Steam turrets and dynamos

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Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby #7470 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:07 pm

It's hard to learn about steam locomotives when it all has to be self taught. That's the problem with us younger college guys. I was hoping the main steam turret could be described to me. I know it has to do with supplying of steam to all the accessories or main functions but I'm not entirely sure. Also, I bought the 1925 Locomotive Cyclopedia last summer and have been doing a lot of reading. I came across dynamos. Where are the dynamos located? Are they those little mechanisms in front of the cab with the tube that spews steam out of it? Or are they located in the headlights? Info and pictures would be greatly appreciated and this will be only the first of many questions I post on here. Thanks for helping me learn.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Eliphaz » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:32 am

A steam turret is a valve manifold- a pipe fitting with several branches, each with a shut off valve.
here's one on an old logging engine,
Image
this web site has lots of nice discussions about building 7 1/2" gauge live steam engines.
http://www.nelsonslocomotive.com/

a Dynamo is a steam turbine-electric generator set. Generally theyre mounted on top of the boiler near the cab.
in steam locomotive days Pyle-National built alot of them
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby #7470 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:16 am

Thanks for the info. So is the dynamo what makes that distinct high pitch sounds on steam locomotives?
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Eliphaz » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:03 pm

#7470 wrote:Thanks for the info. So is the dynamo what makes that distinct high pitch sounds on steam locomotives?

I confess I havent seen very many steam locomotives in operation, but Ive been around stationary steam turbines for many years, and I imagine a turbine that size exhausting to atmosphere would emit a high pitched whine.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby steamjunkie » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:01 pm

#7470 wrote:It's hard to learn about steam locomotives when it all has to be self taught. That's the problem with us younger college guys. I was hoping the main steam turret could be described to me. I know it has to do with supplying of steam to all the accessories or main functions but I'm not entirely sure. Also, I bought the 1925 Locomotive Cyclopedia last summer and have been doing a lot of reading. I came across dynamos. Where are the dynamos located? Are they those little mechanisms in front of the cab with the tube that spews steam out of it? Or are they located in the headlights? Info and pictures would be greatly appreciated and this will be only the first of many questions I post on here. Thanks for helping me learn.

You're correct that it spews steam.. However, they are not little or light... It is the device that produces the whine. They are usually located on top of the boiler. Some are located immediately behind the headlight while others are located just in front of the cab..
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby jgallaway81 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:40 am

Some are also located down by the drivers, others midway along the top or side of the boiler. The turbo-generator was usually located based on the characteristics of the engine... where it was out of the way, where it could easily receive supply steam and exhaust without effecting visibility, where it could be serviced, and most importantly, where the builder could find room for the darned thing!
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby trapper » Mon May 16, 2011 1:59 am

Steam dynamos (generators) do emit a bit of whine when running, but in my experience not very loud or annoying. The
locomotive builders generaly placed them close to the front of the cab, but this was not cut in stone. A lot depended on
the type of locomotive and the available space on the boiler. I have seen pictures also of auxiliary generators on the top
of steam locomotive tenders ( CNJ?) most likely to provide juice to passenger cars.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby #7470 » Mon May 16, 2011 10:08 am

I've actually always loved the sound of the dynamos. The distinct whine they make gives more personality to the steam locomotive. It's been a few weeks since I've posted. I appreciate all the responses. I know I have many more questions to ask but on the spot I can't think of what they are! So I will be flipping through the cyclopedia again today and try to remember a few questions I had.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby jgallaway81 » Wed May 18, 2011 11:13 am

Personally? I do not like the turbo's whine.

I can't speak for other engines, but the two that I have worked with have no stokers, water pumps or boosters. The only two steam powered auxillaries are the turbo-generator and the air pumps. the turbos exhaust direct to the atmosphere, but at least on the Alco, both airpumps' exhaust was routed to the steamchest to exhaust up through the stack. I always loved the sound of the engine sitting in the station, hissing quietly until the pressure in the main reservoir dropped enough to open teh steam valve and then listen to the twin single-lung compressors begin hammering air into the tank. The whine from the turbo always interferred with that sound, as well as the lighter chugs.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Steffen » Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:34 am

Well, because we in europe have many different engines and designs.

So, we often had not simply one steam turret, we often can find two or three, also some auxilary systems had their own steam supply directly at the boiler.
Most of the steam turrets I know are huge square sized multivalve cast iron parts. Behind the back lid, with a flange is the supply tube attached, is the valve bottom with the seat the top lid holds the packing and the valve spindle, with the valve pin, which can be screwed into the valve seat. At top a flange is mounted, were the steam comes in. It pushes the valve cone into the seat for sealing under pressure, the spindle opens the valve, lifts the pin from the seat and steam enters the opening, travels through the middle of the seat into the pipe attached to the back lid flange... traveling the pipe to the auxillary machinery.
We in Germany have air pumps, feed water pumps, we had steam valves for the oil burners on oil fired locomotives, valves for oil preheating tubes, valves for steam heating, valves for generator, valves for the extra blowpipe.
Stoker engines had valves for the coal mill in the tender and a valve for the stoker transport screw-conveyor...

