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    American Queen whistle

    With all the upgrades and renovations on the AQ, I think the boat could use a "louder" voice. Once I stood at the wharf in Marietta with the DQ passing and the AQ docked and the DQ's calliope was drowning out the AQ whistle. Such a mighty boat needs a mighty Voice. What do you think?

    #2
    Mike,

    The problem is with the steam flow to the whistle, not the whistle itself. The steam line feeing the whistle is too small, so an accumulator tank was added at the site of the whistle during her first lay up. The problem with this accumulator tank is the volume of steam is just not there to feed the whistle correctly for that old timey sound. Long blasts just drain the pressure. In addition, the whistle is operated with a solenoid valve (much like a modern electrically-operated steam calliope, either on or off) instead of a traditional lanyard-operated (where you can slowly open, drain the water off the lines, and cause the whistle to do that traditional steamboaty moany sound) valve. I have heard there is a move afoot to address this issue. Although, to what level of priority it is and what can be done with in the USCG rules for changing the steam lines, I do not know.

    Travis

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      #3
      Thanks Travis. You sure know all the bells and whistles of a steamboat. (pun intended)

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        #4
        Whistle cfm

        In 1994 I was ask by ACV to build the Whistle for the AQ (in addition to the CaLLiope) and this issue was addressed by me when the AQ was being constructed.. The whistle line or pipe is only 1"1/4 , when I told the folks in charge it needs to be changed to a larger size, I was told it would be a "change order" to the shipyard and would cost over a thousand dollars just for the change order.. Needless to say it did NOT get changed...
        I even presented them with the formulas for the cubic feet per minute of steam delivered at X amount of PSI for 1 1/4" pipe vs 2" pipe.. There is a lot of difference.. Well I did not build the whistle for the AQ..
        When the AQ first came out she was wearing the HERBERT E. JONES whistle and using a pull leaver valve and still had the same problem, very soft sound..

        A three tone single bell whistle would help the situation a little, and a pull leaver valve so the operator can feather the sound.. However, as Travis pointed out the feed line to the whistle is too small. So until that line from the Boiler header to the accumulator is replaced with a larger size pipe it will continue to sound as it has in the past, weak ..

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          #5
          Whistle Balony

          Would a smaller whistle do the job? Now I don't mean a peanut whistle. We had a substantial whistle on the Ghost, 3 chime, but it had very narrow gaps where the steam came out and thus required very little volume to blow. It could be heard easily over a mile. The line going to it was 3/4 inch and the pressure was usually around 100 lbs. Wish you had gotten your way. Was that $1000 an excuse? I mean we're just talking some plumbing. Good grief! And look at the noise a calliope makes with nowhere near that much oomph. Am I missing something? It just doesn't add up.

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            #6
            Dave, Lexie et al: A properly designed accumulator would blow the biggest whistle you could want. Most may think that an accumulator is just an "air tank" to store steam. Rather, it is a reservoir for hot water at boiler water temperature...say 381.9 degrees F (for 200 psi steam). That water can be heated with a relatively small line...say half or three quarter inch. Steam will flow into the accumulator from the boiler until the water there reaches that temperature and stop. You tap into the accumulator with a line big enough to serve the whistle...with a pressure reducer (PRV) appropriate to prevent over blowing the whistle...say 50 psi. When the whistle valve opens the super heated water will flash off 50 psi steam until the water temperature drops to 281.0 degrees F...FAR more energy than just storing steam as vapor in a tank. Constraints on design can be cost, Coast Guard regulations on unfired pressure vessels, space available and weight distribution in the boat...easier and cheaper to design and install a steam line big enough to begin with...if your boiler is big enough...my problem with my little steam launch. Only two gallons of water when working. Any more than a "toot-toot" and things come to a slow pace. The accumulator needs to be fairly near the whistle. Cap'n Walnut

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              #7
              Lexie: Yes it would. A single bell chime would use less steam and deliver more volume in tone, (such as the DQ's whistle) than 3 single bell whistles..
              I have a 5 inch Lunkenheimer chime on Steam CaLLiope 44 on a 1 inch line bushed down from 2", and on say 80 lbs, it is unbearable in the wagon without ear plugs. It is hooked directly off the header line from the Boiler which is static presser from the Boiler.
              And yes I think it was just a excuse. lol.. But, I was told they were 5 million over budget at that time...

