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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks,

I'm hoping those with experience can offer me some advice.

I've had my Aster Mikado for a couple of years and been running it at least 3 or 4 times each year....until this past year.  Last weekend at Cabin Fever was the first time to run in a year.  The loco ran fine (and I has my usual good time).  When I got home I did my usual clean-up which includes emptying the steam oil resovoir of the residual water-oil mixture.  Unlike previous times, when the mixture was basically a brownish looking color, this time the mixture was a greenish-blue.

Given what some of these parts are made of, this looks like copper oxide of some sort.

So my question to those with Aster locos and Mikados in particular is whether this is normal and okay.  If not, what should I now do?

-many thanks,

    Jeff
 

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I know that this may sound simplistic, but were you using the same steam oil that you always use?   I say this because I just bought some steam oil at Diamondhead that had that same green/blue look in the bottle.  I don't remember the name of it at the moment.  Also, I believe that the oil Royce sells also has a touch of green/blue when looking at it.  May just have been the oil you were using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good question...but in this case it is the same steam oil, from the same bottle.  I bought this from Royce and the color of the unused oil is a honey-gold looking color.

-Jeff
 

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Jeff
Good to see you at Cabin Fever. 
I doubt that the color would relate to copper oxide given that the only critical components with copper is the boiler and steam line neither of which indicated to you a problem during the run.  Doing the regular routine would be the best thing you can do: use good oil and change it in accordance to your running time.  It might be that the oil was not completely replaced and thus you could have extended the run.
I doubt that the color of copper oxide would have been able to be seen in an oily mix residue vs. water.


Posted By JWLaRue on 01/23/2008 7:12 PM
Folks,

I'm hoping those with experience can offer me some advice.

I've had my Aster Mikado for a couple of years and been running it at least 3 or 4 times each year....until this past year.  Last weekend at Cabin Fever was the first time to run in a year.  The loco ran fine (and I has my usual good time).  When I got home I did my usual clean-up which includes emptying the steam oil resovoir of the residual water-oil mixture.  Unlike previous times, when the mixture was basically a brownish looking color, this time the mixture was a greenish-blue.

Given what some of these parts are made of, this looks like copper oxide of some sort.

So my question to those with Aster locos and Mikados in particular is whether this is normal and okay.  If not, what should I now do?

-many thanks,

    Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It was good to be seen!  I always enjoy meeting up with fellow live steamers....I just wish I could do it more often.

Aren't the cylinders made from a bronze material?  Some of the copper from that could be involved......

-Jeff
 

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Jeff
Try another test firing on rollers with a different steam oil.  If operating session good and still green then flush the system with vingear water and try again.
 

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If I remember from chemistry class, blue was CuSo4, copper sulphate and green was CuSo3 or copper sulphite.          Nick Jr 
 

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I am thinking along the lines of contaminated water at some time,?? left in for a while??????             Nick Jr
 

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Posted By Nick Jr on 01/24/2008 1:28 PM
If I remember from chemistry class, blue was CuSo4, copper sulphate and green was CuSo3 or copper sulphite.          Nick Jr 


Nick,
Compounds of copper are typically green or blue....this goes for oxyhydroxides, sulfates, silicates, and carbonates.  Years ago when I was a young exploration geologist, a old timer told me that "a penny's worth of copper would color a whole mountain green".  Simply put, it would not take much of a copper compound to be noticed.

Rick
 

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Hmmm....must be something else that happens to cause the coloring effect.  I have copper pipes in my house (hot/cold) but the water does not turn blue/green.

So, if the engine was running well then there probably was no break down of the cooper into the fluids how else could the color occur, one might ask.....

Maybe an additive in the oil, bets me.

If the lube, no matter the color, is doing it's job, the water is distilled and the engine is performing I have no clue how copper compound occured.
 

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What ever caused the water to turn blue/green color if it continues to happen I would be a concernd.  When I shut down my loco's I let the unused steam force the remaining oil out of the valve under the displacement lube pipe.  Then I turn the loco over and dump the remaining water out, and it is always as clear as it went in.  Copper is used for water pipes as it doesn't normally react with it.  I have noticed if there is a very slow leak at a fitting in your house there will be a slight blue green build up possibly caused by what ever is floating around in the air.  The mystery deepens??????  Please keep us informed if you find the cause, it might save others a lot of grief.        Nick Jr
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree that another run (on rollers) is called for.  I'll try to get one  in over the week or two and report back.

The only water ever used is steam distilled water, so I can discount any household water impurities.

There may be something to leaving water in the boiler, etc. after the last run.  I have to date not emptied the water after a run.

As an aside, household use of copper pipes would not show any discoloration in the water if for no other reason than the water isn't left standing for very long.  There could still be some form of oxidation occuring...just not visually obvious.

Many thanks for the ongoing help!

   Jeff
 

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Posted By Charles on 01/25/2008 11:19 AM
Hmmm....must be something else that happens to cause the coloring effect.  I have copper pipes in my house (hot/cold) but the water does not turn blue/green.

While the 'water' may not be blue/green I can assure you the inside of your copper pipes are!  I have installed/removed many copper water pipes (some that have been in only several weeks) and all have had a blue/green coating inside.
 

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A bit off top but there is water in pipes under pressure consistently in the pipes, the valves keep it from coming out. Ever have a pipe freeze and break; to which one prevents by allowing a flow via drop with a valve. slighty open. In fact it is in pipes longer than more live steam engine runs (on vacation, baseboard heating systems, outside lines-no water from it does not make your grass green- I wish it did!)
The point about home piping was that water by it self will not react with the copper, something else would have to be added or reaction to cause a chemical release from the copper to cause the water to become blue/green. 

More to the point of our engines-
Such a reactive state would probably need more than the heat ed water and pressure of our boilers.  For example if you do a vingear wash one could get some color tint in the water that is removed(depends on strength and duration).  On occassion I have left water in the boiler of our Saito boiler (brass) over extended periods of time and when I remember and empty them, one discolored water flows out.

Until your next test firing exploring of the variables me might not be able to understand the mystery of color waste water/oil.
 

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Jeff.......if the oil after the run was the same as before the run I suspect that the lubricator was over full at the start of the run. I have found that some room at the top of the lubricator is needed to start the displacement process during the run.  Try not filling the lubricator and see if water and oil are present after the run. 
 
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