Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

This forum is dedicated to the Live Steam Hobbyist Community.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, cbrew

daves1459
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by daves1459 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:46 pm

Needle valves are often used for regulating the burner. There are several designs available. Some take several revolutions to go from off to maximum gas flow. You'll want a valve that does it all in one revolution.

I'm also one of the stiff back crowd. Like mentioned above found the gas valve has to be adjusted often. I found that with the gas valve in the cab my back fatigue was increased.

Below are a couple of photos of my Disney 4-4-0 set up. One is an engineers eye view of the total locomotive control lay out. For convenience and ease of operation I put the gas valve in the tender with a gas pressure gauge. From you video it appears that your using slotted cap burners which are probably SolarFlo. If so the burner maximum designed output is at 13 inches of water (.46 psi) gas pressure at the burner. The valve is a gas flow control valve and the gauge 15" water both purchased on Ebay. With 6 psi at the tank pressure regulator one revolution of the valve handle is 13" on the gauge. So control is easy and the gauge gives me at a quick glance exactly where my burner is at. Some engineers just use the sound of the burner to give them an idea what the out put is. I like the gauge because after a little operating experience I know the "simmer" pressure, down hill setting, up hill setting, and so on.

The red button is the burner igniter grafted from a barbecue kit. The other two gauges and the brass handle are the air brakes. With the set up shown once under way, with the blower slightly on, I'm only leaning over into the cab for the throttle, injector steam valve, and whistle valve.
Attachments
DSC01560.JPG

daves1459
Posts: 93
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:58 pm

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by daves1459 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:53 pm

For some reason the overall view did not get through so am trying again.
Attachments
DSC01559.JPG

Bill C
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by Bill C » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 pm

Hi Dave,

Wow, that is a beautiful set-up. I am an old helicopter pilot, so the gauge panel appeals to me. I appreciate your comments about the separate settings and the need to adjust the valve.

Regarding the blower, the Allen Mogul prints call for me to use a 3/16" copper line. I have heard my coal burning friends say to use a 1/4" copper line. Do you (or any of you all who run propane) have a blower tube size recommendation for me?

Thanks again,

Bill

User avatar
PeterCraymer
Posts: 169
Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:57 am
Location: Maysville, Ga.

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by PeterCraymer » Thu Nov 09, 2017 7:58 am

I burn coal in my Allen 10-Wheeler, but I used 1/4" copper for the blower since I had fittings and tubing that size. What matters is the size of the holes you put in it. I did mine to print and I have plenty of capacity for most any situation.

lfisher
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:19 pm

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by lfisher » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:29 am

As I was laying out the cab of my Chloe I first considered placing the propane firing valve dead center on the cab floor. However as I kept developing details for the cab I realized I’d rather have the valve disguised so that the cab looked as close to prototypical as possible. As a result I decided to use the prototype’s mechanical brake control as a solution.

I modeled the brake based on the Baldwin drawings which conveniently placed the brake handle just above the top of the water tank and within easy reach of full size, slightly portly, and aging engineer. The shaft for the brake extends through the cab floor and has a coupling at the end that fits onto the stem of the propane valve. Another advantage is the brake lever doubles as an indicator of the position of the valve whereas a typical knob or valve wheel needs to be marked so you can see its position.

Here’s a photo of the assembly.
Attachments
8DC1DC0E-27EA-4053-AEED-380A838098D3.jpeg

RET
Posts: 748
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:36 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by RET » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:40 pm

Hi everyone,

Have any of you considered an automatic boiler pressure control system with steam pressure modulating the propane gas flow?

That's what I intend to build when I get Big Boy a little further along. Got it designed in my head, just haven't built it yet. I'll model it on an air pressure regulator valve and use about a 3/8" bore cylinder piped to the boiler to actuate the valve stem on the regulator. By choosing the control spring properly, you can get the pressure range you want. You would also need an adjustable bypass for the regulator to set the minimum fire level and a barbecue lighter to light the propane at the burner inside the firebox.

For Big Boy, the idea is to have two systems running two different sets of burners with one group set 5 psi higher than the other. You also need a system shut off valve and the burners need to have a good turndown range.

As I said, not built yet, but there is no reason it won't work. Yes, Big Boy is still a work in progress, just things are happening slowly.

Richard Trounce.

User avatar
Harlock
Posts: 3641
Joined: Tue Jan 23, 2007 1:19 am
Contact:

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by Harlock » Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:36 am

RET wrote:Hi everyone,

Have any of you considered an automatic boiler pressure control system with steam pressure modulating the propane gas flow?

Richard Trounce.
I've thought about it often but not done anything about it. Mostly for beginning drivers to allow me to introduce them to one complication at a time, and for parking it for lunch and that sort of thing.

The basic idea in my head was an arduino controller with a thermocouple or a steam-compatible pressure transducer plugged into the boiler as the input, and as the output it controls a miniature electrically actuated valve which controls gas to the burners. There is a bypass line that provides a constant idle propane pressure to the burners or a sub-set of the burners, which is settable via a separate needle valve. At it's simplest it is an on-off solution. By creating banks or having a continuously variable valve, one could have finer control, but it's easier to mix it with manual setting of the burner level when on. With the controller you could get fancy very easily, and have it set the level based on the RATE of pressure increase or decrease to accommodate different situations. (less gas applied for less rate of pressure drop, to try to maintain an equilibrium.)

All of this stuff can be hidden below the deck, with a few discreet buttons to change modes (idle vs. run) if desired.

Either way some interesting ideas. The mind is willing, the bandwidth for more projects is wanting.

Your mechanical solution is elegant and simple if it has a fine enough adjustment to dial in the threshold.

-M
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
Contributing Editor, Live Steam Magazine
Webmaster, Allen Models of Nevada

RET
Posts: 748
Joined: Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:36 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by RET » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:25 pm

Hi Harlock,

For this to work, there are a number of requirements and some extra niceties. For Big Boy, all of these things have come together.

When Gerhardt built Big Boy, I've come to believe that he had the same idea. That's why he put a venturi in the throttle body where it bolts onto the dry pipe in the smokebox. That is the perfect point to tap off for the boiler pressure. With the throttle closed, you see the true boiler pressure, but when the throttle is opened, the apparent pressure drops immediately causing the burner control to go on high fire right away. The venturi isn't necessary but is one of the "niceties" I mentioned.

A requirement is to have one or more burners with a high turndown ratio (see pictures).
IMG_0436a.jpg
Burner on high fire. Note white heat of insulating brick.
IMG_0435b.jpg
Burner on low fire with flame stable on smallest internal tube.
For Big Boy, there will be two burners of the size shown and a third smaller one. All three will fire on the insulating brick which is held in a stainless steel box where the grate would normally be. There will also have to be a stainless steel plate to close off the bottom of the firebox thus blocking off excess air.

Hven't built it yet, but it should work with the control I described previously. At least, that's the plan.

Richard Trounce.

sunkenmel
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:07 pm

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by sunkenmel » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:44 pm

My value is mounted in my tender. I used 2 values. The lower one is used as the control of a pilot light so I can keep my burner on. The upper value is my main control. I have a flex hose that connects my tender to the loco.
Attachments
20170726_075031.jpg
Yaphank Valley Western

Bill C
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Re: Video question, where to mount a propane control valve

Post by Bill C » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:11 pm

Thank you all for the additional photos and comments, I am soaking them in for my project. The discussion about Gas Burner Regulators and pilot lights reminded me of an article by the same name in Live Steam an Outdoor Railroading by Jesse Livingston, in the March/April 2007 issue, pages 36-38.

Have any of you built and used one of these?

Bill

Post Reply