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The C-25 I have is ceramic I鈥檝e only run it once tho and the locomotive isn鈥檛 currently located at my house(I had to make room for a k-28 thanks to someone haha 馃槵) so I can鈥檛 go test and compare the performance although when I did run the c-25 it was probably 25 degrees outside and it did fine.

If it were me and there was no extra burners to have at the moment and couldn鈥檛 wait for an accucraft replacement I would try the bix burner that is similar to size.
 

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Kevin,
worth a try..i suppose.
I have a c25 also (old version) and also fine. I had the coal/ceramic burner version but that one was sacrificed to get a k37鈥our k28 was replaced with a K36鈥o I never got to run the 25 on butane but it works鈥icd and a bigger boiler too.

I love those Ks鈥擜ccucraft did a great job there-amazing running engines. Hopefully this is just an anomaly but painful to deal with for Tyler and Terry.

Sam
 

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I am very surprised that you were advised the flame on your burner was good and it should be a good steamer. Hottest part of the flame is at the blue tip, the more blue tips the hotter. You have a 'wave' of blue, a relatively cool flame. This one is turned up a little too high but the principle is there.
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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I am very surprised that you were advised the flame on your burner was good and it should be a good steamer. Hottest part of the flame is at the blue tip, the more blue tips the hotter.
View attachment 65387
That's why I want to get the box burner jet so I can make my burner look like that. Then modify it to hold the stock jet holder in the right spot.
 

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I ordered the BIX 009 with a #5 jet and holder to replace the roaring thunder in the Saito B3 boiler. Their fulfillment center is in Conn so I hope to have it by weekend. I will post what the flame looks like if I get mine before you do.
 

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Hopefully I can spread a little light on the subject.
I actually designed a burner for the C18 and made a prototype using the two jet principal which works for me. Channing sent my drawings to China and they tried to replicate it but when their prototype arrived, it was not workable so they decided to go with their original design. I was sad that they weren't able to use my design and was hopeful that theirs would work.

First lets talk about ceramic material. There are two types of material I have used. The first one is shown above and in the Bic burners . It is hard and has small ridges and holes. It burns fine but it also gets very hot throughout the plate and will cause a combustion under the plate which will ruin the burner. The second material is softer with pronounced pyramids and larger holes, This material is bullet proof and will handle any temperature. I was getting it from Bruce Engineering in the UK but they are no longer carrying it.

Now to the design.
Accucraft is using a drafted design in the C18 which id not very efficient for ceramic burners. It draws air around the burner then through the tubes and out the stack. This design is great for coal and alcohol where the air is used for combustion but where a ceramic burner gets all of its combustion air from the holes in the jet holder, the additional air drawn in just cools things down.
To have a proper drafted system, the smokebox must be sealed and the firebox needs to have air passages around the burner box. This limits the size of the burner box.

My design uses a sealed firebox where the burner fills the entire bottom of the firebox and is sealed around the edges. The smokebox is vented at the bottom similar to poker burner engines. My larger engines have had burners as large as 15 square inches. Needles to say they produce more steam than would ever be necessary.

As for your tests, the blue flame tells me that the oxygen level is low, This could be caused by the tube length to diameter is off. the length to id should be 6:1 to get the proper venturi effect. A red glow means too low a fuel to plate area and a bright yellow glow is perfect,
Here are photos od the good ceramic and a strong operating burner.
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Bill,

Thanks for weighing in. Given what you said, why does there seem to be a variance in performance? Some seem to have few problems while others, significant ones. If largely a design flaw, wouldn鈥檛 we see marginal performance across all engines?

Apparently, all ceramics, as you stated, are not the same. I had both types. The original was the soft pyramid design you mentioned. Since we didn鈥檛 understand how that stuff worked, we looked at the harder ceramic. That worked as you described.

