The question of B units (from AB, ABA, or ABBA sets) in O gauge trains and why they DON'T SMOKE... Did the prototypes not smoke too? Or is this a cost saving / amp draw UL approval issue?

Figures if two B units have smokers in an ABBA set, in addition to both A units with smokers - that's 4 elements on one transformer - not to mention probably at least 4 motors and sound boards too... I don't think even an industry standard old ZW will handle that kind of torture for very long, so I can understand if this is the reason for cutting corners.

But I also have no idea if the real B units sourced power from the A unit(s) or if they actually had smoke exhausts too... Any experts who know the answer - it would be great to hear from you.

Original Post
DdotCdot posted:

Figures if two B units have smokers in an ABBA set, in addition to both A units with smokers - that's 4 elements on one transformer - not to mention probably at least 4 motors and sound boards too... I don't think even an industry standard old ZW will handle that kind of torture for very long, so I can understand if this is the reason for cutting corners.

For what it's worth, this is NOT Real Trains related.

But I also have no idea if the real B units sourced power from the A unit(s) or if they actually had smoke exhausts too... Any experts who know the answer - it would be great to hear from you.

You are kidding,,,,,right?  In the real world of diesel units, the F Series of "B Units" each and all had their own diesel engine/prime mover. The "A Unit" did, however control the trailing "B Units" and "A Units", through the 27 pin MU Jumper cable, just as the modern diesels do today, in an MU consist. Whether the "A Units" and/or the "B Units" smoked in any consist, would obviously have depended on the mechanical condition of each and every diesel engine in each unit.

 

B units are just A units without cabs. Essentially the same inside except control is from the A unit.

An old ZW would have no problem with an ABBA even if all had two motors plus smoke unit. Consider any modern transformer only outputs 200 watts max, ~20 volts @ 10 amps due to UL restriction. Even downrating a ZW its still pretty close.

Motor current draw is not the draw of a single motor times x number of motors. The load is distributed among all the motors. Example, One motor may draw 2 amps but 8 motors may only draw 5 amps. Actual numbers may vary.

Pete

Hot Water posted:
DdotCdot posted:

Figures if two B units have smokers in an ABBA set, in addition to both A units with smokers - that's 4 elements on one transformer - not to mention probably at least 4 motors and sound boards too... I don't think even an industry standard old ZW will handle that kind of torture for very long, so I can understand if this is the reason for cutting corners.

For what it's worth, this is NOT Real Trains related.

But I also have no idea if the real B units sourced power from the A unit(s) or if they actually had smoke exhausts too... Any experts who know the answer - it would be great to hear from you.

You are kidding,,,,,right?  In the real world of diesel units, the F Series of "B Units" each and all had their own diesel engine/prime mover. The "A Unit" did, however control the trailing "B Units" and "A Units", through the 27 pin MU Jumper cable, just as the modern diesels do today, in an MU consist. Whether the "A Units" and/or the "B Units" smoked in any consist, would obviously have depended on the mechanical condition of each and every diesel engine in each unit.

 

Well, actually, I did mention I had no knowledge of whether or not prototypes had fuel exhaust and this whole topic is related to whether or not it would or wouldn't be prototypical for the model to have it or not, so I don't agree with you - but perhaps I didn't know which category was best. FLAG ME AND HAVE THIS DELETED if you so desire.

Hot Water - I am learning. I don't have the incredible pool of knowledge about trains yet that you do. This is the whole reason I made a post ... to ask. To learn something. No, I was not kidding. Thank you.

fcavolo posted:

MTH B units as well as their dummy A units do NOT have smoke. I would love it if at least the MTH Premier B's and dummy A's came with smoke. I realize this would increase the price but I would be happy to pay for this feature.

Thanks for the info. I mostly look at MTH, so I guess I assumed they were all like that. Yes, it would be nice if they all had smoke and I'd gladly pay for it too.

fcavolo posted:

MTH B units as well as their dummy A units do NOT have smoke. I would love it if at least the MTH Premier B's and dummy A's came with smoke. I realize this would increase the price but I would be happy to pay for this feature.

Interesting. Thanks Pete

I have the Lionel Legacy FA-2  ABA and all the units smoke with control for L - M - H  AND respond to the "laboured smoke" feature.

This is why I prefer Lionel over MTH in these types of engines.

