Lack of smoke in 1980s Lionel loco - with new smoke unit!!

 
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

I have a 1980s Lionel Great Northern 4-8-4 loco and the old smoke unit died.  Replaced it with a new 8002-50 smoke unit and there is almost no smoke.  Checked around the internet and, amongst other places, this site had useful info... http://tracks.lionel.com/from-the-experts-desk-professor-mike-reagan-dishes-on-smoke-units/

A multimeter across the smoke unit wire to frame shows closed circuit, as does wire to mounting bracket...so I have a well-grounded connection point.  The other wire is connected to the e-Unit, as was the old smoke unit.  However...

Running the train though a RailKing controller, at 3/4 throttle (and scale speed of about 150mph), track voltage is only 12.2VAC...and it seems smoke units require more than that.  I am never going to get more volts without the thing running off the rails...so how can I get either a higher track voltage with slower speed, or get the smoke unit to operate at a lower voltage?

By way of comparison, the Lionel Hogwarts Express loco produces adequate smoke at much lower throttle settings...and it is an older loco, not digital control etc.


I understand I can try pulling the new unit apart and using a higher value resistor to get hotter at lower voltage...but reading also suggests that will make the unit have a very short lifetime...

Any thoughts?

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Running the train though a RailKing controller, at 3/4 throttle (and scale speed of about 150mph), track voltage is only 12.2VAC...and it seems smoke units require more than that.  I am never going to get more volts without the thing running off the rails...so how can I get either a higher track voltage with slower speed, or get the smoke unit to operate at a lower voltage?


Any thoughts?
Gremlin


test the unit with 12 volt direct current .....
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
For the purposes of testing a smoke unit whether the current is AC or DC is going to be largely irrelevant. The waveform at the track is going to be sufficiently close to a sinusoid that an averaging (non T-RMS) meter is going to be reading the apparent voltage in DC equivalent anyway.

So, what would I do? Either increase track voltage while lowering the apparent voltage to the motor by using some series diodes, or depending on the smoke module, lowering the internal resistor value (if this is achievable) to increase current consumption for a given voltage hence increasing heat output, or investigate an oil with a lower smoke point - smoke from a lower temperature.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Think I may try option (b)...put a high wattage love resistance in parallel with the existing resistor...and check the results...
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Think I may try option (b)...put a high wattage love resistance in parallel with the existing resistor...and check the results...
Gremlin
A quick calculation shows that at 12v, a 22R resistor will need a power rating of 6.5W...but the measured voltage at the smoke generator at a realistic speed is closer to 6v-9v...meaning a rating of between 1.5W and 3.5W.

Jaycar has 22R carbon 1W resistors, they will clearly get hot but that is the idea...5W are only wire-wound and too large to fit in the smoke unit...am I heading in the right direction or should I be looking for something else?

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