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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks -

I've always been infatuated with steam engines. However, I'm finding that the process of operation and adjustments to be non-rewarding.

After 2-3 weeks of fighting to get Ruby going (unsuccessful) - I had the brilliant idea to buy an unassembled Heisler (yes, I'm that dumb). Neither train runs correctly. Very deflating after all this time and nothing to show other than bookshelf candy.

The trains are fine. My thought process is the problem.

I'm total $4k into this (so far). Probably could sell everything (bundle only) for $2800 to $3K.

This post is to see if you've ever came close to 'Joe Namath-ing' your equipment 100 yds and walking away?

Also - for those considering live steam - you will need the patience of a saint...of which, I clearly lack.

Best,
Ruger
 

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Wish I could offer some help, but the closest I could come is using an old steam iron, to get the wrinkles out of my shirt. Yes that was about 10 years ago, LOL.

Where are you located, there may be some other Live Steam guys in the area willing to take a look with you.
Aflyer
 

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After 2-3 weeks of fighting to get Ruby going (unsuccessful) - I had the brilliant idea to buy an unassembled Heisler (yes, I'm that dumb). Neither train runs correctly.
Sorry to hear of your problems. I threw in the towel on my Ruby/FWRR loco after fighting it for years - it sits on the glass cabinet as a static exhibit these days.

However, the Regner Heisler is a different beast. Mine runs beautifully without any special build problems. The only issue we found was setting the reversing valve properly. Did you use the UK-English instructions from Graham at Gardenrailways.co.uk? Or did you work with the german?

The thread on MLS has most of the queries/problems and the solutions. Your YT video shows you need to adjust the reverser as we did!
https://forums.mylargescale.com/18-live-steam/90348-regner-heisler-kit.html
I posted a similar thread on LSC.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pete - I appreciated your thread on assembly. The reverser was giving me fits to no end.

When the train derailed and broke the site glass - shards and steam blowing galore - I was done. Only temporarily though.

After posting this thread, I took everything and stuffed it away for the remainder of the weekend.

I pulled it out this AM and, of course, had the rig running - forward even - within 30 minutes.

All good, looking forward to building a track now. Then building my own rolling stock as I hate plastic.

Lesson: Sometimes you just have to walk away for a while.

Make it a great day, Ruger.

Sorry to hear of your problems. I threw in the towel on my Ruby/FWRR loco after fighting it for years - it sits on the glass cabinet as a static exhibit these days.

However, the Regner Heisler is a different beast. Mine runs beautifully without any special build problems. The only issue we found was setting the reversing valve properly. Did you use the UK-English instructions from Graham at Gardenrailways.co.uk? Or did you work with the german?

The thread on MLS has most of the queries/problems and the solutions. Your YT video shows you need to adjust the reverser as we did!
https://forums.mylargescale.com/18-live-steam/90348-regner-heisler-kit.html
I posted a similar thread on LSC.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Steam is not for everyone! I'm kinda in the middle right now....but trending well...patience!

Wish I could offer some help, but the closest I could come is using an old steam iron, to get the wrinkles out of my shirt. Yes that was about 10 years ago, LOL.

Where are you located, there may be some other Live Steam guys in the area willing to take a look with you.
Aflyer
 

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Ruger B.
I am happy you got the loco running, must be a great feeling of accomplishment.
Good luck on the track work, I am in the middle of that task myself. I posted up a couple pictures in my thread.
George
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks George. And, yes, it's a good feeling. The suffering of frustration does pile up to enhance the satisfaction, once you've hit that elusive goal.

Like taking up guitar at 46 and hitting that opening riff of a Bill Squier song after hours of attempts...then...just wow...I did that? sorta thing..

But, more 'rite of passage' via track assembly mind-torment! At least the track isn't 'LIVE' LOL

I'll certainly take a gander at your efforts.. :cool:

Certainly I'll have a few videos of mine in progress...maybe soon. I want an adjustable grade - for competition hill climbing... Yeah, I know - NUTZ LOL

Ruger

Ruger B.
I am happy you got the loco running, must be a great feeling of accomplishment.
Good luck on the track work, I am in the middle of that task myself. I posted up a couple pictures in my thread.
George
 

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Way back when, there was a MasterClass done on the Live Steam Ruby kit. Sadly, because the main author disappeared from the face of the earth, the last chapter was never completed. Nevertheless, a lot of good info is contained in it, especially in Chapter 4 concerning assembly of the Ruby kit, and most especially, Dave Hottmanm's sub-chapter on tuning Ruby's valves...

http://www.npcrr.com/Articles/MasterClassLiveSteam/SC04-Chp-04.pdf
 

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Thanks Dwight, my Ruby kit, has gotten in the line for bench time.
 

