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Unread 01-29-2020, 06:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Standard equipment

Over the years, we've seen people add lots of interesting appliances to their little steamers: Helmholtz whistles, Goodall-type valves, chuff resonators, etc. Yet the typical loco still has pretty much what LBSC would have put on one of this engines 70 years ago: a pressure gauge, maybe an axle pump and a throttle.



I have chuffers in all of my locos (I'm partial to Bark Boxes, but the Summerlands units do a good job, too) and now when I hear a loco glide by silently, it's like something is wrong. When my locos go by, people stop and stare, and ask why it sounds so good.



The sparkies have sound units, but we don't need them -- we just have to use what we already have. Chuffers are not that hard to make (especially if you have a CNC lathe cranking them out) and would add very little to the cost of a new loco, but they add a great deal to the impact of a "real steam locomotive" model.


Why are they not standard equipment on every small scale live steamer?
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Unread 01-29-2020, 07:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Why are they not standard equipment on every small scale live steamer?
Vance, all recent locos from Roundhouse Engineering in the UK now come with an "Exhaust enhancer".
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Unread 01-29-2020, 09:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Vance,

I’m think vendors want you to choose if you feel your engine needs one. Some engines, like the aster c&s mogul and aster sterling, had great chuffs out of the box. Also, as you mentioned, you might have a preference of one chuff enhancer over another. In addition, some folks don’t like them for one reason or another (too loud, too unrealistic,etc,etc). That said, I think it would be a great idea for more vendors to include...since it’s not hard to take out if you don’t like them.
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Unread Yesterday, 01:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Obviously you can't have a "chuff" pipe on a proper drafted boiler such as meths fired and ceramic gas fired both with a firebox. You need the exhaust to work 'properly' in the sealed smokebox to draw the fire through so manufacturers don't install them in those models especially as ceramic firing is now more common .
But some of my best sounding loco's are meths fired with proper blast exhaust much better than any chuff pipe in my opinion.
You can fit a chuff pipe on gas poker burner loco's where you don't need it to operate like a blast pipe and some manufacturers now make the exhaust 'pipes with a closed end and cutouts to make some noise but it really is "in the ear of the beholder" as I find most chuff pipes too loud.
I have tried to fit a proper exhaust blast pipe for better noise on these poker burner gas fired loco's with some success, but where the smokebox is sealed the drafting tends to drag the gas flame off the poker burner so an open smokebox ( usually an opening for air at the bottom) is best in these situations.
Aside from sealed and open types making different sounds the smoke box volume also has an effect on sound. Chuff pipe location also makes different sounds such as moving it down into the smokebox makes sometimes a deeper sound (not always) and quieter.
I tried "barkboxes" and they resonate a deeper sound and quieter but when the exhaust is watery the sound has more gurgling than chuff as the resonator fills up with oily water, also finding the room to fit them is a smokebox is a problem.
Like many steam enthusiasts I like playing around with my loco's and making my loco's have a different sound to another same loco is part of the fun and I'd still alter exhaust pipes even if manufacturers did install them in poker gas burner loco's, just to be different ( and to quieten some down!)
Just my two cents worth here
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Unread Yesterday, 08:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FHPB View Post
Why are they not standard equipment on every small scale live steamer?
Simply, because there are many loco owners out there, myself included, who do not like the sound a chuffer pipe produces.

Writing personally, my problem with them is that they cannot be turned off (and yes, I know about the Summerlands FX chuffers) so the loco sounds like it is going up Sherman Hill with 100 cars all the time, even when running without anything on the drawbar. That simply does not happen with a full-size loco, and they can be remarkably quiet.

Let me give you an example: I used to be a driver at a narrow gauge railway here in North Wales. All of the locos were fitted with a lubrication system that atomised the oil before it was put in to the valve chests and cylinders, with steam used for the atomisation. The steam was supplied in a 1/4 inch OD copper tube and incorporated a restrictor valve so that nothing like full boiler pressure was ever used.

I could, and regularly did, (1) put the loco in forward or backward gear, (2) turn on the atomising steam supply, and (3) release the brake. There was enough steam in the 1/4 inch pipe supply to easily move the loco, and this method of operation was very useful for slow speed switching moves.

And how much noise did it make? Almost none, because there was insufficient steam to do so.

Other locomotives were much the same, with only a quick opening and closing of the regulator needed to fill the valve chests and superheaters, giving enough steam to easily move the loco with momentum also playing a big part.

The chuffer pipe, in my opinion although I know others disagree, also creates a back-pressure in the exhaust, so causing the loco to work against itself.

If I want my model locos to chuff I have a simple solution: Put a big train behind them. I class anything less than 25 axles as "lightweight".
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Unread Yesterday, 04:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Like whistles and such, one cannot scale down the physics of how steam works in the prototypes of our models. The expansive power of steam is massive, and why that 1/4 inch line of steam thru the lubricator can easily move the locomotive. For those that have never operated a meths fired, forced draft boiler. These make honest and proper chuff sounds, getting louder as the load on the drawbar gets heavier. There is none of that gas burner noise(even though this can be near silent in newer Roundhouse and Ceramic bed burner designs). All you hear is the blower woosh when stopped, and the chuff when moving. You hear is as there is a proper blast pipe shooting the steam up the petticoat into the stack. I know there was some debate about those chuff pipes obstructing the chimney to much and forcing more of the heat and exhaust fumes downwards instead of up and out the chimney. Mike
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Unread Yesterday, 05:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Great point about "naturally drafted" boilers, fellows. They're working like full-size boilers, so they have their own naturally produced chuff. I should have specified gas-fired locos. That said, meths- or coal-fired boilers are in the distinct minority now.

Regarding restricting the exhaust flow, I don't see how that could happen. They slip over the exhaust pipe (or in some cases replace the original with an identically sized one), so that the original diameter is still the most restrictive place in the flow.

In addition to the above, I got an eloquent direct e-mail from someone who really dislikes chuff enhancers. Point taken about the differences between light and hard work, too. Fair enough.

So I guess it's back down to personal preference. I don't mind installing an enhancer in my locos, and I do prefer to be able to hear a loaded engine working hard, so I'll continue to support the aftermarket makers.

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
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Unread Today, 01:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Another reason that I mostly avoid them, is by their design, they are an over blown whistle. I myself am on the autism spectrum, as are many kids that might be at a show. A few of the engines in our group really hurt my ears when they run, especially one Accucraft mogul with one of those stacks shaped like a cheer leaders megaphone. It is really LOUD when it chuffs(Summerlands chuffer in it). I have to talk a walk around the show or cover my ears when he runs it. The chuff lacks the bass sounds we get with the prototypes, that darn physics part that cannot be scaled down. The newer adjustable version from Summerlands to me is much better, it can be tuned to the engine to give the best chuff without being overly loud and annoying. And it is a shame to see less of the forced draft boilers. Granted we are still getting some from Accucraft/Aster and plenty of vintage Aster and scratch builds out there. I have one engine that is alcohol fired, its my winter engine when gas fired, even with the tank in the cab, do not like to run. The alcohol fired engine could care less that its 3'F outdoors and the plumes are beautiful when she runs.
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