Regulator

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Thu 31 Oct 2013, 2:02 pm

I intend to get the Karcher fired up on Saturday and blow all the passageways out including transfer port, LP exhaust etc, it will mean both valves out too and then a liberal wipe down and spray with WD40 or Duckoil to hopefully combat any moisture although I figure as steam is just hot water anyhow it wont be too much of a problem. Having had the HP valve cover off whilst in steam to see the let by and then open the reg up fully a number of times I suspect I have blown most of it out already.

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sat 02 Nov 2013, 10:36 am

Well took both valves out today and cleaned everything up, painful exercise really but at least it can all be cleaned up and made smart for the New Year. Checked the stop valve against the cylinder block with felt pen and it seems to have rubbed off all the pen in a rectangle around the port indicating that we have a flat face to face contact area. I looked at my valve and it would seem that the top "slow run" part may not be lapped perfectly to the lower portion so STW sent me a new pair to see. I am wondering weather the let by is coming from the two units not mating perfectly rather than valve to block, another thing to try may be to have a single solid block type valve  instead of the two piece to see if that cures the problem. I have made an attempt at lapping the new set together but I use the word attempt as my abilities, facilities, patience, experience are all lacking to a point where I don't feel like I really know what I am doing to try and solve this and if this doesn't work I'm starting to get fairly despondant about how if at all we reach a satisfactory result. I am trying hard not to think along the lines of " I have paid 20 grand for an engine that I cant use safely and it doesn't appear anyone knows the answer to this problem" and fortunately as we are not midsummer I am able to have numerous free weekends not too pissed off yet but getting there slowly.

I wasn't able to get steam up today as I had an afternoon appointment but I am hoping to light it tomorrow morning. I currently have both pistons and valves sets out and will just use the fact that the inlet port is clearly seen to see weather a leak is present, it will also clearly show if there is any leak from the start valve which I am almost 100% certain seals.





Bit of a sad sight Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Shitty lesson to have learnt the hard way. I really hope tomorrow gives a good result.

Moving on from here if I still don't have a seal Andy and I were talking about how we liked Julia's insert idea and how best to achieve it. As our block only has a 10mm port the first thing is that needs to be drilled out to accept the bronze insert. We figured the best way to do this was to make up a plate which can be bolted to the safety valve studs with a 14mm I.D. tube welded in place to enable a drill to be securely located over the port to then widen up the port with an undersize drill and reamer. It only needs to be about 5mm deep and then the insert could be made with still a 10mm input hole.

What would anyone else's thoughts be about this idea or the best way to achieve the desired result with block in situ??


Last edited by highpressure on Sat 02 Nov 2013, 12:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Regulator valve.

Post  Capricorn1 on Sat 02 Nov 2013, 11:29 am

Quote "I have paid 20 grand for an engine that I cant use safely and it doesn't appear anyone knows the answer to this problem" .

I have a great deal of sympathy with Highpressure as many people have bought and built their engine with limited skill and facilities in good faith.
Having not taken delivery of my first kit yet I have been reading this and other threads regarding various issues with great interest.

Personally I think it is now time for STW to review the design and materials of the regulator valve and resolve the problem as it is quite clearly a common issue.


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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sat 02 Nov 2013, 2:09 pm

It would seem it is difficult to quantify the number of engine owners who have had issues with the regulator. There is only the regular posters who are giving any feedback, of those myself, Lynn, Brian W, Colin, Brian M seem to have had problems and Chop, Tim and Dwain have already altered their set up. As there were somewhere in the region of 50 engines made the feedback is a bit thin. For those who havent got to the kit yet the instructions do state that the idea is experimental and may require some modification to get it to work correctly.

I wrote the previous comment with some trepidation as I dont like being someone who moans and as those who have met me a rallies will vouch I am very happy with the quality and service from STW and defend their name quite strongly. I am certain this little glitch will be remedied as soon as a reliable solution can be decided upon, after all it would be annoying to send out a mod which may not offer a long term solution. Sometimes designs look fine on paper and even in the early days seem to work, as myself, Lynn and Brian can confirm the beginning of this year we all had relatively reliable regulators but seem to have worsened as the year has progressed. I have spoken to Steve recently and we agreed we need to see how my recent work has faired, hopefully tomorrow I can have some indication and we can proceed from there.

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Re: Regulator

Post  Flasback on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 1:45 am

Kev, When I say this I mean it, good luck with getting this sorted. It may be worth calling LSM and getting a single stage 4" regulator off them. You are correct in that you have got to give credit to Steve and the gang for this is the first time that a 2 stage regulator has been used. I was told that this regulator design on full size engines was a late introduction and only put on a few (and these had trouble working).

I have replaced a few things now on the engine from LSM and found them to be good and helpful.

