Fire In the Hole! - (Keeping the Fire Going)

This forum is dedicated to Riding Scale Railroading with propulsion using other than steam (Hydraulics, diesel engines, gas engines, electric motors, hybrid etc.)

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Location: Erie, PA

Re: Fire In the Hole! - (Keeping the Fire Going)

Post by Builder01 » Wed May 17, 2017 9:05 pm

Hi Baggo!

I finally have my loco to the point that I can steam the boiler. I have done it only twice now, and the second time went quite well, even if it was only on a rolling road.

Yes, I finally have some real lump charcoal. I will prepare some tomorrow and hopefully get a chance to try it out this weekend. With the correct coal, it was actually not too bad to keep the fire going.

Good to see you on this forum!


James Powell
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Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:42 pm

Re: Fire In the Hole! - (Keeping the Fire Going)

Post by James Powell » Fri May 19, 2017 12:08 am

Builder01 wrote:Hi James,

No external blower needed for me, as I have a way to use the locos own blower with compressed air, It works quite well.

Understand, the fire hole is only 1-1/2" in diameter, Large lumber is simply not going to fit.

As I got to your third paragraph, it sounded like you were describing a steam tractor, I guessed correctly! It's almost the same as a locomotive, but, not quite. Things like the axle pump will not operate until the loco is actually moving. Pumps on a tractor can probably work as soon as you are able to turn the flywheel.

I am burning coal, so I don't really know what to do with descriptions of how to burn propane. It is interesting though.

Thank you for all of the suggestions, and don't worry, I would never soak anything in gasoline to burn!!

-Internal or external, either style of blower will work fine. Try to avoid running air on top of the boiler to use the engine's own blower (seen it plumbed that way, means the temp has to go up in direct proportion before you get steam...).
-while this is in reference to our 4" tractor, we have enough variety of engine to keep life interesting- everything from a Wilesco tractor, to a 0-4-2 Dart in 7.25, to the 4" tractor :). I also hold full size 3rd class Stationary & 2nd Class Marine steam tickets...
-pump on engine- with my Britannia, being fairly reliant on the axle pump, the best way I found was to blow down the boiler at the end of the run, then to refill by walking the engine (it's 3/4" scale) around the track- it takes about 3000' of pushing to get to normal operating level or so. If the boiler was full, there is the bypass return, which goes to the top of the tender tank, so just pushing it up and back on the track shows if the pump would work, or if a quick check valve cleaning was needed.
-if the door is 1 1/2" round, you should be able to get something like 1x1" pieces in through the door- our experience with a long boxed 3/4" engine (it had ~22" of grate in 3/4" scale, about 3.5x6" of box) was that sticks that fit through the door were about perfect. The trick was finding 1x boards to make said sticks from. One of our friends kindly cut up pallets at work for us & supplied moderately large volumes of perfectly sized wood for burning. Thanks Steve Estock !.
-charcoal in an engine, generally, as long as you never stop shoveling, then charcoal should work as fuel. If the engine won't steam on charcoal, there is something else wrong. You just can't put the shovel down. (it's not quite as bad as corn was, but close...).

Practice makes perfect. The more times you get steam up, the easier it becomes with both this engine, and another one...



Start them young ! it's the only way to get them experience...


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