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Discussion Starter #1
I mounted one in my USA Trains Hudson. I love it


The video will illustrate the point. The TSA unit was lousy so was the Massoth unit. Granted there's no chuff connection yet. but the others only showed a chuff effect at very slow speeds anyway.

YouTube Video
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The smoke unit is inside the shell right under the exhaust. The unit comes with the smoke outlet in the forward leftcorner. I removed the outlet pipe, covered the old hole and made a new one centered on the unit so it would fit in the shell and under the stack. I had to cut out the old smoke unit mounting lugs and the lug that connects the shell to the frame in order to fit it in.



I'm using a separate battery for the smoke unit that goes under the coal load right along side the battery for the RC system. I have 3 batteries for the smoke unit and each should give me about 50 minutes of run time. The battery is a Lithium Polymer which some will tell you are dangerous. Please note I charge that battery outside the engine while I'm at home to keep an eye on it. Having said that....... all the RC heli pilots and plank flyers use these all the time...quite safe to use IMHO.











 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE1Xpholv5g

harbor smoke system still in use, one year testing and it still smokes strong,the smoke unit is pretty big but careful separation of the fan housing and relocating with a duct connection(some plastictube will do)and all will fit in lets say a big engine,buy the way one fill goes ca 40 minutes!!

manfred
 

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Okay, electronics gurus...

For the non-DCC folks who would like to synchronize chuffs, here's a question...

To get the "chuff" effect, you'd have to pulse the speed of the fan of the unit. First off, can you separate the fan motor from the heating element, in order to independently control it. Second, what would be a simple circuit that one could build that would run the fan at say half speed under default, but when the magnetic reed chuff trigger is closed, would pulse the fan to full speed momentarily?

I've seen Harbor Smoke systems with a mechanical shutter of sorts installed on the output used in model tanks, and the effect is quite realistic. The problem is the mechanical shutter is loud.

Thoughts? I like the effect--almost enough to make a believer out of me in smoke units. (I said "almost...") I've got a new project in development with oodles of space in the boiler and tender. I'm tempted--really tempted to try something like this. I'm already thinking about a mechanical bell ringing mechanism using a micro gearhead motor. (See the latest Narrow Gauge Gazette for a similar application.) Of course, then there's the question of how does one duct some smoke to the whistle so it vents when you blow the whistle...

Later,

K
 

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I have not seen anyone separate the fan from the "power input" on the HM unit, I have been told that it could actually overheat if the fan speed was too low.

I have seen almost as much smoke with a Zimo decoder running an MTH unit. The MTH smoke units are cost effective, and have 4 wires, 2 to the motor, 2 to the heating element, NO electronics. The Zimo controls and modulates both the fan and the heating element, on 2 separate outputs, and, like most DCC units, has quite a lot of "programmability" to the fan speeds and the heat level.

The Zimo will work on speed or a chuff sensor, and will work on DC too.

You could buy the smoke unit from MTH, or Axel also has ones he sells, and get him to send you the entire package.

If someone put their mind to it, the HM unit could probably be used, although I need Axel or Dan to speak up about the current handling capability of the PWM outputs on the 695 decoders... Oh, you get sound too!

Greg
 

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Synched chuffing or not, that is still one of the most impressive examples of pure smoke output I've ever seen. I can vouch that the newer generation Lipo batteries are remarkably user friendly, safe when treated correctly, and are now de rigueur in the model aviation community. (One of the larger "planks" I fly operates on an 18.5 Volt 5 cell battery and I've never had problems.)

Larry - I assume from your pictures that you are running the battery straight to the smoke unit. It occurs to me that you could vary the amount of smoke produced by the unit by installing an electronic speed controller that is controlled via a Spektrum or similar 2.4 GHZ receiver/transmitter. This presumes the use of track power, though; more difficult if you've already dedicated the throttle channel of a 2.4 receiver to controlling power to the locomotive motors ...

