New Dora Owner needs help!

Phil_Vincent

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Evening all, I hope you are well. I've just fulfilled a dream I've had since I was about six and taken delivery of my first live steam engine. An Accucraft Dora.

I have some questions, I have tried to search, but the search keeps coming back saying the word "oil" is too short and is left off, so I jsut get a million search hits for steam. Not helpful. Anyway, the questions!

1. I've bought a couple of small Wilesco steam oils (15ml in each) is this going to last me days or years? I'm not sure how much will be used to fill her up. I'm guessing a Ruby uses a similar amount. What is a viable alternative? That is preferably accessible in Australia.
2. Is 3 in 1 good enough to be used for oiling wheels and linkages etc?
3. Is a bottle of butane from Bunnings (hardware store) with the multi adapter going to be OK to fill this up? The gas connector on the loco just looks like what is on the bottom of clipper lighters I remember from my misspent youth, so I'm guessing it will just fit on?
4. I don't think I can bring myself to spend another 100 odd bucks on the pressure gauge just yet, but are there any other recommendations for accoutrements?

All help welcome!
 

Paul M

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My first steam loco is a Dora ( I now have others) great starter engine, but be warmed, it goes of like a scalded cat, beating Usaine Bolt easily over 50 yards! It has a very small tank, so steaming up doesn't take too long, but it does mean you'll only get between 10&15 minutes run time. The gas should run out well before the water.
When firing, put a rag over the chimney when opening the regulator, and DONT look down the chimney. You tend to get a geyser of hot steamy oil shoot up, it is hot too.
The steam oil you need is the 460 stuff, you won't need too much, but as there's no drain on the reservoir you'll need to syringe out the residue after every run. I've always used 3-in-one, but some folks prefer something finer, don't use steam oil for lubrication, it's too stodgy. Some examples of the gas and connectors are shown below. 20210705_174105.jpg 20210705_174112.jpg 20210705_174043.jpg 20210705_174127.jpg
Note the lower can with the screw top, tend to be more expensive. The various connectors are available from most good loco suppliers
 

Fred2179G

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Some examples of the gas and connectors are shown below.
I think Paul omitted to say that those cans are butane gas used for cooking by many folk of asian origin. I buy them (in the US) from the local Asian or Latin market, for much less than the butane used for cigarette lighters. The second pic shows the adaptor which can easily be foind, as it converts the plain nozzle to a threaded one. Paul shows the brass filler pipe/adaptor that you buy from the local steam shop (if there is such a thing in Oz.) I found there are adapters for filling cigarette lighters that screw on.
Is 3 in 1 good enough to be used for oiling wheels and linkages etc?
Yes, but there is a "blue" 3-in-1 which is turnbine oil - designed for fan motors, etc., and perfect for our steamers. I found several varieties of turbine oil in my hardware store.
The other option is a pint of Mobil 1 synthetic oil, which is very similar and will last you a lifetime. Do buy some small applicator bottles with syringe caps to apply small quatities.
The gas connector on the loco just looks like what is on the bottom of clipper lighters I remember from my misspent youth, so I'm guessing it will just fit on?
Most manufacturers use Ronson valves, which are self-venting, so yes, it does look like a lighter filler.

Sorry I can't help you with sources in Australia for steam oil. I have a big can and it has lasted for years.
 

Fred2179G

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I just remembered we had a long discussion on LSC about butane and adapters. Here:
Butane can adaptors
 

dunnyrail

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Lubrication oil for moving external parts, it has long been recommended (within 16mm circles) to use car lub engine oil. I have been using it for years since first advised and it works well. Suggest you get a small oil can or two for these purposes, one for external and the other for steam oil. I have repainted and marked the one with “steam oil” so that there is no mix up.

Note that for the internal works, as has been said please do not try to skimp on using other than “steam oil“ as damage to internal workings can occur. A bottle of around 150g should last a year or two depending on how many steam ups you have.
 

Phil_Vincent

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Morning all.

Thanks for the advice. I ended up finding some Willesco steam oil from a model shop here in Australia so bought a couple of bottles of that for internal workings. I used flaxseed oil to lubricate the external workings as a free of the internet rabbit holes I went down suggested vegetable oil or canola oil and this was the nearest I had to that.

For fuel, Argyle Engineering works have the adapter's for the little gas stove bottles, just waiting on my order to come up but in the meantime I found a shop that sells the butane cigarette lighter style refills with the correct adapted.

I have a large bottle of demineralised water left over from previous runnings of a Maid I have, but what do you all use as a source for this? I think water from a dehumidifier should be ok to use?
 

Phil_Vincent

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Maid = Mamod
 

maxi-model

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As Argyle are allied to Accucraft in Aus' I would recommend speaking to them about suitable "steam" oil grade for use in your Dora - they do differ. Using the wrong grade can cause issues with the stuff carbonizing in the pipework restricting/blocking steam flow. Water - depending on your local climate get a water butt and let it fill up with rain water then filter any crud out, perfect (OK, we all know about acid rain ;)). Some recommend using water from a dehumidifier. Do not use deionized water, it will leach out metals from the boiler and fittings over time. You mentioned a pressure gauge - quite an important bit of kit, I'm surprised your Dora is not fitted with one as standard. $100 (AUS ?) is a lot cheaper than sourcing and fitting a new boiler it it goes "pop". Again drop Argyle a line on this one. If you have any local groups running live steam locos join in with them. Max
 

Phil_Vincent

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I doubt I'll make the boiler go pop with what the certificate says it's rated at.

Noted re steam oil, will give them a call in the week. Interesting what you said about deionised water, I was told the exact opposite by others!
 

dunnyrail

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I doubt I'll make the boiler go pop with what the certificate says it's rated at.

