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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having issues with the ceramic burner supplied with my C-18 locomotive. I haven't reached out to the manufacturer yet. I could be simply experiencing a defective burner that doesn't perform like the rest that were produced. I don't want to make any negative remarks towards the manufacturer for something that could be an anomaly.
Besides steam production, there are many great comments I, and other steamers, make about this engine. Very smooth, self starting, perfectly timed out of the box. Excellent boiler insulation in the design. Just a wonderful engine if I get a good fire. The manual even specifically says a strong fire is needed (from the supplied burner.)

Watch Calipers Gauge Analog watch Finger

Watch Gauge Clock Tool Measuring instrument

Watch Clock Analog watch Gauge Wood

Since my primary running season is outdoors in Wisconsin winters, I find it obvious that I will require a more capable than stock burner. And because I simply want to build something, I haven't tried before, I am starting this.

The existing burner has a surface area of 2.1 square inches, without modifications to the the rest of the engine I can increase the burner to 3 square inches. A 43% increase in burner surface area. This will also help seal off the bottom of the firebox as I'm told is necessary for a ceramic burner.

Wheel Automotive tire Vehicle Train Rolling stock

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Clock Engineering Gas


I will be switching to the "hard" ceramic material in this burner.

I am hoping that Bill will weigh in with his insights on ceramic burners.

My design calls for 1 inch wide by 3 inches long and 0.93 inches tall. I will be increasing the length of the jet tube to resemble Bill's design in this post.
This post of Bill's build thread. Is the best I found with details of the burner design. His Blue Comet article in Steam in the Garden also has some details on burner design.

If there are other informative posts for ceramic burner design I would greatly appreciate them.
 
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Been following your previous posts on the issue. I was wondering, if you built it to fill the space wouldn't the very rear portion of the burner be heating the cab floor? and does it need some space around the burner to draw the heat through the flue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nick,
There is about 1/4 inch from the opening to the back of the boiler, the top of the ceramic extends slightly into the firebox, and there is no contact from the footplate to the boiler to transfer heat that way.

As for heat transfer from the burner, the ceramic that I will be installing will function more off of the radiant heat transfer, the heat will shine on the crown sheet like an infrared light. The gasses passing through the flue shouldn't be much of a contribution. That said, I may add some brass spiral strips to the flues to help with heat capture. As long as they aren't too restrictive.
 

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I am definitely following this one.

what about a Bix burner?

 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked into them, the number 005 is the same surface area as the current one, wider but shorter.
 
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Thank you for the explanation of what you are doing. So I fully understand, most of the burner is under the cab and only a small amount is under the boiler? The heat provided is radiant to the SS piece then conducted to the boiler?? The spirals you speak of are used in the Brunel, and that little boiler can produce amazing amounts of steam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I need to correct you Nick, this model has the firebox and boiler extending through the cab. And almost out the back. The controls do extend past the cab.
Circuit component Passive circuit component Automotive tire Rolling Gas


In this next image you can see the backhead and the controls through the gap in the floor, there is about .25 inch of brass that is the bottom of the firebox between the opening and the backhead. That space is where the jet will be.

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This photo shows the current burner installed and a measurement of the space I wish to take up.
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I hope the pictures help clear things up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To night I was able to make the box of the burner.
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My sheet of stainless is .030" thick like OEM box. I ordered a 6 x 6 inch sheet from McMaster. The stomp shear at work was able to cut it in two. Good for if I need to try a second time. I drew out my cuts and the centerline for where the jet will drill in.

I used the shear to take it down to 3 x 5. Then cut 1 x 1 squares out of the corners. I drilled 1/8" holes centered on those corners before cutting.

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We have a sheet metal break at work and a TIG welder.
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I've never quite figured out the formulas for sheet bending, I usually go about trial and error to get a form right. But this was close enough on my first try.
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Watch Gauge Clock Measuring instrument Gas


My goal was 3 x 1. I'm only a sheet thickness over.

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I used the kids plate to catch any seeps as I telded for pinholes in my welds.

Next I'll have to drill the hole for the jet and make the jet holer.
 

