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Old Dec 03, 2015, 08:02 PM
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You might find good electronic steam whistle sound units from the model railroaders. I imagine that even a good air powered whistle small enough to fit inside Preston is going to have a very high pitch.
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Old Dec 06, 2015, 04:10 AM
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Hello. There is a way to make a small steam whistle visible on the ship yet sounding at a low pitch. It involves making a small steam whistle that stays visible connected with a pipe to a hidden resonance chamber. The resonance chamber can be placed inside any suitable cabin or object on deck. Such resonating chamber whistles are being made commercially too, for model steam locomotives. Email me if you need more info.
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Old Dec 11, 2015, 12:19 PM
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Fuel and Heat Output Fun

I've been getting an education on how burner jets, fuel/air mixtures and types of fuel all impact a steam plant's performance or lack thereof. Over the past two weeks I've been trying to do some more testing of the engines, but found I could not get the boiler to put out enough steam to run the engines. I pulled the gas jet and saw some green corrosion around the orifice. The #5 jet has a 0.2mm hole. I happened to have a small steel needle with an O.D. of 0.2350mm. It took a little bit of forcing, but the needle did pass through the orifice. Unknown to me was the fact that the steel needle slightly scoured and irregularly reshaped the opening. With the damaged jet in place I found that the burner would not light. Instead the butane burned at the top of the smoke stack. I also was not aware of how sensitive the jet's position in the burner was. Ignorance is NOT bliss. I've got new #5 jets coming to fix this problem. Second problem- the 60psi safety valve is leaking steam above 20psi. Cleaned and inspected valve. No improvement. New valve on the way. The last issue, reducing steam output as ambient temperature drops. Testing at Dave's place last summer was done on a 75F day. The engines ran fine. Back home fall arrived and most of my testing has been done in a chilly 58F shop. That alone will dramatically change the heat output from the butane. I also researched the contents of the Ronson multi-fill canisters I used. I had thought they contained a propane/butane mix of 40%/60%. Not true. They are 100% butane. Butane has a much higher vapor pressure than propane therefore, cold weather lowers the pressure output from the fuel tank and the heat output. Sitting in front of me is a canister of Primus Power Gas. It is used for camp stoves. This particular gas is 80% butane and 20% propane and will make more heat. Primus calls it a 4-season fuel. If you are wondering why I just don't turn up the heat in my shop - Best I can do with the little wall heater is 60F. In a week I should have all the new hardware to finish my shop tests. The lake is rapidly filling, rising 4 feet since early fall. Maiden run not far off.

Mike on Island Lake
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Old Dec 11, 2015, 01:58 PM
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Mike,

There is a fuel for "small" camp stoves, I do not know the name, but it is "designed" for high altitude, and cold weather, back country use. A good mountaineering shop should know. Maybe that would help. CB
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Old Dec 11, 2015, 03:05 PM
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Here is some interesting info on butane/propane fuel mixes. The fuel I used when testing the engines on the test bench was Jetboil, Jetpower 80% Isobutane/20% propane mix.

Dave

http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot....-for-cold.html
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Old Dec 20, 2015, 08:28 PM
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Boiler back to Normal

I decided to disassemble and put back together the gas jet and make small adjustments to the fuel/air mixture. I then refueled with the new Primus 4 seasons isobutane/propane mix. To my surprise, the boiler lit off correctly and quickly came up to pressure. I'll still replace the jet when Abbott's package arrives. After doing several cycles of letting the safety relief valve pop off, the issue of steam leaking by the valve has also fixed itself. I should get the new jets and safety relief valve in a few days so I can finish testing and launch the boat.

The rains continue with the floating part of my dock the highest I've ever seen it. The ramp that used to lead DOWN to the floating part, is now an uphill walk.

Mike on Island Lake
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Old Dec 20, 2015, 09:03 PM
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Send that rain this way!! We need more than we're getting!!