The blower made me think this was originally designed for alcohol. So, the thought was why not go that way. Perhaps that鈥檚 the direction Accucraft should move toward unless there is some way your design can be realized. Thoughts there?

sam
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Hopefully I can spread a little light on the subject.
I actually designed a burner for the C18 and made a prototype using the two jet principal which works for me. Channing sent my drawings to China and they tried to replicate it but when their prototype arrived, it was not workable so they decided to go with their original design. I was sad that they weren't able to use my design and was hopeful that theirs would work.

First lets talk about ceramic material. There are two types of material I have used. The first one is shown above and in the Bic burners . It is hard and has small ridges and holes. It burns fine but it also gets very hot throughout the plate and will cause a combustion under the plate which will ruin the burner. The second material is softer with pronounced pyramids and larger holes, This material is bullet proof and will handle any temperature. I was getting it from Bruce Engineering in the UK but they are no longer carrying it.

Now to the design.
Accucraft is using a drafted design in the C18 which id not very efficient for ceramic burners. It draws air around the burner then through the tubes and out the stack. This design is great for coal and alcohol where the air is used for combustion but where a ceramic burner gets all of its combustion air from the holes in the jet holder, the additional air drawn in just cools things down.
To have a proper drafted system, the smokebox must be sealed and the firebox needs to have air passages around the burner box. This limits the size of the burner box.

My design uses a sealed firebox where the burner fills the entire bottom of the firebox and is sealed around the edges. The smokebox is vented at the bottom similar to poker burner engines. My larger engines have had burners as large as 15 square inches. Needles to say they produce more steam than would ever be necessary.

As for your tests, the blue flame tells me that the oxygen level is low, This could be caused by the tube length to diameter is off. the length to id should be 6:1 to get the proper venturi effect. A red glow means too low a fuel to plate area and a bright yellow glow is perfect,
Here are photos od the good ceramic and a strong operating burner.
View attachment 65398
View attachment 65399
Bill,
Thank you very much for your input.
It is my intention to create a General Ceramic Burner build guide with the information I learn in this project and offer it to be a "sticky" or reference article for builders that use this site. Unless you have such an article already that I was not able to locate. The powers of google offered me absolutely nothing on the design of a burner.

As your picture that I used for reference had the right bore, I copied the length of 1.8 inches for the jet tube. The ratio of 6:1 is a golden piece of information.

I was not able to drill as precisely as you, therefore the vent holes are not as big. As you stated, the mixture is too lean based on the color. I was going to use a different jet holder so that I could vary the position in the tube to see if the mixture could be enriched. Hopefully that would keep the pre-ignition at bay. Or is your experience such that the only solution to pre-ignition is the correct ceramic plate?

One of your previous posts pointed me towards Bruce Engineering, but I too noticed they only carried the Bix style material. I didn't think that was the stuff you used, thank you for clarifying. Have you found an alternate source?

On fuel supply, have you found a ratio for number of jets per size of burner, or is 2 #8 jets the magic number?

Looking at your other builds, you need a main chamber of 1/2 inch deep for the jets and proper mixing, but then 1/8 inch under the plate is adequate for mixture distribution?

Thank you for any answers you provide.

Tyler
 

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Hi guys. It has been a loooong time since I posted here. Very interesting discussion that I could not resist. I have owned or worked on every live steam 1:20.3 Colorado NG Accucraft has produced. Let me first say that the C-18 is mechanically the most advanced engine in this series. I have both poker burner and coal fired engines but this is my first ceramic burner engine. Let me first say that even for an experienced live steam guy, there was a definite learning curve to operating this ceramic burner engine consistently. Much easier than coal fire but more sophisticated than a poker burner. Overall this is a fantastic engine and a real bargain for the price.

Add my name to the list of people not having issues building and maintaining steam in cold weather. If anything during the first few runs I was having issues with too much steam and popping off too frequently. At first when I tried to turn down the burner to compensate, I had problems keeping the burner lit at low settings.

I do not know if it was a learning curve or just break in time but this issue corrected itself with several hours of running time. After several gallons of water and many hours of run time, it is now relatively easy to maintain pressure right at 60psi while keeping the water level at mid glass.

