is open
  • Repalce the heater if neccissary
  • Use a spring to push against the puff piston to prevent the piston from sticking.
  • Use Megasteam fluid in your pill unit. It smokes better than pills and will not leave a clogging residue behind.

This will give ou the best results short of a conversion to liquid.

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Hopewell, NY
  • 2,751 posts
Posted by ADCX Rob on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 10:54 AM

Leverettrailfan

... the smoke output was simply stunning!

The pellet smoke was/is thicker than any liquid. The vaporized particles are much larger and are colored white, giving very thick plumes. I use mostly liquid in all pellet steamers but for a really impressive show I use a pellet.

Rob

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Silver City, NM USA
  • 1,370 posts
Posted by Deputy on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 1:48 PM

BigAl 956

I know you desire is to keep everything original but if you really want a lot of smoke output a liquid conversion is the best way to do it. Unless you have something rare and valuable I see no real downside to converting the smoke unit.

Repro smoke pellets are adequate but far from perfect. Here is what I reccomend if you don not want to go all in on liquid...

  • Rebuild the smoke unit cleaning out all the old pill residue making sure the air feed hole is open
  • Repalce the heater if neccissary
  • Use a spring to push against the puff piston to prevent the piston from sticking.
  • Use Megasteam fluid in your pill unit. It smokes better than pills and will not leave a clogging residue behind.

This will give ou the best results short of a conversion to liquid.

 

 

Thanks for that info about Megastream. Went to their website and holy smokes (pardon the pun), it really does smoke like crazy! Quick question...can I use MTH smoke fluid in a pill-type loco (Lionel 2020)? Or is that a no-no? If not, I'll be placing an order for that Megastrem stuff real soon. Smile

Dep

Virginian Railroad

  • Member since
    April, 2007
  • From: MICH
  • 7,843 posts
Posted by sir james I on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 4:45 PM

All smoke fluids work and a conversion is not necessary.

"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks 

  Charter Member- Tardis Train Crew (TTC) - TCA  - Detroit3railers-  Detroit Historical society Glancy Modular trains- Charter member BTTS

  • Member since
    September, 2010
  • From: Parma Heights Ohio
  • 2,408 posts
Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 6:39 PM

Acetone based nail polish remover removes the build-up on the wick.  2 or 3 drops down the stack and a bit of running cleans it.

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,622 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 7:33 PM

Now, everyone please feel free to correct me if you think I'm very, very wrong.

I'm kind of leery about converting smoke pellet units to 100% liquid operation.  It's my understanding that if there's no way to turn them off you'd better keep liquid smoke units "wet" or they'll burn out. 

The farthest I've gone with my post-wars is to clean the smoke units thoroughly, both inside and out, (the heater has to ground through the smoke unit body, if it doesn't, no heat no smoke) and replace the old fiber pads.  They work just fine with liquid smoke as it, and if it goes dry there's no fear of a burn-out.

The last smoke pellets I used were made by K-Line, and they worked pretty well, as well as I remember Lionel smoke pellets working.  Honestly, I really don't see much of a difference in smoke-ability between fluids and pellets.

I use Mega-Steam myself. Hey, for all you Mega-Steam fans, what's your favorite "flavor?"   I prefer "Coffee."  It really does smell like coffee!

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • 87 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 7:46 PM

Thanks for the replies. 

As I will re-state, I have ZERO interest, in converting to liquid! I have used megasteam in my pellet smokers. It’s okay, but at the same time, not as satisfying as my memory of the pellet smoke. Just not as thick and white. I used the coffee scented one, actually. I just don’t especially go for how the fluid smoke looks.

Thanks ADCX Rob, that was pretty much exactly the insight I was looking for. Sounds like I’m in for a real treat.

I had already cleaned the smoke unit of my 646 hudson, so I can vouch for the fact that it is in proper working order.

I look forwards to many happy hours of smoke pellet operation!

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

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

  • Member since
    October, 2006
  • From: Silver City, NM USA
  • 1,370 posts
Posted by Deputy on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 9:23 PM

Firelock76

Now, everyone please feel free to correct me if you think I'm very, very wrong.

I'm kind of leery about converting smoke pellet units to 100% liquid operation.  It's my understanding that if there's no way to turn them off you'd better keep liquid smoke units "wet" or they'll burn out. 

