Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

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Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 10:25 am

Hello all, Just wanted to see what others thoughts were about the impending need to get our engines tested before we can show them off in public. For those that haven't been down this road before we need two tests, hot and cold. The hot one can't be done until all the steam fittings are in place most importantly the safety valves as they need to check their setting pressure. But once we have the fittings that close off the boiler I dont see why we cant get the cold one done in anticipation to make the process quicker.

Despite having had two eninges since 2007 niether of them needed a cold test as the Maxitrak had a new test just before I bought it and it went before it was due. Then the Burrell came new in 09 and wont need a test till 2013 but i dont have it now, so I not totally sure of the procedure. I have a local tester close to me who is a previous customer of Modelworks ( Peter Hawkins ) and has a number of fingers in steam pies. To the best of my knowledge the cold test is to check the integrity of the boiler and fittings and I suspect the safety valve would be removed to block the regulator feed or even use it as the pump for the cold water. I dont beleive the pressure gauge is included here as the test is 1.5 times working pressure which is normally more then the gauge can take so it is shut off or disconnected. This means that once kit 27 arrives which should contain the globes for the lifter feed and the plugs perhaps it would be feasible to get the cold test done, then once the safety kit arrives and we have steamed it a few times on our own to check and get used to things the hot test could be done. For those that haven't had the pleasure of a hot test it is to check the safety valve setting and the two means of inputting water. This means opening the blower up full bore What a Face affraid to pull the fire hard and check that the pressure wont go over the prescibed amount (+10%?? I think ) for a couple of minutes which is quite a scary time end then demonstrating both the mechanical pump and injector. Having done this 4 times I'm not fazed by this. I'm thinking of what still needs to be fitted to get to a water tight boiler, the clacks and sight glass fill up a few holes, there is still the wash out plugs and the plug in the smoke box, the lifter feed, the whistle feeds, the pressure gauge feed.

Have I missed anything with these thoughts and what does anyone else think. Not trying to be too inpatient here but with quite a full summer schedule building up the last thing I would want is to be in a position where in theory the engine could be steamed but the lack of paperwork means we just sit cold and depressed in a lonely corner of a field Sad Sad Sad

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Brian M on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 11:01 am

Smile I know the feeling (depressed in a filed that is) but unfortunately, I have no other useful comments as this is way out of my comfort zone.

Cheers,

Brian M


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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Tim Watson on Mon 30 Jan 2012, 11:40 pm

My boiler testing is done by the North London SME, with Mike Chrisp and Brendan Corcoran, who owns a couple of full size engines.

The hydraulic test is made at 1.5 times pressure with the pressure gauge isolated from the boiler (with it's own valve) and all the other taps turned off (obviously). STW will have tested the boiler at twice pressure and issued the certificate with the boiler. STW will provide blanking plates, but the only one that needs to be fitted is over the safety valve opening on top of the regulator.

It is almost certain that the regulator will leak, allowing water to simply flood into the smokebox, and so some sort of locking down screw fitted between this blanking plate and the top of the regulator puck will be needed. If the regulator still leaks-by then a rubber sealing gasket at a convenient joint in the blast pipe will seal the system and solve any problems. Make sure this is backed up by a metal plate to take the pressure.

Pressurising the boiler, completely full of water, is normally achieved with a hand pump and water reservoir fitted with a calibrated pressure gauge that will be owned by the Club or Inspector. Our Club uses a car tyre fitting and so I adapted the steel blanking plate to take this. The inspector will also want to check the accuracy of the pressure gauge fitted to the engine.

I also have a pressure testing system that is used for testing central heating systems: you can get them off the usual internet suppliers (Clarks etc). This is a water tank with a large pump and pressure gauge. I therefore adapted the steel blanking plate to also take this device. The beauty of this is that you can do your own hydraulic test without the pressure (sorry) of someone watching and then rectify any leaks. It is to be expected that there will be a loss of pressure from some of the fittings - they seal better when hot - but there should be no unexplained leaks from the boiler itself e.g. tubes, plug etc. My extra pump can be used in conjunction with the Club's system so that it can be cross-calibrated whilst the pump itself is much more appropriate for the size of the engine.

