Today was the first time anybody ran trains at the club in 5 weeks, and the track was a mess of smoke gunk, oxidation, and dust.  We had to clean the mainline by hand (what we can reach, there are a few feet of track tragically out of arms reach) just to get an engine to run enough to pull the track cleaner cars.  It occurred to me it would be advantageous to have a battery powered Lionchief loco to pull the track cleaner when things get bad.   It wouldn't have to be pretty, it could be a big ole NiCad on a flat car with an extra tether.  I have a LC 0-8-0 from a starter set I'm not really doing anything with.

Anyone have any suggestions for a battery powerful enough to run for maybe an hour, that would put out appropriate volts/amps to run the loco?

Kitbashing Reading Company steam engines until the day I can build a layout.  Sometimes I do custom work for others.

 

Check out my Blog of my previous work at http://brianwowak.wordpress.com

Original Post
I'm not an electrical engineer.  I'm not even an electrician.   I'm keenly aware that there are plenty of batteries available in the world.  I have zero framework upon which to determine what kind of battery would be best or even work.  I searched on this site and on Google,  and found no one who has used a rechargeable battery to power a Lionchief engine. I'm sorry if my lack of expertise in this area somehow insults you.

Kitbashing Reading Company steam engines until the day I can build a layout.  Sometimes I do custom work for others.

 

Check out my Blog of my previous work at http://brianwowak.wordpress.com

Since the LC and LC+ stuff will run on DC, it's probably simple enough to use a Lithium battery pack in a trailing boxcar and just tap into the track pickups of the locomotive.  If you're going exclusive battery power, I'd remove the pickups.

 

I'd be looking at the 12 to 18 volt range for the battery pack voltage and as much capacity as will fit into your battery car.  A good place to look is model airplane sites, they have the battery packs and the chargers as well.

 

A good plan would be to have a couple of battery packs so you could be charging one and running with the other one.

 

Here's a site with a nice assortment of 14.4 volt packs, about ideal for LC and LC+ stuff.

 

http://www.batteryspace.com/4cellspack148v.aspx

 

Here's an appropriate charger for that pack.

 

http://www.batteryspace.com/sm...emaletamiyaplug.aspx

 

BTW Brian, I've seen some of your work, your expertise amazes me, and I can excuse the lack of knowledge in on minor area.

 

That will be somewhat of a SWAG.  I'd start by running the engine around and measuring the current draw.

 

Let's say that in typical operation, you were drawing round 1 amp, I'm assuming you might be using the smoke unit.   For each hours running, that would be 1000 ma/hr of battery capacity.  If you pick this 2400 ma/hr battery pack, you'd get around two hours of running.  The nice thing about Li Po batteries is they keep their voltage up for most of the discharge cycle, so you can use most of the battery energy.

 

Obviously, the 1A is just an example, I've never measured the LC or LC+ stuff to see what it actually draws.

For what it is worth...Trying to learn a little about this electricity thing yesterday ... I have the LC+ GP7 (two motors), and LC+ Mikado (one motor), and when I run both the HF clamp-around ammeter says about 1.8 to 2 amps at 18 volts (Z1000) on the main bus connection when both are running 1/3 speed and both smoke units are engaged, each pulling a half dozen cars.  If I crank up the speed to almost flying speed I can get 2 amps on the meter.

 

Also have the LC Pennsylvania Flyer starter steamer, so I jusr ran downstairs for a quick measurement, When I run it alone it registers 0.8 to 1.0 on the ammeter as it runs around the track puffing away and pulling a half dozen decently weighted cars.  If my measurement is anywhere near accurate, John's guess was a good one

 

Not such how accurate this inexpensive meter is but I guess I was surprised at how little current, especially the LC+ seemed to pull.

David

Topeka, KS

Disconnect the wiring from the DC motor and run 2 wires from the motor to a battery, with an on/off switch in one of the wires.  Shouldn't be hard to stop with your hand if you can catch up to it.

 

I would get a 9.6v NiMh battery pack, $20 from any RC shop or here:

 

http://www.batteryspace.com/Ni...r-Battery-packs.aspx

 

Mah isn't that important if all you're doing is cleaning track and not running it around more than an hour or so, don't even need track power turned on.

 

You could even gut the engine, just leaving the DC motor if all you need is a track cleaning car.

