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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy,

I recently purchased what looked like a new in box Lionel 6-18040 Norfolk & Western 4-8-4 J-Class Steam Locomotive & Tender from 1995. We live in VA and my son is really excited to see the 611 come thru Manassas in a few weeks and when I saw an awesome deal on this 612 I couldn't pass it up.

20150506_123228.jpg

It didn't work out of the box but a good lube up and removal of some hardened grease in the gear box with motor oil cleared that right up. Now it's pulling 15 of my cars without issue. It's a beautiful train and it actually sounds really good but the smoke unit is anemic at best. I drop 5-8 drops in and it smokes ok for about a minute and then you can barely see it anymore. I have to have the train going pretty slow even right after putting in the drops or I can't see it. My dad's 1950's 726RR Berkshire with a liquid upgraded smoke unit will smoke awesome on the same amount of fluid for 10-20 minutes or more.

Are there any tricks to getting this thing to smoke better? It's a plastic unit that also tries to funnel the smoke down to simulate steam. Are there any upgrades to this thing? I would love for it to smoke like my dad's old train.

Thanks

20150506_231025.jpg
 

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Its nice looking, sorry cant help on the smoke. Did you try the better smoke fluids, megasteam, I think its called, there are others. If its funneling smoke down to simulate steam , maybe you can plug that up. Is it a fan unit or puffer? Someone will know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm thinking of trying the upgraded smoke unit from the reissue 726/736 since the frame is nearly identical. I would rather have good smoke out the stack than the simulated steam. Wonder if anyone tried this.

6008002050 SMOKE UNIT W/ 20 ohm / #726 BERK / CONV CLASSIC

Would love to put a fan unit in there but don't know how hard that would be
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've seen a few posts mentioning the 8057-200 lionel fan driven smoke unit as a potential option. That was for a polar express berk but could work. Not finding a lot of options in stock though. Another option I found was an MTH smoke unit from one of the smoking tank cars

http://www.trainworld.com/manufactu...-1/MTH-30-73390-Smoking-Tank-Car-Liquid-Air-/

Pull out the smoke unit and use it instead as it should be wired the same as I will need. Plus I get a tank car out of it. Might give that a try.

I could always switch it to the older style puffer type like
http://store.justtrains.com/671-170X-Smoke-Unit_p_125.html

which is very similar to the upgraded one I have in my dad's 726 that smokes awesome. I'll be mulling over my options some more. Would love a fan unit in it and with a cherry switch I could possibly make it puff as well. Decisions...

Here's a comparison video of it currently. I had just put 5 drops in the 726 and the 612 and started both up about 30 seconds prior. The 726 started smoking right away and the 612 just got to it's max smoke as the camera started. As you can see the smoke lasted less than 2 minutes on the 612 while the 726 just kept going. That's what I want the 612 to do.

 

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Has Norfolk Southern restored the 611 to running condition again?

I was fortunate enough to ride in a fan trip train with that beauty
at the head end from Jacksonville to Valdosta, Ga. several years
ago. It needed water in Valdosta before the return trip so they
called up a Fire truck pumper to fill the tender.

Don
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The 611 will be starting excursions again in June. I would love to do that but a 4 hour trip without stops is a bit much for a 4 year old to handle. We'll settle for watching it head out and come back into the station in Manassas. We can't wait :)

gunrunnerjohn, I've been looking around lionels site and I think I'm going to try the conversion to fan driven. I've looked around and the 8057-200 looks like a good option to try and Lionel actually has them in stock for cheaper than other places. I was also thinking of the following:

6100401162 - CHERRY SWITCH (DG23-B1LA) 3A 125V
to use with the existing puff bar to turn the fan on and off for puffing

6108057200 - FAN DRIVEN SMOKE UNIT / RECT / DIESEL / 27 OHM
actual smoke unit. It looks like it can be wired directly to the collectors and run off of rail power.

6108082019 - LAMP / 18V 50MA / CLEAR / BI-PIN (ALT: 6108011019)
new lamp that I believe can be wired directly to rail power

6308035204 - BRACKET / SMOKE UNIT / SCALE PACIFIC
to mount the smoke unit

I'm planning to just wire everything directly to the collectors. I'm I crazy or could this actually work?
 

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You may find mounting the cherry switch problematic, but if that works out, the switch should work fine.

The smoke unit you picked is fine as long as it fits. I think the chances of the mounting bracket working without modification is probably pretty small, I normally end up making my own mounting bracket. :)

If I were "improving" this, I'd put an LED in. A diode, a 750 ohm 1/4W resistor, and an appropriately sized LED will run directly from track power. Since the LED projects light out the front, you'll get far better lighting at any reasonable track power. The incandescent 18V bulb at 6-8 volts will barely be visible.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much,

I figured I would start with that mount and see where it goes :) It's pretty cheap at a buck or two. I'll take a look at the LED option as it does sound better. I've never wired something like that up before so will have to do my research on that.

