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best smoke simulator ?

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Red Ken20/12/2010 22:03:31
13 forum posts
Hi all.
I am considering fitting some kind of smoke maker in my scratch built harbour tug which runs on 7.2 volts and is 32" from stem to stern.
I have heared of 2 types, one is a heater system which 'cooks' oil for the effect, the other makes a water vapour.
Does anyone have any comments about which is best / most convenient to use?
I look forward to your learned comments.
Regards, Ken.
neil howard-pritchard20/12/2010 23:20:53
1059 forum posts
108 photos
hi, i have seen both types working, the oil burning type use either 6 or 12 volts and seem to be sensitive to using those exact voltages., or they can fail.also they put out very low amounts of smoke which in mho look very unrealistic or you have the water vapour type which operate via speed controller and the amount of output is comensurate with the speed of motors, but the big drawback with these is that they need 24 volts to operate them at present times.
you takes yer pick and makes yer choice.

Edited By neil howard-pritchard on 20/12/2010 23:22:04

Richard Simpson21/12/2010 00:11:46
48 forum posts
59 photos
Hi Ken,  I have both in my boats and can confirm what Neil says.  The oil burners also use rather a lot of power to heat up the element and I'm really not a great fan of having hot oil and a heated element inside one of my boats.
The water vapour generators are much more effective, don't use heat but do require 24v to drive the nebuliser.  This means either a 24v battery or an electronic device which can generate it for you, which may be determined by the hull space you have available.  To keep it going you simply stick a bit more water down thr funnel when it stops generating vapour.
I'm a great fan of the vapour generating type as they are much more effective, use less power and are safer.
Dave Milbourn21/12/2010 09:11:17
3158 forum posts
169 photos
Our S3 Seuthe smoke unit (oil-burner) runs from 8v-14v and draws 700mA. This isn't a lot of power but it wouldn't help with motor running times if you were to operate it from the same battery as the main drive. If you install it with our P68S Fan Controller then you can increase the volume of smoke as the drive motor speeds up.
The smaller S1 units will run on 7.2v (with a series 1A diode) but they produce relatively little smoke - they are intended to be fitted to small locomotives and they actually "chuff-chuff". I had one fitted in my 1/72 Puffer and it worked a treat.
We have a DC-DC converter which is adjustable in output voltage and is compact enough to fit into a relatively small model (approx 35mm cube). It's not listed as we have only just acquired a few samples. Unfortunately the water-vapour units which are available e.g. MMB aren't very compact. Vapour-based units are also practically useless in hot or humid climates such as Australia.
IMHO the very best unit is made and sold by Harbor Models in San Diego, CA, but it's a hundred bucks and requires a seperate forward-only ESC if you want to vary the amount of smoke
Hope this helps; like NHP says, you pays your money etc.
Dave M
Telstar21/12/2010 12:04:14
306 forum posts
32 photos
Hi Ken,   The above posts just about says it all. Like others I have used both types of smoke generator,   one of the main considerations I found is the type of boat it is used on.  I have a basic oil burner (no fan etc) in a model of a diesel powered trawler, a bad choice, it had to have its own battery, or running time was limited, and when running the exhaust(funnle) looked more like the galley stove chimney.  I had to modify it with a fan assist to improve the effect.    My original water vapour unit was/is a 'Old Smokey' (not available now I believe)  it is a good concept, I run it from my 12V main battery, (no extra 24v orsuch)  the exhaust (smoke) changes with engine speed, and stops with engine shut down.  However one point not mentioned often is;   the xtal/membrane in the nebulizer head (the bit that makes the vapour) does wear and needs to be replaced after a period. In full time use ie. several hours daily (medical use of nebulizers) the head needs to be refurbished about every 18 monthes, so for occasional use in hobbies it should be much longer.  Also it is best to use distilled water since any disolved solids in the water, scale or chalk in hard water areas will cause higher wear rates. 
merry christmas   (including Dave)
Red Ken23/12/2010 21:43:45
13 forum posts
First of all I would like to thank the 4 gentlemen who have offered their advice which answers all my questions very fully.
 I like the idea of the water vapour via a nebulizer, has anyone tried food colouring in the water supply, not so much as having a ship putting out 'green smoke' but with the idea of using a black colourant.
Regards and a merry Christmas to all. 
Dave Milbourn24/12/2010 09:03:55
3158 forum posts
169 photos
The manual for the MMB unit states very clearly that doing this will a) not work; b) gum up the unit, and c) invalidate the guarantee.
I think you'll find that 'steam' is always white anyway
Dave M
Telstar24/12/2010 19:04:24
306 forum posts
32 photos
Hi Ken  I did try black coffee once, had to dismantle the head and clean it of gunk!  
Dave;   ships don''t normally emit steam from the funnel  its usually smoke from the boilers or exhaust from the diesels    The steam from the engins is usually condensed and recycled to the boilers again 
Merry Xmas to all modellers
Dave Milbourn24/12/2010 21:09:20
3158 forum posts
169 photos
Good point, Tom - but we both know that vapour-based model "smoke" generators don't emit real smoke - it's water vapour, or 'steam' in simple terms.
Colin Bishop24/12/2010 22:28:09
3693 forum posts
5902 photos
381 articles
I know it looks authentic on a model but real ships don't actually emit much smoke when running normally. Diesels can send up clouds of black smoke when they are started and steamships if the fires are not properly trimmed. The old warships of WW1 would emit large amounts of smoke when the powerplant was beingt run flat out such as at Jutland but generally smoke represents unburnt fuel which costs so it is kept to an absolute minimum by the engineer on duty. On the old steam powered liners the Chief Engineer would get a reprimand from the Captain if the funnels were emitting smoke!

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