Pulsing Tilley X246B Mk I

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Volesworth, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    I’d be grateful for your help with a Tilley X246B Mk I, which I have been trying to service/renovate. It appeared in quite clean condition when I got it, but I suspected the vaporiser was not working as it should as the stopcock was very tight when turning off and the wire seeming a bit buckled. After cleaning everything I could, replacing all the washers etc and adding a Tilley 146X mantle, it worked after a fashion, without visible leaks. The problems were that the light was yellow and not as bright as I recall this type of lamp should be (it was not as bright a a correctly functioning Aladdin, and I recall the Tilley should be brighter than that). More of a problem was the light pulsed. Not so you would notice it when looking at the light directly, but very visible from the light on the walls. Sometimes this is even audible with a shoosh-shoosh sound about twice a second. After reading around here and confirming the vaporiser might be at fault, I got a new (old stock) 606 vaporiser and tried that. Initially, I was encouraged to find the stopcock now felt much better and the light was whiter, indeed more blue to the top of the mantle, but it still pulses — even after 70-80 pumps, which I understand should be sufficient. I assume now, having replaced the vaporiser, that only leaves a problem with the burner head? I wonder if you have any thoughts that might help please?

    This is my first post to this forum and so I thought it might be good to tell you something about myself, and my interest in this area, by way of an introduction. When I was a child in the 1960s, we lived in a place with no electricity and paraffin lamps and stoves were all we had. While I was too young at the time to be involved, they held a fascination for me. Later, we moved on and I never had much contact with anything like that again. Now, retired and in later life, I thought it would be fun to re-explore these fine things again. To begin with I bought a new Dietz hurricane lamp (a disappointment, it seemed much more tinny construction than my memories suggested) but works okay. I then started to look at Aladdin lamps — these were always my favourite, with their slender elegant designs. After buying a couple and some parts they are now working beautifully. An interesting observation: my wife had never seen a paraffin mantle lamp before and was amazed how it could put out so much light! After that, I bought a Primus No 5 stove, which with a service kit now works well. The only thing that does not seem right is that it seems too quiet! I think the stoves I remember must have had the “roarer burners” rather than the “silent burner” on the No 5. Last, I bought the Tilley lamp. I opted for the X246B as I guessed that it might be the least challenging for me to get started with; however, I have subsequently read that it’s not thought of as one of the better Tilleys. None the less, I think it is capable of working a little better than it currently is.

    If anyone could give me any hints that might get rid of the pulsing, I’d be most grateful.

    Many thanks to the moderators and to all who post to this forum, it’s really a mine of fascinating and entertaining information.
     
  2. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Hello @Volesworth and welcome to CPL!

    It can be a problem with the x264b's.. some folks find that just cleaning out the fount and filling with the correct amount of clean paraffin will cure things..

    It may be that the burner is burnt out.. have you taken it out of the hood to check it?

    The tubes should be tight and not angled down or showing any gaps..

    New burners are available from Juliands on ebay and are thought to be good.. also not unreasonably priced

    Thanks for your post and interesting experimenting as well!

    Good luck with things :thumbup:
     
  3. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    Hello @podbros,

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    One of the things I did was to flush the font out with fresh paraffin a couple of times (with much shaking), until it came out clean again. I don't know if I could have done more?

    The paraffin for burning is fresh too, out of a new Bartoline 4l container.

    Yes, I took the head off and removed the burner (after releasing the split pin). It seemed pretty clean and sound and I guessed there could be little to go wrong but I did not check the three tubes were tight. I will check that again.

    Thanks again for the quick reply!
     
  4. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    Hello again @podbros, A quick follow-up before I forget. Just checked the burner head and the three tubes seem firmly attached. I've also prodded about in it with cotton buds, and the tubes seem pretty clean. A little bit of carbon but nothing remotely like a blockage.

    ... and the tank is something over half full at the moment...
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020
  5. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Welcome aboard!:thumbup:

    Sometimes the fuel feed pipe which is located under the control cock needs to have a wire shoved down it a few times as muck can build up in there and it interrupts the flow of the fuel and air.