The farthest I've gone with my post-wars is to clean the smoke units thoroughly, both inside and out, (the heater has to ground through the smoke unit body, if it doesn't, no heat no smoke) and replace the old fiber pads.  They work just fine with liquid smoke as it, and if it goes dry there's no fear of a burn-out.

The last smoke pellets I used were made by K-Line, and they worked pretty well, as well as I remember Lionel smoke pellets working.  Honestly, I really don't see much of a difference in smoke-ability between fluids and pellets.

I use Mega-Steam myself. Hey, for all you Mega-Steam fans, what's your favorite "flavor?"   I prefer "Coffee."  It really does smell like coffee!

 

I know newer smoking vehicles, both MTH and Lionel, have a way (usually a switch or a setting on the remote) to turn off the unit to prevent burn-out, or if your wife isn't all that crazy about the living room looking like a London wharf Stick out tongue

Not sure if the conversion units for Lionel have or even require an on/off switch, but I kinda doubt it. Never heard of burn-out being an issue with them.

Virginian Railroad

  • Member since
    August, 2010
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 8,622 posts
Posted by Firelock76 on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 5:23 PM

Quite true, you can turn off the smoke units in current production MTH and Lionel, maybe also some others I'm not familiar with.

On my older units such as Williams and K-Line there is no off switch.  One of my Williams Berks (they have Suethe smoke units) did burn out, I learned from that and keep the other wet while it's running. 

Both of my older K-Lines have smoke units burned out by previous owners.  I've got a K-Line smoking caboose as well that you can't turn off.  Smokes like crazy though, and gets as hot as a $2.00 pistol!

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • 87 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 9:36 PM

It occurs to me, for those of you with liquid units, it might be possible to add your own on/off switch. Taking apart an old electronic appliance or toy that no longer works, may give you any number of kinds of nifty little switches. You can mount them on the floor of a caboose or diesel loco, or inside the cab of a steamer, and reroute the wire to the smoke unit, so it goes through the switch. Would take a little ingenuity, but it certainly could be done! Of course, if you want to keep the equipment ‘unmodified’, this wouldn’t be a great idea (drilling holes in the equipment, to mount the switch, is a bit neccesary).

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

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

  • Member since
    April, 2005
  • From: South Carolina
  • 9,344 posts
Posted by rtraincollector on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 10:00 PM

Just personal preference, but to me if it came with a pill type smoke unit, That's what I'm going to keep it. If need to replace it, I will replace it with a pill type smoke unit. Now the difference and what works better really doesn't bother me as I'm not into smoke as a lot are. I will test a engine when I get it, to ensure it works, And presently it gets put up. once in a while when I have layouts in the past I would run smoke for show, but that was it. Smoke actually bothers me. 

Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

http://rtssite.shutterfly.com/

  • Member since
    December, 2001
  • From: Austin, TX
  • 9,757 posts
Posted by lionelsoni on Thursday, May 31, 2018 10:43 AM

Sometimes there is a hole that can be re-purposed for a switch.  For example, you can mount a miniature toggle switch in a rear window of a Lionel postwar F3, with a little filing on the bushing.  You can also cut off about half the length of the handle, to make a toggle switch much less obvious.

Bob Nelson

  • Member since
    February, 2014
  • 87 posts
Posted by Leverettrailfan on Friday, June 01, 2018 10:01 AM

Just wanted to mention, that I got my smoke pellets, and tested them out. They worked beautifully, I don’t regret buying them one bit!

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

Can I fix trains? Mostly. How long have I been doing it? Took me years to get much success beyond the "taking it apart" step. Where am I at now? Well, does she run?

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • 1,786 posts
Posted by cwburfle on Sunday, June 03, 2018 5:15 AM

I agree that the Trainz reproduction smoke pellets work well. I cannot tell the difference between them and original Lionel SP smoke pellets.

As for what to use: I prefer pellet smoke because of the smell, and I do not want the oil vapors from liquid smoke depositing on everything in my house.
Rarely will I even put smoke fluid in the liquid smokers I own. When I do, it's old stock Lionel smoke fluid.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Get the Classic Toy Trains newsletter delivered to your inbox twice a month