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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

Compound engines


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  #1  
Old 08-20-2006, 06:45:54 PM
LAKnox LAKnox is offline
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Default Compound engines

I think I know most of the various types of compound engines on traction engines; double-crank simple (side x side cylinders of equal size), single-crank compound (high and low pressure cylinders on a single rod) and double-crank cross compound (side x side high and low pressure cylinders). Did I leave any out? From some of the recent posts, it seems that, on some compound engines, you can control "compound" portion of the engine. Is this true? If so, how is this achieved? Any good articles explaining how this works and why you would do so (other than to simply control power output)? Thanks in advance.

Lyle
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Old 08-20-2006, 07:34:20 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Compound engines

I'm not a traction engine compound expert, so I'll let those experts get into detail. I'll provide a brief outline:

In a compound engine, the steam cannot occupy nor act on the low pressure cylinder until after it has been exhausted from the high pressure cylinder. In the case of starting a load (traction engine pulling or railroad locomotive pulling, not reference to belt load) the low pressure cylinder is useless until the high pressure cylinder has made at least one stroke, and even then is not putting out much power until some rpms (speed) are achieved. To further complicate matters, since the total power output of the machine is based on both the high and low pressure cylinders, the high pressure cylinder alone may not be enough to begin the load moving.

To start the engine, a valve is opened to admit high pressure steam to both the high and low pressure cylinders, thus the engine is run as a simple engine. As a simple engine, the low pressure cylinder, due to it's diameter, is more powerful than the high pressure cylinder. The engine has a LOT of power to get up to speed. The bypass, or simpling valve is then closed and the engine operates in it's normal compound mode.

When operating as a simple engine, a compound eats steam and is inefficient.

Well, there's a start........

Mark J.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:24:44 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Laknox,
Oh well, I guess I should throw in my two-bits (25 cents, for our foreign friends) worth.

I think they might be technically referred to as single tandem compound, double tandem compound and cross compound. There may have been other types, but I am unfamiliar with them. Reeves, Advance, Stevens, Northwest Thresher and American-Abell are the five I am aware of that "also had" cross compound engines.

Gaar Scott, Minneapolis and Port Huron are the companies I am aware of that built a double tandem compound engine.

Many companies tried the single crank tandem compound and Port Huron put out likely 95+ percent of their engines in this style. Case, Russell, Advance, Minneapolis, and the list goes on, who tried the single tandem compound engines.

I have ridden on a 40hp Gaar Scott, but am not aware of it needing any help to start with an intercepting valve. I think it was only to assist in getting through a tough spot, providing an extra burst of live steam into the exhaust steam that would otherwise be emitted into the low pressure cylinder(s).

I do not know if any single crank tandem compound traction engine company used a type of intercepting valve.

The Reeves cross compound type, which I am most familiar with, used the steam in the high pressure cylinder, exhausted it into a "receiver" (basically an extra steam chest, atop the barrel of the boiler), where it was admitted into the low pressure cylinder by valve action; as the crankshaft is set at a "quartering" as any other double simple engine is. Their equal size cross compound engines had the same brake hp ratings as their double simple brothers.

As Mark explained, after the exhaust of the high pressure steam is placed in the receiver, it is valved into the low pressure cylinder, where the much larger surface piston and cylinder has the "same" effect on that large area as the high pressure steam had on the high pressure cylinder. Since it is using the steam "twice" - "it is 'a lot' more efficient."

When Case came out with their Wolff tandem compound, they rated a standard 25 hp Case, when compounded, as a 28hp (I believe, without hitting the books?). They later only rated the tandem compound as a 25, same as its 25hp simple brother, as they admitted, it didn't produce more power, but "greatly increased efficiency" (i.e. fuel and water usage.).