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Old Jan 09, 2016, 03:31 PM
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Haven't Forgotten You

December has preoccupied the Preston builder with the usual family affairs of Christmas. Throw in our 48th wedding anniversary on the 23d of December and there went the schedule to work on the model. Sorry for not keeping you all updated. Then throw in a major health challenge in the family (brother had aortic dissection). Couple all this with the crazy weather here on the lake and you have a less than motivated builder. January will see me getting back into the project. Left to do is bench testing the boat with the superstructure in place to check for boiler/engine room ambient temperatures. I'm still awaiting replacement #5 gas jets and a new safety relief valve from Mike Abbott. (Slow mail service from England I guess...) I can still proceed with testing with the jet and valve currently installed. Switching to higher octane fuel solved problems with burner. My shop heater cannot get the temperature up over 50F when outside temps are freezing. This will also give me lower than normal summertime engine/boiler room temps. Just had a thought- I could run a test with a sheet of styrene using a heat gun to determine at what temperature it begins to deform. As you've seen in previous pictures and videos, I've placed insulating sheets on the engines. Note to self- when building live steam powered models, use wood planking and sheeting for all walls and ceilings in engine/boiler rooms.

I've got three other boat projects to finish along with Preston: get the new 2.4GIG radio receiver to work in the MTB. Proboat ESC on starboard engine will not program, fix damage to dock done during move last year, switch over Springer Towboat to 2.4GIG receiver. This will be my rescue vessel until our pontoon boat returns from factory sometime next month. I'm looking for a cheap 2-person paddleboat for rescues too.
Mike on Island Lake
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Old Jan 09, 2016, 05:28 PM
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Yup...the should call December "mad people month" (mad as in crazy, not angry)!! And congrats on the 48th (44 here this last Nov. 11). Sorry to hear about your brothers problems and I hope he is doing well!! Crazy weather here too which has (among other things) kept me from maidening a new plane (it has either been windy, cold or rainy, with quite often a combination of all).

As to the other stuff, yeah, unless you have stuff shipped via Priority mail, mail from the U.K. can be slow, and I have also found that dealers/sellers in the U.K. are also a bit "laid back" when it comes to shipping. As to temps in the shop, yes, 46-55 pretty much here and my grandson gave me a "wonderful" chest cold, so, I have not gotten out there to make two sets of motor stand-offs I need to make for a couple of guys, fortunately, they have both been understanding. As to wood planking and sheeting, a scale boat/ship (like a model railroad layout) is never really done is it? So...a new superstructure would not be toooo much to do would it?

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Old Jan 09, 2016, 09:23 PM
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Replacing Preston's main cabin with wood

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveT. View Post
Yup...the should call December "mad people month" (mad as in crazy, not angry)!! And congrats on the 48th (44 here this last Nov. 11). Sorry to hear about your brothers problems and I hope he is doing well!! Crazy weather here too which has (among other things) kept me from maidening a new plane (it has either been windy, cold or rainy, with quite often a combination of all).

As to the other stuff, yeah, unless you have stuff shipped via Priority mail, mail from the U.K. can be slow, and I have also found that dealers/sellers in the U.K. are also a bit "laid back" when it comes to shipping. As to temps in the shop, yes, 46-55 pretty much here and my grandson gave me a "wonderful" chest cold, so, I have not gotten out there to make two sets of motor stand-offs I need to make for a couple of guys, fortunately, they have both been understanding. As to wood planking and sheeting, a scale boat/ship (like a model railroad layout) is never really done is it? So...a new superstructure would not be toooo much to do would it?

SteveT.
Redoing the main cabin structure in wood would be a major task. I could get away with keeping the plywood ceiling and just replacing the walls. I'll wait on any serious thought of doing this until I see just how hot it gets inside the boat with the superstructure set in place. Remember, I have two 12V computer fans pulling in outside air and shooting it back over the boiler and back through the engine room. Some of the air will exhaust out the side engine room doors and the rest out through the transom openings for the pitman and eccentric arms, 4 total back here. Hopefully even on a warm summer's day, inside the boat will remain cool enough to keep the automatic fire suppression system from discharging CO2. That happens at 135F. What I don't know is how soft 1mm thick styrene gets at this temperature. While the side walls of the engine room/boiler room are sheeted in 1mm styrene, it is braced with wood frames so doesn't carry the entire 6-pound load of the superstructure. We'll see.