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Ruger, dont know where your at in the states, but once we get past this covid stuff and steam ups start to happen on a more regular basis, hit a few. Retiming a Ruby to run right even baffles me and I have build Aster kits and run much more complicated models. Just cant wrap my mind around how to set those valves! But we have a gentleman, Jim Sanders of Wee Bee Locomotive Works, who is a whiz a setting the valve timing on these. As you hang around other live steamers in person more, observe what they do and learn, things will become less frustrating. Pretty much all the live steamers I have met thru the years are more than happy to help solve problems with your engine. You did the right thing, walked away and did something else for a few days. Then come back to the problem engine and try again. Our local steam group will be steaming at Jim's place tomorrow thru Sunday, not many are coming which is understandable. But the local folk will be running on his portable layout. Mike
 

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Ruger,

There are at least fifteen articles throughout Steam in the Garden that deal with the Ruby, including the late John Thomson's series on how to "Perk Up Your Ruby". Every Steam in the Garden issue is online and available in digital form (PDF). You only need a digital subscription to gain access. You can then download the PDF's and have a wealth of knowledge specific to the Ruby at your fingertips. Check it out at www.steamup.com.

Scott
 

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ruger
I know little about live steam, but
ive read the marc horovitz book, a passion for steam, which is a start. it helped me from feeling helpless regarding live steam mechanics. tweaking, well that another skill set entirely.


$4k , without joy would be enough to break most guys spirits.


FWIW,
I own the lgb aster frank s, manual and its a breeze once you read the article on firing it posted at southern steam (the US aster site)-the trick is to angle the tender front up a touch to avoid liquid butane from entering the fuel line until its fired.


I own a roundhouse R/C sandy river. its foolproof and a lot of fun. easy to light, easy to run.
if you buy any roundhouse, you will be delighted. they are designed to run easily and well. no conditions.
pricey, yes, but like certain autos, you get what you pay for in long term and in operational joy.


both will run, no issues on R1, but prefer wider radii.


I suggest, respectfully, that you chose a couple of first time steamers that are ...fussy to say the least.


I will say, if you try either the frank s or any roundhouse loco, your live steam life will go from unreliable and annoying, to simple and joyful.


I don't know what to say, other than, sell the things that make you unhappy, and, try again, if you like live steam.


I have not taken the plunge on the upper end asters, due mostly to my running limitations on my rather small outside layout. I am thinking of the Japanese logging Baldwin, however, despite it being a different scale.


I like the ceremony and other aspects of live steam. Larger radii, and, zero grades are a big plus, imho.


otoh, electric is so much more convenient and spontaneous. but its apples and oranges.


best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the link, Scott. Looks like plenty of interesting items to read. Ruby is close to becoming a prop. I have a wandering eye for a RoundHouse or Regner rodded loco...but, we'll see. Ruby may be a little to 'hot' for my tight, crude track that would seem proper for a Heisler!

Have a good one!

Ruger


Ruger,

There are at least fifteen articles throughout Steam in the Garden that deal with the Ruby, including the late John Thomson's series on how to "Perk Up Your Ruby". Every Steam in the Garden issue is online and available in digital form (PDF). You only need a digital subscription to gain access. You can then download the PDF's and have a wealth of knowledge specific to the Ruby at your fingertips. Check it out at www.steamup.com.

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey there, Steve. Thanks for the information. The Regner Heisler is practically as flawless as steam can get. I have trouble loading fuel - but, when the tank is 100+ degree from the sun alone, it does require a finesse. Fueling in the AM is a breeze as the tank is 78 degrees or so.

I will buy, probably, 2 more locos - one may be a RH. I like Sandy River....a lot.

Thinking last night, I wonder how many potential steamers have been 'run off' by the purchase of a cheap Ruby - just to have it derail. I'm sure most buy the Ruby and an R1 oval - like I did - just to have too many bad runs vs. enjoyable runs.

Less buyers in our industry can mean higher prices and fewer choices as time moves.

Anyway, have a good one and thanks again!

