Lubricators

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pandsrowe
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Lubricators

Post by pandsrowe » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:23 am

I've been pondering for a while as to why in our garden scales we always use displacement lubricators. Apart from the relative ease of manufacture and use I'm not seeing many advantages. I can think of numerous occasions of posters here and magazine authors who complain about the unprototypical and ugly appearances of displacement lubricators in the cabs of locomotives, not to mention the often difficult access for filling with steam oil. After all in the larger loco scales of 3 1/2" and above they always use mechanical lubricators and with larger cylinders the need for reliable lubrication is paramount but I've never heard of anyone complaining of a failure with mechanical lubrication.
Yes, I know it's a lot more work to make but there are commercial ones available (at a price) and they would certainly be more realistic not to mention easier to fill and no messy condensate to drain out over the track after a run. Some may question the size of these being disproportionate but the mechanical lubricators I made for my 1" Minnie traction engine and 3 1/2" Spencer are only about 20mm square so would not look out of place on a 16mm loco's running plate.
I'm not suggesting for one moment that this is the way to go but offer this train of thought as a discussion point here, as indeed there may well be very good reasons not to that I haven't thought of.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by Big Jim » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:21 am

I would love to see mechanical lubricators on 16mm engines. I am never convinced that some displacement lubricators work particularly well. I know on my ancient Merlin Maestro the lubricator is emptied almost as soon as you start off. I suspect it is down to ease of manufacture and cost issues.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by bambuko » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:21 pm

pandsrowe wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:23 am
...mechanical lubricators I made for my 1" Minnie traction engine and 3 1/2" Spencer are only about 20mm square...
I would love to see more details of your lubricators, please.
Photos, drawings, etc, etc, ...

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Re: Lubricators

Post by DLRdan » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:17 am

The mechanical lubricator itself very rarely fails. What does fail all to often is the check valves that are on the other end. A little bit of grit under the ball is enough to stop it pumping oil in. Having been haunted by leaking check valves I can completely understand why the near foolproof displacement is used in smaller scales. The one thing they lack is adjustment, my 2" scale roller uses roughly the equivalent of a Roundhouse lubricator in about 5 hours running, the tank holding about double the amount. There is a thin film of oil around the chimney area at the end of the day but nothing like what a 16mm scale engine creates.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by LNR » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:17 am

Hi Dan,
DLRdan wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:17 am
The one thing they lack is adjustment,
Some do have adjustment, the Regner ones for example. Handy if you know what your doing.
I totally agree with you re the check valve problem, and all in all I believe the displacement lubricator to be the logical choice for manufacturers. Simple, easy to use by the inexperienced and cheap to produce.
I have regulated my oil flow on the older Roundhouse one with a piece of wire in the hole, but care must be taken by the inexperienced to know if enough oil is getting through. Probably why manufacturers say better to over lubricate.
The displacement lubricator can be metered down for locos that run at a constant speed (a passenger engine on a large garden mainline for instance) but they tend to gulp oil with constant throttle changes ( shunting for instance or radio control).
Grant.

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Re: Lubricators

Post by pandsrowe » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:46 pm

Just a quick posed shot of my Ragleth with the mechanical lubricator that I made for my 3 1/2" Spencer sitting on the running board to give you some idea of what could be achieved.
Thanks to all for your feedback about the pros and cons of displacement versus mechanical lubricators, the none return valve issue is not one I had considered as I'm not aware of drivers of larger type engines having this as a problem. Anyway it's food for thought.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by tom_tom_go » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:56 pm

Hi Phil,

Apologies, you will need to edit that post with the pictures as I tried to do some maintenance earlier to the forum and it went wrong so I had to restore from a backup that does not have the most recent images posted.

Tom

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Re: Lubricators

Post by dewintondave » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:54 am

Hi Phil, I was tempted with the idea of a mechanical for my latest loco, but ended up with a dead leg displacement instead. I've had great success in taming an inline displacement lubricator by placing the right sized piece of wire in the cross hole to restrict oil flow, prior to that it flowed too much. I've made adjusting valves for two dead leg types, this is a good way of turning off the oil when not needed.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by pandsrowe » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:13 am

Herewith, the photo that got lost yesterday. I hope!
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Re: Lubricators

Post by Boustrophedon » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:12 pm

I have had endless trouble with my Cheddar Samson lubricator, It's weird; it's a dead leg lubricator but the oil outlet is at the bottom and is adjustable with a needle valve. I have no idea, as discussed previously, how it is supposed to work, surely the water sinks to the bottom? It is usually empty at the end of a run, or completely full. I suspect it delivers no oil in constant running and gulps a lot down with each change of throttle. I have thought seriously about a proper mechanical lubricator, if only I could find one small enough.