              Tom: I was never well versed in the function of a accumulator, and Thanks for explaining some of it's workings, however you mention a "regulator in the line" , This COULD be a possibility ?! And COULD explain many things..
              I will pour over my AQ drawings and see if I find the culprit..
              (yes, I have a complete set) LOL.. If I can find them. :/

              Comment


                #8
                You are so right Dave. I'm surprised that you already recommended this in 1994 and nothing has still been done! You would not even need an accumulator tank! Apparently someone is not very knowledgeable about the requirements for blowing whistles. A 1.25" line is the minimal line size for a 6" locomotive whistle. A 2" line would do the queen's big whistle proud. I've said the same thing several times in the past on this forum. Hopefully, this link from our Steam Whistles group will post here and someone will pay attention.
                http://tinyurl.com/3uruzwb


                Originally posted by Dave Morecraft View Post
                In 1994 I was ask by ACV to build the Whistle for the AQ (in addition to the CaLLiope) and this issue was addressed by me when the AQ was being constructed.. The whistle line or pipe is only 1"1/4 , when I told the folks in charge it needs to be changed to a larger size, I was told it would be a "change order" to the shipyard and would cost over a thousand dollars just for the change order.. Needless to say it did NOT get changed...
                I even presented them with the formulas for the cubic feet per minute of steam delivered at X amount of PSI for 1 1/4" pipe vs 2" pipe.. There is a lot of difference.. Well I did not build the whistle for the AQ..
                When the AQ first came out she was wearing the HERBERT E. JONES whistle and using a pull leaver valve and still had the same problem, very soft sound..

                A three tone single bell whistle would help the situation a little, and a pull leaver valve so the operator can feather the sound.. However, as Travis pointed out the feed line to the whistle is too small. So until that line from the Boiler header to the accumulator is replaced with a larger size pipe it will continue to sound as it has in the past, weak ..

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                  #9
                  REE-DQ-LOUS

                  Well, I didn't even think about the cost of the so called accumulator! Had to top $1000.

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                    #10
                    Lexie: You say the whistle on the GHOST was fed off a 100 psi boiler through a 3/4" line. I would bet that the whistle itself was threaded for a much bigger line than 3/4". I'd also be surprised if you delivered 100 psi steam to the whistle through that little 3/4" line even with the whistle valve full open. That little line would throttle the steam to some lower pressure then that...likely just right for your whistle and keep it from being overblown. When bigger lines are provided, you may need a pressure reducing valve (PRV) to prevent that. I seem to remember there is a PRV ahead of the calliope on the BELLE set at about 35 psi to prevent overblowing. Cap'n Walnut.

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                      #11
                      The operating pressure of a whistle depends on its scale (working length to diameter ratio), cutup (the distance of the bell over the bowl) and width of the slit admitting the steam or air. The power output of a whistle depends on its scale and cutup. Cutups below unity (the point where the radiating mouth area is equal to the cross sectional area of the bell) lose output by 12 dB each time the bell is lowered to half the former cutup height. Cutups higher than unity simply require a higher operating pressure for a given output, but are often used to prevent overblowing (the point at which a whistle sounds at three times its normal frequency). Below is the link to my research in this.
                      Fluepipe1 - Page: 1 of 15

                      You will find a practical link to steam whistles and their design at the following.
                      steam-whistles : Steam Whistles
                      This group makes use of interactive whistle design spreadsheets that are based on my research for a perfect whistle the very first time off the lathe with respect to frequency and operating pressure. A growing number of our members have been successfully designing their own steam whistles using them. Here is one example.
                      cary4501scaledwhistle - YouTube

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                        #12
                        Oh, yes. It was made for a much bigger pipe. It is an old duffer and even has some pipe parts of a size that is no longer available. We had to be very careful blowing it, or it would suck water out of the boiler. We never opened the valve all the way. But when we had it at full volume, something in one of my ears would rattle and tickle my ear. It came off a sugar mill in Louisiana, so I was told.