Either way, would love to see it in person. Cheers, Jon
 

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Discussion Starter #10
While the HM smoke unit only has two wires it's easy enough to either separate them of to do what's next in my plan.....I'll cut the reed switch into the motor circuit to try and get a chuff going. I may even change the fan to a dual voltage system low for low speed high for chuff...which is pretty much what the TSA and Massoth units do.

Hi Jon.
 

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Cool. Keep me posted. I'm a good while off from that stage in my upcoming project, but it has a great deal of potential.

Some design considerations for all you electronics types out there...

Two inputs - (1) +12 v (to feed the smoke generator and controller)
(2) "chuff" trigger input

Two outputs - (1) fan (variable voltage based on the control circuit)
(2) heating element (constant voltage) (Is there an advantage to be gained by pulsing the voltage to the heating element similar/identical to the fan?)

Variable controls - Default fan speed. Settable via a micro potentiometer to a speed sufficient to keep the heating element from burning out, but also slow enough to where full speed is a visual difference.
- Chuff pulse width, i.e., how long the fan is pushed to max speed each time the chuff is triggered. If you wanted to get really fancy, you could have a low end and high end pulse width, variable with the frequency of the chuff being triggered. The faster the triggers in succession, the shorter the pulses. Could be set to be adjusted by pots, or fixed.

Seems to me this should be simple enough to design with something like a 555 timer IC at the core.

(And Greg, if the Zimo can do this cost effectively in a purely DC environment, I'm all ears.)


Later,

K
 

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Kevin, have you read through the manual for the Massoth unit. I think it is by far the most sophisticated unit of the bunch, but of course it can't compete with the output of that beast using a Lipo battery with 36amps!! At least with the Massoth unit it integrates nicely with the chuffing and load dependant sound when controlled with a Massoth decoder or other (like Zimo) with a Suzi interface. It will always be possible to haywire together a system to generate enough smoke for a Kiss concert, but integrating it in to most smaller locomotives and using a reasonable amount of power (ie. 600mA) is more important for most people IMHO.

Keith
 

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The harbor models unit draws 2 amps at 12 volts. I don't know the "split" between the fan and the heating element, but that will be the "catch" I believe.

A bit of warning, very few reed switches will handle switching an amp, so check your specs before you just hook one up to the HM unit.

I've read the manual on the Massoth, it's definitely the most "configurable" of anything out there, in terms of a single unit. The Zimo decoder has even more configuration, but is more complex and of course more expensive if you total the smoke unit and the Zimo decoder (though if you count motor, sound, smoke control, and smoke unit it's probably less than the Massoth plus a sound and motor decoder).

The load dependent sound requires a motor or sound decoder with a susi output... that's a bit rare...

Regards, Greg
 

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The load dependent sound requires a motor or sound decoder with a susi output... that's a bit rare...

Actually the Massoth and Zimo decoders have had this for a while, and even the LGB decoders have an output bus that is very similar in configuration. That's why I think the best overall blend is still the Massoth XLS decoder and Massoth smoke unit. You can make others work together, but it seems to take a lot more effort. With the Massoth you plug it together and go...
 

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I believe the Lenz decoders have also had SUSI for a while too.

You can't plug the SUSI of the Zimo into the Massoth? You are sort of implying that... or is it just that the CV's are already set on the Massoth for this?

Greg
 

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I'm not sure what the Zimo bus connection looks like, but if it complies with the Susi standard it should work shouldn't it? I figured it was just a kind of clock output. There are various CV's on the Massoth decoder to do with the smoke maker, but I've never tried a Zimo so I can't say for certain how straight forward it is.
 

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I believe the SUSI connector is 4 pins, basically data and power (2 power, 2 data), the right hand connector on the Uhlenbrock decoder.




Regards, Greg
 

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BTW, the reference to generating KISS concert level smoke was brilliant. I think my old MTH Daylight managed Deep Purple level smoke once or twice, but never came close to matching KISS ...
 

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Larry, Larry, Larry. HOORAY! You are back into trains! I weep when I see that you tore out that lovely railway, but am waiting with anticipation to see what you build next. Now..............
to come all the way around 180 degrees, you need to bring back the chickens!
George
 
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