Aster Schools questions

DGE-Railroad

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I have found myself wondering about adopting a Schools on a few occasions recently. They seem plentiful, reliable and on the more affordable end of the UK outline, 45mm, live steam spectrum.

I notice they don't normally sport a pressure gauge, which as a novice in the world of live steam seemed odd to me.l as I had believed keeping an eye on such things was useful. Was it to keep cost down? I notice the odd loco has one so I suppose they can be retrofitted if one really wants to.
 

dunnyrail

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Cannot comment with 100% knowledge but as the Schools was indeed at the budget end of Gauge 1 Live Steam I can imagine that no Pressure Gauge was fitted for cost reasons. As for fitting one it will depend on what the Cab looks like so a picture may enable one of us give a clue to the ease of fitting a PG.
 
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Paul M

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Pressure gauges are useful, but
 

Paul M

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Pressure gauges are useful, but
Sorry, I've no idea what happened on post #3! Pressure gauges are useful but it's quite possible to run without one fitted. The pressure valve will show you when it's ready to go, and the loco will slow when the pressure is too low. This will obviously be gauranteed to happen at the furthest possible point from the steam up area though.
 
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dunnyrail

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Sorry, I've no idea what happened on post #3! Pressure gauges are useful but it's quite possible to run without one fitted. The pressure valve will show you when it's ready to go, and the loco will slow when the pressure is too low. This will obviously be gauranteed to happen at the furthest possible point from the steam up area though.
Hm indeed that is so, but if my memory serves me well I think that you need a preasure gauge to get a valid Boiler Certificate which tends to be mandated at many (if not all) G1MRA GTG’s.
 
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Flying15

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Hm indeed that is so, but if my memory serves me well I think that you need a preasure gauge to get a valid Boiler Certificate which tends to be mandated at many (if not all) G1MRA GTG’s.
I think when these were made the standards were less demanding
Indeed the boiler arrangements are similar to Bassett Lowke O gauge locos
I think the boiler is significantly smaller than the outer wrapper
There are some good illustrations of an Aster Schools (no pressure gauge) on the Station Masters Rooms site
If you have bottom less pockets there is much there to spend it on (although notG scale but some Gauge1
 
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DGE-Railroad

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That's kind of what I'd surmised - it's just a case of using the safety valve as an indicator and using that and the speed of the loco as your gauge.

I think if I took the plunge, I'd want to R/C it. I've only seen one loco that's had this done (and to good effect by the look of it) on YouTube, using a mix for the regulator/blower interaction.

Are most Aster locos regulator and blower only? I'm used to my Roundhouse which is just regulator and direction
 

DGE-Railroad

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I think when these were made the standards were less demanding
Indeed the boiler arrangements are similar to Bassett Lowke O gauge locos
I think the boiler is significantly smaller than the outer wrapper
There are some good illustrations of an Aster Schools (no pressure gauge) on the Station Masters Rooms site
If you have bottom less pockets there is much there to spend it on (although notG scale but some Gauge1

That's a good point. My little Bassett Like didn't have a pressure gauge.

Yes, I've been pouring over the StationMaster offerings. I'd really like a bigger class of engine with another set of drivers but the price jump is large.

I'm wondering if the Schools might be a good entry to scratch the itch for the moment which could allow me to trade up in years to come
 

Fred2179G

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Are most Aster locos regulator and blower only? I'm used to my Roundhouse which is just regulator and direction
Short answer - no, only the early ones. Those had a slip eccentric reversing gear - you pushed the loco 1/2 revolution to put the gear against the eccentric [too complicated to explain in detail, google "aster slip eccentric reversing"] so it ran in the direction you pushed. No way to set that up with r/c.
Alcohol fired locos need a blower, and are totally different in operation from butane-fired engines like the Roundhouse. My eyes do not like burning alcohol fumes, so I stick to butane. You could put servos on the throttle and blower but not on the reverser.
 
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dunnyrail

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Certainly worth while putting a couple of servos on as Fred suggests if for no other reason to keep the beast under control without having to race around after it, an activity often seen at G1MRA events and layouts at shows.
 
