G Scale Model Train Forum banner

'Improving' the Aster Span Can

8135 Views 25 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  tacfoley
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.


See less See more
1 - 2 of 26 Posts
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.)
See less See more
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.

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.
See less See more
1 - 2 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.