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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very close to my first run with my Aster P8 (BR38). Since I'm new to alcohol firing, it was time to test wicks today.

I compared steel wool versus the ceramic felt (fiberglass) that Aster usually provides as insulation, and for the P8 as wick-material.

What I learned, is that they perform equally, but the steel wool is much more difficult to light up to begin with. So I will go with the ceramic felt.

Also (1) Wicks must be "fluffy" enough, to let air pass down in the wick holder (so new alcohol can flow).
(2) Wicks should stick up quite a bit out of the burner (or the flame will be smaller, of course), like 8mm

#000 steel wool, is probably slightly on the coarse side, wich impairs capillary action. So in comparison with the ceramic felt, you need to slightly stuff the burners, for them to get enough alcohol transported to the top. With the felt on the other hand, you can just put a few  pieces in, with space in between them.

I had prepared some photos here, but I guess that possibility has disappeared in the new forum?!?
 

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Hi,

I'm a bit confused :confused: the ceramic felt (fiberglass) in the Aster kits are for insulation not for wicks why are you not using the wicks supplied in the kit that look like pipe cleaners?

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Jeff, I have read that! I just haven't got any stainless mesh, but in another thread, an IKEA "splatter-lid" from the kitchen department, has been suggested! ;-)
 

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Jeff - the firebox is enclosed and different than a mike or berk. I helped run one last year at DH. Its closer to a daylight than what we normally run. That is probably why Aster used the wick material they did. It ran well. I would not think the mesh would be an improvement as the tank and boiler are small and you need to stop anyway.

John
 

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Pauli,
 The "spatter screen" is too course. You need a screen that is about 80 tpi. to wick properly. If the screen in not packed per the instructions in will not function properly.   I have never tried this in any but the round wick "pots"
Jeff
 

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Pauli
If the wick cans on the engine is similar to the GS4 design the ceremic mat or ceremic wick material will work.  We obtain both from McMaster-Carr.
 

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John, I thought I remembered reading where this engine was supplied with 2 different types of burners/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif  The Daylight style and the Mikado style.  But I may have mis-read ...  The article I linked to earlier is only for the Mikado, Berkshire, and  like style burners as noted./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif
 If it has burners like the Daylight I would use what Aster supplies./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm using a normal 3 wick oval holders burner, that was supplementary supplied, because the original burner supposedly uses fuel a bit to wasteful, AND develops less heat - sounds like a real bummer /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif

Now, nobody has explained the differences and advantages of different wick materials. I've been told that the ceramic felt becomes brittle, and falls apart over time. Steel wool I guess won't last for ever either, it should rust away I guess. Stainless steel mesh could possibly provide everlasting performance??? :confused:

Would anyone like to elaborate on the pros and cons of wick materials? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif

The firebox is only open to the ground / track on the P8.

I was doing the testing in a garage. The flames were about 5 ich high. It produced very strong heat. Im burning 100% methanol (normally used for model combustion engines) - no impurities. The flames were blue at the bottom, but like 2/3rds were bright orange! Also, the flames were not steady, but slowly flickering / wawy. My guess is, that is air going down the burners, back to the fueltank, causing this (intended?!) action.

I'm sorry I can't seem to get my pictures in here /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif
 

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Pauli,
 I wrote the article on stainless steel wicks I have been using for over 10 years now.:)  I first used these in an Aster 8550 Mogul I was building, on the recomendation by some who have been doing this since the mid 70's.( Thanks Harry Q.) As I noted in the article you do not have to extinguish the fire at the end of the run, just make sure there is some water in the boiler, crack open the blower and shut the alcohol valve. ( NOTE:  You should also put the reverser in neutral and crack open the throtle, NEVER  let an engine cool with the throttle or blower closed!) ;) Some other wick materials will "crust over" if you let them burn out.  Some like to use a CO2  unit to put the fire out , I have seen this blow wick material out of the burner if you are not careful! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif Many just use a rubber tube  and blow down the stack. (I think this is easier on the wicks)  I am not going to go thru the whole article here.   But a quick  list : water contamination can be flushed  out with out removing the burner./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif  The wicks will stay in place if the engine is turned over for service../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/unsure.gif
 You CAN start out with Aster's wick material and try an alternative material later
Jeff
 

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I use the Runge stainless mesh wicks packed by the Master himself on my Berk and they work incredible.  However, my friend David Young runs his factory built P8 at my house all the time.  I like its burner because it is so inclosed that wind seems to not affect it.  His P8 burner works as good if not better then any Aster alcohol burner I have seen.  He lets the sheets inside the burner soak a while before he lites up. After that, it burns so well that at the end of the run you have to be very careful that the fire is out and not still smoldering. I would sure try the regular supplied Aster burner to see how well it works for you before you make a change. Dave usually gets about a 20 minute run out of a tank of water and alcohol. Watch the water level in the tender, it does not hold much. It is also one of the smoothest running of the smaller Aster engines. This engine is so good it is making me begin to appreciate non U.S. prototypes. Did I say that I like the Aster P8 :):D/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif:).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the advice Steve!

Switching between the burner types, is no problem. They are mounted the same way. As you say, the new burner originally designed for the P8 provides 20-25 minutes of running. However, people are claiming 40-60 minutes with the conventional burner. But as you say, water needs to be replenished anyway. (As, I would think, oil! I like to refill oil every 20 minutes - that provides a smoth top performing engine in my opinion.)

Using the traditional burner, with the ceramic felt however, might not improve fuel economy at all?!? Only real running will tell :)

The firebox is only open downwards, and I sealed it's upper edge to the boiler using "stove putty" (withstands 1200C). This prohibits any draught-leak, as well as further wind protection. Besides, I tried blowing real hard at the burner today, and it just burned even more ferociously.

For now, I would be very surprised if the burner supplies to little heat to run the engine.

Also, I added 6 layers of shiny (towards inside) aluminium foil + ceramic felt insulation in between the boiler and casing. I just could not resist using the 2-3 mm space around the boiler... :D
 

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Yes, I should have also metioned that you need to replenish steam oil after each 20 to 25 minutes.  If you use the standard burner, all seems to be timed out just about right.  If you go to a burner that will give 40+ minute runs, I do not know if the alcohol tank in the tender would support it. I know that you would have to add water and check the oil before a 40 minute run would be over.  Maybe after the engine had broken in a while, you could get a little more run time out of a lubricator full of oil................Dave's is still to new to tell.  I am amazed at how smooth she has run right out of the box.  A awesome fun engine. :)
 
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