After this the engine is drained to half a glass of water, the safeties re-fitted, prssure gauge valve opened and the fire lit for the steam test. The inspector wil expect to see the safeties blow off within 10% of the red line and cope with a roaring fire with the blower wide open. The injector and mechanical pump should then be shown to work. Job done!

Tim

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Testing times!

Post  Steve Traill on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 12:41 am

As some of you approach the end of the build I wouldn't be pressurising (sorry) yourselves with deadlines of rallies. It's more important to get the engine running nicely and get yourself confident in all it's little foibles (it will have some) and then when you're ready & confident that the engine is as good as it can be and you're confident of running it then get it tested. As Tim mentioned it is a good idea to have your own hydraulic tester. I have a Rothenberger central heating tester which is ideal as a hydraulic tester & is pretty accurate. It was about £100 but means that when you go for the test you can be pretty confident it'll pass.

The safety valves that STW supply are extremely good & reliable and you've got no worries on that score. Should they not release at quite the right pressure then a third of a turn of the setting nut is roughly equal to 10 pounds of pressure. It's very easy to adjust it spot on. There is a black art in getting injectors to work reliably, mine is water full on and dribble the steam in slowly .........they are all different and that's part of the learning curve!

Remember building these engines is all about the journey not necessarily the destination Very Happy

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Dan on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 3:43 am

Tim Watson wrote:
After this the engine is drained to half a glass of water

I presume that is 'sight glass'! Half a glass of water would be pretty dangerous bom

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Tim Watson on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 5:42 am

Depends if your a glass half-full or half-empty person!

Tim

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 10:49 am

Hi Tim,

I think I will have a chat with Peter to see exactly what he wants to see but your previous tests have included the regulator being in situ not removed and plugged?? This makes sense as it will have the "live steam" directly behind it, but looking at the design there will be a lot of pressure trying to push that little chap up off the port face... Otherwise that seems to be just what I expected, I will enjoy ironing out all the little niggles in public during the summer, just how the last one got run in and honed... Give a chance to get plenty of running hours in just sat watching it, chatting to interested parties, trust me the neighbours will only engage once when they see the new engine then it will just be second nature to see me chugging up and down the road just like the last one. Smile

Cheers Kev.

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  northburrell on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 11:50 am

Hi gents. I'm not sure why you would need another cold test as STW will have twice pressure tested it when they made the boiler..

for me my 2" has sat there half finished for years and the test cert would be running out soon. I spoke with my boiler inspector at the club and he says until a fire is lit inside the boiler the cert will only start to tick down the years at this point and not from when the cert was given out..

i've managed to misplace my cert after moving stuff about in my house so will either need a copy of the old cert or will need to test it again.. Sad

forgive me if i've over seen something here but you souldnt need a new hydro test for a while.. of coarse maybe some clubs do things other ways but for me my club seem to not be bothered as long as a fire has not been lit and it hasnt been under pressure.

(might well be other rules for steal boiler)

just my thoughts anyway... Smile

Jo

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Tue 31 Jan 2012, 1:51 pm

Hi Jo,

I have questioned this before as I thought like you but the long and short is if you want to steam at a public rally you will need to provide test certs and insurance. The insurance wont issue the cert unless they have a copy of both the hot and cold tests, the cold test must be done by someone independant form the manufacturer despite it having been tested last year when constructed. I am given to understand that as the integrity of the boiler has changed, i.e. all the holes that were blanked are now filled with attachements this is also a reason why it must be retested. Weather I agree or not is irrelevant as I need the insurance to steam in public so we have to do whatever the brokers asks for. I will ask the inspector if they will accept the STW cert and also the insurance but if not it will need to be organised. Perhaps someone who knows more can help us out here, did the other MW Burrells use the first factory hydraulic test??