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Tdreabe: thank you for making it clear, didn't realize the boiler went that far back in the cab. I am interested in the ceramic build as I presently have an alcohol fired boiler that I want to convert to gas. The alcohol fuel is blown in like the torches of old, and is very noisy.
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Tyler,
Good start. I was hoping there was something out there close enough to work for you but if others have a burner issue, you may be getting requests for measurements or building more. Terry’s engine is coming tomorrow so we’ll see if we have a repeat of the problem or not.

I look forward, as I know you do, to seeing a workable solution for your engine. I’m confident that an improved burner similar to Mr Allen’s will get your engine strongly steaming as it should.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looks good. If you have good results maybe I can buy one from ya :D
I would think that if your engine steams well, as you have described previously, I would let it be.

Tyler,
Good start. I was hoping there was something out there close enough to work for you but if others have a burner issue, you may be getting requests for measurements or building more. Terry’s engine is coming tomorrow so we’ll see if we have a repeat of the problem or not.

I look forward, as I know you do, to seeing a workable solution for your engine. I’m confident that an improved burner similar to Mr Allen’s will get your engine strongly steaming as it should.

Sam
I'm excited to hear how his engine steams.
I re-read some of Bill's articles and he alludes to the secret being two jets. I hope my redesign is enough with only one jet.

Tyler
 

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I would think that if your engine steams well, as you have described previously, I would let it be.
I am curious in the design because the only difference I can think off is that is significantly colder where you are located and someone I know is building a layout where it snows. I didn't steam today but it was 62 degrees here today. Although the more I think about it, if it only takes a few minutes to build steam from a cold boiler then the burner should fine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Nick,
I watched that video before starting this build. The ceramic used in the Box burner is like that used in the OEM. It is intended as the diffuser for the fuel mixture. If it glows it can be melted and crumble.
The ceramic I have should glow and radiate similar to a buddy heater.

Riograndefan,
Even in my garage at 60f it was a struggle to see 40 psi, and if I drove it light engine, the pressure never stayed above 25-30 psi.

And yes, today another C-18 should be delivered in Wisconsin.

Tyler
 

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Thank you, so I guess the ceramic in my WuHu G5 is of the same type as the Buddy Heater, glows red and the one in my Brunel is the softer one as it doesn't glow produces the multiple blue tips. OR I need to go back and adjust the one in the Brunel, another guess would be it IS the softer one as I think the same supplier.
 

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Tyler,
I remember you asking me how many turns out I have the gas valve open and toady I finally put a line on the gas valve knob to help me keep track. I fired it up today and I have mine set anywhere from one full turn to two full turns from closed although after one full turn I can't tell a difference in the fire.

I know your building a new burner but just wanted to give you that info.
 

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Tyler,
Terry’s C-18 arrived yesterday-no tender change as he requested. oh well, not too surprising.

He also fought with loosening up the drain-cocks-1hr he says…of course, he had the same leaky cylinder drain cock when “closed” as you did.

In spite of that, i think like you, he was ok with the engine as tested in his 1st run. She ran for 25 mins without the axle pump and she came up to pressure in 15 mins from cold.

Also like your c-18, the safeties only were used at startup but didn’t make enough fire to pop after that. I wasn’t there to witness any of this so I can’t speak to the burner performance in general. Of course, he would like to give me back the fan I gave him…but your experience with the test burner may provide some insight into whether that can be achieved.

His 2nd run reminded me of one if yours: it would run for a while then stop and the pressure drops…drain cocks leaking too…he was pretty irritated…

He’s going to test the axle pump later to tonight.

I’ll let you know more when I make it over there to check it out personally.

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I got into it today, once I get wrap up in a project it's hard to remember to take pictures.

This picture is lifted straight from Bill Allen's post that I linked to above. I built my jet tube to these dimensions, just a thicker wall, and I'm not as good at drilling so my vent holes are a little smaller.
Wood Font Rectangle Cylinder Handwriting


This is the burner construction,
Wood Door Font Metal Hardwood


The length of the jet holder after the jet is important for helping to create the venturi and draw air in with the fuel.

This is the best orientation of deflector I found, and resulting flame.
Wood Automotive exterior Bumper Rectangle Gas

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Rectangle Wood Gas Tints and shades Bumper


For comparison here is the factory burner. At different settings.
Wood Gas Engineering Bumper Machine

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Circuit component Wood Engineering Gas Machine



I now wait for sealant to cure and install it to test.
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