    Carbon building up on the pricker wire can also cause pulsing.

    Those modern aluminium control cocks can be problematic, they are not always made properly and therefor can also restrict the flow, if the gland nut on the control cock is to tight then that will also affect the flow.

    This link shows a diagram for the X-246-B, but the library is only open to subscribers.

    https://classicpressurelamps.com/threads/x246b-diagram.6859/
     
  6. podbros

    podbros United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Looks like you have checked quite a few things, so that's good!

    It is always worth blowing through the burner with compressed air as even spider's webs can affect performance?

    Not everyone has it but blasting with a bike pump will help and pipe cleaner/ cotton bud activity is good too!

    Jeff is spot on with his advice.. sometimes it is possible to swap parts onto a working lamp to narrow down a problem, but if it is the only one you have then not so easy?

    Did you renew the gland washer on the control cock? The plastic knob pulls off and the knurled cup should unscrew?
     
  7. BigStevie

    BigStevie United Kingdom Subscriber

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    @Volesworth

    Hi and welcome to the forum from the Highlands.

    Stevie
     
  8. AussiePete

    AussiePete Australia Subscriber

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    Hi @Volesworth
    Welcome from Queensland Australia.
    Sounds like you’re in capable hands.
    I’m looking forwards to reading your future posts.
    Enjoy
    Pete
     
  9. Darryl Durdin

    Darryl Durdin Australia Subscriber

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    @Volesworth , you have some good tips on getting your lantern under control, did you replace the filter and pip ajoined to the control cock, this may help as well
     
  10. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    Thank you all for the several replies.

    @JEFF JOHNSON Thank you - I will check the feed pipe, I don’t think I’ve looked in that so far. Also, your point about the gland on the valve is *VERY* interesting as, after replacing the washer, I had to tighten it more than I think should in order for it to stop it dripping. I understand everything should only be finger-tight and this I had to was a bit more than that! Possibly the valve has seen better days,

    @podbros Thanks, I will try blowing through the head with a tyre pump, but will leave that until I have exhausted other ideas as it would mean trashing the existing mantle.

    @BigStevie - thanks for the welcome!

    @AussiePete - Amazing to get support from the other side of the world!

    @Darryl Durdin Thanks for that. Interesting points. The first service kit I bought was not as comprehensive as the SP1 from Tilley, and so there were a few bits I did not, but probably should have changed. I did not replace the filter but it appeared to be completely clean, but regarding the pip, which I understand to mean the stopper on the spring in the valve: no, I did not change that as I did not have a replacement at the time. It seemed sound, but possibly harder than it should be. I do now have the SP1 kit, so probably should strip it down again and replace all the bits that were missed out the first time, rather than guess the old bit were okay.
     
  11. Mackburner

    Mackburner United Kingdom Founder Member Subscriber

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    Whilst a well used or dirty burner may affect the quality and power of the light it cannot cause the pulsing. pulsing is never a burner problem it is always a vaporiser/fuel feed issue. So clean the burner by all means but don't unscrew the three air tubes from the burner casting because they may have badly worn threads and won't seal when screwed back in. ::Neil::
     
  12. R100

    R100 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Try using two seals on the control cock gland.
     
  13. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    @Mackburner Thanks - I had suspected it had to be fuel feed with some obstruction along the line. Thanks also for the point about not dismantling the burner ... it was one of the next things I was going to try!

    @R100 Thanks for that. Interestingly I think it had two washers in when I dismantled it the first time. As they took some digging out, especially the one further in, I assumed it had been someone cutting a corner ... but maybe not. Thanks for that - certainly and easy fix to try.
     
  14. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    Some progress … for a while at least …

    I made a number of changes at the same time so can’t now pinpoint exactly what helped, but none the less the pulsing was gone for a while. If there was any left, it was not enough to be immediately noticeable and may be within expected limits. After running about 45 minutes it began to pulse a bit again, but a few more pumps took care of that, which I assume is only to be expected as the pressure drops.

