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Discussion Starter #1
I hope someone can direct me to a source of a user's manual for a K-Line NYC O Scale Mikado with TMCC, Railsounds and Electrocouplers. I bought this locomotive today at a train show in San Jose California and it came absolutely bare with no box or documentation of any kind. I believe it was manufactured in 2003. It runs well in conventional mode and the lights are lit but I haven't seen any smoke yet. I had been wanting to get a steam loco that had command control and the price was certainly right on this engine. I now need to learn about this beautiful beast: maintenance, sources of parts, etc. The seller said he was shifting to S gauge exclusively and thus needed to sell all of his O gauge equipment. He had quite a bit on the table in front of him. Again, if anyone can advise me on a source of info on this engine I would greatly appreciate it! I currently do not have any TMCC equipment. I'll need to get those next. I am a postwar hobbyist that is taking the plunge into the modern era. I took a chance when I bought this engine... comments?
 

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From things I've read in this forum, K-line engines are beautiful beasts alright, but their smoking capacity seems to not please many people. The smoke units are usually Suethe (sp?) units, which use a differing smoke mix than nearly any other manufacturer's recommendation. So perhaps you just need to get the right smoke mix for the Suethe smoke unit.

However, I've read from Gunrunnerjohn and others that the engines smoke like you want 'em to when you install inexpensive, readily-available liquid units available from suppliers like The Train Tender. Jeff, the guy that runs Train Tender spends time with you to make sure you not only get the right replacement unit (if that's your way to go), but makes sure you have the right instructions to make the switch. Most guys recommend JT Megasteam for the liquid smoke, as I do...
 

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K-Line had very few model specific manuals, they normally included a very generic set of pages for similar type units. The good news is most of the hardware in that one with the exception of the motor drive board is Lionel equipment, and it's well documented and supported.

Very few (if any) K-Line locomotives used Suethe smoke units, but many had the traditional puffer that's based on the old Lionel post-war smoke units. The later K-Line scale stuff did have fan driven smoke, hard to say if this one was so equipped or not, but it's easy to check. You can usually peak under the shell and see the smoke unit, a fan driven one is easy to recognize, there's a little can motor sticking out of it. :)

Smoke output can usually be improved, sometimes significantly, depending on the design of the smoke unit.
 

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K-Line had very few model specific manuals, they normally included a very generic set of pages for similar type units. The good news is most of the hardware in that one with the exception of the motor drive board is Lionel equipment, and it's well documented and supported.

Very few (if any) K-Line locomotives used Suethe smoke units, but many had the traditional puffer that's based on the old Lionel post-war smoke units. The later K-Line scale stuff did have fan driven smoke, hard to say if this one was so equipped or not, but it's easy to check. You can usually peak under the shell and see the smoke unit, a fan driven one is easy to recognize, there's a little can motor sticking out of it. :)

Smoke output can usually be improved, sometimes significantly, depending on the design of the smoke unit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks to all for your input. I will examine the smoke unit today to determine if I have a fan driven one. Jeff Kane at the train tender is indeed a very helpful man. I have purchased from him many times in the past. I have converted all my post-war steamers to liquid smoke and use Megastream liquid in them - works great, smells great. One other problem I have is that one of the brakeman's footboards at the front of the engine has become detached from the frame. It is made of metal as is the frame. I need to re-attached it. Can anyone recommend a metal to metal bonding agent that does not require heat? Epoxy or super glue, or is there a better choice? Again, thanks in advance for all of the help on my questions, and thanks Gunrunner John for his expert specifics on the Lionel parts in this engine.
 

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I use either JB-Weld or Loctite 380 for joining metals, both have worked very well for me. It depends on the job which one I select. JB-Weld comes in a couple of types, I use the regular and the quick stuff, again depending on the job.

JB-Weld will fill significant gaps and you can even fabricate stuff with it. Loctite 380 is a gap filling CA adhesive with excellent properties in regard to joining metal to metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I love this forum: great answers in a short amount of time. Thanks so much GunrunnerJohn and all. Well, my cam driven (not fan) smoke unit seems completely dead. Yes, the smoke switch is in the "on" position but there is not a hint of smoke. So, I believe I need to remove the boiler to get access to the smoke unit and perhaps replace the heating element. I'm wondering if a TMCC controller used by the previous owner might have switched off the smoke unit? Maybe a re-set is in order? I have a lot to learn, but this sure is fun!
 

