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I am a first timer to live steam and am trying to learn the best way to run my radio controlled Ruby. It has been doing pretty well as my skills increase but one thing has me bugged. As it's running, I get a lot of popping in the smoke box. So much so that it regularly blows out the fire. What is the problem? If you listen to it in this video it will be apparent. Help is appreciated. Thanks :eek:


 

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You are not doing anything wrong that Ruby is doing, or in other words the construction of the smoke box is doing something wrong.

The exhausted steam and a large amount of condensate run down the steam pipe during operation.

The burner heats this, again liquid water mixture in the area of the smoke chamber, individual drops of water evaporate explosively, as if a drop of water fell on a hot stove.
The pressure of these many small explosions can then extinguish the burner flame.

A solution, to install a chuffer or something (codensertank) like a member of our livesteam forum Schienendampf once did.

https://www.schienendampf.com/viewtopic.php?nxu=34487225nx30160&f=35&t=2102&p=23160&hilit=ruby+stubenrein#p23160

Greetings from Austria,
Gerald;)
 

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Gerald is right on one hand. You may also want to check your steam oil consumption. I have a shay that did the same thing, and when I slightly restricted the steam oil flow it cut it way back. Some even invented and installed the 'spitelator' which allowed some of the steam and oil to condense and drip from the bottom of the loco. LiG
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Gerald is right on one hand. You may also want to check your steam oil consumption. I have a shay that did the same thing, and when I slightly restricted the steam oil flow it cut it way back. Some even invented and installed the 'spitelator' which allowed some of the steam and oil to condense and drip from the bottom of the loco. LiG
Nick,
Could you elaborate a little for me. How would I restrict the steam oil flow?
What is a "spitelator" and how is it built? :confused:
note: I am already using a Summerlands chuffer.
 

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Joe, restricting the steam oil: some put a little pin the hole from the tank to the cylinders, I saw an article where you drill and tap the filler plug, put a screw with a couple of nuts or washers to take up some room in the tank, that didn't work for me. The spitelator (guy who came up with the idea named it) is a tank spliced in the exhaust line, water condenses and the oil is trapped there to drain off. Sorry, poor pics, but best I could do. As you can see I even insulated the exhaust pipe to hopefully keep the exhaust as hot as possible, still spit till I put the tank in. You can pinch the end of the drip pipe so some steam still goes out the stack. Hope that helps. I know I'm not so good with words, so if something I didn't explain properly ask again. LiG
 

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Joe, I didn't like those pics, so I removed the front truck to get a clearer shot of it. As you can see this was done on a Shay and had a lot of exhaust pipe to mess with. Not familiar with the Ruby so don't know what you have. May have to double back on it or something like that. Hope this is clearer. LiG
 

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. . .
The exhausted steam and a large amount of condensate run down the steam pipe during operation.
The burner heats this, again liquid water mixture in the area of the smoke chamber, individual drops of water evaporate explosively, as if a drop of water fell on a hot stove.
The pressure of these many small explosions can then extinguish the burner flame.

A solution, to install a chuffer or something (codensertank) like a member of our livesteam forum Schienendampf once did.

https://www.schienendampf.com/viewtopic.php?nxu=34487225nx30160&f=35&t=2102&p=23160&hilit=ruby+stubenrein#p23160

Greetings from Austria,
Gerald;)
As Gerald said - though I found it was mostly the oil that was "popping" on my engine. Watching your video, I noticed there's a big puff of steam/smoke when the 'pop' happens, and it looked like blue smoke to me, which means it is oil.

The Rubys are renowned for being messy. Accucraft makes sure the cylinders get lots of oil so the lubricator has a fairly big hole in the steam pipe to let the oil out. (Hence the suggestion to limit the oil, which is not a simple fix.) The oil oozes out of the top of the steam pipe and drops into the hot part of the smokebox. Pop!

Next time, run it with the smokebox door cracked slightly open and see if that stops the fire going out. For some reason, there needs to be lots of airflow through the smokebox when these engines are running, and there needs to be a big hole in the smokebox saddle to encourage that draft.

There have been numerous threads on the subject over the years. Read this one:
https://forums.mylargescale.com/18-live-steam/1198-fwrr-ruby-firing-problems-redux.html
and try googling "site:mylargescale.com ruby fire goes out". (If you see something with Dave Hottman's name on it, he's the expert on Ruby problems.)

Finally, as you say you have a chuffer installed - take it out and put back the original 'blast pipe'. See if that changes things. I couldn't tell you had a chuffer from the video - too quiet. And there is a note somewhere in the threads that the chuffer may be too wide and it is blocking the sirflow in the stack - so try the original pipe.
 

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Pete,
You are correct. The video was a few days before I installed the chuffer. It did not make a difference (although I like the sound much better).
 

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One thing to look for is that some Ruby's have too small a hole in the bottom of the smokebox which leads to the burner going out.
Opening up the hole or drilling another one should stop the flame going out
The Ruby exhaust tube is crimped at the top and has a small hole in the side. This keeps it from squirting water out the stack at startup by diverting it into the smokebox and out the hole in the bottom onto the track.
By cutting off the crimped part, the water and oil will go out the stack and mostly end up on top of the boiler where it can be wiped off after the run.
Some have had success in reducing the oil flow by inserting a wire of about .008" in diameter in the small hole in the tube that passes through the lubricator
 
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