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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to start a new post to discuss Accucraft 4-4-0 performance. The video link showing the engine run was provided by Art filmed during our welcome home yard work party at John Frank’s house yesterday.

http://www.mylargescale.com/Communi...rumid/11/postid/38542/view/topic/Default.aspx

As most of you know, I typically modify Accucraft engines to achieve the performance I need for operating with extended run times at high grades. Thus far, my 4-4-0 is 100% original with the exception of dropping a Bark Box in the stack and adding RC. I am having too much fun to take it out of service for modifications.

Performance out of the box is honestly difficult to explain. I have not actually coupled it behind a C-16 or C-19 to actually verify that it will out pull them, but in operations it pulls everything I usually pull with either engine. Again for a smaller, lighter engine, I fully have yet to explain this unusually high performance that greatly exceeds the prototype capabilities.

I will give a few tested facts. The locomotive will easily pull 2 stock J&S coaches up a 2-1/2% grade on a 5’ diameter curve. I am sure some railroad expert will help, but I think this is equivalent to 3 or 3-1/2% grade on a strait section. Easy is defined as being able to start from a dead stop in this condition without excessive wheel slippage. The engine will actually pull 3 stock J&S coaches up this section with a running start with a fare degree of slipping. With 3 coaches, it slips on a dead start attempt and is difficult to get moving. It probably would start with 3 coaches in this very challanging condition with a few more ounces of weight added in the cab.

As shown in the video, the force to pull a J&S car is roughly equivalent to 3 or 4 Accucraft freight cars. The 4-4-0 pulled the 10 car freight train at only higher throttle settings at with 2 J&S cars. I had sufficient throttle remaining to pull approximately 12-14 Accucraft freight cars on John’s railroad which has grades less than 1%. Obviously 12-14 cars is ridiculous looking behind a 4-4-0.

What is also difficult to explain, is that I get a full 30 minutes of real run time with the engine operating under high loads at 60psi. Again difficult to explain is that very low burner settings are required and the engine is the quietest of any Accucraft engine I have.

I know some may be skeptical, but the video captures the claims made. I did not have a stop watch on these specific runs but they were easily in the 30 minute actual operating run time.

In every run I have had, the fuel runs out before the water so I no longer have to check the site glass (assuming I am sure the boiler if full at the start).

As I was expecting this little engine under high loads to have run times closer to the Shay (15-20 minutes), I was anticipating having to modifying it with a larger fuel tank and servo pump to get the run time up where I like. With the out of the box performance achieved, I am now questioning if the efforts are worth while.

In prototype service after the C-16 came out, the 4-4-0 typically handled passenger consists which is what I intend to use if for. Without all the switching involved in freight, a 30 minute run time may be more than adequate.

Anybody like to speculate why this little engine have very similar performance to the C-16 and C-19? I am still scratching my head and had everybody at John’s house in disbelief. One additional note; the 4-4-0 does not discharge oil onto the track unlike its larger brothers which greatly assists in maintaining high traction forces throughout the run.

One last note, I purchased both a C-16 and K-27 Bark Box (fully discussed in this forum). As I have been testing my 4-4-0 for the past several weeks, I installed the C-16 Bark Box in the top of the stack on the 4-4-0 as it was a little too big for the smoke box. The results are simply unbelievable. I think the contribution of the Bark Box is as significant as Larry Bangham’s work on the whistle. For the $100 price tag, it is a real bargain for the sound it produces. Again the video adequately demonstrates the sound it produces. I am not exaggerating in stating that I can easily hear every chuff from all the way across John’s yard or approximately at a distance of 150’. The sound is totally proportional to throttle setting with medium throttle typical in the video. The chuff volume is approaching the lower ranges of being loud at full throttle going up my 2-1/2% grade on a tight curve. Volume is difficult to compare, however I believe the volume is very typical of what most people set their electric sound modules at. The biggest difference is that the sound of the Bark Box chuff is truly proportionate to throttle setting which is something that even the highest quality sound system has not mastered.

I have not cut a Bark Box open yet to figure out how it works (and may never bother at the very reasonable $100 cost). Out of respect to the manufacture, I would not disclose the secrete even if I do ever figure it out. That being said, I have absolutely no idea how something that looks more like a model airplane muffler, can actually be a highly effective sound amplifier with the resulting sound so close to prototypical digital recordings. Truly amazing.

For those considering an identical Bark Box installation in the 4-4-0, installing one in the stack is very easy but it does initially load up with water at the beginning of the run. It takes a couple of minutes of running to blow the water out. I expect when the Bark Box is installed in the smoke box as intended, the water is likely rapidly turned to steam due to the heat present and probably less or not noticeable at all.

I have not posted earlier as I am not into taking video and did not want to make claims that some would question. Art's video fully captures all performance claims however everybody present was wondering if the laws of physics had somehow changed.

Tom Burns
RGS in Live Steam
 

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And folks, this is no BS. I was there. And, as the Aster Snob around here (I know, Art is now trying to lay claim) it is down right hard for me to admit this. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif:)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Jim,

Even in hot Houston summer, I always use a fuel tank water bath as I use pure Butaine. A water bath provides much more constent pressure through the entire run (seldom have to adjust gas after initially set for run). In summer heat, water at ambient tempurature works just fine.

