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 Post subject: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:55 pm
Posts: 31
Hello,

I'm hoping that the great minds here on RYPN can provide helpful assistance on oil firing, as I have not come up with the proper search keywords to give me the gold mine that I need to learn what I need to know (or don't know that I need to know).

I have been working on a new fire pan for a 12" gauge Hudson, as the original fire brick disintegrated after the engine went under water in a flood a few years back.

We have changed to a new type of fire brick (was soft fire brick, now hard fire brick).

The burner was initially just set in place, and basically held in it's orientation (aside from the hard jerks and bumps here and there) by the piping to the burner from the atomizer and fuel valve. It was also completely surrounded by the original firebrick (allowing no air to flow past the burner for combustion) But it is now mounted in place, with a 1/2" gap all around the burner.

We burn JP4 jet fuel. We generally run between 3-5 psi.

The fire pan structure has not changed. The opening in the fire pan is a good size. I don't have an exact measurement, but I want to say 2" x 7" in dimension. I have made up a blanking plate to cover this up to see how the engine performs. We have tested this blanking plate, and added holes to see how the performance changes with the addition of air flow area. We worked our way up from (5) 1/4" holes, to 1/2" holes, to 7/8" holes, then finally connecting the holes with a single slot (7/8" x 4" long).

We have difficulty idling the fire with a clean stack. We have a pretty good rumble, and if we crank up the oil, atomizer, and blower, it sounds like a Harley Davidson being revved up at the stop light, and we still can't clean up the stack completely. If I trim the fire down to get a clean stack, she will not build steam, just maintain.

I'd like to see if I can get some insight from those familiar with oil firing, to see what I need to learn/know moving forward so I can get this engine running. We are able to run it over the road, but she is a very smoky burner.

Many thanks in advance of any insight provided. I know this is not full size steam but it is a 12" gauge Hudson, and I feel that the mechanics are the same and I would think that we can apply most, if not all the same principles to the grand scales, as we do the full size equipment.

-Mike Walsh


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:27 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2005 2:24 pm
Posts: 71
Hello, I am by no means an expert. But I think you might find the lighter petroleum products difficult to make enough heat effectively. Check out the BTUs per gallon for diesel and used oil. Review the stoichiometric ratios compared to JP4 and consider the combustion volumes. I'm sure you could make JP4 work, I'll let others chime in their suggestions for the engineering...


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:49 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 9:34 pm
Posts: 2238
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Jet fuel?

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
Institut for Systemer, Produktion, og Ledelse


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:13 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5630
Location: southeastern USA
Clean kerosene.

PM sent.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:02 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:55 pm
Posts: 31
Yes - Jet Fuel. We have used JP4 with good success over the years. We've been using it as long as I have been volunteering out there - since 2003. I don't know when we first started using it.

The problems really started when the boiler became condemned, so a new boiler was built for this locomotive. Speculation is that the old and new may not match each other, because the boiler builder did not provide drawings, took the old boiler, cut it apart, and "made to match", except it did not match.

When the boiler was out, a new fire pan was made up, and the locomotive sat for a while, while changing of the guard (mechanical crew wise) occurred a time or two, so the minds that knew the locomotive/disassembled it were not there when we began reassembly. No photographs were taken, either.

I have no resources available to me with regard to oil firing, that can provide insight as to what I am (not) doing right. I am very much a hands on type of individual, and learn that way too. I just received some documentation that I will need to read through.

Thanks again for insight provided, and your time in reading my posts.

Mike Walsh


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:06 am
Posts: 494
Location: NE PA
Some basic info on oil firing can be found here:
http://icsarchive.org/icsarchive-org/bb/ics_bb_506_section_1299_oil_burning_locomotives.pdf
Mike Tillger


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:59 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 163
I believe you may have part of your answer in the last sentence of Paragraph 62, Page 50 from the ICS course posted above.

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Fireman, New Hope Valley Railway


Last edited by Steve DeGaetano on Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5630
Location: southeastern USA
Sully wrote:
Hello, I am by no means an expert. But I think you might find the lighter petroleum products difficult to make enough heat effectively. Check out the BTUs per gallon for diesel and used oil. Review the stoichiometric ratios compared to JP4 and consider the combustion volumes. I'm sure you could make JP4 work, I'll let others chime in their suggestions for the engineering...