Like you have mentioned, I did not go to a few rallies this year when I was having problems with the regulator as I did not feel safe etc.

As you have the pistons out it might also well be worth checking the nut holding the piston on the shaft. On my LP assembly the nut came off and jammed in the bore (lucky no damage to the bore but it did make a heck of a noise and it locked up solid in the forward motion).

Remember Steve may not have a solution to the problem yet but there is one out there. If STW come up with a workable solution I may go back to a 2 stage system but not yet.

http://www.livesteammodels.co.uk/

Good luck

Dwain

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 1:12 am

Hi Dwain,

Thanks for the suggestions, at this stage I dont want to have to purchase anything as funds are tight and also I feel it is not up to me to find and buy replacement parts, it is the same reason for not immeadiately buying a replacement lubricator, which some have done I believe, it should be supplied, working as part of the kit, which it will be in due course. Once again I want to say here publically that I am more than happy with the service, quality and design of the engine and the team at STW. Part of the problem which occured to me overnight is that whilst STW build a control model to prove the fit of all components they dont actually have an engine in steam which means it is very difficult to try things out. Perhaps it may be a quicker solution for someone ( perhaps me ) to take and leave an engine at the factory for various things to be tried, it doesnt even need to run, as soon as steam is up any leak will be visible in the input port, it may even be quicker to make an adaptor to pressurise the boiler from an air line to get a quick test as with setting the safety valves. Again ideas I cant put into practice easily, I dont have a compressor large enough nor the fittings.

I am wondering whether the two stage is not helping, clearly there are two surfaces to get a steam tight seal on, maybe the next step after this morning test is to have a single block fabricated to see what the result is. Again something easy if you have the machines, stock material and dimensions on the chamber, but not something I would even begin to know where to start. However it may be the answer and would be a reasonably simple thing to test. After this morning trials I will report my findings and speak to Steve tomorrow.

I am not down, just frustrated at my idiot skills and apparant pathetic knowledge.....Rolling Eyes I can however put an aerial up on the shittiest of chimneys in the pouring rain to last for 20 years in 45 minutes and I make a mean organ pipe these days Smile Smile  and I'm quite a laugh to talk to Laughing Laughing

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 3:30 am

Results are in and no surprise the regulator still leaks. I am now unable to determine if it is the lower valve to the block face or the slow run valve in the lower valve or both. I have taken a video of it which I will process in due course to show the let by and for Dwain and Brian M the sealed start button cheers cheers Something positive at least. I would next like to try a single solid valve to at least determine if the block is flat.

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Re: Regulator

Post  Kevster on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 3:32 am

Removing the 2 stage regulator sounds a good idea as less to seal, cant we have a single stage like the agricultural chaps with maybe the little nick filed out
for more control?

Has anyone done this on a DCC?

I think Tim has a single stage on Frederick, maybe he could report on how it handles at low speed.

If the low speed feel is good then it seems the 2 stage is a bit overkill and adding to hassles.

Coupled with the stainless steel plate with no corrosion to worry about maybe that is the way to go.

STW have always given me first class service, anytime I have had an issue its sorted out very quickly with no quibbles.

I am confident a solution wil be found.

Kev, keep the faith , you have a great looking engine there and once this is sorted that smile will be back on your face again.

Kev

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Re: Regulator

Post  Flasback on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 4:10 am

Kevster,

Not too sure is you have read the thread but a few of us have dropped the two stage system. If you read the thread on steam traction world - Leigh arms Brian W wrote about driving my engine with the round regulator. He was quite positive about the control and it has a controlled start. I don't have a groove in it as I don't believe it is needed.

Kev Looking forward to seeing the vid on the starter valve.

cheers

Dwain

PS Brian M is going to steam his this afternoon and we will let you know how it goes.


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Re: Regulator

Post  Kevster on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 4:28 am

Well seems to me the 2 stage needs to go and no groove needed either so even better.

Any pics of your round regulator Dwain?

What material did you use to make it?

Has Brian M modified to the round regulator too?

Look forward to hearing how he gets on

Thanks

Kev

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 6:01 am

Here is the video of this mornings test steam




Yes I know we will get there I just get frustrated by my poor skills and facilities to either carry out simple tasks or make simple items without involving other peoples time or good will or both. I believe a small nick in the front ( or back depending on how you view it ) will allow a small amount of steam into the HP valve to stop it being pressurised and locking up giving a more gentle start.

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 8:19 am

Hi Rickster,

Just seen your name on the current users and forgot you are in steam, hows the feedback on your regulator and what mods if any have you done??

Kev.

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Re: Regulator

Post  Rickster on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 8:30 am

I know I haven't posted in a while, but have been reading this thread with interest as with many others my regulator lets by but it isn't major for me.

