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Old 06-18-2017, 11:36 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Being distracted is one of a small scale live steamers' worse enemy, but there are other gremlins at work: Once at an exhibition where someone was running a single cylinder vintage diesel nearby, I blew the flues on my Chapelon boiler in a similiar occurence. I am used to running on my own garden pike where out side of birds and a plane or two, there are literally no noises, so I got used to running by ear. At that exhibition that diesel was making such a racket that I was unable to distinguish between no more meth or no more water. I thought the meth had run out and after two or three minutes pumped up and then the blower went off like mad and I folded an inner flue! It turned out that that flue was 0,6 mm or six tenth of a millimeter thick. A bit light for an inner flue and it of course folded onto the superheater. A British friend fixed it for me and rebrazed the supperheater, it has stood up since. He used slightly thicker tube for the new flue. But beware of distraction and noisy atmospheres.

The best is to be overly careful with the water level, gauge one doesn't give you the choice really. And don't just check the water level, check the water in the tender too. Also I have found that on some engines the water pump can kick out if an air bubble gets in the water line (after emptying the tender for instance), so if you empty your tender give a few pumps with the hand pump to charge up the water line and excentric pump.

Last edited by du-bousquetaire; 06-18-2017 at 11:38 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-18-2017, 11:37 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
Art, Ryan;
Opportunity knocks. Make some improvements to the water level reading while you're rebuilding;

Add a larger diameter water gauge glass, i.e., 6mm dia.
Add a reflector with diagonal lines (behind the glass) so water level easier to read.
Don't forget an LED to illuminate it all.
And, most important, add a blowdown valve to the bottom of the water gauge.

Happy safe steaming.
The gauge glass accuracy becomes nullified if there is no water in the boiler.

Seeing as how the most cursory of looks at photos of the FEF, or at the least, the specification sheets would point out that it covers 3/4 of these "improvements" as standard, this post is on a hiding to nothing.

The size of the gauge glass matters less than the passages leading up to it. You can have a 4 or 5 mm glass that is just as accurate as say a 10mm one, provided the passages are larger than the ID of the glass, AND perhaps most importantly, the takeoff points are outside the turbulent areas of the water circulation. This means far removed from the major heat source.

The FEF has 5/32" ID tubing leading up to the sight glass, no restriction and the glass reads very accurately, but again, only when there is water in it to read. There are two blowdown valves on the lower gauge glass fitting; one large bore used for blowing down the boiler and one small needle valve used for a quick glass cleanout should a bubble get trapped in the glass. Both are readily accessible from under the Fireman's side of the cab.

Given the darkness of the cab, a diagonal stripe array is affixed to the sight glass on the FEF. The idea for this particular application came from Harlan Chinn.

FEF refracting stripes

No fowl timer in the world will substitute adequately for the basic rule of paying attention to the task at hand, knowing the locomotive and understanding what it is doing at all times. Not just by sight, but also by sound, smell and general common sense.

On boilers of less forgiving metallurgy, you will only make the mistake of running low (or out) of water once.

Treat these boilers the same way as you would a full size one; not only to reduce fiduciary pains of having to do an expensive replacement in the worst case, but also for the sake of the boiler's longevity.
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:17 AM   #43 (permalink)
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Ryan is right on that I remember the early Asters with the smithies boilers (PLM pacific and T16 for instance) they had the connection of the water gauge directly to the boiler and a larger glass too and they were very accurate, I think the problem stems from taking the level from the side of the boiler and through banjo joints. This has rendered Aster water levels most unreliable. Providing a blow down is an excellent response to this problem. But what about those locos that don't have one... I want to retrofit all those water levels with a blow down.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:33 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Adding to du-bousquetaire's advice to pump the system clear of air-bubbles, opening the return valve completely, and checking that water actually is returned to the tender.

As for misstakes, I've probably done them all. Torching a complete track with burning alcohol, having engines plunge down from the track - and as for running low on water, I'm ashamed to admit it has happened several times. When I started out in livesteam, I thought "what a stupid mistake to do, I'll never do that!"

My standard measure to get a more reliable sight-glass reading, is to "rock" the engine back and forth on the track.

To the amusement of visitors from the general public, I frequently cause bursts of burning gasflames through the smokebox door. And I seem to be the only member of Stockholm Livesteamers who regurarly burn my fingers on hot locomotives ;-D

(Just so you don't get the wrong idea, I'm actually one of those who get people's engines to run.)
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:41 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Hi Richard,
I misspoke on the safety..it was the goodall valve that shot well into the sky....the milwaukee domes are an impressive place to run our engines but the large public attendance sometimes gets a bit distracting....I learned my lession on that..It was pretty impressive to see the rocket launch however.......or so I was told...

David-please stick around. Your knowledge of the hobby is great and I appreciate your views. I think everyone needs to keep in mind that it is always dangerous to try to infer what someone is trying to say or understand feeling from the sometimes inpersonal written word.

Hopefully, we can all focus on that this forum was set up to assist our fellow hobbyists and keep it there.

Thank you Art for the reminder and I'm sure Ryan will have you up and running again relatively soon.

Sam
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:46 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I second the call for David to stick around!

I can't guarantee I will always agree with, or like everything you may write. But your sharing of experience and views are definately important contributions!
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Old 06-19-2017, 04:56 PM   #47 (permalink)
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I third call on David sticking around.
Best
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Old 06-19-2017, 06:23 PM   #48 (permalink)
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I wouldn't feel bad about making this mistake Art, as many a full size locomotive has been destroyed when transitioning up/down steep grades in the mountains and having the crown sheet exposed etc. because of low water levels. If you're not making mistakes, then maybe you're not moving? :-)
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:06 PM   #49 (permalink)
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We shall call Art's FEF the Phoenix, as it will once again rise from the ashes! Graduated from Roundhouse gas burners where the gas is gone before the boiler is empty(if filled correctly) to a alcohol fired Aster is a big learning curve! I ran mine under steam on blocks for a short duration today At some time in its like the gauge glass was broken and she has a piece of metal rod where the glass should be. I am hoping Ryan sees this as I bet he has Aster sight gauge glass in stock. I could use a couple so I can see how much water my SBB Eb 3/5 has in it. Looking forward to Art's FEF running at zube park videos in the near future. Mike
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Old 06-19-2017, 07:16 PM   #50 (permalink)
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Gentlemen;

I would like for David Leech to stick around as well, but he has to be reading things on this forum to know our wishes. If he has left this forum, as he wrote, we may need to PM him to express our concerns.

Happy steaming,
David Meashey

P. S. Art, as someone who ran a two foot gauge Crown Metal Products steamer that set nose downgrade at the station, I know the concerns about reading the sight glass. If the glass showed more than 3/4 inch of water in the station, there was a good chance of "pulling water" when coming back up the grade. I do hope your locomotive will be restored "better than new."
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