Introduction

Read this first then introduce yourself here.
Finley
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Introduction

Post by Finley » Tue May 15, 2018 8:29 pm

Hi,
My name is Finley, and I live in China with my wife, who is Chinese, and my new daughter. I am writing a novel that includes a character who pilots a steamboat. I am wondering if it's OK to ask some questions here, especially about things that could go wrong with a steam engine and what you'd do about it? I can't pay anything. If it sounds like fun to answer the questions here, I'll post them. However, if you feel that this is not the appropriate place, I won't. Please just let me know!

Thanks!
Lionel Connell
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Re: Introduction

Post by Lionel Connell » Wed May 16, 2018 1:05 am

Hi Finley,

My name is Lionel and I live in Vietnam with my wife who is Vietnamese and I am building a steam boat, it sounds like we are almost cousins. I am sure that your questions are very welcome.


Lionel
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TahoeSteam
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Re: Introduction

Post by TahoeSteam » Wed May 16, 2018 4:52 am

Finley, ask away! We'll be happy to answer your questions, and debate the validity of the repairs.... Like friction tape to repair steam lines for a example ;)
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
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DetroiTug
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Re: Introduction

Post by DetroiTug » Wed May 16, 2018 12:59 pm

Finley,

Welcome to the forum.

It's probably best to give us the result or effect of a mishap or condition and then we can give you a scenario that would cause it. i.e the boat not making enough speed, taking too long to fire up, taking on water, injury in the engine room etc.

-Ron
Finley
Lighting the Boiler
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Re: Introduction

Post by Finley » Wed May 16, 2018 8:06 pm

Thank you Lionel, Ron, and Wesley,

That's very exciting! I'm glad you don't mind my questions. Lionel, it's cool that we are close--I haven't been to Vietnam yet. I haven't completely formulated my questions yet, but I'll get started, and I'll post them soon.

Thanks again,

Finley
Finley
Lighting the Boiler
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Re: Introduction

Post by Finley » Wed May 16, 2018 8:26 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is my first question. It’s in the future. Haus is a trader, sometimes smuggler, and he runs his steamboat, solo, on trips out to sea, navigating in a channel between islands where patrols won’t find him. He puts on a lot of miles. He has spare parts and tools, of course, but eventually he faces a major repair that is going to be expensive. What repair is this likely to be? How would gauges show it, if they did, and how could the degrading condition affect a final trip? Any sounds or other effects? What measures would he take to handle it until he has the cash to pay for the repair?
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Lopez Mike
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Re: Introduction

Post by Lopez Mike » Thu May 17, 2018 12:35 am

What do you think, guys? Main bearings or tubes? Feed water pump?
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TahoeSteam
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Re: Introduction

Post by TahoeSteam » Thu May 17, 2018 2:33 am

Bearings would be something to cause noise and concern, but still be able to limp along until a repair could be made.

A lingering, nagging reminder of a potential impending break down constantly hammering away. The noise transferring throughout the ship, making it inescapable.

McKenna's description in his book "The Sand Pebbles" is a good one to reference.
~Wesley Harcourt~
Check out the steamboat videos on my YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/c/wesleyharcourtsteamandmore
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Lopez Mike
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Re: Introduction

Post by Lopez Mike » Thu May 17, 2018 5:04 am

I was thinking of a boiler tube leaking. It could be on either a fire tube or a water tube boiler. It would be hard to replace away from a shop but not that hard to plug a leaky tube at each end with a wood plug and a long metal bar (threaded rod and nuts) between the two assuming a fire tube boiler. It would be somewhat harder to get the plugs in place with water tube boiler but no no connecting bar needed as the pressure would act to hold the plugs in place in that case.

The symptom would be some steam in the firebox and difficulty firing. The problem with a fix of this sort would be A: worrying about the fix standing up to use and B: wondering of it would be the first of many tube failures.

The scenario presented is one of steaming on salt water with, one might assume, a condensing steam plant and the loss of freshwater through a leaking tube would be a significant crisis.

I like the bearing failure idea because of the progressive nature of the failure and the noise but there wouldn't be any symptoms on the gauges.

A failing keel condensor would provide a crisis of boiler salt contamination and loss of makeup water and would show up on the vacuum gauge.
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Einstein - Extraordinary mind
Me - Never mind.
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DetroiTug
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Re: Introduction

Post by DetroiTug » Thu May 17, 2018 1:54 pm

I like the tube failure idea, the bearing is a good one too. The tube failure scenario was done in "Tugboat Annie" although it was a failure during a rescue mission.


Let's see..

He only travels at night to avoid detection. Without running lights.

One night while out he caught the lights and silhouette of a patrol boat off his stern running adjacent to his heading. He needed lots of fire with greenwood for a smokescreen and steam to get out of that area as soon as possible.

He opened the air draft on the boiler wide and opened a valve for the petticoat blower (a steam line running up the stack to induce draft) to make as much draft as possible. He jammed firewood and oily rags in the firebox to make a hot fire and lots of smoke. The steam gauge rose rapidly as did the RPM of the engine. The screen opened up behind him momentarily and his worst fear was realized, the patrol boat had turned and was heading right for him. He nursed the boiler to build as much steam as possible, moved the Stephenson link to full stroke position to allow as much steam to the engine as possible, it was his only hope of staying ahead of the much faster patrol boat. All of his steam engine experience had trained him to never allow the boiler to get low of water, but this was a life and death scenario as capture meant certain death. Squinting in the low light he managed to examine the sight glass and could see there was barely a thimble-full of water in the very bottom, soon it would be out of the glass entirely!, he didn't dare take on feedwater as it would have cooled the boiler down somewhat and reduced the speed of the boat. All of a sudden he heard a hissing sound and steam was issuing from the stack, the damp night air prevented it from condensing and created a giant steam cloud behind him which prevented him from seeing the patrol boat. He changed course for a nearby island. The steam engine slowed and the pressure gauge was steadily dropping, water was running in to the firebox and was putting out the fire. When the steam and smoke screen cleared , much to his relief the patrol boat was gone.

He rowed to a nearby island stayed there all night. Examined the boiler and found 5 tubes had collapsed and ruptured. Next morning he whittled two tapered plugs (bungs) for each, with some heavy steel wire he had aboard, he ran two strands through each plug all the way through the collapsed tube and then twisted the wire to pull the plugs and hold them. The wood swelled and sealed around the wire and in the tube. He was able to make a small bit of steam around 15 psi to chug slowly to a large city where they had a facility that did nuclear plant repairs and had the capability to repair his boiler, but he didn't have the money, he sold something dear, robbed a street gang, now they were after him too, blah blah blah :lol:

-Ron
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