I tried two things on my regulator valve.

1. Blanked off the slow start holes with a shim under slow valve itself. Then noticed the hole in the block as per the agricultural engines.

2. re-lapped the block face and the valve.

Results:

with one above, there was much less let by, so i assume there is let by on the slow start valve face surfaces. However, I found it very difficult to get a slow stick over and went back to the 2 stage start valve - I really like it because it is so controllable.

I don't actually find the let by a huge issue personally. I very rarely leave the engine without ticking over anyway, just because I like to see the motion turning over. This means when I want to pull move off, within a minute I'm in gear, brakes off and away with no build up causing issue.

What can be a problem is pulling up at junctions waiting for traffic to clear and then i get steam build up sometimes but not always. I open the drains, and if necessary use the start button and away we go.

I have done over 50 miles on the road with the engine this season, and it hasn't got any worse. So until there is something definitive, I will carry on as I am.

I had my steam test on Friday, passed with flying colours, plate thicknesses all as new, bit of round the back of the foundation ring, so need a bit more water treatment.

I have had an issue with the water pump not pumping and it appears when on, water is passing round the valve as if the bypass valve is on. Probably need to make a tighter fitting valve or replace bronze casting. As the valve design is parallel there is no means of tightening it in the bore.

He did comment that the regulator valve needs to be made of bronze not brass as it's harder wearing also the thin seal around the base that contacts with the block is probably not helping. Maybe just a flat faced bronze valve with the drillings for the slow start would work ?

Rick




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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 8:40 am

Thanks Rick,

I know what you mean about ticking over not being an issue, I too much prefer the engine to be running slowly as it has a nice look to it and saves on build up. However on those occasions when you either forget to leave it running or on a run when waiting stationary it has been a pain, also when on the move it can be somewhat scary not being able to stop without yanking the reverser. You get used to it as you begin to know your engine but it would be preferable to have proper control. I will agree the two stage valve gives a very nice slow run and most of the time there is no lack of steam unless really pulling up a big hill ( such as Dorset Embarassed Embarassed )

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Re: Regulator

Post  Rickster on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 9:05 am

Hi Kev,

Just seen your video clip. That's a lot of steam passing by there. Considerably more than mine which would explain why I am more able to live with it than you. If I close my regulator, it does come to a stop without having to use the reverser, obviously depending on how quickly or the incline/decline I'm driving on.

I have not idea on this, but could there be an issue elsewhere not related to the regulator ?

Rick




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Re: Regulator

Post  MrStationHouse on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 10:58 am

As someone who has not yet steamed I have been watching with interest and wondering what the solution is and will it affect me. There are a couple of points I thought might be of help. The first is that when lapping in the first valve I would have thought it would be impossible to do with wet and dry and should be done with fine carburundum or perhaps time saver lapping. Even so I would have thought a complete seal would be really difficult with just a sliding fit, think how difficult it is to stop a water leak through a compression joint in plumbing.

Secondly, are the regulators sitting centrally, I had a look at mine and it is far from central leaving only a small covering on one side. Would an improvement be a wider regulator offering a wider face to seal against. The obvious downside being that it could make it more difficult to open and close.

I hope this helps in some way

" />

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 1:50 pm

From your picture am I right in thinking you are referring to the main port hole not being central to the valve? If so that is not how mine is ? Trust me when I say I have discovered how difficult it is to get a good seal to anything !!!!!

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Re: Regulator

Post  Brian M on Mon 04 Nov 2013, 11:48 am

Hi Kev,

A very informative video, thanks for posting. I had a rewarding afternoon of steaming yesterday, first time generating in the dark Smile.

However, the main exercise was to check the starting valve and regulator. I can report back that steam is still passing from the regulator and I can not get the starter valve to seal...Mad  Even though I have seated the ball in the valve and spent many hours lapped in the regulator.

I would like a resolution to this issue, as like many other people on this forum, I feel the engine is not safe to have in gear whilst sitting idol under pressure. I might go down the root of having a round regulator made (additional cost) as I have also replaced the globe valve for the injector (whilst I was waiting for the mod to come out), as well as the lubricator (as that was intermittent).

Interesting that Rickster had an issue with the pump not picking up, as I had no end of problems with mine, to the point that I sent it back to STW.

I know STW are working through the issue with other builders and you can not fault their customer service, but a bit more feedback with a resolution date would be helpful.

All the best,

Brian

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Re: Regulator

Post  bjwlancashire on Mon 04 Nov 2013, 1:43 pm

Hi everyone

As per Kev's comments about the control model not being used to actual test steam the engine or put air pressure through it via a compressor, I had this same conversation with Dwain only last week as I also believe that would at least help with some of this. This would certainly allow some limited development work on new ideas like the regulator although mine was OK for quite a few miles so the control model may not show up an issue until some use has accrued. STW are currently relying on some owners to test parts or try solving this in different ways.