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There can be several reasons for it not working. It can be the smoke unit, but it can also be wiring to the smoke unit, or the smoke triac on the TMCC R2LC board. First step would be a physical inspection and measuring the value of the smoke resistor, it should be in the ballpark of 27 ohms. Then I'd look at the wiring for any pinched or broken wires.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
After the JB-Weld cures on the footboard at the front of the engine, I will get out my meter and attempt to determine if I have any voltage going to the smoke unit.
I appreciate the tips on what to look for to get this engine smoking again. :)
 

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The smoke should function in conventional mode by default unless the mode was set incorrectly. One mistake that is made for these engines is the engine is programmed for a strobe light instead of a smoke unit. The blinking doesn't generate enough heat in the smoke unit to actually generate smoke. Reprogramming it on a TMCC layout might bring that back if that's the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the ideas and help on the smoke issue. I do not yet have any TMCC controllers. I plan to get them in the near future. Then I can try reprogramming. In the meantime, I'll test the voltage. I have yet to get the shell off the frame. Today is the day for that effort.
 

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On metal to metal repair I try to include a wire for support. They are smaller than screws and work just as well. I add JB Well on top. It all depends on the thickness, I may drill a hole or just lay the wire across the break. In plastic I have grooved across the break and back filled with wire and epoxy. Just a thought. One step I repair on a caboose had very little material so I added a small piece of wood on the inside to increase the matting surface. Surface area is important.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Smoke Unit Update: I have removed the shell and removed the top of the smoke unit.
Testing the resistance of the smoke unit heating element, I am getting total resistance as in a broken circuit. Testing a new Lionel liquid smoke element I have here, I get 37 ohms resistance. A new Lionel pill smoke element I have here tests at 25 ohms resistance. So I believe I have a burned out element in the engine. It shows evidence of past use when I cleaned out the chamber and piston. Question: could I install the new Lionel 37 ohm element in place of the old one? They look somewhat different: the K-line element is thicker and a little shorter in size. If not, where could I get a 27 ohm element? Thanks again for your valuable help!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Further smoke update on the K-Line Mikado: I went ahead and installed a new Lionel liquid smoke element and the smoke unit is now working! Jeff Kane sells them for 60 cents ea. when you buy a dozen.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
K-Line Steam Engine - wire terminal base bulb

My circa 2003 K-Line Mikado has a wire terminal bulb that is supposed to create the "firebox glow" effect. This bulb is burned out and there are no id marks on it anywhere.
The legs of this bulb sit in two little sockets just behind the boiler head. Should I measure the voltage coming to the bulb to determine what replacement bulb I need and is it necessary to buy an AC bulb rather than a DC bulb? With the shell off the locomotive, I am marveling at the design and high-end flywheel motor that powers this engine. I'm pretty happy I got this one for $125, even if it requires some maintenance. Does this motor have replaceable brushes? Many thanks to anyone who might have some answers to my continuing questions.
 

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The smoke unit should have a 27 ohm resistor as the stock value. You can use down as low as a 20 ohm for a bit more smoke.

The firebox glow bulb is a 12/14 volt bulb on most locomotives, though this one may be an 18 volt bulb. Simple test, measure the voltage across the socket. It will almost certainly be supplied with AC.

What I do for the firebox flicker is take a pair of flickering LED bulbs from battery powered tea lights. I connect them side by side in parallel, grind down the front of them so they're flat, and CA glue them to a piece of clear plastic. I power them with a diode, capacitor, and a resistor from track power. You get a great random flickering effect, very flame-like.

Can motors in these locomotives are sealed, there is nothing replaceable in them. The exception is some of the old Pittman motors were actually build with replaceable brushes.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Flickering Firebox

The idea of a flickering firebox sounds pretty creative although, having fired a shay at
Roaring Camp in Felton, CA, oil fired locomotives burn pretty steady with only the occasional tongue of flame popping out to singe the eyebrows of the fireman. (This reminds me of a story I'll put in a following message.) Here in California we are experiencing a lack of rain and thus an elevated risk of fire so I'd probably have to check with the city fire marshal before installing flickering flames in the firebox of my K-Line Mikado. :) Thanks for sharing your realistic idea and for all of the other tips and help. I'm learning a lot.
 
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