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General Operations and Safety

All Aster locomotives come with a set of operating instructions, which should be carefully followed.  The purpose of this section is to provide some general operating and safety rules which will minimize the probability of an accident occurring.


1.  Prior to steaming the locomotive, inspect the track to insure it is free from oil and debris.


2.  Have an ample supply of steam cylinder oil, light machine oil, fuel (denatured alcohol, butane or coal) and distilled water available.  It is a good idea to add a few drops of red food coloring to the denatured alcohol fuel supply so that it can be easily identified.  Its container should be marked POISON.


3.  Inspect the coaches and lubricate the wheel bearings using light machine oil.


4.  Inspect the locomotive for loose screws and tighten as required.  Lubricate wheel bearings, rods and valve gear using light machine oil.


5.  Have fire control supplies at hand such as a bucket of water and wet cloths / towels or spray bottles of water.


Prior to filling the boiler with water, examine the water gauge glass to insure that it is not cracked.  If cracks are found, replace the glass prior to steaming the locomotive. When replacing the glass, tighten the fittings finger tight.  Do not use a wrench since this may break the water gauge glass.  Remove the safety valves and inspect them for damage.  Lift the stems, using tweezers, to insure the valves are not stuck closed. 


Inspect the O-rings and replace them if they are damaged.  Replace the safety valves, screwing them in a finger tight, until the O-rings just start to distort.  The boiler is now ready to be filled.


1.  Fill the boiler, using distilled water, to its specified capacity.  The water can either be poured in and through the filler plug, using a funnel, or pumped in.


2.  Replace the filler plug and roll the locomotive back and forth on the track was observing the water level in the water glass.  It should indicate a level between 2/3 and 4/5 full and be free from air bubbles.


3.  Fill the tender's water tank to capacity.


The Lubricator should be filled to its specified capacity using steam cylinder oil.  This is more easily accomplished by using the filler pump (syringe) supplied with the locomotive.  A short piece of silicone tubing slipped over the end tube of the pump (syringe) and another short piece of plastic tubing slipped in the free end of the silicone tubing.  This makes a very useful tool for adding or removing oil from the lubricator.


If steam cylinder oil is not available, straight mineral oil can be substituted.  Do not use automobile oil since it many contain abrasives which will damage the locomotive cylinders.  Most major oil companies supply steam cylinder oil and it is often available from live steam clubs.


On a hot day, displacement lubricators sometimes will not feed because the steam does not condense when entering the lubricator.  When this occurs, there are not traces of oil in the exhaust or on the stack.  To start the oil flow, pour a few drops of cold water on the lubricator to cool it. 



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