No tether!  And smoke units all around.

K Line had many B units with smoke but the smoke was either on or off in TMCC.....sold those too.

Dave

 

 

Soo Line posted:

I have the Lionel Legacy FA-2  ABA and all the units smoke with control for L - M - H  AND respond to the "laboured smoke" feature.

This is why I prefer Lionel over MTH in these types of engines.

No tether!  And smoke units all around.

K Line had many B units with smoke but the smoke was either on or off in TMCC.....sold those too.

Dave

 

 

Excellent info Dave, thanks! How reliable are your Legacy smoke units? And how are the K-lines?

I've been so turned off by early Lionel fan smokers being inconsistent, but I hate avoiding Lionel just because of puny smokers. Not like I need the "lung cancer" anyway, but Mike's smokers sure work good and look cool lol.

SouthernMike posted:

I have a Premier A-B set of FM Erie builts with PS2, both the A and B units have two motors and a smoke unit.

That is interesting Mike......I've never seen one.

What is the product number if you don't mind?

Thanks Dave

fcavolo posted:

MTH B units as well as their dummy A units do NOT have smoke. I would love it if at least the MTH Premier B's and dummy A's came with smoke. I realize this would increase the price but I would be happy to pay for this feature.

In the RK line of F3, PA, & E Series diesels, only the powered A unit had smoke and sound with the trailing B&A units only having lights in the rear A.  The Premiere line had both A units w/smoke and power (2 motors in each) and sound in the lead A unit. The B's for the most part were still dummies.

With MTH moving to individual (non-tethered) units in both powered (with sound & smoke) and non-powered I'm not certain if any of the B units have these features but they might. Check the latest MTH catalogs to be sure.

MTH smoke systems have a solid reputation while certain of the Legacy systems have given trouble some years ago. Personally, I have 2 Legacy steamers and 3 diesels that have bad fans that need attention or replacement. My older Lionel smokers have been virtually trouble free as have all of my MTH locomotives.

Lionel has come a long way with improvements on their smoke units.

The Legacy engines I have (all recent - last 5 years) smoke very well, no complaints.

My earlier Legacy 10 wheeler also smoked very well and no complaints there either.

I've moved away from most but not all TMCC which would include K Line as they also had TMCC.

As well, K Line used tethers to facilitate smoke units in the B Units and a slave in the A.

Just a preference..........the Legacy sounds won me over especially with the vastly improved smoke units.  They almost match MTH but not quite.

I do like a number of MTH engines and I have several....just not a fan of tethered units or the new drawbar arrangement on MTH steamers although I tolerated them.

c.sam posted:
fcavolo posted:

MTH B units as well as their dummy A units do NOT have smoke. I would love it if at least the MTH Premier B's and dummy A's came with smoke. I realize this would increase the price but I would be happy to pay for this feature.

In the RK line of F3, PA, & E Series diesels, only the powered A unit had smoke and sound with the trailing B&A units only having lights in the rear A.  The Premiere line had both A units w/smoke and power (2 motors in each) and sound in the lead A unit. The B's for the most part were still dummies.

With MTH moving to individual (non-tethered) units in both powered (with sound & smoke) and non-powered I'm not certain if any of the B units have these features but they might. Check the latest MTH catalogs to be sure.

MTH smoke systems have a solid reputation while certain of the Legacy systems have given trouble some years ago. Personally, I have 2 Legacy steamers and 3 diesels that have bad fans that need attention or replacement. My older Lionel smokers have been virtually trouble free as have all of my MTH locomotives.

Sam is right on here and I did neglect to mention that I have had several Legacy engines that required the replacement of the fan motors.......offering up the 3 annoying BLINKS that tells you that you have work ahead!!

I've just got use to it and at $7.50 a motor .....I keep some on hand.

Once you get one under your belt......it is not a difficult task.

Dave

Lionel F3s from the early to mid 2000s all have smoke units whether powered or not. That includes A and B units. They also all have one electro coupler and marker lights on the rear. Since each has its own radio board, no tether is needed and sound can easily be added to those lacking it. As Sam points out above the smoke units are much more reliable vs the newer ones. No nannies to shut them or the engine down. Three blinks? Forget about it. Worst case is the smoke resistor burns out. Sounds leave something to be desired but if smoke is your thing these are the ones to get.

