As a long time Lionel guy, question about MTH. - Page 2 - Model Train Forum - the complete model train resource
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:27 PM   #11
HarborBelt1970
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Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn View Post
Pete is correct, I get many Lionel locomotives smoking similar to MTH, it just takes a little work. FWIW, the MTH smoke units don't really use more power, they just came up with a great design that has the smoke wick between the resistors and right in the airflow. Since nobody has replicated it, I have to assume they have some sort of patent on the idea.
It is patented; I looked it up once. The patent seemed to be very wide in its terms basically encompassing the whole smoke unit and not just dual resistors.

It strikes me that Lionel has tried all sorts of alternative smoke unit designs; there's a bewildering variety of them although the basic idea is not rocket science.

MTH has also messed around with smoke unit controls. More recent diesel units have some control that limits output unless RPMs are ramped up. First engine I had of this type I thought was defective because it did not smoke in volume out of the box like older diesels.

But I would not call MTH's design or DCS generally bulletproof. Look at the thread on the dreaded "no engine to add" issue.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:32 PM   #12
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MTH and Legacy both have variable smoke output based on prime mover RPM, that's been that way for many years. Lionel had a chart that I can no longer fine that described all the smoke levels and how they were accomplished.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:01 PM   #13
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Here's the patent...

https://patents.justia.com/patent/6280278

Dated Aug 2001 it's 20 year run is coming to an end.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:15 PM   #14
HarborBelt1970
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Here's the patent...

https://patents.justia.com/patent/6280278

Dated Aug 2001 it's 20 year run is coming to an end.
I don't think that's the one I am remembering and not least because it is for a smoke unit that has a pump to deliver fluid to the heating element and does not rely solely on wicking and capillary action. As far as I know no one has brought such a system to market for model trains.

In the course of looking this up, I saw that there are numerous patents for model railroad smoke systems, including one held by Lionel, and ten years back there was litigation between MTH and Broadway Limited over synchronized chuff smoke units: https://www.trainorders.com/discussi....php?3,2043611

FWIW the patent for MTH's dual resistor units is referenced on an old diagram of the original standard PS1 smoke unit that I have but can't lay my hands on at the moment.
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