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Author Topic: adding a smoke unit  (Read 3907 times)

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« on: December 29, 2014, 09:11:11 AM »

Hello all!
I have been able to add a digitrax sound decoder into my tender for my Bachmann USRA 0-6-0 (Jingle Bells Express).
I now want to add a smoke unit. How might I do that? I have seen pictures online of smoke units added with on/off switches.
What wires would I solder the smoke unit to? Might I wire it off of the head light wires with the on/of switch?

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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 09:44:29 AM »

smoke and dcc do not mix. the smoke leaves an oily residue on the rails which will result in poor performance of your locomotive.

Jeffery S Ward Sr
Pittsburgh, PA

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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2014, 01:20:51 PM »

Smoke units in HO scale is generally a bad idea, especially with DCC since it will coat the track in an oily residue and make the track more susceptible to the build up of dirt on the rails.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 05:41:06 PM by ACY » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 05:37:03 PM »

If you must, I strongly advise you do not, add a smoke generator Click Here it contains need to know info from Digitrax.

Although you are using Digitrax sound decoder Click Here for SoundTraxx info about wiring a smoke generator.
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 06:39:58 PM »

Bill ,
Heed the warnings but do what you want .I like the idea of the smoking locos that most of us grew up with .Seems like smoke units have not changed much over the years ,but it may draw more power or exceed the decoder rating for the lighting circuit .You have to check the specs rating of the accessory output of the decoder being used and the draw of the smoke unit or you will let the magic smoke of your decoder out unless you do some research into using the decoder to control a solid state relay to turn the smoke unit on and off!///// Relays use low current to control high current  loads like a smoke unit.So you can use the relay to control the 16v track power to the smoke unit.Also you may look into what type of smoke fluid would be the best clean burning  to limit the residue that builds up or eliminate it all together .Seuthe is a good brand from my experience and they offer different operating voltages so you can use on dc or dcc since they are different operating voltages.Hope this helps Grin

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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 10:52:53 PM »

Yep, I remember when I got my Bachmann Plus Santa Fe Consolidation steam locomotive, the others said the smoke unit was a bad idea, so I eventually removed it. For a while it did look pretty neat!

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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 06:07:35 PM »

thank you for all your help and responses!
I hear the warnings! I were to still do it.......what specific kind of on/off switch could I use? Where would I get it?

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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 06:41:39 PM »


The customary place for a smoke switch is behind the smoke box door but you won't find one with hinges so that's not really an option.

Take a look at the vertical sheet of "steel" which runs down from the back edge of the cab. That might work if it's sturdy enough. Then see if a sub-miniature slide switch will work there. If not, controlling the smoke only as a function might be your best alternative. Don't even think of putting the switch somewhere on (under?) the tender. That will add another wire between your loco and tender, and we all know the stock wires alone can cause derailment problems.

                                                           -- D

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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 07:26:58 PM »

If you really want smoke, find yourself a reconditioned American Flyer HO #443 Hudson locomotive. It has a built in piston type smoke unit that makes a "chuff" sound as it puffs out smoke. You can find them at shows for under $100.00.

Or find yourself an old Mantua (not the later cheaper motor Tyco) drive wheels in the tender steamer. The bell pulls off for loading smoke fluid. It also has a piston type smoker for puffs, but no "chuff" sound.

Put a toggle switch on the track power so you can switch to a regular power pack when you want smoke, and back to DCC for everything else. Just wipe the track down before you start running DCC again.

The problem with most other HO smokers is, they are basically just tubes with a heater in the bottom that boils the smoke fluid. No air flow from a piston to create puffs, and quite often hot smoke fluid gets spit out all over the track and loco. Be VERY careful not to add fluid to this type of smoker when hot, or you can get a nasty burn when fluid spits out.


If at first you don't succeed, throw it in the spare parts box.
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