The intercepting valve was intended (on the Reeves cross compound) to assist in starting a heavy load and for helping get through a tough spot, as when plowing. Reeves intended for their cross compound engines to be used for plowing; not that they wouldn't work for other tasks, but were intended for a steady pull; not intermittent pulls. When "simpled" or when opening the intercepting valve, it placed approximately 150% of their brake hp onto the master (drive) pinion. Properly used, it was a wonderful "tool." Improperly used, it was highly destructive. It was known to rip out bolts and studs, which were placed into steam and water space on their US engines. They would also break countershafts on either type, US or Canadian Special, which used a cannon bearing that was wing sheet mounted, or bracketed bearings as on the US engines.

Somewhere I have a photo of a "cross compound" steam locomotive, but most of all them were a double tandem compound. And, most of those "Mallet" compound engines got re-rigged as simple engines. I don't know what those articulated engines were referred to, as they were actually a "quad" simple.

I will likely have to add more, as I don't think like I used to. Likely someone will try to nail me to the wall too? Please remember the figures and remarks I sent your way aren't something I dreamed up, they are what was purported to be fact over a hundred years ago and less.

ADDED: I also wanted to state that at our altitude, it was at approximately 137-139psi that the cross (any?) compound stopped "working water." If you opened your petcocks on the reveiver, they would put out wet steam up until that point (temperature was the factor, which went with the pressure) then would exhaust dry steam. Due to that, a 150mawp engine had to plow "near the pop valve" or it would become inefficient due to the condensation it was fighting. That was a big pitch for the Canadian Special Reeves cc engines, as they could operate in any jurisdiction legally at 175psi, solving much of the condesation and running "against the pop valve" problems. GY
Gary

Last edited by 20 Reeves Highwheeler; 08-20-2006 at 11:46:29 PM.
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Old 08-20-2006, 08:58:53 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Laknox,
I guess first of all, I forgot to thank you for adding a thread that makes us think.

I forgot to mention, as I see you asked - how the intercepting valve worked?

The cross compound Reeves engines had a common, but taller valve. On the top of the steam chest, the manifold from the governor placed a large opening to the high pressure steam chest and a smaller proportion manifold to the low pressure steam chest. The low pressure side was blocked, until the intercepting valve was opened. If they'd put a larger proportion manifold to the low pressure side, it would be extremely destructive and nearly impossible to harness the output.

The early Reeves cross compound engines used a "D" valve for their valves and also a "D" type sliding intercepting valve. When Harry Clay built his "Big Forty", he designed many items that were new to the market, an many of the improvements would be kept for the Canadian Specials. One that he passed onto all of the engines, US and CS engines, was the "rotating" intercepting valve.

I have a hard time explaining its design, but you old timers who were familiar with the 1950s-70s type of brass "auxilary gas tank valve", that was switched on the floor of the truck, that is kind of the principle used. Also, you pilots will understand how the flow from the left gas tank to the carburetor changes, when switched, to the right tank and to the carburetor... Well, that is as close as I can explain it. (I just knocked over my wifes favorite desk lamp, trying to explain this, using my 1/4 Italian arms to describe things to you.)
Gary

Last edited by 20 Reeves Highwheeler; 08-20-2006 at 09:05:36 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2006, 09:14:13 PM
Farquhar Farquhar is offline
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Default Re: Compound engines

Quote:
(I just knocked over my wifes favorite desk lamp, trying to explain this, using my 1/4 Italian arms to describe things to you.)
Rrut roh, I smell big trouble up on the west side of Glacier!!

I'm learning a lot through all this too, thanks.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2006, 09:18:39 PM
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20 Reeves Highwheeler 20 Reeves Highwheeler is offline
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Default Re: Compound engines

Farquhar,
A lot of the smoke noticed from the Glacier Park area, may not have all been coming from the Red Eagle - Forest Fire?
Gary
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:24:29 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Laknox,
I hope I don't drive you nuts, not having the ability to place one post and say it all. My brain doesn't go there anymore. Sorry.