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Re: Lubricators

Post by dewintondave » Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:49 am

Boustrophedon wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:12 pm
I have had endless trouble with my Cheddar Samson lubricator, It's weird; it's a dead leg lubricator but the oil outlet is at the bottom and is adjustable with a needle valve. I have no idea, as discussed previously, how it is supposed to work, surely the water sinks to the bottom? It is usually empty at the end of a run, or completely full. I suspect it delivers no oil in constant running and gulps a lot down with each change of throttle.
My LGB Frank S has a deadleg with the inlet/outlet at it's base it works very well. There's no adjustment. It's a dummy air tank on the running board.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by Clinkard » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:22 pm

Cylinder lubrication with wet steam is almost unnecessary (inflammatory statement). It's the quantity of 'almost' that is the concern. Many steam launches run with no cyl. lubrication at all. Their concern is that steam oil could get into the boiler through the returning condensed water, and coat the heat transfer surfaces. Water (condensate) isn't that bad a lubricant especially if there is just a touch of steam oil with it, and just a touch, is way, way less than our displacement lubricators give even if restricted with a wire or similar. I tend to run my locos (even my so-called super heated ones, that's a whole different discussion) only filling the lubricator every second or third run of the day, there must be plenty going through as they still become quite plastered with oil.

Many years ago I used to occasionally drive a small std gauge 0-4-0 shunter on yard duties. She had NO cyl. lubricator. Steam oil was administered each morning through a fitting on the top of each end of the cylinders by a taper-cock tap with a pipe fitting elbow attached. The elbow filled with steam oil, the tap opened and the oil allowed to run to the cyl. then closed again, and that was it, 'til the next morning, when you went round again! Each end of the cyl. got about an egg cupful at most and that lasted all day. The old girl was made in 1896 and this was the 1990s and nothing showed in the records about any cylinder repairs or problems.

It's more about the loads moved, the more weight, the more lube might be needed. A steam launch tends to run constant speed, fairly lightly loaded, but for long periods, not many hills on water. The little shunter worked hard, but for short periods. So if you pull long trains then perhaps you should be concerned (a little) about how much oil you apply, less so if you only run short trains, or light engine. Same old, same old; horses for courses.

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Re: Lubricators

Post by Big Jim » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:21 pm

Thanks, there are some interesting points there.
I do wonder if we over oil our small engines. I regularly drive a large 7 1/4" engine pulling 4 loaded coaches. It appears to use only a fraction more cylinder oil than my RH Russell and has two 2" cylinders.
This was not scientifically worked out, it is only based on length of time running but it does make you wonder.
No major wear was evident on the cylinders, pistons or valves when the engine had a rebuild a few years back.
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Re: Lubricators

Post by dewintondave » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:30 pm

Well said. Worth mentioning is that steam oil helps provide a seal
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Re: Lubricators

Post by f.schulz » Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:04 am

Hi guys,

don´t underestimate the steam oiler.

The oil lubricates not only cylinders and pistons.
The oil lubricates the valve chest and the slide valve too!
Another advantage is the sealing and anticorrosive effect of the oil.

We have in Germany and Austira some guys, specially in Vienna, they developed in the past oilfree engines, by using teflon parts, to optimise invironment aspects in garden running trains. Commitant was a better performance of the engines.
This developement is in the meantime very popular and is ex wroks standard by Regner engines and they work well known, very reliable.
The parts are to manufakture very high engineered with high know how, for the expansion of teflon under temperatures is different to brass or other metalls.

For the quantity of the oil, my experience is less is better than more. I run only Roundhouse engines for I own a 32mm track and the ex works fixed oilers do the job very good. No oil dirty siffed engines after a running day is the result.

Wishes

Frederic

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