Im new here, I dont know what to do!

For those of you who don’t know, the title of this topic is a nod to the fact that I am new here. I don’t really “know” what Im doing, and its a funny line from the movie Joe Dirt… so here is a little of my story.

As I posted in the intro forum I am looking to complete a setup to use at football games. I have in my possession an air compressor tank (65 gallons) that is rated at 135 psi max pressure. The tank was purchased new by me and used for powdercoating. The actual compressor went out on the unit and I purchased an entire new setup so I plan on re purposing this tank for my build.

A friend of a friend has acquired us a 3 horn setup from a local train system (sun rail). I have not seen the setup yet nor have I been able to get a picture but I am assured it either was on a train or was going on a train. We’ll see exactly what we have hopefully this coming up week.

I plan on filling the tank at home with my new 65 gallon compressor and using a gas powered wheel barrow style compressor for recharge at the games if needed.

Ive already seen that 1/2" line is most likely the best way to go.

The entire system will be housed inside a chuck wagon or schooner that I am in the process of building so room is not an issue. “The school mascot is a cowboy”

Id be happy to hear any suggestions. Any pros or cons of the general plans I have already.

As long as the parts are new (on the train horn end) or at least in good working order I am confident that I can make it work well. I worked in pipe fitting and am able to cut, thread, and assemble a pretty setup. Not that a huge amount of pipe should be needed.

I am however on the fence right now about the actual valve to pull to operate the horn. Im thinking an actual pull handle valve would be much cooler than a ball valve or something similar. Any thoughts?

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Any and all info is welcome and I appreciate any and all help.


Depending on the horns of course, you’ll want good flow rate through the valve. 1/2" pull handle valves are difficult to come by. Any genuine railroad valves will cost you a pretty penny. A spring loaded 1/2" ball valve would definitely be the cheapest option I think. Alternatively have a look at the Graham White clones that are floating around (HB sells these as well).

So this is what I’ve picked up for the fine price of 0$ and 0 cents

Hope I’ve done well.

Do tell. …

Not much to tell. Friend of a friend works on the sun rail system here in Florida. I didn’t ask any more questions than that and that’s all the data I have.
Working on the don’t know can’t taddle system I guess :wink:

A nice score. Have you tested them yet?

I have not. There are 4 guys involved in this build, I think it needs to wait until all of us are together ceremoniously

But ill be sure to let you know! Hope the work awesom.

What’s max psi I can run through these bad boys?

… don’t forget the ceremonious ale :smiley:


What kind of pressure should I run thru them?

All I need to do is pipe into the manifold correct? For now using a ball valve?

About 100 or just above to make it bellow but it’ll sound at much lower pressures as well. Ball valve will be fine … as long as it’s not one of those tiny units

I’m going to need one of those fancy pull valves SOON! I know I won’t be happy without one.

Ill get a video and pray I can figure out how to upload it to the forum.

What is this setup called? I know it’s a Nathan, but I’m seeing things like Nathan K5 and so on (I know it’s not a 5 because it’s 3 horns) but I’m trying to do some research.

It’s a P3

I do powdercoat from time to time… If I were to pull these apart is it okay to coat them with powder? Should I stay away from powder and just paint them?

If I were to pull them apart and/or they don’t work properly the way they sit where can I purchase (Im guessing it would be called) a rebuild kit for my rig?

Whats the whole new cast vs old cast I keep reading about? How would I know the difference? Does it really matter?

You can read about the history of the P series Airchime here, which explains the difference. Old cast are more favored for their sound and collector value

Powder coating is fine - it’s done quite often and yields a very nice but un-authentic look (not sure if that is important to you). Painting would obviously be a bit easier, depending on how good a finish you want to achieve. Having done powder coat you’ll know the effort involved to prep.

If the horns sound good as is, I wouldn’t necessarily go taking them apart. The diaphragm and seal kits are becoming more difficult to source I think. There was a guy on here recently who was asking on where to find them as well. You can try the Horn & Whistle Board since there’s a lot more who restore horns over there, but you can also try and get in touch with Microprecision Group (the makers of the Airchime) to ask for their advice on replacement parts.

Baking powder calls for 400 degrees to cure. I know the gaskets and such will not hold up to that kind of temp. That’s the only reason I was planning on taking them apart (especially if they sound right as they are). Still trying to get the logistics right to get everyone in one spot at the same time to blow them.

Your horn is a Nathan P124L on its own dedicated bracket. It is ex-Southern Railway, the only road to use this type of 3-horn bracket. These were used on their GP38-2 locies (2 horn per locie, one on each end).

Standard P3’s (P124) are normally on a 5-horn bracket with two pads blocked off.

The P-series is the most user-friendly of all locomotive horns. The original aluminum castings can never wear out since the horn uses replaceable diaphragm seat, gaskets and diaphragm.

The P3 you have will blow loudly from 50PSI to 125PSI. Do NOT go any higher than that.