Franklin smoke unit replacement/upgrade kit - successful?

Have you tried the recently released 21088 Franklin smoke unit replacement/upgrade kit that includes a 16 ohm smoke element to use instead of the original 38 ohm unit?  What was it like?  

I tried one.  It does make the engine smoke a lot more, but after running it a little while (about five minutes) at 12VAC or higher (measured at the rail head) the solder on one or both of its posts melts releasing either the lead wire or opposite post that is soldered to the casing/body (or both) b/c they get so hot.  

Curious what you're experience has been.  The lowest I typically wind a smoke element (these are pre-fab) is about 30 ohms and that's for in a four-wire not a 5-wire steamer.  This is nearly half that.  Not surprised it gens a ton of smoke, or that it gets plenty hot.  

Thanks.

Dave

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

Original Post

Not surprising that it smokes a lot, 12 VAC with a 16 ohm resistor generates 9 watts of heat!  That's more than O-gauge sized smoke units run on.  I'm not familiar with the product, but I question the quality of the design...

Interesting for sure. 

Assuming you even stick with it, I'd look for a small but thick metal band(s) to crimp the connection. You'll find similar on toaster ovens and coffee makers on heat element connections. They seem to often be applied in pairs to a connections. Being bands vs tubes, that pairing must be for keeping the crimp from being pried open by scissoring action on the legs.

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





GunRunner - thanks.  It gets hot.  Would think hot enough to melt solder?  

Roundhouse Bill - yes.  You did an article on them recently - right?  Have they been available long?

Adriatic - thanks.  Your suggestion may come in handy.  This time or some other.   PS  Didn't realize what an Adriatic steam locomotive (2-6-4) was until recently - for grins was checking out a Lionel 211 rendering of the Dreyfuss Hudson.  

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

I've replaced just one Franklin smoke unit with the kit sold by Portlines and littlesteamers. I did use Stay-Brite solder and have had no melting issues. To be honest, I have not run the repaired Franklin engine for extended periods, so I can't comment on any long-term problems. So far it's been problem-free, however.

I agree that the rating on the resistor seems a bit low compared to the original (I think the one in my kit actually measured about 19.5 OHM). I see that Carl Tuveson sometimes swaps smoke resistors with the Lionel 27 ohm unit and still has good results. The Lionel 27 OHM unit is part #600-8141-055. ( Just for grins, I searched on eBay for the Lionel 27 OHM unit and found a source for a pack of ten for $10.99 with free shipping.)

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As an aside, I checked the Lionel parts service and purchased a couple of complete Docksider smoke units for something like $13.50 each (it looks like the price has increased to $18.50). They are 18 OHM but a much nicer design than Gilbert's. I test fitted one to a Franklin and it looked like it would work. I think the only mod would be matching the mounting screw as it seems to be tapped slightly different. The 18 OHM Lionel resistor could be exchanged for the 27 OHM pretty easily if desired. I think the Docksider (and the Northern, too, I think...) us a regulator to control voltage to the 18 OHM smoke units, but I don't think that would be required with the 27 OHM.

I've not yet tried the conversion of the Docksider unit to the Franklin, but I don't see any reason that it couldn't be accomplished. If anyone has given it t try I'd be interested in the results.

Craig - thanks.  How recently did you buy the smoke kit from Port Lines?  This kit is labeled X13B445-B 16ohm.  I'm wondering why your element is almost 20.  It would be interesting if you were to run your Franklin at 13V (at the rail while its running) for at least 5 minutes to see what happens.  I am familiar with using pre-wound 27 ohm resistor elements with direct track power, but nothing as low as this 16 ohm unit unless with a voltage regulator.   Thanks.

Bill - thanks.  So are they a fairly recent release?  Within the last 6 months?  

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

I suspect the heat will be similar, 12V across 16 ohms is 9 watts, 13V across 20 ohms is 8.45 watts.  You're really looking for 5-7 watts on the resistor, more than that and it gets too hot.

Sgaugian posted:

Craig - thanks.  How recently did you buy the smoke kit from Port Lines?  This kit is labeled X13B445-B 16ohm.

Dave,

Let me make a correction to my earlier post. It's been a while since I did my Franklin repair so I went back and took look at the notes I made at the time. At my age (68) I guess I shouldn't rely on my memory! The 19+OHM reading was from one of the Lionel Docksider units I purchased, not the Franklin kit. I still have an unopened Franklin kit so I checked it found that it measured 27 OHM. My Franklin kits are labeled X13B445-A. I had contacted Doug Peck months ago when I heard about the new kit that he would be offering. At that time he was still waiting for the kits. While I was waiting for the kits to become available, I was poking around on eBay and saw that Dale Radloff at "Little Steamers" offered what looked like the same kit. Doug's site still didn't list the kit so I ordered a couple from Dale.

Perhaps that's the difference between your kit and mine. Nothing in the packaging indicates the OHM value. I see that Dale occasionally lists the smoke kits on eBay, but I don't see any at this time. I've purchased other items from him and he seems like a reliable guy. His card lists his contact as :

steamers@neitel.net

I'm sorry for my earlier errant post and any confusion it may have caused. Now I'm wondering why there seems to be a 16 OHM kit and a 27 OHM kit.  Perhaps Doug or Dale can give us a clue, as the products seem to come from the same source.

Respectfully,

Craig Donath

 

No problem Craig.  Thanks for the additional information and clarification.  Doug just started kits with the 16 ohm element a few months ago b/c the element is smaller and easier to install without contacting the smoke unit casing than the 27/28 ohm unit included previously.  He hasn't tried a 16 yet, at least not on a sustained basis of five minutes or more at 12 volts or more.   Something tells me I had the honor of pioneering into that.  

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

Sgaugian posted:

No problem Craig.  Thanks for the additional information and clarification.  Doug just started kits with the 16 ohm element a few months ago b/c the element is smaller and easier to install without contacting the smoke unit casing than the 27/28 ohm unit included previously.  He hasn't tried a 16 yet, at least not on a sustained basis of five minutes or more at 12 volts or more.   Something tells me I had the honor of pioneering into that.  

That statement makes little sense to me.  You can get Virtually any resistance value in similar sized packages, so it certainly wasn't necessary to change the resistance value to get a smaller package!

I agree GRJ, just the messenger here.  Although it has been my experience too that Lionel 27 ohm units are longer (16.3 mm) than their 16 and 8 ohm elements (14.6 mm) counterparts.  What Lionel P/N is the shorter 27 ohm, or do you procure those (and other smoke elements) from another source?  Thanks.  A shorter length element does make Franklin and HO AF installation a little simpler since the cylindrical chamber into which it is positioned is pretty short.  But in this case the 16ohm potential for overheating (when run 5+ minutes at >12VAC) trade-off isn't in my opinion worth the shorter length.  A similar length 27 would be ideal.  Thanks.  

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

Specializing in S-gauge train repairs, upgrades, and DCC conversions

Member NASG, TCA, BAAFC, and founding member ACSG Old Dominion Division 

 

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