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                          #13
                          Lexie: My steam launch whistle does the same...suck the boiler water out when opened too far! Off a sugar mill? How sweet! Cap'n Walnut

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                            #14
                            In regard to the whistle on the American Queen not being loud enough, the problem is not with the whistle itself, but with the inadequate size line supplying it with steam from the boiler. The cross sectional area of the supply line to a whistle should never be smaller than the area of the slit admitting the air or steam. In actuality, the area from the supply line to the whistle's inlet should be twice the area of the annular slit. This is a mistake often made (and paid for by poor performance).

                            Many calliope whistles use bowls so thin that the area between the inlet to the back of the languid plate chokes the flow. This was the problem with the original 3 bell Davis chime on the Mississippi Queen. The whistle would have been awesome, had it been given deeper bowls that did not choke the flow from the inlet. When the whistle on the Delta Queen was moved from its old position near the stack to its current position, they also reduced the size of the supply line and compromised the whistle's performance. They afterwards ended up adding a piston horn as an additional sound signal. Everyone knows that a WHISTLE is the traditional voice of a steamboat.

                            Have you ever considered just how much power it takes to blow a whistle? It's a lot more than most people would think. Since most people blow whistles from a boiler or a compressed air tank, the volume of reserve steam in a boiler or compressed air tank can make a relatively small source appear more powerful than it is, at least for a short time. It's similar to trying to run a circuit with a high peak current demand from a small power supply with a large filter capacitor across its output. It may be able to supply brief peak demands but will ultimately fail in supplying the required power to the circuit. What we're talking about here is the power required to blow a whistle continuously to its full output. The analogy between the electrical power supplied to circuit and the mechanical power supplied to a whistle is the same. They can both be measured in Watts. The key word here is "continuous" power. A small supply line to a whistle is also analogous to trying to use a common lamp cord as a booster cable to charge a car battery.

                            Some whistle catalogs (Lunkenheimer and Kahlenberg) will give you consumption ratings at a given pressure in CFS (cubic feet/second). To convert this to CFM multiply CFS by 60. You'll then find out that as a rule of thumb a whistle of 3:1 scale will require around 100 CFM/inch in diameter to fully blow at a cutup of unity. Raising the cutup above unity will increase the required blowing pressure and CFM well above this. A whistle of larger 2:1 scale will require even more consumption of approx. 140 CFM/inch in diameter. A high flow rate at a high pressure means lots of horsepower will be required to continuously blow a large whistle. A whistle the size and scale of the 10" Lunkenheimer on the American Queen can use upwards of 1,000 boiler HP!

                            Thankfully we now have ways to minimize the required flow rate and pressure that a whistle requires to fully operate, while still obtaining a high acoustical output from it by modifying its design. With a simple change in the slit width, a whistle's efficiency can be increased by 500% (5 times)! A different bell design can further increase efficiency by 400% (4 times), giving a total input power reduction of 20:1, all without reducing the output! We have discussed the means of how to go about doing this on many occasions on the Yahoo group, Steam Whistles, of which several here are also members.

                            In a nutshell, whistles do need high flow rates as compared to air horns, but they do not need the traditional high pressures to perform well. The loudest whistle on record required a mere 15 PSI and used 1800 SCFM to produce an SPL of 85 dB at 1 mile, supplied by a 150 HP Roots blower. Google U.S. patent 4429656. By inverting and horn loading my former design I have a design that only requires 15 PSI at 1350 SCFM, yet produces 135 dB at 100 feet, a full 10 dB louder on axis than my former patent, supplied by a 100 HP rotary screw compressor. Google U.S. patent 4686928. It would take three 50 HP sirens to equal it's area of coverage.

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