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Old Dec 08, 2015, 09:14 PM
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As a rule of thumb, for the next jet problem....don't put anything in the orifice that might distort or enlarge the hole. I imagine you figured that out, sigh :-/ The orifice is quite sensitive to size changes, shape changes, and lodged debris.

Whenever I see gunk in the jet, I shoot it out with a blast of liquid butane. That way, I don't risk hurting the tiny hole with a metal pick, needle, etc. Procedure: remove jet, hold butane canister upside down, and back flush jet with liquid butane...best to do this where if/when you drop it the jet won't disappear into the grass/pond, etc. Wear goggles because the liquid butane likes to spray you in the face. I also like to wear thin leather gloves to protect my fingers from the very cold butane...frozen fingers don't hold onto tiny brass objects very well :-) With practice, you can do all this within a bag (catches the jet if it gets away).

Jets are expensive, relative to the mass of brass you are buying, because the holes are so small...and thus drill breakage is a problem. A live steamer friend decided to make his own jets...he had to special order the drill bits, and they were not cheap.
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
As a rule of thumb, for the next jet problem....don't put anything in the orifice that might distort or enlarge the hole. I imagine you figured that out, sigh :-/ The orifice is quite sensitive to size changes, shape changes, and lodged debris.

Whenever I see gunk in the jet, I shoot it out with a blast of liquid butane. That way, I don't risk hurting the tiny hole with a metal pick, needle, etc. Procedure: remove jet, hold butane canister upside down, and back flush jet with liquid butane...best to do this where if/when you drop it the jet won't disappear into the grass/pond, etc. Wear goggles because the liquid butane likes to spray you in the face. I also like to wear thin leather gloves to protect my fingers from the very cold butane...frozen fingers don't hold onto tiny brass objects very well :-) With practice, you can do all this within a bag (catches the jet if it gets away).

Jets are expensive, relative to the mass of brass you are buying, because the holes are so small...and thus drill breakage is a problem. A live steamer friend decided to make his own jets...he had to special order the drill bits, and they were not cheap.
I'll have to see if Mike Abbot has the #5 jet available. I also did some troubleshooting with my engine builder over Skype. I learned that the depth the jet sits in the receiver tube is critical. I just pushed it in as deep as it would go. Is there a trick to setting the depth of the burner jet in the air control tube? Don't know what that part is called. It has air holes and the set screw to hold the jet at proper depth, whatever that is. I think my problems are related to damaging the orifice.

On another issue- Anyone know a supplier for safety relief valves that fit the Maccsteam boiler's, 60psi rating? Mine is leaking steam beginning around 15psi. I've tried letting it lift at 60psi to clear out any debris, no luck.

Thanks Brooks.

Snagboat Mike
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Old Dec 08, 2015, 09:49 PM
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Flame color and odor of burned gas are clues for playing with jet depth and Oxygen control. You want a nice blue flame with a little yellow at the tip. A green flame (and terrible stink) is a clue that the flame is not getting enough O2. My locos have a fixed jet position, but I can vary the O2 by open/close the air holes. I don't have any experience with moving the jet relative to the air holes, but the principles of flame color and odor should help you, I think.

For your leaking safety valve, I'd take it off and look with a magnifying glass for debris, before buying a new one. If it worked fine originally, than I'd suspect lodged debris (which, like the gas jet, probably has to be back flushed to clear it). You'd only need a new one if the debris had scored the sealing faces. A broken spring could also cause problems - remove valve and look is what I'd do.

It's quite important that the jet be centered in the air suction tube. Ditto, any debris that diverts the gas plume to one side or the other will cause problems.
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Old Dec 09, 2015, 10:45 AM
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Mike,
On 3-12-15 you asked for a supplier of gas jets and I gave you 2- in the U.K.
After doing a quick search here is a supplier in the U.S.A. http://www.ministeam.com/acatalog/Burners-p2.html

They do the size of jets that you want and also safety valves.