    This is what I did:

    Following suggestions from:

    @podbros I made sure the font was filled topped up.

    @JEFF JOHNSON & @podbros I started focussing on a problem with the control cock being too tight.

    @Darryl Durdin I replaced the pip (and the spring) in the control cock. I did not do that the first time round as I did not have the necessary bits.

    @R100 I looked at the gland seal on the control cock again. The one that came with first kit was flat. The one in the Tilley SP1 kit is more hemispherical (a flange?). Anyway I put the flange in first as it looked like it was shaped to do fit against the gland nut. I then put the flat washer in against the valve itself. Now, even lightly finger tight there is no leak.

    So, between all of that, I had some success. I’m really very grateful for all the kind and helpful suggestions given.

    However, one step forward and two steps back! The washer between the stop cock and the font had split and was leaking paraffin. Yours truly replaced that and somehow I seem to have introduced another leak as now it only burns for a minute or so before it goes into “overburn”. It’s possible to recover it via the instructions in the X246B leaflet, but it I think it is now leaking pressure big time. This time as there is no visible weeping of paraffin, I guess it can only be something around the pump, perhaps the seal on the entrance or the non-return valve seat.

    I will press on and report back.
     
  15. Volesworth United Kingdom

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    Just to tie up this thread. I think I have finally got to the bottom of this and believe the problem was that I was over-cautious and was simply not getting enough pressure in the tank; possibly through some pump inefficiency, meaning judging pressure by a standard number of pumps was not really a good measure for me. I guessed this by pumping up the lamp with the stopcock closed and then releasing the pressure by undoing the pump flange and seeing all that emerged after 90 strokes was a feeble phut! Not nearly the sort of pressure I imagined would be necessary to operate well, and certainly no where near the pressure needed to deform the tank. As a result, I now only keep a vague tally of pump strokes and go by how the lamp is performing.

    As a result of this, this lamp, or "Hissing Sid" as my wife calls it him, is now completely useable.

    Thanks again to everyone for their kind help and comments. :clap:
     
  16. David Shouksmith

    David Shouksmith United Kingdom Founder Member

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    Definitely some sort of pump inefficiency - or a massive air-leak, I suppose i.e. leaking air out as quick as the pump was putting it in.

    Tilley pumps generally make a very satisfying farting sound when operated vigorously out of the tank. I'd also have tried a dunk test or painting the various seals with some sort of soap/detergent solution and looking for bubbles...
     
  17. Fireexit1

    Fireexit1 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    I have had a couple of "can't get pressure" x246b builds like this - all seals were ok and working well, but the pump was the cuplrit. In my case it was the "pump rod guide" or screw cap that the pump rod runs through. The hole had worn to a keyhole shape, and this allowed the pump rod to move off perpendicular just enough to let air pass by as you pumped, and led to an early demise of pump leather. A kind member on this forum posted me a servicable pump.

    On another re-build I used a genuine SP1 kit, however I found that the new spring was just too powerful for the pump and would not allow me to get enough air/pressure into the tank. Putting the old spring back in solved the issue instantly.

    If you do not know this already - re: the seal in cock and non-return valve in the pump. The newer alloy x246b pump and cock used a rounded square rubber molding with a small stem on it, the stem being where the spring is located. Older tilley pumps had a disc shaped seal that sat in a brass cup that had a stem for the spring. These are interchangable. Your first seal kit probably did not have the seals with the stem on them, but the earlier type. (confusingly both referred to as part 155 by Tilley) You can buy the cups or part 611. Good to know for the future..
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  18. Johnny19

    Johnny19 United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Welcome! Got to say that Tilleys are still a bit of a learning curve for me. I serviced one and it runs worse. One day I'll get around to finding out the problem . I only have 2 X246B's in my collection. which is mainly focused on Vapalux/Bialaddin lamps.
    So really I'm finding this post a bit of an education also! Welcome again.....
     

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