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Discussion Starter #1
Mornin' All - First of all, let me say that the comment in this post was not generated by me, but by a member of another forum based over here in UK.

After bad-mouthing Aster products in general for a couple of years, he or she has finally taken the plunge and bought the Aster Bulleid light pacific to build.

I have already spoken to Mr Pullen about the contents of this post, and have heard his most sensible response, and caused it to be posted on the other forum via a second party, but since there are a lot of you in the USA who have also built this model, I would be very interested to hear your comments on his/her proposal/ideas, with a view to helping him/her to get it right, or to put him/her right.

Here is the meat of the quote -

'I am about to begin building an Aster Spam Can Pacific. It is unfortunate that such a highly detailed model is plagued by 19th century technology, OVS himself would be horrified.

The archaic meths burners will go but I am left with the silly hand pump in the tender for water top up. Now there is an axle pump when running, but an R/C controlled electric pump makes an obvious solution. The question is should I simply make this a motor and crank arrangement or has anyone any experience of a high revs turbine pump in minature[sic]?

A mate in the States has built a steam one for his Niagra[sic] class 71/4" very succesfully and it is a bit of a long shot but someone may have had a go in the smaller scales that would deliver at 60psi.'

So - Is he/she trying to solve a problem that does not exist? AFAIAA the loco is a proven winner with its current method of firing configuration, and IMO trying to out-guess Aster in the re-design of one of their most successful and fast-selling models to date seems to be pointless to me. The comment 'plagued by 19th century technology' seems a trifle out of place, too, but then I have only one Aster loco to judge by it, a similarly-fired BR01, and that works perfectly, even in driving rain and a howling gale.
Bleeve it or don't, I AM actually trying to help him/her, so your comments or ideas would be much appreciated.

Graders

tac
www.ovgrs.org
G1MRA
 

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Tac,
the whole point of this hobby is 19th Century technology! Ill be interested to see what he considers "Better" than the wick burner.the electrivcpump idea is acceptable but having some experience in the pump area, a tiny turbine [multi stage] pump would be beyond most of us to make..the small diameter of the stages means very high rpm or very tight tolerances,some people derive great joy from armchair redesign
of other peoples work and its a valid pursuit if done properley.
From my point of view, Im the driver .happy to put my hand in the cab or on the pump handle while watching the gauge glass, and not have to worry about wether the batteries in the tender have enough charge[assuming I can fit them in].

Gordon.
 

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Tac
I can see where the person you quote from is coming from. I do not currently have an Aster locomotive in my steam locomotive roster, but I have given them careful consideration from time to time and my first requirement would be to get rid of the meths/alchohol burner. Before giving my reasons, let me say that I appreciate that a great many people prefer this method of firing and I applaud Aster for meeting that demand (let customer choice prevail).

From time to time I run my locomotives at public shows on a very scenic railway. The risk to the public and the railway of a meths/alchohol fire is far too high and the owner of the railway has rightly banned meths/alchohol firing.

I run a model railway group in a local school having previously worked there as a science technician and I take my steam locomotives in occasionally for the enjoyment of the children. Whilst working at the school I looked into the safety issues and the school (rightly in my view) had banned the use of meths/alcholhol fired steam engines. My researches showed that the only reported accidents in schools were caused by meths/alchohol accidents, not by the steam engines themselves.

I prefer not to have an uncontrollable fire in my locomotives. The running of a steam locomotive is a combination of driving and correct firing. I know I get it a bit wrong occasionally, but it seems inappropriate to me to see a big locomotive (like the new 9fs shown on film clips recently) pounding along with a long consist but with the safety valve blowing continuously. Is it not possible that the need to pump in water would be reduced if water was not being wasted by a continuously blowing safety valve?

Gas firing is the only realist option for me to meet all circumstances, but I know the meths/alchohol champions criticise this on grounds of burner noise. However, is this any worse that safety valve noise? Correctly designed, a gas burner does not have to be noisy and in fact one on mine is impossible to hear at a public show. I purchased a traction engine kit last year and this was normally supplied with meths/alchohol firing, but was available with a replacement gas tank and ceramic burner which I of course chose. This is an ideal alternative and involved minimal change to the model - perhaps this is an option the the Aster locomotives. I would certainly look at this if I take the plunge and buy from Aster.

As for the water pump question, I have one locomotive fitted with an electric pump run by WLDS, but it would be very easy to hook one of these into radio control if required. This is much simpler solution than the proposition of a steam driven pump.

David
 

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Asters meth engines run more prototypical than the gas burner engines. Short of coal, its the closest you can get to realism (due to the draft system).

It really depends on what you want to run at the given moment, they both have pros and cons. Some people want to be as close as the real thing as they can get, others want more safety and ease of gas firing.
I am one of those that purposely got a meths loco because I wanted more nob's to turn. More stuff to tweak and play with when you run them.