Now here is why I jumped in. My fire looks EXACTLY like the stock burner photographs above except I am getting a little more circular ceramic glow. Even though the engine was producing more than enough steam in cold weather, the appearance of the fire did cause me to review Bill鈥檚 old build logs as I was expecting the ceramic to really glow like his did. I finally concluded the burner was working adequately even for cold weather but could be made more efficient if desired.

Based on my experience, I agree with Cliff in that the stock burner with big blue flame should produce more than enough heat. I also agree with Bill鈥檚 post that a better more efficient burner could be built. Unfortunately after much thought I cannot offer good ideas on what the issue you are having outside of the burner which based on your pictures should not be the fundamental issue. Other than stressing the importance of maintaining very warm water in the tender, I would suggest running the engine on compressed air while holding resistance to check that each of the 4 exhaust events is providing good and even draft out the stack. A single partially clogged port can really draw an engine down and require much more power to just run.

Question for Bill if you read this far. Does this boiler have the correct grate and flue areas for good coal firing? If it does I might consider buying a kit and building a coal fire C-18 as adding a removable grate and ash pan looks very feasible.

That being said I am continuing to monitor this thread as a more efficient burner would be desirable to extend run times without increasing fuel tank size. Good luck.

Tom Burns
 

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Tom,

Thanks for weighing in. It鈥檚 great that you agree with Cliff regarding the effectiveness of the burner. it sounds like there are some nicely running engines out there and I certainly hope that鈥檚 the case for the majority.

There are two engines here, however, with some serious qc issues. One guy is relatively inexperienced鈥攆air enough鈥(but he鈥檚 an aircraft mechanic鈥..) and Terry Seese is a very experienced live steamer with over 20 yrs in the hobby. Terry was checking the gas line today under the tender and saw he had to take the front truck off to get to the fitting. He couldn't figure it out鈥 screw would turn, and wouldn't loosen鈥擨T was STRIPPED!!! He couldn't get it back in either. The trucks were built upside down with no bolts to be seen鈥he feature function certainly is a step up from other engines in the C-series but there appears to be some significant quality control issues on several of these locomotives. Maybe these are the only rotten apples in the basket鈥攁nd i doubt it鈥 but it isn鈥檛 a 鈥榣earning curve鈥 or a 鈥榖reaking your engine in鈥 or 鈥榗hecking the obvious stuff鈥 issue here. I pretty sure Tyler or Terry would not characterize this as a 鈥渂argain鈥. If the lion share of the engines are good, then an exchange of these two engines for quality tested ones is what is needed. Hopefully, Cliff does that after satisfying himself that everything has been tried.

Sam
 

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Mostly seeing keyboard strokes here. Not doubting anyones word, but a recent picture is more convincing than words, as Tdreabe and Bill Allen have followed up with. Yes I know with today's technology dates and actual pics can be 'doctored' but would be nice to see, and add to the post, thank you.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Tom,
Thank you for your input. I am curious, will this boiler/burner perform similar to other engines (Not c-18) I've watched videos of where the safety is popping as the engine putts along at a slow gate? I have yet to have an 'accidental' safety lift while firing this engine. Every time the safety has fired has been with the engine stopped, using the battery fan. No use of steam.
Please see these videos of my Second and Third ever Steaming of this engine.
Notes, I have since fixed the leaking drain cocks. The first video is the full length uncut run, use the the Slider to seek to different times. What am I doing wrong? Garage temp was 55F. Tender water came from room temp of my house 65F to 70F.

The second video is a collection of clips.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
As for defective fuel systems, Terry is worse off than I.
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Terry sent this for me to see:

White Green Line Pattern Cutting mat

Here is the remnant next to good bolt and fire or lack thereof is above with Tyler鈥ore than 1 full turn. Not much to see with the tender Terry had to drill out the shoulder bolt holding the truck on. He was trying to check the banjo fitting under the tank. Starting on that end checking the gas system. Rear truck came off no issue, naturally.

The leaking drain cocks were fixed by adjusting the yoke with pliers on one side. He finally got it to move the same as other valve.
 

