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Today I steamed my Aster 'Battle of Britain' and a problem has arisen the blower is not working there is only a slight draught at the chimney, the loco was fine a week ago but today nothing so I am thinking that somewhere scale could be blocking something. So what is the first thing to check /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sad.gif
 

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Since I haven't built a Spam Can, I'm not 100% sure this can be done; but it has the potential to work on most alcohol-fired Aster locos without a lot of disassembly so here goes:

Unscrew and remove the blower knob complete with the attached needle valve. If you cannot easily blow air thru the line from the blower fitting end, then slip a piece of tubing over the tip of the blower nozzle in the smokebox and use a source of compressed air (not over 60 psi) to try and blow the contamination back out thru the backhead fitting. If this part of the system is clear and unblocked, then the steam supply from the boiler to the blower control is probably blocked. Here you're on your own because I don't have a manual for the Spam Can to help me guide you.

While this should be understood, I want to make sure you are only using distilled water in this boiler (and preferably only steam distilled water at that). Anything else can create scale or leave residue that can block or clog the small steam lines in the locomotive.

Good luck,

Ross Schlabach
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Ross,

two great minds think alike, I done just that I have unscrewed the needle valve from the valve body and using a large syringe and silicon tube forced water through and got a nice jet of water from the two blast nozzles so it looks like I have no blockage there. I think the problem is the copper pipe from the valve body into the top of the boiler maybe it's clogged with scale do you think I should be able to push something through the valve body into the pipe to clear it or it looks like I will have to strip down the back head to get the blower valve off :confused:
 

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Tony,
Several years ago I was at a steamup in California and watched Richard Finlayson fill up his Aster schools boiler with vinegar(I believe Apple Cider)and fire it up. He ran the engine this way to clear out scale deposits. Prhaps this is woth a try before tearing the engine down.
While your at it you might get some fish and chips to enjoy with the left over vinegar.
 

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I wouldnt recommend running the engine on vinegar- but giving it a good wash with the vinegar is always a good idea! Vinegar and steam oil- probably not the best mix. And I'd hate to see someone blow a cylinder doing that.
 

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I don’t think Rob is saying to run the engine on vinegar. If you put a tablespoon of white vinegar in a boiler of water it will clean out the scale. It will also smell like fish and chips.
 

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I was at a steamup in California and watched Richard Finlayson fill up his Aster schools boiler with vinegar(I believe Apple Cider)and fire it up. He ran the engine this way .





Thats what i got out of it.

Matt
 

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tony,
slide alength of soft brass wire [1mm dia] up the pick up pipe.. it ends in aupturned curve which faces the top of the boiler barrel..you can clear anything in there and cant hurt it in any way..

Via the blower valve of course!
 

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Tony, I would not risk trying to push anything thru the pipe that goes into the boiler without removing that pipe first because then the garbage -- whatever it is -- is then free to float around in the boiler and possibly end up in the valve gear or cylinders. Instead I would recommend that you do the necessary disassembly to remove the steam supply pipe and check it out -- off the loco. There is a chance that the pipe has a kink that would make it prone to blockage again in the future. If so, now would be a good time to fix or replace that pipe.

The vinegar and water thing may help to clear scale out of the boiler -- I remember reading about that process long ago -- but it may not remove the blockage from that pipe which is almost assuredly where your problem lies now. Also, unless you have done a lot of running with your engine, you may not have had enough use to build up much scale. I have been running an Aster Southern Mike for 4 years and have had no scale problems at all. But again I have used steam distilled water exclusively.

Good luck,

Ross Schlabach
 

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How about the other end, the nozzle- could remove it and check for the blockage there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks guys,

I think I will do as Ross says and take out the blower valve although it is a tricky job, if it is scaled up I will be very suprised only I use filtered rain water only. Believe it or not I cannot buy Distilled water anywhere all car spares shops and DIY Stores only sell De-ironised water when I tell them it's not the same they think I'm mad /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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Curiosity may be the death of me (like the cat), but... /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif


I thought the vinegar in the boiler thing was to let it soak, the mild acidic solution for cleaning. Then rinse the boiler out thoroughly? No? (Same method for gas tanks.)


For the ignorant of Open Flue Boilers ... Why would the vinegar in the boiler (and boiling it) be a problem if you only want to run it through the blower? With a Open Flue Boiler wouldn't you just open the blower and keep the throttle closed? Wouldn't that mean vinegar'd steam would never run through any other pipes or into the valves/cylinders? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/ermm.gif


Whether vinegar steam would clean your pipes? Does boiling vinegar produce (vinegar) acidic steam or just boil off the water as steam and leave the acid(?) and other components behind?


Wouldn't you use white vinegar, and leave the red wine vinegar for your salads?


Enquiring minds .../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Posted By Dwight Ennis on 08/29/2008 12:42 PM
Believe it or not I cannot buy Distilled water anywhere
Have you checked the local pharmacy?



Hi Dwight, I run gauge1 nearly every week even yesterday I used 3/4 gallon running my 9F and Battle of Britain so buying from a pharmacy would be too expensive and I don't think they sell by the gallon.

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Strange I have taken off the blower valve and found nothing blocking the copper steam feed pipe not even the slightest bit of scale /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif so I have decided to give it a vinegar treatment anyway then I will put it back together and give it another go :confused:
 

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Hi Tony, I'm not sure what's going on here with the blocked blower but I'll be interested to hear what the cause was when you fix it.

As far as Distilled water supply is concerned... may I suggest you leave a large bucket out when it rains Sunday and you'll get a week of steaming water for free?

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Andrew, yep! I already do that then filter it but I suppose distilled is the best.
Ok I have steamed the loco again on the rolling road and it was still the same very very little blower, I then got it up to 4 bar/60psi and turned the blower on and off many times then 'pop' something must have cleared because now on full blower she wants to suck the wickes up :D just how it used to be /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif
Also while I had the vinegar solution in the boiler I removed the blow down valve and fitted a syringe with silicon pipe onto the fitting I then pumped in and out the solution, to my amazement there was some brown bits in the solution and the pumping also cleaned the gauge glass crystal clear:)
 

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Re.Acid Rain. All rain has acid in it, that is why it stings when you get rain water in your eyes. Maybe a little acid rain in the boiler is a good thing as it should keep the scale under control.
 

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All rainwater is slightly acid since it absorbs Carbon Dioxide as it falls from the clouds to form the weak Carbonic Acid. But as soon as we warm it up in the boiler, then the CO2 is driven off and the water is neutral again. Acid Rain is caused by industrial pollution but is unlikely to be a factor in causing damage to our tiny boilers.

In my opinion, rainwater is the best and cheapest boiler water available and i would never waste my money on distilled or de-ionised water when we receive so much from the heavens for free!

Andrew
 
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