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'Improving' the Aster Span Can

8132 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.


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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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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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