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Fred2179G

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Certainly worth while putting a couple of servos on as Fred suggests if for no other reason to keep the beast under control without having to race around after it, an activity often seen at G1MRA events and layouts at shows.
Well, those early Asters (JNR 8550, Schools/King Arthur, and Reno, at least,) had a very on/off throttle. T3Services sells a more finely tapered throttle for better control. My Reno has an after-market long handle on it which gives similar control.

20191231_110853_reno-throttle.jpg
 
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DGE-Railroad

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Certainly worth while putting a couple of servos on as Fred suggests if for no other reason to keep the beast under control without having to race around after it, an activity often seen at G1MRA events and layouts at shows.

That's pretty much my take on it too. Is prefer to be in control; it's what I'm used to. Neither the start-and-leave, nor the trot-along-after-it and reaching into the cab do it for me.

I appreciate there could be no directional control, but the speed regulation, starting and stopping would make it worth it.

You could also then make use of the receiver to sound an electronic prototypical whistle I suppose!
 

Fred2179G

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I notice they don't normally sport a pressure gauge,
Incidentally, my Reno has a tender water pump, and thesefore has a check valve on the backhead. Aster used to sell a trackside hand water pump which was a tub with a pump in it, and a long tube that you screwed on to the check valve. It shouldn't be difficult to add a banjo bolt between the backhead and the valve and connect a pressure gauge. Might be too low - I'm not sure if they have to be mounted high to just be in the steam path.

Another item to be aware of is that they are screwed together with little M2 steel bolts. Unfortunately, 4 of them attach the blower and throttle valves to the backhead, and they are exposed to the water so they rust. It is recommended that you replace them with brass bolts!
 
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Fred2179G

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You could also then make use of the receiver to sound an electronic prototypical whistle I suppose!
I just did that on my Countess. (Whistle starts at about 0:37)
RCS sells them but they are made by Mike Riley in the UK, so you may get one from him. He seems amenable to installing any sound file you like.

 

DGE-Railroad

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Incidentally, my Reno has a tender water pump, and thesefore has a check valve on the backhead. Aster used to sell a trackside hand water pump which was a tub with a pump in it, and a long tube that you screwed on to the check valve. It shouldn't be difficult to add a banjo bolt between the backhead and the valve and connect a pressure gauge. Might be too low - I'm not sure if they have to be mounted high to just be in the steam path.

Another item to be aware of is that they are screwed together with little M2 steel bolts. Unfortunately, 4 of them attach the blower and throttle valves to the backhead, and they are exposed to the water so they rust. It is recommended that you replace them with brass bolts!

Thanks very much Fred. That's really useful. I appreciate it
 

DGE-Railroad

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I just did that on my Countess. (Whistle starts at about 0:37)
RCS sells them but they are made by Mike Riley in the UK, so you may get one from him. He seems amenable to installing any sound file you like.



Haha. Great minds and all that.
Yes I have one of Mike's units with a custom sound on my Roundhouse, using a speaker enclosure in the tender. Very happy with it!

Love your loads in the video by the way. Good to see that inertia car in action too!
 

Fred2179G

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I appreciate there could be no directional control, but the speed regulation, starting and stopping would make it worth it.
I have a PRR K4 Pacific (AML) and I only added a servo on the throttle. It is not the kind of loco I do much shunting with.
 
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DGE-Railroad

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I have a PRR K4 Pacific (AML) and I only added a servo on the throttle. It is not the kind of loco I do much shunting with.

True enough. I suppose the reverser wouldn't get used much anyway. I've got a loop and wouldn't do much shunting :D
 

Fred2179G

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Is prefer to be in control; it's what I'm used to.
I should point out that my Reno has a water tank and pump, as well as the usual alcohol tank, in the tender. There is no room for r/c gear. The JNR does not have the water tank and has plenty of room ,so I imagine the Schools (which I never owned,) probably doesn't have a tender water pump eirther.
 

DGE-Railroad

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I should point out that my Reno has a water tank and pump, as well as the usual alcohol tank, in the tender. There is no room for r/c gear. The JNR does not have the water tank and has plenty of room ,so I imagine the Schools (which I never owned,) probably doesn't have a tender water pump eirther.

Good point. Yep, Schools is trackside filling only