When I ran Dave Vanek Jr's 30hp Advance cross compound at Lewistown, Montana a few years ago, it had an intercepting valve, as well as a 1"valve that would admit live steam into the steam chest of the low pressure cylinder. This was probably to augment the condensing, low pressure steam, for short bursts? The intercepting valve was for starting a load.

A certain amount of efficiency must have been present, as Reeves ALWAYS used the next size smaller boiler to supply steam to their cross compound engines. The 13 ds boiler supplied steam to the 16 cc; the 16 ds boiler supplied steam to the 20 cc; the 20 ds boiler supplied steam to the 25 cc; the 25 ds boiler supplied steam to the 32 cc; the 32 ds boiler supplied steam to the 40 cc. If Harry Clay had built a 40 double simple, then he'd likely have been working on a 45 (?) hp cross compound?
Gary

Last edited by 20 Reeves Highwheeler; 08-20-2006 at 09:31:51 PM.
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:34:59 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Okay Gary,

I'm giving you more ammunition to flail your arms (just watch out for breakable items! ...and complete a few more posts on the Port Huron tandem compounds.

I can retype what my catalogs say, but the images are pertinent to this discussion. Therefore, if Mr. Yeager will use his sizing abilities, everyone will be able to see how the Port Huron tandem compound works!

Beth
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Old 08-20-2006, 09:47:46 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Bethy,
I'm sorry tonight... I don't have access to a scanner for a week or more.

Port Huron had to have a successful engine, as they wouldn't have produced 95% dogs and 5% good engines. This is where you can show us guys your stuff! I know you can do it.
Gary
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:25:39 PM
Pete Deets Pete Deets is offline
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Default Re: Compound engines

Lyle,
Good question & discussion. Another small job of the interceptor/simpling valve is to replace some of the steam lost from the first few strokes that goes to heat the passages & engine parts back to operating temperature.

20 Reeves,
What you say about the steam pressure/temp makes a lot of sense. Working with a Port Huron that has been downrated in pressure, unless you like to hear the valve knock & clatter as it is pushed off the seat by water, you have to keep the steam chest drain open a bit & piddling all the time.


From the locomotive world, the most common distinction I've seem is to refer to the engines as articulated for simples and Mallet for the compounds. For those who aren't familiar, Mallet (mal-lay) is the name of the Frenchman who is credited with inventing the practical articulated locomotive and compounding was part of the package. My reading has lead me to believe the early articulateds were Mallet design but the compounding added a layer of complexity to the machinery. We all know what a more complex machine will do in the hard working world of railroading or farming - break down more or at least be harder to maintain. The US railroads liked the flexibility and power of the big engines but many decided to stick to the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in more ways than one.

Another major coupound type was designed by Samuel Vauclain of the Baldwin Locomotive Works. He is credited with inventing the compound locomotive in 1889 and was a big proponent of a 3 cylinder compound system. He also developed a 4 cylinder (double tandem) compound. One layout had the two cylinders in the normal positions working high pressure steam and exhausting to a single center low pressure cylinder which had a rod connected to a center cranked driving axle. What I've read tells me that when they worked well, they were very good engines but turned out to be a roundhouse nightmare. You double simple guys know how much fun timing both sides can be. Imagine timing 3 sets of valve gear or even 4!

I hope I haven't put too many to ......PD
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:59:49 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Yeah, you're right about the 3-cyl compound RR engines. In fact, if my memory recalls correctly, many, if not most of these had that third cylinder disabled in some form and the engines were run as simples for the very reason of maintenance and operation.
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:19:14 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Pete & Monte,
Now I remember hearing about and seeing pictures of locomotives with that center cylinder. I'd forgotten for a time.

Pete,
you are right about the live steam heating the ports and receiver with the intercepting valve. That is certainly the correct way. If a person is just starting the engine to run it across the yard, or over to the plow; rock the reverse lever forward and backward with the throttle cracked slightly; a couple of times places steam on both ends of the cylinders, to start out the engine. But, like you said, the intercepting valve is the correct way.