This is also a hobby of "do-it-yourself" mostly, if you don't like it, change it ;-P There is a lot of fun to be had just figuring out how and your loco will be unique. (aside the small risk you take if you mess it up hehe)
 

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I'm sure that the meths vs butane firing thing will go on ad infinitum. I think it has a lot to do with the individual and the specific loco. As for safety, I can see plusses and minuses for either method. Back in the early 1980s I saw and ran Aster meths in public arenas w/o any mishap. The closest thing to a mishap that I saw was a leaky meths connection spilling meths on the track and igniting which was quickly dealt with using a squirt of water. Just keep a way to extinguish a fire handy. Some water and a small fire extinguisher should surfice. The most important thing with any loco is to know the loco and how to run it with constant attention to detail.

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dear All - please don't shoot the messenger - I am already converted!! I have both alcohol AND gas-fired locos, and my next big loco will be alcohol-fired, too.

I'm collecting all your comments, but acting as 'chairman', with no vested interests.

When all is done here, I'll arrange for the results to be posted over on the other forum, and hope that the person concerned will benefit from the collected wisdom shown here.

Graders to all :)

tac
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I am a happy Winston Churchill Spam Can owner and I just don't see what all of this is about. I can fire up and run for all of at least 45 minutes with a few strokes of the hand pump lever. Meths locomotives are true pleasure once you spend a bit of time with them and get to feel comfortable. That butane firing was used by Aster in The K4 and the Hudson before the company saw the light and went back to meths should tell you that the customer base the they were looking at was more traditional in approach to playing with expensive old timey technology . Get used to it and you'll love it , and you might even get a few gas locomotives to pop as you steam by and their owners fuel on the running track.
 

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As to firing butane vs alcohol relative to delivery system: less fuss with alcohol. Butane has the most firing issues of any fuel based including coal. I have seen more jet problems, wasted fuel and loss of running time with butane. Then there is the imitation whistle noise or roar unless a retrofit is done.

When it comes to school settings and younger kids of a given height relative to the track and firing (unless fire up is done away from the visitors) I prefer butane over alcohol. After all would rather the little tots see the engines in action vs. rubbing their eyes due to vapors.
In all the ventures that I/we have attended and/or participated in only one had a ban on Other than that I only recall one person with a complaint relative to the resulting band on alcohol.alcohol fired engines(indoors). Very few track fires and rarely engine fires (gas or alcohol).

As to safety, if one really thinks about the issues at hand the thought of a hot "flying Aster/Accucraft" derailing into the hands or laps of the audience is not good thus maybe we all should be running sparkies!
 

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The comparison between butane vs meth or coal firing is really an apple and oranges comparison because everyone assumes a gas fired loco using a poker burner with its common problems of noise, etc. (i.e., Accucraft, others), versus any meth or coal fired. This is a comparison between a Closed Flue Boiler design (draws all its air through the venturi associated with the nozzle because of the high jet speed) and an Open Flue Boiler (requires blast/blower) common to Meth or Coal fired locomotives from Aster, etc. A gas, meth and/or coal comparison all with Open Flue Boilers is an apples-to-apples comparison; the gas version uses a ceramic gas burner. Without a doubt, an poker burner (and CFB) can be a royal PITA without some or a lot of remedial attention.


The G1MRA DEE project loco is a Open Flue Boiler design that is convertable between Coal or Butane ceramic burner. The additional feature of the DEE gas fired verson is that it fully exploits gas firing by using a liquid gas feed fully vaporized gas deliver system (with a heat exchanger for full gas vaporization.) In this comparison the ease of firing and operation I think would be gas, meth and then coal. Reports of the DEE gas fired operations are very good and comparable.


Not all Open Flue Boilers are suitable for ceramic burner gas firing. A Open Flue Boiler with a completely wet firebox appears to be most recommended type. But David Bailey has converted a C-21 giving it a new Open Flue Boiler, single stepped diameter flue, with a dry backhead and a round ceramic burner (Cheddar type) mounted at the backhead. David reports it is an excellent runner with plenty of power. David posted pictures of the boiler parts on MLS some time go for the curious.


If you are a G1MRA member and subscribe to the Yahoo G1MRA eGroup Forum then you will have read about experiences with Open Flue Boiler gas fired locos and their performance success, and a discussion (or ongoing debate) of the merits between the three fuel types.


Kevin O'Connor has proven that a poker burner can be converted to a real radiant type burner and dramatically improve the poker burner loco operations. But most only partially address the conversion (to full radiant type) by adding a single course of fine wire mesh to defuse the flame. This reduces the noise but does little for the loco's overall performance which continues to reinforce, in most owners perceptions, the poker burner (and Closed Flue Boilers) as a poor design/approach.


I think it's common that the more experience one has with Open Flue Boiler locos, (i.e., Aster, etc.) the greater the preference for operating them versus Closed Flue Boiler locos (Accucraft)- though they may still have a preference for loco type, NG vs SG.