Ruger


ruger
I know little about live steam, but
ive read the marc horovitz book, a passion for steam, which is a start. it helped me from feeling helpless regarding live steam mechanics. tweaking, well that another skill set entirely.


$4k , without joy would be enough to break most guys spirits.


FWIW,
I own the lgb aster frank s, manual and its a breeze once you read the article on firing it posted at southern steam (the US aster site)-the trick is to angle the tender front up a touch to avoid liquid butane from entering the fuel line until its fired.


I own a roundhouse R/C sandy river. its foolproof and a lot of fun. easy to light, easy to run.
if you buy any roundhouse, you will be delighted. they are designed to run easily and well. no conditions.
pricey, yes, but like certain autos, you get what you pay for in long term and in operational joy.


both will run, no issues on R1, but prefer wider radii.


I suggest, respectfully, that you chose a couple of first time steamers that are ...fussy to say the least.


I will say, if you try either the frank s or any roundhouse loco, your live steam life will go from unreliable and annoying, to simple and joyful.


I don't know what to say, other than, sell the things that make you unhappy, and, try again, if you like live steam.


I have not taken the plunge on the upper end asters, due mostly to my running limitations on my rather small outside layout. I am thinking of the Japanese logging Baldwin, however, despite it being a different scale.


I like the ceremony and other aspects of live steam. Larger radii, and, zero grades are a big plus, imho.


otoh, electric is so much more convenient and spontaneous. but its apples and oranges.


best of luck
 

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Thinking last night, I wonder how many potential steamers have been 'run off' by the purchase of a cheap Ruby - just to have it derail. I'm sure most buy the Ruby and an R1 oval - like I did - just to have too many bad runs vs. enjoyable runs.

Less buyers in our industry can mean higher prices and fewer choices as time moves.
An excellent observation. Those of us who have tried a Ruby and moved on to something better would agree with you. (Especially those with R1 curves. Note that the Accucraft specs call for 4' radius, 8' diameter for the Ruby!)



When asked, I always suggest the next 'grade' of Accucraft model - the $1,000-$1,800 Shay, Mogul, or similar medium size locos. They are much easier to handle and run very nicely.

BTW, don't be put off Accucraft by the Ruby. The medium size models, while not foolproof like a Roundhouse, are very nice and great fun to steam.
 

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I found the problems and foibles of the Ruby to great learning studies. I made numerous mods including turning it into a 2-4-4 Forney. I must admit that I haven't run it in a long time but I have never been sorry that it was my first steamer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I tell ya, Pete. I'll only recommend a geared loco for the budding enthusiast. You can hastily track down (in most cases), and have rewarding, forgiving performance from these crawlers.

My opinion only: you need $5K to get into this hobby comfortably....put $2K or so into a loco...do it right. Track, switches, leveling, etc will fill in the other $3K or so... Can always quickly sell (a quality loco) if steaming winds up not being your thing..

Of course, I've yet to operate a proper rodded loco....that may change within days...if I can find something... hmm Wilson....:)

An excellent observation. Those of us who have tried a Ruby and moved on to something better would agree with you. (Especially those with R1 curves. Note that the Accucraft specs call for 4' radius, 8' diameter for the Ruby!)



When asked, I always suggest the next 'grade' of Accucraft model - the $1,000-$1,800 Shay, Mogul, or similar medium size locos. They are much easier to handle and run very nicely.

BTW, don't be put off Accucraft by the Ruby. The medium size models, while not foolproof like a Roundhouse, are very nice and great fun to steam.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I would agree. Ruby frustration is (for me at least) more of a knock on the company support. I'll get the Ruby going again - probably similar to yours in that I'll transform it into something else....within $ reason, of course.

It remains a cheap platform to exercise my own madness (i.e. replacing safety valve with bolt, etc). :)

I found the problems and foibles of the Ruby to great learning studies. I made numerous mods including turning it into a 2-4-4 Forney. I must admit that I haven't run it in a long time but I have never been sorry that it was my first steamer.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I hope you didn't :eek:
Hot rodder at heart. Yeah, I toyed around with Ruby after considering it a loss. Ran 78PSI (had to keep under 80 as out of pressure gauge #)..

Sounds fishy, I know - but that thing literally wheelied without rolling stock...insane I tells ya!

DO NOT DO THE ABOVE UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED FOR THE WORST!!
 
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