I recall that during a heavy fuel oil shortage about 25-30 years ago Cass burned jet fuel in their oil fired Shays...….. light oil such as diesel has been used recently in the United Kingdom on narrow gauge stock with a vaporizing burner very successfully, as well as the Sulzer modern steam rack engines. I think that if you use the right technology, any lower BTU count compared to Bunker C could well be more than made up for by being able to more completely burn the fuel in the firebox through the use of vaporizing rather than atomization.

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Santayana: "He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it."
Corollary: "He who does is doomed to watch those who don't repeat it anyway."


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2399
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
You're burning kerosene. When you say jet fuel it might make people who don't know any better unnecessarily nervous. Are you going for shock value on purpose?

Could you share a photo of the setup? What style burner do you have installed? When you mention 3-5PSI you are talking about atomizing steam pressure?

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Wilmington, DE

If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:06 pm
Posts: 163
Even for a live-steam model, 3-5 PSI seems inordinately low.

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Steve DeGaetano
Fireman, New Hope Valley Railway


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:56 pm 

Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:46 pm
Posts: 202
We did not have a pressure gauge for the atomizer on the Tuskegee 101 at the Illinois Railroad Museum so we just ran the atomizer high enough until we got a white fire with a slight haze from the stack. Decades later when Leviathan visited the museum I fired it until it made the right sound with a bright white fire . The leviathans owner's son Joe told me they didn't fire it more than 35 lb and he was shocked to see that I had 70 lbs in on the atomizer. But that's what it took to be responsive enough to pull a 3 car train. It was such a perfect fire. 35 lbs worked well for an Idol fire.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:18 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 591
JP-4 is an obsolete military standard. 50-50 kerosene and gasoline 'basically'. You're not burning JP-4. 50% gasoline would make it a pretty dangerous easily ignited fuel.

JP-8 is the current standard, consider it more of a kerosene diesel blend. You're probably not burning JP-8 since it's also a military fuel.

Jet A is the current commercial jet fuel sold at airports. Mostly similar to JP-8. I don't know the advantage of running Jet A over diesel or kerosene, but at least this is the one fuel you can buy.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:11 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:12 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Bremerton, WA
Draft issues? How did you decide to set up your front end? Maybe not the damper after all.

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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:49 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:58 pm
Posts: 62
mrwalsh85.
Found your request quite interesting, especially some of the feedback you got.
Talked to some friends about it.
The problem you face is the same as the full size loco's in today's world.

So your questions are quite relevant.

One friend, who works on this stuff, suggested propane as a fuel.
Not practical for the big stuff, but has real benefits for what you are doing.

There are numerous fuels used today to fire steam loco's.
They all work, more or less, but cost and ....availability....is the deciding factor.

Just so you know, the big guys, such as CPRail (2816) and UPRR (Big Boy).. burn recycled diesel. (from their own fleets).

A Mr. E. Dickens has been working on the very same problem recently. A bit bigger than yours, but the same issues.
Converting from coal to oil...and customizing the new burner to the firebox.

Dennis.


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 Post subject: Re: Request for information - Oil Firing
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 1:45 am
Posts: 323
Location: Tennessee or Alaska
I agree that having a gauge on the atomizer can be a crutch if the purpose is misunderstood.

At White Pass a couple of years ago we had a few loads of random fuel. First, supposedly we had a big, very old load of bunker oil from somewhere up north and the engine loved it. Burned hot and clean and smelled really good, almost like coal. Then we somehow wound up using a bunch of diesel (I believe No. 2) after that ran out and it was awful. Stank, the engine wouldn't steam, made the cab insanely hot, and did a number on the smokebox paint. I wasn't one of the firemen, but there was a big difference using road diesel compared to the No. 5 oil that we were normally using. It gave everyone headaches and it was awful. That said, it was the same crew every time the engine went out, the only thing that changed was the fuel.

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