There is also some confusion as to how often the cold tests need to be done. I have been told by the local club to me that it will need to be two years, some engineering clubs say every four and apparantly if you get it done by a "bona fide" full size inspector as per a full size engine it only needs to be every 10??? The hot test must be done every year, and if you use the NTET disc scheme which does make life easier the insurance wont issue one without a copy of the hot and cold test certs.

Cheers Kev.

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  northburrell on Fri 03 Feb 2012, 10:39 am

interesting stuff.. i'll speak with a traction engine guy at my local club about this.. i'm in the Edinburgh model engineers club and we can run our engine anywere as we use club insurance. this is how i'll be doing my 2" and as far as i'm aware i'll be able to steam in public once i recieve all the certs back from the boiler test guy at the club..

i'll do some digging but it sounds like you should join a club and use the club insurance instead of getting it yourself (if thats what your doing that is) again not too sure on all this but thats what i've been told at my club.. hydro tests at my club are every 4 years...

very interesting to find it out though..

Jo

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Fri 03 Feb 2012, 1:14 pm

I had a chat with Steve a couple of days ago and there is also the fact that there are three different affiliations for model engineering, Southern Fed which I am in, Northern Fed which must be yours and one others I cant remember. The frequency of retests and how they are done are open to interpretation by each club and inspector which causes confusion and Steve seemed to feel that they may be an agreement in the future to try and standardise it across the UK. You are lucky in your club that they will allow and cover you under their umbrella insurance, I've never come across that here, my local club of which I am a member wont even allow me to steam at their own open days without an independant hot and cold test and they wont do steel boilers themselves due to an issue with a steel train boiler a few years ago, they will only do copper boilers.

I have also spoken to Walker Midgley who want to see the cold cert from STW and there is another piece of paperwork from Royal Sun Alliance to validate the construction which should also be sent, however as it doesnt have a run out date I suspect it wont be acceptable. As before if I want an insurance certificate which I MUST show at a public event to be allowed to light up I have to get what I am asked for before they will issue it. However once it is done it will be OK for at least four years so thats not too bad.

Just to please us all Steve said it is not uncommon to have to remove ALL the cleading for the cold test, his crawler needs it this year and subsequently is unlikely to happen due to the work load. I am going to ask my boiler tester if this is likely to be so and may seek another option for a test if he wants the cleading off.

Cheers Kev.

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Testing

Post  Steve Traill on Fri 03 Feb 2012, 4:01 pm

I am a boiler inspector for our local club & I wouldn't ask someone to remove the cleading on a first test of a new boiler. As I understand it the cleading is removed at 10 year intervals to inspect the boiler for external corrosion. Something not very likely on a new engine.



Last edited by Steve Traill on Mon 27 Feb 2012, 3:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Tim Watson on Sat 04 Feb 2012, 1:34 am

northburrell wrote:interesting stuff.. i'll speak with a traction engine guy at my local club about this.. i'm in the Edinburgh model engineers club and we can run our engine anywere as we use club insurance. this is how i'll be doing my 2" and as far as i'm aware i'll be able to steam in public once i recieve all the certs back from the boiler test guy at the club..

Jo

The insurance cover offered by Clubs is variable and may be inadequate for public steaming - anywhere - which is what a road loco is capable of, as compared with a railway engine. It would not cover a Rally attendance with a 4" miniature (certainly not the NTET registered rally where I run the miniatures) as it usually only relates to club premises, not everywhere in public.

The Sourhern Fed rules for boiler testing are quite clear. Hydraulic and steam test for new boiler/engine. Steam test every year. First hydraulic after engine in service at year 4 and thereafter hydraulic every 2 years. 10 year hydraulics with cladding off is the rule with professional boiler inspectors.