Noted re steam oil, will give them a call in the week. Interesting what you said about deionised water, I was told the exact opposite by others!
If you can get it water from a de-humidifier is what I have been using for a decade or two now. Some disagree and others will come up with all sorts of options like filtered rainwater. My feel about filtered rainwater is it depends on how acidic the rain is in your neck of the woods. There does appear to be a commercial variation of deionised water available in the US that some swear by, no knowledge or availability in UK so far as I can see but mey be available in your neck if the woods. Perhaps a US man can say what it is called.

EDIT de-mineralised water is the stuff I was thinking about in the US.
 
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maxi-model

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I doubt I'll make the boiler go pop with what the certificate says it's rated at.

Noted re steam oil, will give them a call in the week. Interesting what you said about deionised water, I was told the exact opposite by others!
The Dora loco is marketed in the UK with a pressure gauge - ‘DORA’ Live Steam 0-4-0T | Accucraft UK Ltd. There is a reason they are fitted. Many an idle live steam loco, both 1:1 and scale representations can be seen lifting their valves on a regular basis when idle and even underway. The water argument can be quite contorted but here is what I have found to be the consensus over here on the deionized veriety, and others - Locomotive water::Andy's Garden Railway Guide. I am sure there will be plenty of other views expressed here :) Max

P.S. I was at Statfold Barn Family days out at Statfold in the heart of England for their Quarry Hunslet 150 year anniversary celebration. Around 16 of the little blighters running around belching clouds of coal smoke and lifting their safeties and blowing off. 4 trains in circulation most of the time. All double headed and sometimes with an extra on the back for a pull/push service.
 

JimmyB

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Do not use deionized water, it will leach out metals from the boiler and fittings over time.

This is important, dehumidifier water, distilled water, and rain water, though I always filter before use, but NEVER use deionized water. I believe that some people confuse distilled and deionized water, but there is a massive difference in the chemistry.
 

Paul M

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360 steam oil required for all Accucraft locos. I use filtered rain water, as said before, some don't, there's been ample discussions about this,but it was actually recommended to me by Mr Accucraft himself. My Dora hasn't a pressure gauge, just a port to fit one if you want to. I've never bothered.
 

Fred2179G

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Morning all.

Thanks for the advice. I ended up finding some Willesco steam oil from a model shop here in Australia so bought a couple of bottles of that for internal workings. I used flaxseed oil to lubricate the external workings as a free of the internet rabbit holes I went down suggested vegetable oil or canola oil and this was the nearest I had to that.

For fuel, Argyle Engineering works have the adapter's for the little gas stove bottles, just waiting on my order to come up but in the meantime I found a shop that sells the butane cigarette lighter style refills with the correct adapted.

I have a large bottle of demineralised water left over from previous runnings of a Maid I have, but what do you all use as a source for this? I think water from a dehumidifier should be ok to use?
I'm sure the Wilesco oil will work fine - they use the same steam as Accucraft!

But I'm surprised no-one mentioned the lubricating oil. Vegetable oil will not work for long. Use car oil - anything from 10-30W to 20-50W will work. Your local garage probably has empty cans in a bin that you can squeeze into a small bottle and get quite enough for a few years. Or just buy some in a hardware store.

I had no idea what "demineralised" water is, though google found me this: 'Demineralised water is also known as demi water or deionised water." Not good for your Dora as has been noted above, though one or two runs with it won't hurt anything.. Here in the States we can buy 'steam-distilled water' which is clearly perfect for our use.

I doubt I'll make the boiler go pop with what the certificate says it's rated at.
You have a safety valve for a reason, and some of the prior discussion about safeties popping struck me as weird. That is what they are for! I had a Dora without a pressure gauge, and found it quite satisfactory. If the safety blows frequently, then turn down the burner.
(Incidentally, some of your NZ neighbors did a scientific test about 20 years ago and discovered the boilers will take 10 times more pressure than the certificate says.)
 

dunnyrail

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But I'm surprised no-one mentioned the lubricating oil. Vegetable oil will not work for long. Use car oil - anything from 10-30W to 20-50W will work. Your local garage probably has empty cans in a bin that you can squeeze into a small bottle and get quite enough for a few years. Or just buy some in a hardware store.

I mentioned that in Post 6.
Here in the States we can buy 'steam-distilled water' which is clearly perfect for our use.
Thanks for your mention of this, heard it before but forgot about it.
 

Paul M

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(Incidentally, some of your NZ neighbors did a scientific test about 20 years ago and discovered the boilers will take 10 times more pressure than the certificate says.)
Doesn't mean that you should try it though :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Seriously the boiler might take it, but will the pipe work? Or more importantly our nerves?
 

maxi-model

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I'm sure the Wilesco oil will work fine - they use the same steam as Accucraft!

Sure, steam is steam. But not all steam engines have the same type of steam oil requirements, Roundhouse Engineering Co. Ltd. - Look under the TECHNICAL heading and then , technical info, sub heading steam oil, a very comprehensive explanation . I found out one day when my nice new Accucraft Shay failed. The very nice Accucraft service agent, who did a full degunking/decoking of the Shay's steam passages, very generously did the work under warranty and handed me a bottle of the correct grade steam oil for the loco on its return, with a stern warning, "If it happens again........"

I assumed the steam oil supplied with my original Roundhouse Lady Anne would suffice. Oh no it didn't. The problem is the there is no way of knowing what Wilesco use for their products, unless it is marked on the container and even then if it is suitable for use with the Dora. You need to know the spec'. I stand, from bitter experience, by my advise. Max
 

Fred2179G

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the boiler might take it
As I keep pointing out, that's why we have safety valves. In 30 years of running, I've never seen a safety valve not do its job.