Jet sizes are
No 3- -0.15mm
No 5--0.20mm
No 8--0.25mm
No 12--0.30mm
No 16--0.35mm

You have altered the hole size of your jet so I suggest that you take the burner of the fire tube and see what the flame is like.
Make a new jet holder longer than the one that you have( the jet will be screwed 1 b.a.) this will allow you to adjust the jet in the gas tube to get a good burn with the jet that you have.
Once you have done this you can reasemble the burner in the fire tube and try lighting from the funnel, you may have to slide the jet holder back and forward to get the burner to light , once done lock it up with the screw.

It can be a bit fiddly but you will get there.
Here are 2- pics of different burners showing jet positions.

George.
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Old Dec 09, 2015, 10:11 PM
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Burner Jet issues

George and others:
I'm going to order a #5 and #8 burner jet from Ministeam and see if this cures the problem. As it is now, the burner will not light, flame burns at the top of the stack and will not suck down into the burner. If I light it at the burner, a blue flame continuously shoots out the two vertical slits where the burner fits into the boiler and it makes a loud tearing sound. The blue flame on the starboard side impinges on the bottom water tube sight gauge and packing nut. If I back off the butane/propane main supply valve to almost completely closed, the blue flame moves back inside the ceramic burner and gets very quiet. Heat output drops dramatically too. I need a second opinion on replacing the #5 jet with a #8 jet. Mike Abbott says doing that will damage the ceramic burner. True? Any experience out there with this issue? I need just a little more BTUs to make the engines run smoothly. Also, are the threads on these Ministeam jets compatible with Abbott's burner? Thanks for the help.

Snagboat Mike
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Old Dec 09, 2015, 10:20 PM
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I'd trust Mike Abbott. Gt Britain does not have the lawyer mentality of the US, far as I can see, so he has no reason to lie to you.

Would increasing insulation (of pipes, engines, boiler) help with the BTU issue? In the old days, model steam engines were capped with a tea cozy to help them stay at operating temperature (ie. non-condensing). The cozy was removable, of course. This would allow you to display your beautiful industrial art whenever the superstructure was off.
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Old Dec 09, 2015, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
I'd trust Mike Abbott. Gt Britain does not have the lawyer mentality of the US, far as I can see, so he has no reason to lie to you.

Would increasing insulation (of pipes, engines, boiler) help with the BTU issue? In the old days, model steam engines were capped with a tea cozy to help them stay at operating temperature (ie. non-condensing). The cozy was removable, of course. This would allow you to display your beautiful industrial art whenever the superstructure was off.
It may well be that my problems will all go away once I install a new #5 gas jet.

Mike
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Old Dec 10, 2015, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by hookpilot View Post
George and others:
I'm going to order a #5 and #8 burner jet from Ministeam and see if this cures the problem. As it is now, the burner will not light, flame burns at the top of the stack and will not suck down into the burner. If I light it at the burner, a blue flame continuously shoots out the two vertical slits where the burner fits into the boiler and it makes a loud tearing sound. The blue flame on the starboard side impinges on the bottom water tube sight gauge and packing nut. If I back off the butane/propane main supply valve to almost completely closed, the blue flame moves back inside the ceramic burner and gets very quiet. Heat output drops dramatically too. I need a second opinion on replacing the #5 jet with a #8 jet. Mike Abbott says doing that will damage the ceramic burner. True? Any experience out there with this issue? I need just a little more BTUs to make the engines run smoothly. Also, are the threads on these Ministeam jets compatible with Abbott's burner? Thanks for the help.

Snagboat Mike

Mike,
If you are having trouble with your No5 jet a No 8 jet will just be the same as you have reamed out the No 5 from 0.20mm to 0.23mm with your needle so to all intemts and purposes you now have a No 8 jet.
I will be very surprised if when installing a new No5 it shouldn't perform as it did before you started poking about with the No5 jet as long as that is all you have done.
The No 5 jet from Ministeam should be 1 B.A. as I am sure that they buy them in from the U.K. and that will fit Mikes burner jet holder.

I would still recommend making the jet holder longer in order to have some adjustment over the air holes in the gas delivery tube.