Regarding a single piece regulator we may not have to buy/make one as the 4" Foden or the 4" agricultural regulator valves might fit our engines with little or no modification, one for Steve to verify.

Atomenter has recently posted a thread about his regulator with a photograph although he seems to have developed a slight leak too due to some pitting on the valve itself (check out the photo) albeit easily polished out according to his post. It would be interesting to know the material it is made from.

http://traction.forumandco.com/t1739-foden-regulator

Dwain has previously mentioned the regulator valve he has was made by Clive Hearsey, it may be from the drawings he used when building his scratch built engine. If this drawing is available I would be interested to see it with the purpose of making one for Blackbeard if Clive would allow that. I ask Dwain to clarify this or I may e-mail Clive myself when I get back in the UK Thursday night. I can verify that Dwain's engine was very nice to drive with the single piece valve and was in no way jumping off the line when you try to set off.

Regards

Brian

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Re: Regulator

Post  Steam Traction World on Tue 05 Nov 2013, 2:11 am

Hi All

We do recognise that the Regulator issue is causing some concern and we will get it sorted by whatever means are necessary. There are several things that can have an impact in this area and it’s vital that whatever remedy is devised; it treats the cause of the problem rather than a symptom. The nature of these problems will also potentially vary from engine to engine. Whatever is devised needs to sort it for everyone.

I liked Julia’s post and the idea of a separate and removable plate devised by Mark Harris and employed by Tim Watson. I’ve now incorporated this concept in all of our designs but that of course doesn’t help people who already have a cylinder.

I think the two main contributory factors are probably inappropriate surface preparation where the customer has lapped in the valve and the ‘two stage’ regulator design. We recently ‘trialed’ a single block regulator but this proved to be less than successful probably because of the surface preparation. We’re going a make another couple of single blocks for Kevin (High Pressure) to try.

Just a final note on the lack of lubrication in this area because there was some comment in an earlier post. Steam oil has to be introduced into a ‘fast flow of steam’ this enables the steam to ‘pick up’ the droplets and carry them around the cylinder. If the oil was to be introduced directly into the regulator chamber, assuming you could prevent it finding a way into the boiler, then all it would do would accumulate at the bottom of the chamber and stay there.

No doubt there will be more on this subject as soon as Kevin steams his engine at the end of this week.

Regards

Steve

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Thu 07 Nov 2013, 9:01 am

Well I have three option for tests tomorrow so I am hoping to get going first thing. I will report on what performs best probably on Saturday as I have an evening appointment.

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Re: Regulator

Post  Kevster on Thu 07 Nov 2013, 10:45 am

Looking forward to the results Kev,

Hopefully a solution found


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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Fri 08 Nov 2013, 7:27 am

Rain and weariness of constantly lighting and dropping the fire have stopped play, looking into alternatives for testing with pressure and still to try a few things. Not posting any results as nothing resolved so far but still hopeful of something working.

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Re: Regulator

Post  Brian M on Fri 08 Nov 2013, 10:04 am

Hi Kev,

Thanks for the update.. Smile, best of look tomorrow.

Brian M

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Re: Regulator

Post  highpressure on Sat 09 Nov 2013, 8:02 am

Well we have some success Very Happy Initial trial was to determine the exact cause so I have been supplied with and tried a single stage valve. This had little or no effect on the ammount of steam but has ruled out the possibility of the two stage being the cause. It did however indicate that the selaing face was the most likely area but just to be sure I sealed off the regulator port and used an airline to get 80 psi in the boiler just to rule out the possibilty of a porus area breaking through into the regulator passage. Thankfully that is not the case as the assembly held 80 psi and the HP input was silent.

Next option was an insert and new valve which has been made for me by Julia to try an alternative to the stainless idea. It consists of a brass/bronze insert with a spigot on it to locate into the existing port the idea being it is held in place by the port hole and can be removed to be refaced but doesnt involve tapping the block. After the inital test allowing steam to escape under the insert due to the foliac not being man enough to create a good seal I have today refitted it with Loctite 510 which has resulted in an airtight union. It needs to be lft 24 hrs to effect a cure and I have other pressing jobs which need to be done also but it looks I'm moving in the right direction. As the face of the insert is a machined flat it should hopefully create a good seal with the new valve.



This is the insert which is 6mm thick with 8mm hole and the valve is slightly shorter. There was a bit of concern over the inlet beign slightly smaller but the two stage valve only opens the hole at best to half way and this arrangement gives almost full.





Insert reinstalled with 510 waiting for cure and then retest. The tapped holes I added to help with removal as it is in the pit and is very difficult to get anything under the edge.

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Re: Regulator

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