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Old 05-31-2017, 02:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Smoke fluid for Aristo?

Hi guys,
I'm servicing some trains for a friend that bought a small collection and one of the items is the Napa Valley Alco from Aristo. What is the best smoke fluid to use in these? I had some Magic Smoke for Dept. 56 buildings lying around so I tried that but it wasn't happy. Don't know if the smoke unit doesn't work right, it needs different fluid or if the units just plain sucked in these Alcos!

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Old 05-31-2017, 01:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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So, is the fan running in the smoke unit? Some fans were wired backwards. Worth checking (kleenex tissue on top will show direction of air movement)

That is a pretty poor smoke unit in general, so do not expect a lot.

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Old 05-31-2017, 01:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes Greg, the fan is turning. It has the 3 position switch in the back of the cab on the rear door. I tried it in the 2 positions that operate the fan but only get faint wisps of smoke at best. I kind of suspected it was a poor design. Just didn't know if there was better fluid to use to make the smoke more visible.

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Old 05-31-2017, 09:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Almost any fluid will do.

As I remember, I don't believe it has a regulator, have you put it up on rollers, and run it full tilt? You verified the fan is turning, but is it exhausting air from the stack? They often ran backwards. I'm repeating myself from post #2 but need to hear you verified air flow direction.

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Old 06-01-2017, 02:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, I verified the airflow was going the correct way. I haven't tried running it on rollers though. I will try that next and if no improvement I'll move on. This unit is going to be placed up for sale anyway so I'll just note the smoke unit does not work well. Thanks for the help Greg!

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Old 06-01-2017, 03:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There may be spares around for cheap (or free)... see what it does on close to 24 volts if you can.
Keep posting here, and I can probably look in the junk box this weekend..(that means help me remember please). I have a box full of misc. smoke units.

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Old 06-01-2017, 07:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The original Aristo F7A Alco smoke units were wired in series with the motor. On the rear of the engine was a 3 position switch which can shut off and reverse the fan motor power. I have this same engine (Napa Valley) and smoke can be poor. Heater unit just pulls straight up from the engine, fan is inside and tied to the smoke tray with a plastic tube that does get brittle and could fall off/disconnect from the tray which would greatly reduce the smoke output.
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Old 06-01-2017, 09:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Owning multiple units of the same engines, (FA1, C 16, Shay) I find significant differences in the performance of the smoke units in identical engines. Imagine.
And I ended up using Aristo brand smoke fluid as it seemed to work best from the small sample I tried

Jerry
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Old 06-01-2017, 08:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The resistor/heater units were variable in resistance and construction quality, so that probably explains some of this.

The resistance part was not soldered to the connector part of the assembly, which made total resistance vary wildly.

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