There are many auxially machineries and usually have different types of construction.
Steam turbines propel the main generator in Germany at about 2500 rpm, and having the typical whining sound, like a modern jet turbine ;)
Also the start up sound much like a jet turbine... the steam is not allways exhausted into the air, some exhaust into a direct feedwater heater, thus the exhaust steam is reused...
We in germany had also boiler feed pumps with steam turbines.

If pictures can help, please feel free to ask.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Septa Fan » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:23 am

Interesting Topic.
Can one then assume that the dynamo powered headlights and running lights on a steam loco ? Was the headlight more often electric or was it Kerosene ( or some other source) powered ? Lastly, did steam Loco's power any part of the passenger train, or did the cars have their own dynamos ?
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Eliphaz » Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:48 am

Septa Fan wrote:Interesting Topic.
Can one then assume that the dynamo powered headlights and running lights on a steam loco ? Was the headlight more often electric or was it Kerosene ( or some other source) powered ? Lastly, did steam Loco's power any part of the passenger train, or did the cars have their own dynamos ?
All replies greatly appreciated

the dynamo was specifically for powering the head light, though of course once you have electricity other uses occur. In the early catalogs the dynamo was part of the electric light equipment. old-timey locomotives had oil lamps, those look like big square boxes with enormous lenses if front of the chimney. I suppose some may have lasted into the 20th century, but I think of kerosene lamps on civil war and older era engines.

Electricly lighted passenger cars had axle driven generators and battery boxes among the other clutter under the floor.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Allen Hazen » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:19 pm

Remember that in the steam era most large railroads came up with their own specifications for steam locomotives, so there could have been exceptions to the "dynamos for headlights only" generalization. I vaguely remember reading, many years ago (probably in the 1970s when one was refurbished for the "American Freedom Train") that at least some of the SouthernPacific's "Daylight" 4-8-4 had multiple dynamos (3, I think) with some used to support functions on the train. I don't know if these included lighting, heating and air conditioning (the "hotel" functions HEP supports now) or not: the "Daylight"trains had specially-built dedicated train sets with electro-pneumatic braking,so the extra electric power generating capacity on the locomotive may have been to operate this.

Usual steam era practice (and for many years later: most U.S. long-distance passenger trains weren't equipped with HEP until several years into the Amtrak era in the mid to late 1970s) was for passenger cars to have axle-mounted generators (and batteries to keep the lights on when the train wasn't moving). HEP was used on some of the first diesel streamliners in the 1930s, and early recognized as superior, but one of the problems of an interconnected system with interchanged cars is that new technology doesn't get introduced until it can be introduced as a system-wide standard.
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Steffen » Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:23 am

Well, the problem with electricity on trains is the power consumption. Many Diesel locomotives need a booster diesel only for the purpose of generating electricity for the train, if the wheel or truck mounted generator won't be able to handle the power demand of the cars.
In huge express passenger trains the air conditioning and lightning can be often quickly exceed the power delivered from the truck generators, thus the locomotive has to power the train.
In germany electric traction is common for express passenger trains, thus the locomotive takes not only Power for their motors, it also takes power from the live wire for the main power line to the train behind. This is a 1000 Volt power line, and be able to handle up to 1000 Ampere... so here a power of approx. 1MW or 1000 kW is often to be delivered to the train. Consider, that many diesel locomotives often have only a diesel engine with 3MW Power for tractive purposes, the extra 1 MW for electricity is not considered, thus only modern electric locomotives are able to handle such power consuming trains.
The main power line is a UIC regulatory within rule 522 UIC, thus also in USA maybe used.

I don't think that a steam locomotive will have steam generators to power the train. Consider how large those will have to be. If you will need so much electricity, it's better to have a diesel generator with the train, or switch to different systems.
Air condition can also be driven by steam, thus what's used for heating, can also be used for cooling and this primary energy source will be much better to get, as electricity. But this requires another air conditioning equipment, maybe an additional equipment.

So we in Germany have Turbosets, this means the steam turbine is coupled directly on the same shaft with the DC Generator. Here a electric power of about 0,5 kW can be delivered. This will be enough for electronic train control of the Inductive Train Control and Safety System called InDuSi or Induktive ZugSicherheitseinrichtung and for the lights. But for the train nothing is left.
Some of germanys new restored steam locomotives got two turbosets, one for lights, the other for trains radio and InDuSi, but with the oncoming digital radio equipment and modern versions of InDuSi one turboset with 0,5 kW power output will be good enough, only a buffer in form a batteries is required... because in case of generator or turbine failure the system has to remain online for plenty of time, just to ensure that engineer can do a emergency call.

Only on narrow-gauge railroads some huge and heavy generators with 5 kW can be found. Those had enough power for small lights in the cars, as well as lights on the trains end.
But, even here: No extra power for air conditions or some other electric gimmicks...
Allways keep two-thrid level in gauge and a well set fire, that's how the engineer likes a fireman
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Re: Steam turrets and dynamos

Postby Allen Hazen » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:20 pm

For reference, I read many years ago - 1970s, so no telling what modern technology does - that the "hotel" power draw (lighting, heating, AC, PA system...) of (then) modern passsenger stock was on the order of 100 hp (roughly 70 kw) per car.
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