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According to print trucks right-side up but flanged on top and can't swivel enough to get to the mounting bolts that the pedestal truck sits on. All screws not accessible from bottom. Seems goofy.

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Terry is turning a new shoulder bolt鈥

All the pics I have for now..
Sam
 

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Tdreabe

I watched your videos.

1. If you are using butane, it is essential to use VERY warm water in the tender to heat the butane and maintain adequate gas pressure. Accucraft does not specify max water temperature other than the touch test. You should be able to put your finger in it without being uncomfortable. Using heated water makes all the difference in cold weather. I use an electric kettle to heat my distilled water up to very warm temps before adding.to the tender.

2. On my engine when close coupled I noticed my gas line between the engine and tender was a bit too long and crimped restricting gas flow. Took a but if bending the tender side to get the gas line not to crimp.

3. As you have done, fixing drain cock leaks is essential. Having drain cocks leaks can waist tons of steam and can ruin exhaust draft.

Hope this helps.

Tom Burns
 

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Here is an example testing my burner out of the locomotive with non warm water and warm water around the gas tank using butane, not blende gas. I was quite surprised with the results and didn't expect to see this big of difference considering it was about 60 degrees outside. I am deff eager to get it back together and give it a run with warm water. I am sure some of us have defective burners based on previous photos and I consider my self one of the lucky ones but I still think the burner could be better for example, the rear section has no flame but for me if it works thats good enough.

The first four photos are using warm water around the gas tank and gas valve at 1/2 to 1 full turn open. The burner and fire were really roaring and tip of flame to ceramic was easily 7 inches in height/length.
Human body Gas Rectangle Heat Water


Below is lowest I could get the fire using warm water, basically the same as using non warm water in the tender.
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Water Gas Heat Space Darkness

Water Gas Fountain Heat Darkness


Here is the fire with non warm water around the gas tank. The little blue triangle flames are barely noticeable the best way for me to capture them in photo was to get the camera lens eye level with the burner. Also this is with the gas valve wide open. I would also say the overall height/length of the flame from tip to ceramic is around 3 inches.
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I try to get 1/2" of space under the ceramic plate.
I don't know why the Accucraft burner flame is blue. It should be dull red on low and bright orange. I looked up my Quad build which was done with the Accucraft style plates and here are the photos of the burner, with it on low and high.
Amber Rectangle Wood Bullet Metal

Automotive lighting Amber Triangle Automotive parking light Tints and shades

Amber Automotive lighting Fire Heat Gas

As you can see the old style ceramic plate burns just fine, it just is subject to the under plate combustion.
I can't remember what causes the blue flame but I do remember that I did have that problem when I first started testing burners. I think it may be caused by the jet tube length.
 

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Accucraft Ruby, Accucraft 1:20.3
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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
I can confirm the tube length Bill. The current design has the tube end as soon as it enters the burner body. The burner I built, besides being slightly larger plate area, has a tube to your specification. My understanding of engines and venturi operation, the blue flame is a rich mixture, not enough air being drawn in prior to combustion at the plate. Atmospheric air is required to burn all the fuel.

Varying the jet position in the venturi changes the mixture. Further in and the jet draws less air, gets rich. Jet further out and more air gets drawn in, more lean.

One idea I was going to try with the burner that has pre ignition issues is to slide the jet further in to make it more rich. Hopefully delay the combustion to the right place.

I think the theory of the Aster/Accucraft burner is one of a gas diffuser and not a radiant catalytic burner. In the pictures in Riograndefan's last post, the little green/blue peaks just above the plate I believe are actually gas just prior to combustion. This is their was of turning an otherwise alcohol burning boiler into a butane fired boiler. Because the design of the burner is intended not to draw in all the combustion air through the venturi, you require the blower to bring the air in.

Tyler
 

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That would be the problem with the system. The tube length can be greater than the 6:1 ratio but not less. Thus the blue flame. The ceramic burners are designed to glow thus producing radiant heat as well as convective heat. Without that glow you only have half of the operation (convective)
 
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