Tim

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  RogerD on Sat 04 Feb 2012, 2:08 am

Have found this on line. It is a copy of the 'Blue Book' distributed by the Midlands Fed, the Northern Fed, the 71/4 inch gauge society and the Southern Fed of Model Engineers and is used by affiliated societies for boiler testing - covers both copper and steel boilers.

http://www.16mm.org.uk/newsite/insurance/Examinaton_Testing_of_Boilers_Nov_2008.pdf

don't be put off by the 16mm reference, it's just where I found it!

Basically the boiler needs a CE marked, an initial test to twice working pressure (which is were the owners of the initial STW agriculturals had so much trouble as these were only tested to 1.5 times - I have since had mine done to twice pressure at the club whilst completely naked (the boiler that is!) - otherwise they would not have touched it) and then 1.5 times after that.

Note para 7.1 refers to cladding removal.

This applies to club testing and I have no experience as to what external rallies might require.

I would also agree with Tim in that I know our Club (Guildford) have insurance that covers members running on their track / in their grounds but once outside you have to provide your own public liability.

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Boiler testing

Post  Steve Traill on Sat 04 Feb 2012, 2:32 pm

There is a certain amount of discretion for the boiler inspector, personally I think taking the cleading off every 10 years is not too onerous and would give piece of mind to know the outside of the boiler is in good nick. With the SC Burrell it is pretty easy as only the clacks have to come off, some engines I've seen are much more difficult, good design pays off! Most miniature engines lead a fairly sheltered life compared to their full size counterparts however I have seen some owners leave there engine out in the pouring rain overnight without a cover and over time this could cause corrosion. I took my cleading off after 4 years, due to a modification, and the boiler was like new on the outside with zero corrosion, obviously all that leaking oil has helped! Also I'm fairly quick to throw a tarp over it when it rains.

I put a camera into the boiler last year and had a good look around and all the inhibitor I've been putting in over the years has paid off as it all looked very good. I don't add it to every fill up but dose the engine about three times a season, keep the water looking brown in the sight glass when you blow down.

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Amanda Menear on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 9:29 am

Steve Traill wrote:I am a boiler inspector for our local club & I wouldn't ask someone to remove the cleading on a first test of a new boiler. As I understand it the cleading is removed at 10 year intervals to inspect the boiler for external corrosion. Something not very likely on a new engine.

I have found (not in my club I hasten to add) that there is a certain resistance to trust paperwork with our engines because they are 'kits'. usually by people who have built their own engine and done everything short of mining the iron ore. These people are extremely tedious & I try to avoid them at all costs!


Having had this post brought to my attention I feel the need to reply on behalf of our club ...

I note Mr Trail’s comments with interest ... as Secretary of the Club that he is, I assume, referring to I would like to clarify a few points.

I would like to make it clear that ALL boiler tests carried out by the club are in accordance with the current Southern Federation Rules and Regulations. We well remember Mr Trail not being happy with the manner in which we carried out the test of a kit engine that he had assembled for a customer at a previous boiler test session. (I must add that the actual owner of the engine was more than happy with how the test was carried out). It was explained to him at the time, that the test certificate which comes with the new boiler is solely for the boiler itself, and not for the completed engine. Obviously because there are many fittings, pipes etc that then form part of the pressure vessel these will also need pressure testing before the boiler assembly can be deemed safe. These have to be tested to one and a half times working pressure. It is quite puzzling in the fact that Mr Trail clearly states he is a boiler tester but doesn’t seem to know the rules of the Southern Federation which I find rather worrying.

Mr Trail says and I quote that ‘there is a certain resistance to trust paperwork with our engines because they are kits’. In our club, we take safety of any engine very seriously, all engines are tested and treated in the same way, to Southern Federation Rules and Regulations. These engines are NOT toys and the consequences of even a pipe bursting could be extremely dangerous and damaging to the movement as a whole.

If you require any further clarification the Southern Federation are very approachable and will advise on any matters you are unsure of.

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  craig@STW on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 9:55 am

thank you for your comments Amanda.