Maybe someday someone will make commercially available Open Flue Boiler gas fired ceramic burner locos. Hope springs eternal! (Yes, making or converting one is well entrenched in my mind.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you, Mr Scott, for that post. Let us hope that the originator of the post that I quoted [probably not a member of the G1MRA], who is from his/her prior posts on the other forum, somewhat less than supportive of Gauge 1 [odd that, after spending £3000 on a Aster kit], can learn from it.

tac
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Posted By tacfoley on 04/30/2008 4:08 PM
Thank you, Mr Scott, for that post. Let us hope that the originator of the post, who is not only NOT a member of the G1MRA, but is, from his/her prior posts on the other forum, somewhat less than supportive of it, can learn from it.
tac
www.ovgrs.org




Sorry Tac, it's been a busy tiring afternoon and I took a short break via MLS, maybe I should have gotten some coffee sooner. I can't make out the who, what or where in your very short post./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif But I think :confused: (?) it's positive on what I posted, thank you.
 

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The archaic meths burners will go but I am left with the silly hand pump in the tender for water top up. Now there is an axle pump when running, but an R/C controlled electric pump makes an obvious solution. The question is should I simply make this a motor and crank arrangement or has anyone any experience of a high revs turbine pump in minature

Hello Terry, some folks would not be happy even if the Loco was given to them. Maybe this person can pay Aster to "Redesign" a Spam Can just for them. Let's see: instead of a "Archaic" meths burner, maybe they can use a solar powered, radiant, ceramic tile (from the space shuttle) more Earth friendly burner. Maybe a ecentric from a driver axle can turn a small generator that will power a gyro balanced electric turbo water pump. Since this arrangement will create high revs., Aster will have to employ the people at "Lucas Oil" to develope a new oil to meet these high demands. Maybe something like the hydrolic fluids that were developed for the Mach. 3+ SR.71 Black Bird spy plane. Electro magnetic feeler gauges can be installed in the boiler to tell water level, thus doing away with the "Archaic" old fashioned water glass. A second boiler (also solar powered) could be installed in the tender to preboil the water to make sure that it is distilled. Aster chemist's could check the water every batch or two to make sure that nothing is leaching into the system that will attack the boiler silver soldering. Every angle on each throttle and blower part has to be redesigned and recut so that "perfect" adjustment can be achieved.......if it works for hundreds of other Aster owners out there but not just "one" .............it needs to be redesigned. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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The Aster Spam Can just works - it will pull a heavy load and the only issue I've seen is that the water tank is a touch on the small side. My biggest worry is that something comes loose in the valve gear as this would require a full rebuild to put right...

I wrote a review of my build which is on the Southern Steam web site http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/misc/Bullied-Assembly Review.htm. Since writing the review I've fiddled with the wicks and run time is now about 35 minutes.

Robert
 

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As the person who commissioned the Bulleid Pacific (SpamCan) from Aster, then a few (biased) words from me may be timely.
First of all the SpamCan is probably the best of all the UK outline Asters. It can pull a heavy load or a light load without complaint. The excellent boiler design and multiple jet blastpipe ensure plenty of steam when required. Robert (Zephyra) is right that the tender water capacity is small but it should be easy to add an extra water tank to a car behind the tender if desired.
I enjoyed very much Steve S‘s remarks about possible enhancements and I can tell Steve that I do get this sort of nonsense from time-wasters who have no real intention of buying or doing anything.
My advice to anyone new to Aster and live steam is to build the model by the book, take it to a track where people who understand these models hang out, relax and enjoy! Building and running your very own live steam locomotive is one of the joys of life. Fitting a solar powered turbine water pump will be an irrelevance when the magic of live steam takes over.
Andrew
 

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i don't understand the logic that alcohol is better than butane because it burns silently and thus produces a quiet engine. I have never heard a quiet locomotive under steam. In fact you usually can't hear yourself think when you are up close because of all the hissing, thumping, wirring, etc.. If you are looking to emulate the prototype, the noiser the better!
Don
 

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Don
There is a difference-prototypical related noises hiss, exhaust, chuff, one of the best "barks" if have heard was from the coal fired K27 converted by Justin . These are the wonderful sounds of noises that our scale size engines make that simulate the real world of 1:1 steam. Then there are artifical "noises"(the artifical sounds of a loud butane jet burning/whistling)that take away from those enjoyable steam tones. A simple solution is to retrofit the burner to reduce the noise that drown those engaging engine sounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dear Mr Scott - the originator of the post that I quoted is the one who has been less than positive about Aster products for some time, but has nevertheless just coughed up almost $6000 here in UK to build one of his/her own, and to carry on bad-mouthing it as he/she does so.

Your post was both useful and apposite, so thank you.

tac
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TAC --

It just occurred to me that this engine may be available at a substantial discount at some time in the future. Possibly with parts missing, or possibly with everything still in the original packaging. Hard to tell. In any case, keep an eye out, and you may be able to pick up a bargain.
 
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