Recommendations for a hand pump?

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Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by PRR5406 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:33 am

It has been suggested I add a hand pump to my locomotive tender. I'm a bit dubious about this, so I thought I'd ask the group. My boiler runs between 80 - 100psi. I have an axle pump, but disconnected at the moment, a steam lifter of questionable vale and efficiency, and simplex pump which is positive and works beautifully. If steam pressure drops and water level is low, I'd be a bit screwed.
Anyway, the discussion brought up the topic of a hand pump. Brands? Sources? General recommendations?
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by cbrew » Fri Sep 28, 2018 8:41 am

Steam lifter? what is that? maybe you mean an injector?
either way. I personally would not waste time or $$, I would take that money and add a second injector, I heard nothing but good things with Eccentric Engineers injectors.
but if you want to move forward. the locoparts double pumper seems to be a good one to go with.

FYI, I have been running only a pair of injectors for the last 15 plus years and never had to drop the fire due to injector failure.
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by NP317 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:40 am

I have tender hand pumps in both my locomotives.
As CBrew said, the Locoparts tender hand pump is a good unit.

I have the hand pumps for backup safety. Only one time have I needed to use the pump due to low water conditions, and that was at the steaming bay.
The pumps are security devices. Comes from my history operating full-sized steamers...

Also, I plumbed the pumps through the axle pumps, so I can prime those pumps before every steam up.
In 15+ years of steaming I have never has the axle pump not worked perfectly, first time.
That alone has made the tender pump worth having.

Lastly, I can use the tender hand pump for hydrostatic tests of the boiler! I just did that this year on my new Mikado.
My thoughts.
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by DianneB » Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:42 am

A hand pump is definitely a good idea. I have seen axle pumps fail and (unless you have a filter in your injector line) injectors sometimes pick up a bit of dirt or develop an air leak in the suction line. If you test the hand pump at the beginning of the season, its chance of failing is minuscule. (I test mine at each steam-up.)

It is always there if you need it and, if you don't need it, it isn't going to rot away.

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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by Bill Shields » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:05 pm

dilly dilly - you can NEVER have too many ways to put water into a boiler...even if you never use them.

I personally like pumps that go forward / back as opposed to left / right if you have that option.

On smaller scales a left right pump can be tough to keep from derailing the tender.

there is a set of drawings for a hand pump from bar stock on my www site if you want it
Too many things going on to bother listing them.

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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by ccvstmr » Fri Sep 28, 2018 5:50 pm

While my local club requires at least (2) means of boiler feed water, the loco I've been running for 18 years has (4) ways of getting water into the boiler. Primary feed water is accomplished using an injector. After that, there's a steam powered water pump, an axle pump and a tender hand pump. On occasion, I'll use the tender hand pump to get treated water from the tender to the boiler from the start (good arm exercise ???). The axle pump is used more for cooling down the boiler...when the safety(s) have lifted. And the steam powered water pump...while not the ideal way to inject water into the's simply a hoot to watch/listen to while rolling down the track.

Good practice for all steam loco operators...make sure your safety valve(s) are working before leaving the steaming bay area...AND...make sure your feed water appliances are working too. At least those that can be tested from a standing still position. Check the other feed water mechanisms when you make it to the mainline. Just sayin'.... Carl B.
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by Fred_V » Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:43 am

I've run low of water and steam a couple of times over the years. i just hooked the water hose to the engine and the pressure was higher than the boiler pressure so i saved the situation. Also you don't ever have to drop your fire. if in an emergency just stick your glove in the stack and turn off the blower. The fire will be gone in seconds.
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by pat1027 » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:29 pm

There is nothing wrong with having a hand pump if it supplements other a couple other means of adding water. I wouldn't add one in lieu of getting your axle pump and injector working.

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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by kenrinc » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:32 am

You don't mention the size of the loco. I think there might be a line in terms of the value of a hand pump in a Northern or Challenger. I have a small loco (1.5 Kozo A3) with a hand pump in the tender and I have been saved by it enough times to warrant having it. Piped as Bill does in the line for the axle pump. I prime my axle pump with it before leaving the bay which also verifies the hand pump is working. Normally I never use it. A 3/4 bore pump would be a good recommendation. LocoParts sold one for awhile but they are easy to make. Kozo has some designs in his books that work well (doubled up). I just built mine from stock using some drawings from Bill Shields. He has drawings for a good design. $.02


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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by Fender » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:10 pm

Fred_V wrote:
Sun Sep 30, 2018 7:43 am
if in an emergency just stick your glove in the stack and turn off the blower. The fire will be gone in seconds.
Fred V
Fred, don’t you mean turn ON the blower? The idea being, with the stack plugged, the blower will flood the firebox with steam and extinguish the fire.
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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by James Powell » Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:06 pm

It depends on the size of the engine. A hand pump is practically useless on a 7.x" gauge, 2 1/2" scale Northern... but a very handy thing to have on Tich in 3.5" gauge...

In general, the requirement is _at least_ 2 ways to get water into the boiler, one of which must operate while the engine is stationary. I've driven enough miles with only one feed system that is reliable to be comfortable like that with small engines, but not with bigger ones. (IE a reliable axle pump, and an unreliable injector). I'd prefer to have a good working injector, but they tend towards more tempermental in 3/4" scale :) . A hand pump is really handy at those sizes, because the size of what you can swing into the boiler by it is enough to make a useful difference. I view them as a nice to have, but not a must have, in those sizes.

On something like Tich or Juliette, I would recommend an axle pump and a hand pump, because that way you can get water into the boiler down to 0 psi, which is a situation that is likely to happen.

One thing I would strongly suggest is NOT plumbing any feed system through another. We have had lots of problems with doing so, both with the small steam waggon, and on Thing, my vertical boilered engine. Pumps which work great when plumbed on their own, didn't work well at all when trying to pump in series.


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Re: Recommendations for a hand pump?

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:49 pm

One of my buddies has a LE American with an axle pump that is plumbed through the crosshead pumps like has been described. The original water lines on this engine were soft soldered, and one of them blew apart while pumping water during a run one time. Thus, both the crosshead pumps and the hand pump would only pump water on the ground, and we had to shut it down.

In my personal opinion, anything bigger than the smallest 1 1/2" scale locomotives would not be served very well with a hand pump. You'd spend too much time pumping just to raise the water level 1/2" inch, and in my opinion, it isn't worth the time and money it would take to install it.

The LE Americans and maybe RRSC Americans tend to have a hand pump, anything larger usually doesn't. Instead of using my time installing a hand pump, I would work on my axle pump plumbing and return lines and get it so that it can prime itself and is reliable during operation. Then with a good injector and the steam pump you have, you would have 3 methods for putting water in the boiler, and that should be enough as long as you maintain them and check that they work before heading out of the steaming bays.

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