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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Tue 14 Feb 2012, 1:31 pm

Wow! Talk about opening up a can of worms!!! As I have stated previously the final call ends with the issuers of the insurance certificate which must be present and correct before an engine can be steamed in public. I suspected that the unit as a whole would need to be retested to verify the integrity of the additional fittings, I was concerned that there seem to be a differing of opinion as to how often the test needs to be carried out and to what spec. I am quite prepared to get mine tested initally and was hoping to get it "out of the way" as soon as is practical as I dont want the distraction of trying to sort it out when I want to be steaming during the coming season. If that can be acheived a few months or so before the final kit for steaming arrives i.e. the safety valves then that would be great. Sadly despite wanting to use the STW manufactures cert it doesnt have an expirery date and it was clearly for the boiler as a single unit.

Steve Traill wrote:Remember building these engines is all about the journey not necessarily the destination Very Happy

Personally I cant stand waiting around at airports, tedious bus transfers etc, etc I just really enjoy sitting by the pool, soaking up the sun and having a good time. Very Happy Had I been able to afford a finished engine I would have had one years ago, this is the route to get an unusual enigne in budget.

I think I have my answers now, it will require a full hydraulic test to 1.5 times pressure, either by a local club who will issue a cert that Walker Midgley accept, or an independant tester. Then once I have steamed a few times and made sure the little leaks that will occur are sorted and the pump and injector work properly then the hot test can be done. Once this is all in place the cold test wont be needed till 2016!! cheers And the hot test is easy as thats just like a steam up which will happen at least once a month throughout the year... just cause it can!!

Kev

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  lynnr on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 5:31 am

Remember everyone. The hydraulic test will require all cladding off. So RL/SRL will need to remove the belly tanks also. So if you have not done the balance pipe you could leave it until after the test as it is not needed for test steaming and not included in the pressure system. Then fit it in as you put the tank back on.

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Tim Watson on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 6:10 am

Not so. if you are arranging your first hydraulic and steam test through a model engineering society it is most unlikely that they would want the caldding removed from a brand new boiler. A professional inspector may have different requirements, but cladding removal is not required by the Southern Fed rules for a new boiler, assuming it already has the twice working pressure certificate from the manufacturing test for CE compliance.

Tim

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Dan on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 6:34 am

highpressure wrote:Wow! Talk about opening up a can of worms!!!

Dare I mention that actually the steam test is not annually at all - Mine is every 13 months Twisted Evil

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 9:20 am

The association to which I belong has its annual test day this Saturday to which I will go along as a voyeur!! What a Face I will then ask the person who will carry out my boiler test exactly what he will look for and do and so have the definitive answer for my circumstances. As soon as I know I will let you know.
It is a club which has been formed specifically for miniature owners with the express purpose of getting a boiler test. There are three in house boiler testers just for that role and they do what is necessary on the day to get all engines passed. Not bending any rules but fixing any leaks or dealing with issues that arise. ALmost no one leaves without a ticket. Very Happy

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  Robfishman on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 11:56 am

who's bright idea was it to do this project in the first place..........oh yes it was mine.

lol! lol!

I'm sue it will be ok when the time comes.


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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  bjwlancashire on Tue 06 Mar 2012, 4:02 pm

Guys n Gals

More food for thought on boilers and I am sure other STW Forum members will already have made comments about this elsewhere but this post on Traction Talk is very interesting for your first steamings and why I want to get a fire in ASAP even though we have nothing piped up yet.

http://www.tractiontalkforum.com/showthread.php?t=21214

Cheers

Brian

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

Post  highpressure on Wed 07 Mar 2012, 9:03 am

Dont appear to be able to see anything on Traction Talk due to "viewing Restrictions" which I suspect is why I have never looked at or posted anything on there. Dont really understand why things arent as easy as this forum already makes me feel they are too "clicky" for me but I might be speaking out of turn. Any one know is I need to ask special permission to even be able to read this stuff???

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Re: Boiler Testing... Thoughts please

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