No smoke unit(s). Seems to run fine. All I've done is let it run around the layout pulling 3 cars, to let it break in. Does seem to hesitate on 1 (of 50) switches, which probably is a track problem. Only problem is I can't get the brake sounds to shut off. Very nice runner.
I bought the LIRR version. Initially, I had issues. I had major league traction issues with mine. It could hardly move itself without slipping and/or loosing traction. Forget about pulling a train. Took it back to my LHS and they gave me another one. The "new" one runs great. Good puller, sounds good. It seems to sort of have the "quick stop" issue in conventional but not as bad as the steam engines. Just barely tolerable for me personally. Overall, I'm glad to have it and glad I ordered it. I also have the scale Williams 44ton for sale on the for sale forum.
It will find, at least on my layout, find every single dip or track issue and slip. I guess that is good as it finally made me fix a few spots that cause issues with other engines but never bad enough to cause serious operating issues. A shim or two and a few Gargraves track screws and we were in good shape!
No smoke unit, which is just fine with me. I don't care for smoke units in diesels and in general find MTH smoke units too overpowering in my home.
I doubt one could squeeze in a smoke unit, much less 2. I have no regrets about buying one.
Bear in mind that this is a completely new design, with smaller drive trains and a new miniature PS3 board. It is not just a reuse of old machinery and electronics. As with anything totally new, bugs may pop up; as of now I haven't seen any other than my trackwork issue on a sensitive switch (a dip in mainline and a curve that goes down a grade).
My only significant complaint is the supercap is apparently undersized and any loss of power drops it out in about a second. When you kill track power, it can't complete the shutdown sequence, it does it for a second or so and then just quits.
It's a pulling fool, I pulled 18 Menard's coal hoppers with mine and it didn't have any problem on level track. Note that the Menard's hoppers have a configuration like many post-war cars with more rolling friction than modern needle-point axles, so pulling 18 of them is impressive. It was also pulling the caboose. The sounds are great and a lot louder than I would have expected from the tiny speaker.
The one thing about supercaps is you have to be aware of the internal resistance, the smaller sized ones typically have a much higher internal resistance and can't deliver enough power to be used in this application. I must admit, I'm certainly tempted to open mine up and see if adding an additional supercap is possible.
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