Mike
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Old Jan 19, 2016, 05:37 PM
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Hey Mike, going back a few pages in this build log to the 2.4ghz and water question. I now have many hours on the water with my boat and havent had a single problem. My receiver with its built in antenna is just 1.5 inches above the water line and the satellite antenna is on a stick about 2.5 inches above the rx and oriented 90 degrees with all the little antennas parallel to the surface of the water. The big metal engines and the boiler block the line of sight to the transmitter depending on the orientation of the hull when its navigating around. Distance hasnt been a problem either but I am not out to explore the far reaches of the pond, I have been out as far as the outfield of a baseball field and then some ( thats what the pond I use used to be ) with no trouble. I have tons of LEDs sucking on 12v all around making for more noise i'll bet. Anyway all that to say I wouldnt worry about your radio link to the Preston.
Pete
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Old Feb 18, 2016, 07:45 PM
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i'm still Alive Temp Test of Styrene for Preston Build

Today I tested the temperature tolerance of the styrene used in constructing the main cabin (engine and boiler room walls). A 5" x 10" sheet of the same 1mm thick styrene used in sheeting these walls was fixed upright for testing with a hair drier. An infrared thermometer was used to measure the surface temperature of the test sheet. I picked 140F as the test temperature since the automatic fire suppression system discharges at 135F and the interior of this space should never go beyond this temperature. The question was: does the styrene retain its strength and shape at 140F?

Two runs were made and after a reading of 140f was reached, with a soak time of 20 seconds at 140, I physically bent the styrene to see if it had softened. I noticed slightly less rigidity with no permanent deformation in the test piece. So even though it got hot and softened a bit, it still performed well enough to proceed to the next test.

The next test will see how hot the engine/boiler room gets with the superstructure in place, circulation fans running and steam plant in full operation. Continuous temperature readings will be taken with the infrared thermometer at 6 points. Internal cabin temperature will be monitored with a hard-wired probe. Outside air temperature will be measured to get some idea of heat transfer between inside and outside the boat. While buttoned up run-times will be checked. The lake is looking inviting.

Mike on Island Lake
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Old Feb 18, 2016, 07:50 PM
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Sounding good Mike.. looking forward to more...

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Old Feb 18, 2016, 08:19 PM
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New Batteries for Preston

I may have mentioned it earlier. I've decided to go with LiPO batteries for the Preston. They take up a lot less space and save on weight. Doing this standardizes my batteries so I can use Preston's for my two airplanes as well. 6.6Ahs should be enough to operate the boat for a couple of hours. I never leave the batteries in the boat for obvious reasons.

Now that spring is close at hand, my attention turns back to the Preston. I've installed a 7th surveillance camera in my system that looks down on the dock and across the lake. Now I can check out conditions and boat traffic from my office.

Mike on Island Lake
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Old Mar 12, 2016, 09:18 PM
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More Shop Trials on Preston

I had to pull the steam oil lubricator out of the boat to fix a leak. 6 bolts and and a couple of nuts were removed to allow the tank/pumps to be removed. I had noticed over the past month that steam oil was leaking into the bilge in between runs. After removing the unit, I tightened all fittings and did an overnight leak test setting the tank and pump unit up to see if it still leaked after fixing it. No leaks, so today it was reinstalled. I did a full operational test run seeing how long the boat ran before it had to be shut down. I found that the limiting factor came at 42 minutes of run time when the condenser/oil water separator tank filled up causing overflow and oily water being ejected from the steam exhaust pipe at the top of the stack. So it looks like my run-times will be determined by water being spit out of the exhaust piping. That gives me plenty of run time. I'll do several more runs on the bench to verify the 40~45 minute run time. More later.

Mike on Island Lake
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