I spoke earlier of the destructive nature of the intercepting valve. The usual reason it was destructive, was the engineer or his fireman usually waited until the darn thing was almost dead in its tracks before simpling it. If one can sense that a rise in a field was going to "put her to the test", open the intercepting valve when the rpms have only started to drop and it won't put that 150% of horsepower to that master pinion. When it has been drawn down too far, and simpled; the master pinion is trying to push the intermediate or differential drive gear and "spit" it out the back of the drive train. That is when the strain is put on the countershaft/and or the brackets; whichever is the case.

My personal belief is that Harry Clay got his percentages closer than some of the other cross compound manufacturers were able to manage. Too little steam from the live cylinder was no good as was too much, and it all had to match up with the boiler capacity.

There was a wives tale that running a few yards would drain a boiler supply, running simple. I have heard of a few verified stories where that point was made moot.

Most tractor pulls with Reeves cc engines, will have them popping off at the end, rather than drained of steam.

Max Tyler told of the best one. They were moving his and Ruth's "new" house from a failed subdivision in Moore in the mid 1930s. When they hit a half mile of summerfallow (plowed ground) they had to pull the house across, it could hardly pull it, so they simpled their 32 cc. It pulled the half mile across the soft ground and it was still going when they hit sod on the other side. Max said they had to stop to put in water, which was cooling the boiler, so it wasn't efficient at all, but it sure didn't deplete all of the steam as some would imagine or want you to think.

I know there were one heck of a bunch of the cross compound Reeves engines shipped to Montana for the specific reason of breaking the prairie.
Gary
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:50:41 AM
Jim Jake Templin
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Default Re: Compound engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoRo
Yeah, you're right about the 3-cyl compound RR engines. In fact, if my memory recalls correctly, many, if not most of these had that third cylinder disabled in some form and the engines were run as simples for the very reason of maintenance and operation.

They didn't disable the center cylinder, they installed new, two cylinder simple blocks.

There were several types of two cylinder, cross compound RR locomotives. If you looked at them head on, you would notice that the cylinder on one side of the locomotive was larger than the other. There are some German engines (narrow guage) still running like this on the Zillartalbahn in Austria.

Except for compound Mallets, the superheater supplanted compounding.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:36:38 AM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Have attached a sheet for Canadian Pacific Rwy engineers on running compounds - hope it scans ok. Both big Canadian railways of the day, CPR and Grand Trunk had hundreds of compound engines, mainly cross compounds, but a few high speed multi cylinder Vauclains. Superheating came along and that gave the same economies as compounding without all the extra machinery to keep up.
There were several types of compounds used on Canadian rwys:
-Pittsburg used flat valves, had hi-pressure cylinder on left side (looking at front).
- Richmond, flat valves, hi-pressure on right.
-Pittsburg/Schenectady, piston valves, hi-pressure on left.
-Schenectady, piston valves, hi-pressure on right.
-Vauclain freight, four cyl, piston valves, hi-pressure cyls below low pressure.
-Vauclain passenger, same but hi-pressure mounted above low.
-Schenectady (cross), low pressure with flat valve on left, hi-pressure with piston valve on right.

There were likely other names and variations.
G.
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:46:27 AM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Also, several Canadian traction engine builders had compounds. Sawyer-Massey was the most prolific with tandem compound side and rear mount engines up to 106 hp. Robert Bell built a lot of tandems on the Port Huron system. Even Waterloo built tandem compounds but not sure if any exist today.
John Abell built cross compounds as early as 1881 leading to the magnificent 32 hp plowing engines. Talking with people who ran those big 32s, they said there was no problem with the machinery standing up when running simple as they were built heavy enough. It was steaming capacity. They were never meant to run as simples except in limited circumstances such as heavy starts. They were called "Cock O' The North" engines and I bet the engineer, roosting high up on his perch with the interceptor valve engaged in simple was called a lot worse by the lowly fireman on the deck below. The fireman probably had other ideas of what to do with the scoop shovel other than just shovelling coal!!??!!
G.
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:23:49 AM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by laknox
I think I know most of the various types of compound engines on traction engines; double-crank simple (side x side cylinders of equal size), single-crank compound (high and low pressure cylinders on a single rod) and double-crank cross compound (side x side high and low pressure cylinders). Did I leave any out? From some of the recent posts, it seems that, on some compound engines, you can control "compound" portion of the engine. Is this true? If so, how is this achieved? Any good articles explaining how this works and why you would do so (other than to simply control power output)? Thanks in advance.