Pete

Norton posted:

Lionel F3s from the early to mid 2000s all have smoke units whether powered or not. That includes A and B units. They also all have one electro coupler and marker lights on the rear. As Sam points out above the smoke units are much more reliable vs the newer ones. No nannies to shut them or the engine down. Three blinks? Forget about it. Worst case is the smoke resistor burns out. Sounds leave something to be desired but if smoke is your thing these are the ones to get.

Pete

Thanks Pete - so these don't suffer from the fans or hearing element shutting down and creating puny output, huh?

Do you happen to know if Lionel put out a WP schemed full scale F3 ABA set with all 3 smoking and reliably back then? I just lost a nice Williams WP F3 set on eBay that I was going to add smoke and Proto-1 to, since that would be easy. Definitely don't care about modern sound quality. Just want some sound and good smoke :-)

 

I am wondering if the op does not understand how a real diesel locomotive works.

 

http://www.edisontechcenter.org/Dieseltrains.html

Norton posted:

The WP set from that era was 6-14568. It came in an AA set. I am pretty sure there was a separate sale B.

Pete

Thanks again Pete. Found them and saw them. I think I'm going to hold out for the Williams again and make a project out of those. I don't need TMCC, and I think the Williams look so sharp. Still burned on the bid loss.

Well....... we are running on 3 rails

I just happen to like smoke units, diesels, accessories, steamers, Lionel Tug ect.

Not all at once of course!

Adds another level of interaction.........and maintenance to sharpen our skills !

Just toys

Dave

There are smoke units on some Bs from these O gauge outfits: Lionel, MTH, Atlas, 3rd Rail, and K-line.  But on any given day it's never certain which ones will light up, especially K-line. 

 

Fewer than 10amps to smoke up and move these unloaded engines.

(Added this to rile up Rich and Hot.  But then Hot doesn't believe model steam engines should smoke; he gets enough from 4449.)

 

And now 16amps with heavy load and smoke coming up the grade.

OGR Webmaster posted:

I have NEVER understood why manufacturers would put smoke units in diesels.

In the real world, a smoking diesel has something wrong with it and needs to go to the shop for repairs.

Because the consumer asked for it.  Right or wrong if you can add something to a product the consumer wants or perceives as a value, that will make your product more attractive you do it.  While a lot of us understand what you are saying the majority want features and play value.

Keeping the graphics to a minimum since 2000.

OGR Webmaster posted:

I have NEVER understood why manufacturers would put smoke units in diesels.

In the real world, a smoking diesel has something wrong with it and needs to go to the shop for repairs.

I agree with this and rarely run the smoke units on any of my diesels.  Maybe if we want realistic operation, they should only smoke on startup and maybe light smoke under heavy acceleration.

Tony

"Hot Water - I am learning. I don't have the incredible pool of knowledge about trains yet that you do. This is the whole reason I made a post ... to ask. To learn something. No, I was not kidding. Thank you."

You don't have to beg - and then say Thank You for the privilege. Manners are often in short supply around here. 

Yes, except for slugs and other specialty cars made from B units, they do have an engine and they do smoke. Yes, perfectly healthy diesels can smoke a bit - but not like most models. I don't care for all that smoke, either.

But, since you didn't know all that, off with your head!

I run my diesel with the smoke off.  Well maintained diesels shouldn't smoke. Except ALCO's...

As additional info, EMD FT units typically were a semi-permanently coupled A-B set, connected with a fixed drawbar.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_FT

I figured this is a good opportunity to restate that I am still looking for an MTH New York Ontario & Western FT B Unit 20-2972-3 to match the second A unit that came on the A-B-A set...

 

Thanks.

I've got an Atlas Erie-Built A-B-A (powered-powered-dummy).  Both powered units have sound and smoke.  The unpowered A unit, however, does not have sound, smoke, or headlight.

However, these units were made in 2004, and many improvements have been made since then.  I like sound on every unit.  Smoke is not a deal-breaker for me, but the sound is something I pay close attention to, even revving the engine sounds up or down manually.  None of my dummy units have sound or smoke (MTH E8B, FTB [two], or Atlas dummy GP7). The slave MTH E8A and FTA, intended as the trailing cab unit of the consist, have smoke and lights, but no sound.

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Maybe an idea for my next project.  A diesel smoke modulator to make startup smoke and then only when under heavy load.

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