Getting ready for my first steaming

Post Reply
DAOlsen
Associate Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:50 pm

Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by DAOlsen » Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:34 pm

Hi all,

I didn't want to highjack Arlon's thread, but I too have been watching the weather starting to cool (slightly) and am thinking about attempting my first ever live steam run. This is an entirely new area for me and I am approaching it with a mix of excitement and just a bit of intimidation.

My loco is an Aristo 0-4-0 that I have owned since new. It has never been steamed having been stored in its original case in a climate controlled area for a number of years.

I have gathered up the basic supplies (distilled water, steam oil, butane), read through the loco's instruction manual several times, and read a number of older posts on the Aristo forum regarding the 0-4-0.

This is my start-up plan at present:
1. Dealing with the tx and rx batteries.
2. Visual inspection of the loco for obvious problems.
3. Light oiling of the running gear.
4. Perform initial tests of the electronics per the manual.
5. Fill the various fluids per the manual, .... and press the ignitor.

So, experienced live steam folks did I omit anything? Are there any other things you would recommend that I do based on my loco coming out of prolonged storage for its first firing?
I wish that I had an experienced live steamer looking over my shoulder (but I don't) so any input would be much appreciated.

Dennis

DAOlsen
Associate Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:50 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by DAOlsen » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:43 pm

Hi all,
Haven't gotten any feedback from the forum members thus far so I hope that means that my checklist is reasonably complete. I have hit a couple of hopefully minor snags.

I have figured out that the "screw to be removed", per the instruction manual, to fill the butane tank's warm water bath doesn't really exist (there is just a small open hole). Someone please correct me if I am wrong on this.

I am also concerned about the butane fuel flow valve. It seems to be very very difficult to turn. I assume that it is like most valves and opens in the counter-clockwise direction. Once again the instruction book is a little bit vague "open the valve slightly" ignite, "open the valve further and slowly until a steady flame is in use". Then it sums it all up as "trial and error"; not real helpful to the beginner.

So I am asking the experienced steamers in the group for a little bit of insight.

How hard should the fuel flow valve be to turn? If it shouldn't be hard to turn, what suggestions do you have to deal with one that is.
How far should the fuel flow valve normally turn in use (i.e., quarter turn, half turn, more)?
Approximately how far should I turn the valve to initially light the butane flame?
Approximately how far should I turn the valve to get the desired "steady flame" and how do I tell when I have a good flame?

I would appreciate any and all input.

Dennis

MParsons
Associate Member
Posts: 501
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:03 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by MParsons » Sun Sep 11, 2016 12:31 pm

The maintenance challenges kind of reminds us why "1:1" railroads turned to diesel.

DAOlsen
Associate Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:50 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by DAOlsen » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:20 pm

Hi MP,
No doubt the maintenance on my live steam 0-4-0 will be somewhat different than on a sparky version, but then again, running gear is running gear whether powered by an electric motor or steam. I don't mind the thought of the "tinkering" aspects of live steam, in fact its an attraction for many live steamers. But I'm just starting out and I feel like I am operating in the dark just a bit with no one to looking over my shoulder to keep me from doing something really dumb. So I hope some live steam 0-4-0 owners will respond especially as it relates to the typical operation and setting of the fuel flow valve before I start loading butane into the tank.

Dennis

Arlon R. Sibert
Associate Member
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:19 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by Arlon R. Sibert » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:12 am

Dennis, if you can send me an PM we could talk about it. Hope you have had a good run by now.

Arlon R. Sibert

DAOlsen
Associate Member
Posts: 20
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:50 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by DAOlsen » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:25 am

Hi Arlon, thanks for the generous offer of help.

As you suspected, like all boys with toys (young and old) I had only a limited amount of patience so I "crossed the Rubicon" on my own, by steam, and still have all my fingers and my eyebrows.

To try and put a useful conclusion to this thread for future readers, I will list what I have discovered about my Aristo live steam 0-4-0 to date (of course your results may vary):

The removable screw in the warm water-bath fill hole mentioned in the user's manual doesn't exist on my tender; its just an open hole so draining all the bath water at the end of the day is a must. I also found it easier to fill the bath with about 28ml warm water using a syringe. It seems to be safer than trying to pour water directly from the thermos bottle with less chance of over-filling or spilling water on the tender's control panel.

The fuel flow valve does indeed turn to the left (counter-clockwise) to open but it is stiff to move.
The handle on my fuel flow valve is in about the 1 o'clock position, as viewed from the drain valve side of the tender, when the valve is fully closed and the valve only opens a little more than 1/4 turn.

Opening the fuel flow valve handle CCW to the 12 o'clock position seems to work well when lighting the butane burner with the built-in ignitor. After the flame is lit, opening the fuel flow valve farther CCW to the 11 o'clock position seems to work for getting a good flame for steaming.

I have only done a few runs thus far and here were the results:

1st run: Engine running light on level track, once around the layout (I discovered that I needed to improve my butane fuel filling skills and figure out how to read the fuel tank sight glass).
2nd run: Engine running light on level track, about 15 minutes
3rd run: Engine with a caboose on level track, about 18 minutes

I am having a difficult time filling the steam oil reservoir. I have tried to follow the instructions, (adding some oil, pushing the engine forward and repeating) but getting 4ml of steam oil into the loco this way is, shall we say, a pain in the rear. Hopefully I get better at this technique.

I have made a written checklist for startup and shutdown to keep me on track until I have more live steam experience. I have also made myself a steam-up equipment box out of a wheeled tool box to hold my steaming supplies, tools, and accessories.

My first impression is that the 0-4-0 loco operates well. The sights and smells of running live steam is certainly a different and enjoyable experience. :)

I will be keeping my eyes open for a second live steamer. My pockets aren't all that deep so if anyone in the group has suggestions on reasonably priced entry level live steam locos that I can look for to add to my railroad in the future I would love to hear it.

Dennis

Arlon R. Sibert
Associate Member
Posts: 88
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:19 pm

Re: Getting ready for my first steaming

Post by Arlon R. Sibert » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:04 pm

Dennis, sounds like you are doing just great so far. As far as the steam oil is concerned, are you using the syringe to empty the old steam oil (dredge) after two or three runs? Before refilling you need to get the used oil mix out as it is mixed with water and you would need fresh oil at that point. You are probably doing this already but just thought I'd mention.

Good Steaming,

Arlon

Post Reply