Lyle
Lyle,

Just a comment and maybe someone said it above and I missed it, but a double-crank simple (side x side cylinders of equal size) is just a two cylinder engine; there is nothing being compounded with the exhaust steam.

Jeff
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:41:23 AM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Jeff,
I just kind of assumed and proceeded with his thought being the double tandem compound, where the two low pressure cylinders were side by side and of equal size and the two high pressure cylinders were also of equal size and side by side. I think that is what he meant. What he indicated, as you said, would simply be a double simple; but he was referring to compounds, so I took the ball and ran with it.

Mark referred to "the experts" and I'm not one. I just seem to have more guts than brains sometimes? And occasionally, I get hammered for it too!
Gary
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Old 08-21-2006, 12:41:51 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

Compound engines are usually made in one or the other of the two types shown in Fig. 212. In (a) the two cylinders are placed in line, the two pistons being attached to the same piston rod. H is the cylinder which first receives steam from the boiler; it is called the high-pressure cylinder. After the steam has expanded in H it passes to the larger cylinder L, which is called the low-pressure cylinder; from here the steam is exhausted into the atmosphere or into a condenser. Fig. 212 (b) shows what is known as the receiver compound engine. The steam enters the high-pressure cylinder H from the boiler; exhausts into a separate vessel R called the receiver; from there it passes to the low-pressure cylinder L, and finally exhausts into the atmosphere or into a condenser.



A receiver compound engine has two piston rods and two cranks; the cranks may be placed at any angle with each other. The compound engine without a receiver may have one piston rod and crank, as shown in the tandem type, or it may have two piston rods and two cranks, the cylinders being placed side by side. In any compound engine, without a receiver, the two pistons must begin and end their stroke at the same time, and the two cranks must be together or placed 180 degrees apart.

When one cylinder is placed behind the other, as shown in fig. 212 (a), the engine is called a tandem compound. When the cylinders are placed side by side, as shown in (b), and the piston rods are attached to separate cross-heads, the engine is called a cross compound; if both piston rods are attached to the same cross-head, the engine is called a twin compound. If any of these types of engines have a condenser, they are called tandem, cross, or twin-compound condensing engines. Without a condenser they are called non-condensing engines. They all may or may not have a receiver.

Rule of thumb: The low-pressure cylinder usually has 2 1/2 times more volume than the high-pressure cylinder.
Courtesy of Colliery Engineer Co.

(NOTE: CASE compounds are under 2 1/2 times volume, and REEVES were slightly over!)

Gary K
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Old 08-21-2006, 02:47:40 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

For the Cross compound ,,, see this past thread http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29455 without a reciver and the cranks only 90deg apart how does that work,, must not be the best?? but abell reheated the steam between cylinders
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Old 08-21-2006, 03:33:14 PM
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Default Re: Compound engines

I just HAD to mention... Today's best (worst too?) speculation comes up with between 3,000 and 4,000 (maybe more?) cross compound engines built by Reeves & Company and sucessor, Emerson-Brantingham. I guess I'd have to say they must have been more than an experimental plow engine with Reeves & Co.?

One thing with the 30 Advance cc I noticed was a problem with the receiver too far removed from the heat of the boiler and too much condensation and too much back pressure. I would say it was fascinating to run, being a one of a kind, today. I do have pictures of two others besides this one that WERE in Montana's Judith Basin years ago.
Gary
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