Camping steam engine

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goldstar31

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I went through the Arthur Lyons bit and the so called records of the Joint Scandinavian British Antarctic Expedition 1949 where a small generator driven RT communication was set up to comunicate with two Antarctic Austers and realised the stories were very incomplete and even now are intended to be. I was 'involved' but have now realised that the real stories are never to be told. Shame really!

Norm
 

Shopgeezer

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That is a much more compact unit than the previous photos. It looks like a fairly high output setup. Charging the older radio batteries would require more grunt from the genset. It would be interesting to see the boiler design.
 

JohnBDownunder

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The last photos are of a Sirius engine (As I know it anyway). They are fascinating to watch in action as I did at a local Agricultural Show in VIC Australia.
I believe that Stuart models have castings etc.
It may be of interest to see one in action in this vid. About half way through there is a close-up. I have never seen the boiler that was supposedly dropped with the kit behind lines.

 
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Cogsy

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There seems to have been at least 2 different models of these. I have found confirmation that both types were parachuted into service and even dug up an operators manual which shows the boiler (it's bigger than expected).

Australian war memorial - https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1027833?image=1
Crated type - https://prestonservices.co.uk/item/ricardo-alco-military-radio-battery-charging-set/
User manual - https://docplayer.net/41378111-Alco-portable-steam-generating-set.html

Interesting stuff.
 

JohnBDownunder

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Thanks Cogsy,
It does seem a rather large boiler but I guess you would need a decent fire underneath to generate the steam required by the engine. I know at the local show it was run from the main boiler in the vintage machinery shed at 25psi.
 

reubenT

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There are lots of options, many options are boring old common stuff. (like a gas engine generator) but for a pleasure trip something unique would be far more interesting, like campfire powered generator, a sterling would be interesting, one end in the camp fire the other side in some cool water, and it'd make plenty of power if it's not too miniature. (much easier done than a steam engine boiler combination) But nothing is so fun to run as a steam engine. Those little 2 cy single acting engines are based off the Westinghouse high speed engine design. I have one made in the 20's by Acme in NY, patented 1881 by westinghouse. It has a movable eccentric on the flywheel controlled by weights in the flywheel, operating a rocking valve. I have seen a picture of one other just like it but it had a push-pull valve. HP calculation puts it at 15 HP at 100 psi. if it runs at 600 rpm like I read somewhere. I need to check RPM myself next time I get it going. It would be an interesting project to build one. And it would be easy enough to make a simple small boiler that will handle many times more pressure than it would ever see. Use double safety release, the secondary one is usually a soft plug. I used a small piece of aluminum flashing sheet bolted down over a hole on top the boiler, matching hole in the bolt down plate. In test it blew out at 750 psi, design operating pressure of boiler is 600, rated test at 900, but due to the old engine it runs I put a 200 psi primary relief on it, it's an ofeldt design water tube boiler. But for a little one I'd just weld up a steel firetube boiler of maybe 6" diameter. Vertical perhaps with secondary relief on top so it'd blow out the chimney if it ever blew. Actually a pretty easy welding job.
 

fcheslop

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Although not pertinent to to the original posters use
Could yo just imagine how easy it must have been to locate the agent recharging batteries let alone lugging the kit around
A simple mono tube boiler maybe an easy way to generate steam??
 

oilmac

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I am extremely interested in the threads on the little portable generating sets, The late Edgar T westbury had a hand in the design of many of these units , I do not think he would have had anything to do with the Lyons single cylinder sets, But i have hears somewhere he had a hand in the layout of the sets with the sirius engines, These sets were lighter by all account from the Lyons engine sets, I wonder if the little single cylinder engine was a Lyon design ? I would have thought that two things in the jungle would have been a dead giveaway to the Japenese imperial army, one being the noise of the engine exhaust, & the other the smoke from the boiler, Not to mention the sound of the little generator.

Someone once said to me years back that they could put the exhaust pipe from the engine into a stream or pond if they were at the side of it, Thus giving a totally silent little set, Wonder if it led to more efficiency Or is it an old wives urban legend, What then would they do for urging on the draught in the boiler ? I have by me one of the little dynamos from these sets, I purchased it from a war surpus supplier in 1957, It has two sets of brushes one to take 250 volts & another set to pull of the low voltage , So could it also work as a little rotary converter, If an agent was holed up in a derelect house che could charge his batteries from a power supply ? It is a nice thing and looks just like the one with the Sirius engine attached, It cost me the handsome sum of fifteen shillings &sixpence then, Still a lot for a poverty stricken teenager of that period.
 

goldstar31

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Disregarding possible fancy notions of steam in steamy jungles, what about those interesting places in the United Kingdom in WW2 and later in the threat of nuclear ?
The generic term to describe them is 'secret bunkers' though some are no longer that.
We , in Newcastle upon Tyne had at least one. Funny enough it is less than a mile from me and laughingly, not far from what is left of the Roman Wall.
It housed the small Royal Air Force control centre for the airfields guarding the North East of England and would certainly have an independent source of electricity in the likely event of the power supply being knocked out.
We, in the centre of Newcastle( Ho, ho where one of my pensions originated) had a basement floor covered with batteries to supply power for the staff( Me, me, me) to run the building and control the supply of electricity to the network covering some 1.5 million customers.
The building which had a rubber road( yes) to keep down traffic noise is virtually derelict- but one of my pensions still arrives!

One of the best known 'secret bunkers' is Alexandra Palace( Ally Pally) where the radio beams used by German bombers were deflected. It was knocked out but there was another secret bunker- which never w as discussed even in the Cold War- of which I was a very minor piece.
Another bit of forgotten history?


Norm
 

fcheslop

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Having built a couple of these engines and the smaller brother over the years can attest to how well they perform when correctly built and set up
My last Sirius at 80 psi ran at 2800rpm delivering around 1/3 hp .They are robust little engines
I think Boucher in America made similar engines although they are of alloy construction and tend to have bore problems due to pitting or at least the two Iv restored did
I have come across another mobile so called radio charging plant that used a three cylinder poppet valved engine again with a cast alloy boiler and a three piece chimney set up
Also came across this wee video on you tube of a nice modern set up with a wood fired boiler.Maybe food for thought about half way through she speeds up a bit
 

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