 

Of course...if you went BPRC you wouldn't need to clean the track at all

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Originally Posted by Wowak:
I'm not an electrical engineer.  I'm not even an electrician.   I'm keenly aware that there are plenty of batteries available in the world.  I have zero framework upon which to determine what kind of battery would be best or even work.  I searched on this site and on Google,  and found no one who has used a rechargeable battery to power a Lionchief engine. I'm sorry if my lack of expertise in this area somehow insults you.

Either am I, I meant search this site.  There are plenty of post of converting TRAINS to battery.  Bob just did this and he posted above.  No need for google yet.  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

Bob, I don't know why you'd want to connect directly to the battery and lose all the benefits of the remote control, you'll have to explain that one.  It's just as easy to simply connect the battery pack directly to the track feed and have the full functionality of the LC or LC+ locomotive.

 

Again, I'd opt for the higher voltage pack and run the electronics package the way it was designed, simple and effective.  In one boxcar, you can haul enough batteries to run all day, so that's not really an issue.

 

John, I thought he had a clunker that didn't work or worked poorly.  He could always do what I suggested and put the guts in another engine, or take a clunker and do what I suggested.

 

Bottom line is there's a number of ways to run a battery-powered engine around the layout.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Bob, from the first post.

 

It occurred to me it would be advantageous to have a battery powered Lionchief loco to pull the track cleaner when things get bad.

I took that to mean he wanted to run an intact LC locomotive with remote control.

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

Bob, from the first post.

 

It occurred to me it would be advantageous to have a battery powered Lionchief loco to pull the track cleaner when things get bad.

I took that to mean he wanted to run an intact LC locomotive with remote control.

 

 

Also from the first post:

 

I have a LC 0-8-0 from a starter set I'm not really doing anything with.

 

I'm only guessing at what he really wants to do with what he has and only throwing out suggestions.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

You're right Bob, I assumed the same thing.  The difference is, I assumed that it was a working locomotive, but he wasn't using it.

 

We'll have to wait for Brian to tell us the real scoop.

 

I own a fully functional LC 0-8-0 that usually just sits on a ready track because it's appeal is limited compared to the PS2 0-6-0 and 0-8-0 I have for switching.  I was thinking it could be useful for a cleaning train because when the club layout goes a month without being run,  conductivity is so bad that the PS2 engines WON'T run.  I definitely don't want an engine I can't control the speed of.

Kitbashing Reading Company steam engines until the day I can build a layout.  Sometimes I do custom work for others.

 

Check out my Blog of my previous work at http://brianwowak.wordpress.com

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

       

If you pick this 2400 ma/hr battery pack, you'd get around two hours of running.


       


That looks ideal.  My problem again with being a novice, when I look to order a charger, it wants me to select the connector type from a drop down menu, and I don't know enough to know what style this battery has (nor is it mentioned in the description. )

Kitbashing Reading Company steam engines until the day I can build a layout.  Sometimes I do custom work for others.

 

Check out my Blog of my previous work at http://brianwowak.wordpress.com

Hi Brian

 

Perhaps you could do as I do, and find a connector that's readily available in your area, cut off whatever connectors stuff arrives with and replace them with your chosen 'standard'?  I'm building up my own cheap radio control for locos using R/C car electronic speed controllers and simple 2-channel radio control transmitters - the bulk of the receiver and transmitter is no problem in O-scale.

 

For robustness, NiMH batteries are hard to beat.  I know LiPos are far more compact, but I have had no end of trouble with LiPos failing after only a couple of cycles so now I reduce my stress levels by using Energizer AA's in four-cell holders, wired in series to get 9.6V.  It gives acceptable run-time (Energizer AA is 2.3Ah) and top speed.

 

Regards

Paul

Whangarei, NZ.

Since the battery and charger are from the same folks, I'd simply ask them which connector is compatible with the battery pack you pick.  I'm sure there is one for the charger that will charge their own battery pack.

 

Let's say you picked this 2400 MAH pack, it's a decent capacity and fairly cheap.  It's charging plug is described...   1.5" wire with 5 pin Female JST plug

 

I suspect one of the choices for the charger is compatible with that plug.  Note that you can't just charge the whole pack, multi-cell lithium packs charge with monitoring of the individual cells.  So, it's is important to match the charger connection to the battery charge port.

