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This guide is a short edited extract from MAINSTEAM MODELS  "The Complete guide to Miniature Steam" which is now available on CDrom or Internet download. It is written with the beginner in mind and covers many essential principles for sucessful running of miniature steam engines, locomotives, traction engines & steam boats. .

Before firing up your boat you will need to replenish the gas supply, carefully lift the empty gas tank out of the boat after unscrewing the gas jet union, (Never fill the gas tank while it is still in the boat ) Extremely important: Check that there is some water in the boiler.


I recommend steam oil because it is thicker & sticks better to the moving parts, especially if they are hot. Please note though, on smaller steam engines, normal superheater steam cylinder oil may be too thick & it may make the engine labour.

After first emptying the displacement lubricator of water after a previous run, fully close the steam inlet valve on the boiler that feeds the engine.  Then slowly remove the cap of the lubricator to release any steam pressure left inside. Slowly fill the lubricator with steam oil. This stuff is like treacle, in fact some "superheater" steam oils are a bit too thick for the smaller steam engines with the displacement lubricator built onto the engine.

After a while the exhaust condenser if fitted will need emptying. The time is dependent on ambient temperature & amount of steam passed through it relative to the speed & load on the engine. This condenser prevents the steam oil, which is present in the exhaust steam from coming up the chimney & spreading over the lake.

Tips on Running
Check the boiler water level regularly, just sail the boat past you, quite close & look at the water gauge. If the water is too low, use the water pump control on the transmitter (if you are set up that way) to pump some water into the boiler.
After you have finished using the boat, the sequence is: Turn off the gas valve on the gas canister. Wait until the pressure shows 10psi on the pressure gauge. Open the water bypass valve (if fitted) leaving this valve open will prevent the vacuum in the boiler from sucking in lots of water as mentioned at the beginning of these instructions. Then turn off the radio control system in the boat first, finally, turn off the transmitter.

I hope this guide has proved useful

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