George.
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Old Dec 10, 2015, 04:42 PM
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Fuel Discovery

I've been using Ronson multi-fuel which come to find out is all butane, no propane. Consequently it burns cooler than the fuel I though was in these cylinders - 60% butane and 40% propane. I've got new #5 jets coming from Mike Abbott and will replace the one I damaged. I'll also try a canister of MSR fuel which will burn hotter with its 80% butane 20% propane mix.

Snagboat Mike
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Old Dec 10, 2015, 06:53 PM
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I converted my Accucraft locos to propane. Nothing needed to be changed with the burner. Since propane has a Much higher vapor pressure than butane, you can't use butane tanks to hold propane, though. I used the 1# bottles of propane you can get a Walmart and camping stores (they conveniently fit in a 1:20.3 scale boxcar). To drop the propane pressure down to butane pressure levels (for the burner) I used standard propane pressure regulators (found them on a BBQ site). I used a standard needle valve to fine tune the pressure delivered to the burner.

I had published the details of all this over on the model RR site mylargescale.com. Alas, several mylargescale server crashes over the years ate up the propane threads. If you are interested, I could try to find photos of my setup.

I found I had to change to propane to operate in Montana - it's cold in the winter :-). Gas tanks get colder as the gas exits. This drops the pressure, reducing BTU output of the burner. Propane suffers less pressure drop than butane. Mike, do you notice that your fire and boiler keep up with the engines at first, then gradually can't keep up? If so, then maybe your problem is simply a cold butane tank. There are ways to heat it, but the simplest is to put the tank in a waterbath (and replace the water periodically). Some of the Accucraft locos come with the butane gas tank in the tender, and the tender can be filled with water to stabilize the gas tank pressure.

Butane is 4 carbon, and propane is 3 carbon. So, you should get more BTU/lb of fuel from butane. The reason the 20:80 mix burns hotter is simply because the mix does not suffer the steep drop in gas pressure. A mix can be put in a weaker (cheaper) tank than pure propane.
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Old Dec 11, 2015, 12:45 PM
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Ambient Temp and Boiler Performance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks View Post
I converted my Accucraft locos to propane. Nothing needed to be changed with the burner. Since propane has a Much higher vapor pressure than butane, you can't use butane tanks to hold propane, though. I used the 1# bottles of propane you can get a Walmart and camping stores (they conveniently fit in a 1:20.3 scale boxcar). To drop the propane pressure down to butane pressure levels (for the burner) I used standard propane pressure regulators (found them on a BBQ site). I used a standard needle valve to fine tune the pressure delivered to the burner.

I had published the details of all this over on the model RR site mylargescale.com. Alas, several mylargescale server crashes over the years ate up the propane threads. If you are interested, I could try to find photos of my setup.

I found I had to change to propane to operate in Montana - it's cold in the winter :-). Gas tanks get colder as the gas exits. This drops the pressure, reducing BTU output of the burner. Propane suffers less pressure drop than butane. Mike, do you notice that your fire and boiler keep up with the engines at first, then gradually can't keep up? If so, then maybe your problem is simply a cold butane tank. There are ways to heat it, but the simplest is to put the tank in a waterbath (and replace the water periodically). Some of the Accucraft locos come with the butane gas tank in the tender, and the tender can be filled with water to stabilize the gas tank pressure.

Butane is 4 carbon, and propane is 3 carbon. So, you should get more BTU/lb of fuel from butane. The reason the 20:80 mix burns hotter is simply because the mix does not suffer the steep drop in gas pressure. A mix can be put in a weaker (cheaper) tank than pure propane.
Brooks: I think you correctly identified my problem. It was late summer when the boat was first run in our test tank. It was warm. Trying to run the boat in my shop, which right now with the heat off is a chilly 58 degrees is the reason for decreased heat output from my butane fuel setup. Mike Abbott has sent me new #5 burner jets and a new safety relief valve. I picked up a canister of 4-season Primus butane/propane fuel to test. I think the new fuel is a 80/20 mix of butane, propane. When the Primus fill adaptor arrives, I'll give it a try and report.

Mike
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