 

I'm not sure why Paul has so much trouble with LiPo batteries, my brother is an avid model airplane guy, and he uses LiPo exclusively for all his stuff now.  He gets many cycles from those packs.  One advantage with the LiPo solution is you can go for a larger battery pack and get hours of running on a single charge, so you'd be able to have an entire session with a single battery and no breaks for charging.

 

If you are discharging at a 1 amp rate, which is roughly what we are talking about, the AH rating of a primary AA alkaline cell falls to around 1 AH.  You'd want at least eight of them to bring the voltage up to around 12 volts for your configuration.  Also, fairly early in the discharge cycle, the voltage falls off significantly, further impacting performance.  You'd get maybe an hour of running, if that, and you'd be buying new batteries regularly.  That will get very expensive fast.

 

For any doubting Thomas in the crowd, here's the PowerStream Discharge Tests for various Alkaline and NiMh AA Batteries.

 

You could go with something like a bunch of NiMh AA rechargable batteries in holders, those would  be a lot more cost effective than using primary batteries.  They also stand up to higher current discharge rates better than Alkaline batteries.  Alkaline cells are best suited for low discharge rates.

 

Hi GunnerJohn

 

Thanks for the link to the battery discharge tests, very informative and the charts back up what I had already discovered working empirically, that NiMH batteries hang in there for longer than alkaline cells.  Because I am working with dead-rail more-or-less in isolation here, it is pleasing to see that you suggested exactly what I did....means I'm probably on the right track :-)  All the other deadrail guys I communicate with are using LiPo's due to space issues in their Ho and On30 engines.

 

I probably had issues with LiPo's failing because out of ignorance I was buying low-quality batteries.  However, given that I have ample volume inside an O-scale locomotive so that space is not an issue, plus the fact that so far my Energizer NiMH's have been indestructable, I quickly arrived at the conclusion that in my situation LiPo's are just an unnecessary complication.

 

By the way, if it is of any use to anyone, I am using a HobbyKing HKC6 charger.  I love it, because it is clever enough to use pulsed voltage and current to recondition over-discharged batteries and revive them to not far short of their original capacity.  It also automatically senses the total voltage of the bank of cells in series and charges the lot, so I can charge any set-up without having to remove them from the engine.

 

Regards

Paul

Whangarei, NZ.

I will say that the NiMh batteries will probably be easier to deal with, they're much less demanding of proper charging techniques.  I'm kinda' conditioned to thinking LiPo as my brother is a huge fan, but flying anything heaver than necessary limits the other payload you can take up, cameras, and other fun stuff for bombing runs.

 

The best word of advice I can give about batteries is to check how much space you have.  You can always try to find a battery pack with as large a Mah rating as you want, even though you may not need it, as long as it fits.

 

The other consideration is how are you going to charge it, in the engine/tender or pull it out and charge it on the bench.  I'm trying to configure mine so they can all be charged in the tender as I'm doing steam only right now.  My engines with NiMh batteries have a charging jack module that needs a round mounting hole and enough space to mount it.

 

On my engines with LiPo batteries I'm having to make a mounting plate for the charging connector and cut a rectangular hole and drill 2 holes for mounting screws somewhere on the tender, or open the tender up to gain access to the connector.

 

A couple of my engines (Williams N&W J for one) have enough space that a 1.3"x1.3"x3.9" NiMh battery pack had plenty of room whereas the MTH Railking Imperial 0-6-0 had just enough space for a .91"x1.38"x4.13" LiPo battery pack.

 

Others could have used the NiMh but I chose to go with the LiPo because of the higher voltage at startup (less internal resistance).

 

Honestly, I wouldn't get too concerned with all the talk about Mah ratings, unless you plan on running non-stop for 12 hours at a time or plan on pulling a 20-car or more train.  I plan on using at least 1000Mah, but for something like the 0-6-0, where it's used continuously for maybe 1/2 hour at a time, I feel even a battery with a smaller Mah rating would suffice.

 

I will say that I'm not using sound at present, only powering the DC can motor, headlight, and backup light (both Evans LEDs), but I'm getting a lot of run time on all the battery packs (2000-2200 Mah).  Since April/May I've only charged batteries once and run trains at least once/daily.  I've been getting my battery packs from ALL-BATTERY.com, very fast service from coast-to-coast and good prices.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

Hmmm,

 

GRJ & Dale...

