Thursday, July 23, 2015

The good and the bad

Weird day yesterday...

Figured I'd get to work on the second BQ lamp I bought in Ohio. I'd bought this one from Warren who took advantage of me being half in the bag ;). Actually I'd offered him a deal that I didn't expect him to take. Oh well right? I got the burner all cleaned up nice and then went after the fount, you might remember I had it passing air the other day. I dunked it into the citric acid bath and started scrubbing with a piece of steel wool:

The nickel was worse than I'd hoped for and I was debating if the fount was nice enough to re-nickel when I found:

My first ever stress crack. Actually theres 2 if you look close at the picture. These are pretty bad as stress cracks go. In retrospect I should have expected them, when I pressurized the fount to test the generator I noticed it didn't hold pressure very long. At the time I figured it was probably the gas cap. I put out a WTB ad on the CCF, we'll see if somebody has one. If not maybe I'll try the Caswells treatment. Thats a fancy sealant folks are using in this kind of situation, apparently the results have been excellent. This is probably a good candidate for the treatment since the cracks are in one place, and theres no pump tube to worry about. I'd have to shoot some air down the pickup tube to keep it from filling but my new air compressor will regulate down pretty low.

With the BQ off the table I went back to my third Tilley lantern. I'd traded a 202 for this lantern and an AGM but had never been able to get it to light bright and steady. Recently I bought a replacement vaporizer but that didn't seem to help. I figured maybe a good cleaning would at least make me feel better about the lantern so into the soak it went. The nickel on it isn't very good but after its bath it was presentable. I put it back together with its broken globe and played with lighting it.

At first I got nowhere which turned out to be a failed pip in the pump's non-return valve. The NRV keeps pressure from bleeding out of the tank through the pump. In this case the pip had swollen so bad I couldn't pump and pressure in.

I'd had this happen on another Tilley last spring. I'd bought a gasket set off eBay and when I messaged the seller who basically shrugged and suggested it was my fault. Fortunately for something like NRV pips I have a punch set and a sheet of Buna-N rubber which works well and doesn't swell.

This was when I realized the pressure pip in the lantern worked. I'll write more on that some other time but Tilley lanterns have a little gauge that tells you when they're fully pressurized. Well when this one was fully pressured it was tricky to light and wanted to flame up badly but once it settled down it was nice and bright. I've had trouble with the pump on this lantern, its got a pump cup from the kit I mentioned earlier and those cups seem to be made out of really cheap leather so I don't think I'm getting full pressure. Actually now that I think on it I KNOW I'm not getting full pressure because I could pump even when the pip wasn't admitting any air.

Anyway, the result:

Finally I decided to play around with my Mil-spec. Mines a 1982 SMP (State Machine Products) and while I'd had it lit it had given me a bunch of problems. It was always very difficult to light which is common with Mil-Spec lanterns but it was much harder than normal and the last time I'd had it lit it wouldn't shut off, it popped and spit for an hour or more before it ran out of air. I'd taken the valve out and polished the ring off of it. The ring occurs when somebody tightens the valve too far and puts a groove into the valve which then won't seal anymore. I'd also pulled the FA tube out to try and make it light easier. The next time I tried to light it I held my torch in one place on the generator too long and ruptured it which was VERY exciting but not what you'd call fun.

So now I try to light it with just a butane lighter. After a couple false starts where the pump wouldn't work and I was trying to light the lantern without any fuel (DOH!) I finally got it to hiss and gurgle like a normal lantern does. this was a first for me on this lantern so I figured it was a good sign. With the butane lighter preheating I looked away for a second when "WHOOMP" it lit.

Pretty exciting eh? No worries, close the valve, wait while the flames burn off, then crack the valve, it flames up, close the valve and wait, etc. I'd probably over pressured a bit since back in the old days this thing wanted quite a bit of pressure to get burning. Most folks suggest starting one with very little pressure, like 5 pumps. This is another lantern with pump problems so even then I'd figure 8 pumps on this is like 5 pumps with a good pump.

Anyway after a little bit it settled down:

It burned pretty nice, its loud but I didn't put much pressure in it since it doesn't really need much. I sat outside and read until it started to rain. This was a good test of shutdown and while it did pop and spit and complain some it finally settled down and went out.

So not the best day I've ever had lanterning but certainly not my worst. 1 broken, 2 fixed. I guess at that rate I'll call it progress...

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