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Old 12-01-2015, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Contemplating Live Steam

I just finished watching the videos from the Fall Steamup, and I have a couple of questions. Obviously the larger engines are able to pull a long line of cars, but what about a Ruby or a Dora? I chose these two, because they are affordable beginner steam engines, and because my layout has small radius curves. Also, because of their small size, would I be able to radio control the throttle on them?
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Old 12-01-2015, 11:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The two you mention are often used to get started in live steam. They will handle 4' curves.

http://www.reindeerpass.com/RUBY-5-L...eluxe-040.aspx
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Both the Ruby and the Dora are small rod engines and won't take grades very well. A flat layout will be as important as the radius of the curves.

That said as an active member of Steam Alcoholics Anonymous I am required to tell you that what you are contemplating can be very addictive. I too started with a small engine but that lead to an 2-8-2 and then to building kits. I now find I'm looking at lathes and other machine tools which has to be the final phase......
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Old 12-02-2015, 07:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dora and Ruby are both neat little engines which can provide lots of fun.

The Dora is smaller, and geared so it runs a little slower which is good on small layouts. Fitting R/C on the throttle will be tricky, but should be possible if you are clever enough... Mine is still manual.

Ruby is a bit larger and is a more conventional engine. She will tend to run fast. As with Dora, the cab space is tight so R/C is tricky but many have been done... My modified ruby is R/C. The R/C does tame the engine for small layouts and hills and dips. It also adds to the "play value" allowing you to stop at stations, switch cars and other such things.
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Old 12-02-2015, 08:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I recommend you obtain a copy of "Starting in Steam," a book to help live steam new comers. It will answer many of your questions. It is available at:
http://www.steamup.com/starting/
or call 607-642-8119. The digital version is $4.95 and the hard copy version is $9.95.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hi Mike,

The ruby is a good starter, its larger and will allow RC plus longer run times than the Dora. Its also easier to fire and run. Another option for a geared loco is the Regner easy line. They are single cylinder geared locos and all run well and slow plus handle 2' radius plus grades without needing RC. Shawn (snowshoe on youtube) has a lot of videos of the regners and the Accucraft Forney running on smaller tracks. Recently he build a new larger track with 5' radius.

the Regners can be seen here: http://www.thetraindepartment.com/re...ner-easy-line/

And the Accucraft options here: http://www.thetraindepartment.com/ac...ucraft-1-20-3/

Also don't forget about Roundhouse, they have a nice starter loco the Sammie. Its a slide valve loco but with slip eccentric, meaning the RC direction cant be done as the loco has to be rolled one wheel revolution in the direction you want. But its their only American type low end loco. The other being the SRRL 24 a larger 2-6-2

http://www.thetraindepartment.com/ro.../basic-series/

Also a good book is the Passion for Steam, its got not only how to run but the different engine types explained and how they all work. Plus it has a huge amount of reviews of many different engines. Written by Mark of Garden railways. It is more expensive than the Steam in the garden book but it is well worth it.

http://www.thetraindepartment.com/books/
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have a Dora which is fitted with a throttle servo so it can handle hills more easily. The batteries and r/c are in a trailing car, but could have been fitted in the body (I took mine off for various reasons.)

Not sure the Ruby can provide longer run times than the Dora, but Jason should know! Either is a good engine to start with - but do get and read the "Starting in Steam" book as it has lots of useful information about what else you need, how to maintain your steamer, etc.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treeman View Post
The two you mention are often used to get started in live steam. They will handle 4' curves.

http://www.reindeerpass.com/RUBY-5-L...eluxe-040.aspx
That's exactly what I have, and that was my main concern, I was worried that the curves would be too tight, and that the engine would roll off the track as it hit the curve

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Johnson View Post
Both the Ruby and the Dora are small rod engines and won't take grades very well. A flat layout will be as important as the radius of the curves.

That said as an active member of Steam Alcoholics Anonymous I am required to tell you that what you are contemplating can be very addictive. I too started with a small engine but that lead to an 2-8-2 and then to building kits. I now find I'm looking at lathes and other machine tools which has to be the final phase......
In the Beginners forum, I have a thread called "Modeling in Foamboard" If you look at post #27, the 4th pic, there's a grade of 1" in 24 ft, so it's not much of a grade

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phippsburg Eric View Post
Dora and Ruby are both neat little engines which can provide lots of fun.

The Dora is smaller, and geared so it runs a little slower which is good on small layouts. Fitting R/C on the throttle will be tricky, but should be possible if you are clever enough... Mine is still manual.