 

How about powering the LC or LC+ with a Ryobi + 18v Lithium Ion Battery?

 

Basically I am thinking, run two wires from the battery to the same connections for the center wire collector and to the ground. (Do Not turn ON Track Transformer)

 

I would make a harness and connector that could be unplugged by the engine that would connect to a flat bed car with the female Ryobi Battery Receptacle from an old tool or charger. Mount that onto the car permanently and then just pop in the battery or remove it to be charged and then pop in another....

 

Then hookup the track cleaning car behind the battery car.

 

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

Dennis
Piscataway, NJ

NJ Hi-Railers Member

North Penn O Gaugers Member

TCA Member 13-69453

LCCA/LRRC Member

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ Hi-Railers Website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of their events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what they have added.

I'd want to hide the battery, maybe a boxcar with a door rigged at the rear?

 

How big is that battery?  If it's the Ryobi One battery, it's kinda' wide.  I guess I'm into cosmetics, I'd want to hide the battery. 

 

I like the general idea, I suspect there are other batteries that would be of a suitable form factor to hide in rolling stock...

 

Yes what I am talking about couldn't be hidden inside but the battery could be disguised as a really big box!

Dennis
Piscataway, NJ

NJ Hi-Railers Member

North Penn O Gaugers Member

TCA Member 13-69453

LCCA/LRRC Member

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ Hi-Railers Website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of their events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what they have added.

I would buy a cheap rechargeable drill with lithium ion battery and go to town with a Dremel tool. I would think with a cheap flat car you could make something that would work. It wouldn't be pretty, but it would be functional.

Corey West

Aircraft for work, trains for fun.

I agree with Bob, you can buy the batteries in those rechargeable drills, I have replaced them several times in the two I have.  Much cheaper than ripping the drill apart, and easier too.

 

 

Originally Posted by Arthur P. Bloom:

Search online for "deadrail".  All the answers are there.

Well, let's not get carried away!   I doubt one site has "all the answers".  There may be enough to get the job done, but it's pretty presumptuous to state all the answers.

John, I find that funny coming from you.  Converting a LC+ is really pretty easy since it is designed to run on DC, and has effectively an empty tender for steam.  Easy to run 2 wires over to the engine and tap into the Center rail and ground wires.  Remove pickup and your set.

 

If you turn smoke off you probably only draw about 400 to 500ma.   A fuse and a charge port if desired and your done.  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

No problem, I just hoped we hadn't chased you away.  As you can see, there are many ways to skin this cat, and it can be done pretty simply with what you have.

 

With all that's been said, I'd have to lean to the AA NiMh batteries and holder in a boxcar, that would make it painless to run and recharge.  A $10-15 charger will recharge them, and the batteries are cheap as well.  I'd probably want 12 batteries to give me 14.4 volts, that would work pretty well.  Those should fit in a boxcar, and you could rig it so you just pick the shell off to change and/or recharge the batteries.

 

After some time familiarizing myself with the options, (and realizing the mobile site is severely limited in the amount of information it shows about each product, hence why I couldn't figure out what style connector each battery had) I settled on this
http://www.batteryspace.com/cu...2-5mm-male-plug.aspx

and a charger to match.  With shipping (and an extra barrel plug to install on the engine) it cost just over $70.

 

We'll see how it works when it arrives.

Kitbashing Reading Company steam engines until the day I can build a layout.  Sometimes I do custom work for others.

 

Check out my Blog of my previous work at http://brianwowak.wordpress.com

I was thinking about re-charging the battery and was thinking about adding two contact on the car with the batteries that then would come in contact with the mating set of contacts built into a siding. Park the train at the siding and it charges the battery. Contact would be on either side of the center rail and go to the charger.

 

Thoughts?

Dennis
Piscataway, NJ

NJ Hi-Railers Member

North Penn O Gaugers Member

TCA Member 13-69453

LCCA/LRRC Member

 

If you haven't checked out the new NJ Hi-Railers Website please do. Go to the "Photos" page to see galleries of their events and check the "What's New" page periodically to see what they have added.

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