Do you know of any other smoke units that might be a better choice? I've seen some references to MTH ones as being smaller but I can't find those for sale anywhere.
 

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There are probably other choices, however the ones I use that are smaller don't have the 5V supply for the fan. Since my intended use is with my Super-Chuffer product, that isn't a problem as it provides the fan power and control. I try to fit the MTH unit in if possible as I find it smokes the best, and also has a brass thread that I can solder the brass stack extension on for installation.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks gunrunnerjohn for all of the help. I'm learning so much from this forum and this is my first time modifying anything like this. I think I have decided to try the 8057-200. I opened up the engine last night and there is a ton of room.

Just for sanity sake, based off what I've read I believe that the 8057-200 can be run directly from track power because it has the motor regulator. Is that true or will I need something else between the track power and the board? The wiring diagrams I've seen show it connected to tmcc boards. I believe the 3 connectors are ground, fan hot, element hot.

I might eventually move to TMCC with constant voltage but right now my wife would not go for that expense lol.

Thanks again.
 

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You can run it from track power for conventional operation. The smoke volume will vary with throttle settings, but maybe that's somewhat prototypical enyway. :) There really are only two connections, note that the outer pins are connected together on the PCB. To control the motor, you break one lead from the board to the motor and run it through the chuff switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome. Thanks so much. I'm really excited to get these parts ordered. I'll update this post when the parts are in and I start doing the conversion. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Lionel did some fast shipping over the holiday and I got all of the parts this afternoon. I spent a few hours this evening getting it all hooked up. I'm actually missing a few pictures and when I take it apart to put the headlight back in I'll snap a few more. Here are some pics from the upgrade

This is the old puffer unit in place.
20150526_210954.jpg

Picture of the smoke unit removed. Do you see that ball bearing by the spring and pump? There were 2 of them inside the smoke pump. I can't figure out where they went. While testing things I found out that the blue wire going to the old smoke unit is regulated. It might be the reason why this thing has such horrible output. At full throttle I was only seeing 3-4 volts on my volt meter.
20150526_211124.jpg

I didn't know that when I first hooked it all up and soldered the blue wire to the fan unit. I found that a standard hitec female servo connector works in the wire harness very well so cut up an old servo to wire this thing up. The wiring ended up being the 2 outside pins to the headlight (red +) wire on the train. The blue wire for the old smoke unit is not used. The center wire on the servo harness is grounded to the screw the old smoke unit was held in with. I don't think both outside pins need to be connected but I figured it wouldn't hurt so attached it.
20150526_212355.jpg

I messed around with a few ways to mount the smoke unit but ultimately they were all going to be a PITA. I have some double sided servo tape that I reinforced with some high temp hot glue and just glued the smoke unit to the shell. I also found a metal cylinder that was the perfect size to use as a smoke stack. I used the hot glue on that as well. So far it seems to be holding up and I've been able to remove the smoke unit twice as I needed to tweak things and it was not to hard to take apart.
20150526_220923.jpg

Here's the video. Smoke output is not as thick as I would like. I wasn't expecting MTH smoke but I was expecting a little thicker. I did cut the shroud off the heat element but have not made any other tweaks yet to the smoke unit.

Overall it's working pretty well. I have the cherry switch but if I can't get the smoke output higher then I will probably not install it.
 

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I use a lower value resistor, and drill out the intake hole. That helps with the smoke volume. Also, adding the chuffing will not make less smoke, and you'll get a stronger puff when it comes out as it's warming the fluid when the fan isn't running.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just finished pulling it apart, repacking the smoke unit, and making sure the air flow was open. While I had it apart I also made a little mount and hooked up one of the lights. I've not had a chance to test it.

I cleaned up and added some insulation to what was already in the smoke unit. The element wasn't touching the batting and now it is slightly. One thing I find really odd is that the fan spins clockwise and the blades are pitched backwards. Is that right?
20150527_111833.jpg

This is the reassembled unit with the smoke stack and added the gasket that was on the old unit. I put the servo tape over the exposed connections to protect from shorts.
20150527_112812.jpg

Hooking up the 18v bulb that I got and put it in a little mount. I cut the white wire off the smoke unit as it was redundant and used that. Grounded the light to the original smoke unit's mount screw.
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Overhead view of the wiring
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Preparing for reassembly
20150527_115155.jpg

All assembled and ready to go. Hope that light is bright enough. Will find out soon
20150527_115313.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20
well, that light didn't work. I was trying not to use the one in the old smoke unit in case I need to put it back for some reason but I guess I'll just use that light. I don't see any change in the smoke volume with pulling it apart and adding some more batting. What resistor value do you use?
 
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