Ruby is a bit larger and is a more conventional engine. She will tend to run fast. As with Dora, the cab space is tight so R/C is tricky but many have been done... My modified ruby is R/C. The R/C does tame the engine for small layouts and hills and dips. It also adds to the "play value" allowing you to stop at stations, switch cars and other such things.
Eric, I like the idea of being able to start and stop at a station, or being able to switch cars at a yard, but in doing so, it will probably cut down the run time of the engine. Is it possible to hook up a water tender to either of these models?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weaverc View Post
I recommend you obtain a copy of "Starting in Steam," a book to help live steam new comers. It will answer many of your questions. It is available at:
http://www.steamup.com/starting/
or call 607-642-8119. The digital version is $4.95 and the hard copy version is $9.95.
I will definitely be looking into this book, and the one mentioned by Jason. I've been curious about live steam ever since stumbling upon a YouTube video of one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kovacjr View Post
Hi Mike,

The ruby is a good starter, its larger and will allow RC plus longer run times than the Dora. Its also easier to fire and run. Another option for a geared loco is the Regner easy line. They are single cylinder geared locos and all run well and slow plus handle 2' radius plus grades without needing RC. Shawn (snowshoe on youtube) has a lot of videos of the regners and the Accucraft Forney running on smaller tracks. Recently he build a new larger track with 5' radius.

the Regners can be seen here: http://www.thetraindepartment.com/re...ner-easy-line/

And the Accucraft options here: http://www.thetraindepartment.com/ac...ucraft-1-20-3/

Also don't forget about Roundhouse, they have a nice starter loco the Sammie. Its a slide valve loco but with slip eccentric, meaning the RC direction cant be done as the loco has to be rolled one wheel revolution in the direction you want. But its their only American type low end loco. The other being the SRRL 24 a larger 2-6-2

http://www.thetraindepartment.com/ro.../basic-series/

Also a good book is the Passion for Steam, its got not only how to run but the different engine types explained and how they all work. Plus it has a huge amount of reviews of many different engines. Written by Mark of Garden railways. It is more expensive than the Steam in the garden book but it is well worth it.

http://www.thetraindepartment.com/books/
Thank you for providing addition engine options. I knew about Accucraft, but not the Regners, or the Roundhouse options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Thornton View Post
I have a Dora which is fitted with a throttle servo so it can handle hills more easily. The batteries and r/c are in a trailing car, but could have been fitted in the body (I took mine off for various reasons.)

Not sure the Ruby can provide longer run times than the Dora, but Jason should know! Either is a good engine to start with - but do get and read the "Starting in Steam" book as it has lots of useful information about what else you need, how to maintain your steamer, etc.
Thanks for the info on the Dora, it looks so tiny, and didn't look like it had much extra space.
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Mike;

As others have already noted, live steam can be a slippery slope. I started with the Roundhouse Millie. Since I still run using manual control, the slip eccentric system did not bother me, but I can see that it would inhibit switching.



Some of the more elaborate Regner models do have a reversing lever. Mine is loosely based on the DeWinton quarry locomotives. The Regner model designation is Chaloner.



I have decided that I like Roundhouse locomotives best. My second Roundhouse is based on a WWI trench locomotive built by ALCO for the British War Department. It also has a reversing lever.



I am trying to stay with short wheelbase locomotives. All of my locomotives will negotiate LGB R3 curves (8 foot diameter/4 foot radius).

Best of luck with your first steamer,
David Meashey
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Flea View Post
I like the idea of being able to start and stop at a station, or being able to switch cars at a yard, but in doing so, it will probably cut down the run time of the engine. Is it possible to hook up a water tender to either of these models?
The easiest way to add water to one of these miniature boilers is though a "Goodall valve", which replaces the boiler filler cap, and allows you to pump water in from a specially-fitted pump bottle. I highly recommend the Goodall valve and bottle from The Train Department with quick-disconnect fittings, they're much easier and more pleasant to use than the standard plain Goodall valve fittings.

The only problem with adding water to a Ruby boiler is that there is no sight glass to tell you how much (or, more importantly, how little) water is in there. If I remember correctly, the Ruby will generally run out of gas before water anyway. It would be relatively simple to fit a larger fuel tank, but then you would want to add a sight glass (a fairly complex operation on a Ruby, but it has been done) or an electronic water level detection system (not sure if these are still available, but they were at one point) to avoid running dry.
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