I have both. The aristo unit is better than all past aristo/usa/LGB units. It works fine, and has an auto cut off for when it runs out of smoke fluid. Which is good, because it will, as it uses fluid at an amazing rate.
It is also not half the unit the MTH system is. The MTH unit puts out vastly more smoke, with a much quieter fan. There simply is no comparison. Which maybe why you will have trouble buying the MTH unit, as they seem to be always out of stock. The MTH unit can be syncronized to the chuff of a steamer (up to 16 cycles per revolution) or notch level of a diesel. It has labored smoke (twice the normal output) - or drift - (half the normal output), again features unavailable on other systems.
You maybe able to control the smoke without using MTH's DCS system. That I really don't know. My locomotives have reostats to turn the smoke up, down or off. (that is automatically overridden by a DCS signal if you use it)
I never run my SD45 with the smoke on. Its not worth the effort. I never run my Hudson or Challenger without the smoke on because it is worth it.
The MTH smoke units run $55 each and can be ordered direct from them.
They will definately work on straight DC power, the question is what voltage is safe to run them at. You don't really need the DCS board as long as you use a safe voltage to the heat elements. Hooking direct to track voltage without regulation will without a doubt blow the heating elements.
If you let them run out of fluid for a long period of time you do run the risk of damaging the elements. It does not have built in auto-shutoff circuits built into the unit. If you are running a safe voltage level you should be ok.
Here's a few pics showing the difference in size between the MTH Hudson type smoke unit and the TAStudios smoke unit.
The MTH Big Boy & Challenger smoke units are about half again bigger than the Hudson unit...
Hows the wheather out there a lot better than here in NY i hope,take a look at the video that ray has here on the forum of the last show he was at, you'll see a hudson in the video it looks like the same smoke system that is in my usa hudson witch is a tas one the video will give you an ideal of how it smokes. aristo when they work and don't leak all over everthing smokes ok, the TAS is better, but hands down the one Ray put in my steamers smoke me out and they are mth. i think it was chuck a while back that posted he had put dcs in his k-4 and posted a picture and it appeared to smoke even better than mine. go back thrue the archives and you should be able to find the photo. sweet sweet sweet. is all i can say/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif Ray i need DCS in my k-4's..................
Lownote: What aristo are you thinking of putting it in? I've installed them in Mallets, Pacifics and Mikados. No need for them in diesels, way overkill. If you were to just connect it to the existing Aristo power boards you would need to develop some voltage reducing circuits as I'm sure they are 5v. Not sure what the MTH Fan motor rated voltage is.
Greg: Yeah the Big Boy and Challengers are longer since they have double stacks. On side is the fan and the other is the reservoir + elements. The reservior is obviously very large and can go a long time between fills. That may be what they are doing is stopping the fan but I didn't think so. I'll check to see if a negative voltage is applied to stop it.
Nick: LOL I don't know that I'm going to touch those babies. LOL 2 hours to dismantle is WAY too much time to just get it apart. I don't like working on Brass engines. My Accucraft scared the **** out of me trying to figure out how to take it apart and I gave up before I even loosened one screw.
Notice the 3 sections under this main section, one is disassembly.
By the way, if MTH is using one of their patents, you can tell because the fan will stop suddenly. Also, it does not have to be a negative voltage you would see, since they would be using back emf, it might be zero volts, or you might have to capture it on a storage scope.
The Aristo units have the power regulator on board, they take track voltage.
Greg, This one measures about 3" long x 1-3/8" wide x 1-3/4" tall. The big dual output units in the Big Boy's & Challengers are probably around 4" long.
The resevoir is on the left with the fan chamber on the right.
The mounting bracket you spotted is for a MTH Hudson..I have it apart for painting.
I don't know the voltage that they run at but I do know it's not very high. MTH DCS control has 3 smoke level settings and a boost setting that really pours out the smoke and a drift setting that will make the smoke output about diminish.
When I was messing around with DCC I wired a Hudson type smoke unit up to a LGB locomotive decoder without much luck. It was the new LGB decoder that had variable voltage outputs. The heating element was wired to the motor outputs and the fan to a lighting circuit. The decoder got hot in about 30 seconds and shut off. I did get it to work for awhile by installing some big resistors but they got hot.
I gave up and went back to DCS.
The MTH Hudson smoke unit will fit in a K4 boiler..just barely..
I had some friends over the other day for a meet when the subject of smoke came up and I remembered this post string. After we finished running at my house we went next door to my neigbors for some smoke demonstrations with his O scale MTH locos. It does blow away anything we have in G. So my question is has anyone actually found a way to use a stand alone MTH smoke unit and make it chuff,say with a DCC system or wheel magnets without infringing on the MTH patent? I'm thinking about getting one of the Aristo 2-8-0's when they come out. Synchronized chuffing smoke would be a goal with that loco. The TAS turbo smoke unit was mentioned. Any opinions on that unit?
I know Bubba was looking into putting either MTH or Turbo smoke into a Bachmann K-27, but I don't know how far along he is.?
Yes, I think a really good smoke unit with sync'd chuff smoke would be something that is lacking in G. MTH makes a heck of a smoke unit. Even the Turbo smoke unit folks said they thought it would put out more smoke, but I think it's easier to hook up the Turbo smoke than the MTH smoke unit. It sounded to me like to hook up MTH you need an extra board and the setup could get expensive, whereas Turbo smoke I think just needed an input trigger, like magnets used for chuff sound. I'd be real interested if someone has more info too.