The Bark Box is available at

http://www.trainsales.com/barkbox.htm

The sound quality on the video he has on his site is accurate.

Other people have posted a few videos on youtube that can be located by searching using the key words Bark Box.

Again this little device is truely amazing.

Regards,

Tom Burns
 

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That video sounds good, but you must hear one is person. I have one installed in my little 0-6-0 it was a tight fit but it sounds great. The sound in that Little engine is much better then that of any of the stock large loco that I have heard. (k-27 k-28) I can only imagine what they sound like with one. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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I've posted this before, but for those of you that have not heard a K-27 with a Bark Box, here's mine. I am a happy user.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slPA4GyoPEg

It works as advertised. Two other benefits other than a good chuff are that it eliminates oil spitting out the stack and once the Bark Box gets some oil inside, it smokes while steaming up and getting hot - a nice effect. I have not noticed any reduction in the steam plume, either.
 

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Tom,
By topping off the gas and water after initially firing and clearing condensate from a cold start, I routinely get from 30 to 35 minutes before the fuel runs out. However, I have to stop about every ten minutes to add water,as indicated by Bill Ford's WLDS which I installed. I normally run at 20 psi which gives fine performance with a protoypical six car freight, with a J&S coach included. You have me wondering if running at higher pressure with a lower throttle setting would be more efficient. Do you have any ideas on that?

Charles,
I am not a glowing fan of AC, after what some of us went through to get the 4-4-0 to actual delivery. However, this engine has turned out to be one of their better efforts, especially in its price range. Yes, I know the crosshead wristpins are a potentially serious defect if not dealt with, but overall, considering the excellent out-of-the-box performance and beautiful finish, these 4-4-0s are hard to beat.


Larry
 

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I suspect its tractive performance can in some small part be explained by the 4-4-0 design itself. The engine is not equalised, nor has true 3 point suspension per the prototype (ie no rocking beams between the drivers, unlike the real thing), but with good spring tension over the drivers (much softer then the 2-6-0), I think its tracking is getting close to a 3 point type of thing, which means that while the 4-4-0 is a lighter engine, much of its weight is supported equally over the drivers and over the point location above the pilot truck - thus the smaller weight of it is being applied more efficiently over the available drivers. When the Bachmann 4-4-0 came out, it had sprung drivers, but no equalised suspension either, yet many people at that time were amazed by its performance, and TOC today will state that the 4-4-0 will pull on par with the LGB Unitah Mallet, despite being smaller and lighter. There is just something about the distribution of weight and all the drivers supporting the load on the rails. 2-8-0s by contrast do support the same (or more) weight on the wheels, but at any one time, maybe only 4 drivers are doing the full work hard on the rails, with the other 4 drivers supporting some load, but not really adding much to traction, in effect removing weight off the 4 drivers making the real effort. Sometimes 2-8-0s, end up with some wheels just lightly touching rails while others support the load fully.

Finally, when we did the CP Huntington model building class here at MLS in 2005, we all knew these were tiny and light lil electric locos of the 4-2-4T configuration. They are easily the lightest models in my collection and should be good for very small and light trains. I designed them in effect as a 4-2-0, with a loose 4 wheel truck under the tender. Yet these lil things pull amazingly well. We've had these tiny things pull 7 Bachmann coaches up 4% grades, they pull as well as any of my stock Bachmann ligher engines such as their 4-6-0. The reason is again weight distrubtion. The engine has only one driven axle being a 'single'. Yet much of the loco's weight is placed on that driver set and its gets the job done. The 4-2-0 configuration is an automatic 3 point suspension setup too. We got much more than we expected. The boiler is so small, there is almost no room in it for ballast, yet these lil engines really pull well. They come unstuck when you get a dip in the track and you end up with the pilot truck at one side of the dip, and the rear truck on the other side, both lifting the engine's driver set above the rails where the track sank!

I'll get onto the wood cab replacement kits soon, however I can see I have my work cut out in setting up a prototype cab onto the proportions of this engine and boiler now that I have a unit to measure from. I'll come up with something. Its a nice looking package overal.

David.
 

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Having seen one in action today, great bang for buck. Hopefully, the long term investment will give owners a good turn for their buck!
 

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Hello:

I do not use paypal. Is there an email address for the fire bull engineering bark box purchase?

Thank you
Norman
 

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What is also difficult to explain, is that I get a full 30 minutes of real run time with the engine operating under high loads at 60psi. Again difficult to explain is that very low burner settings are required and the engine is the quietest of any Accucraft engine I have.

And in response to Larry Green, I think these are the conditions(60#/hi-load) that set up the Radley Hunter stack to fail. This was exactly how my Mogul was running when the top of the stack let go. In watching the last run of the day (hot day), I believe stack temp was high enough to superheat the steam coming out of the vent tube, further raising the temp inside the stack. While there was steam evident from the stack at the beginning of the run, by the end of it, outside of the sound, you wouldn't have guessed it was a a steam engine. If you have a model with the RH stack, I think 'cooler is better' is a better way to run. Ultimately I think the stack solution will be either mechanical fixing, or perhaps a liner tube so the exhaust goes straight up and out, preferably non-soldered.
 
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