Wow! It's interesting to see just how much interest is there in battery power for our trains. For those who are LCCA members, I published a four part series  in the club mag detailing this mode of operation starting back in 2014. There was also a video on the club website. I' m predicting this will be commonplace soon.

Look into a few of the web stores that cater to G scale garden railways.  Going with battery power is very popular.  Lots of Lith-ion batteries, proper smart chargers.  The batteries already have the low voltage cut off circuit built in to protect the battery.  The smart chargers properly charge them.  A small 2200 mah battery would fit inside a O scale box car, or even two of them paired up to give 4400mah.  A charging jack and micro DPDT toggle switch to flip between charge/off/run can be had thru many online sources or all electronics mail order.  I have done this conversion to several G scale engines.  RCS of New England or Silver State Trains is usualy who I go thru for batteries and chargers.  The smart charger thru Silver State for 14.8vt Lith Ion batteries is only $24.99.   Mike

Silly NT's...I have Asperger's Syndrome! 

 I haven't. Why exactly do you ask?

 

 Can DC be used for a LC?

 Or, I guess "Does the board need both polarities of the ac waves to work?" is really the question.

   Do both sides of ac waves(+&-), get used? If the negative wave isn't "needed" as a negative source you can use the dc.

 No harm is likely to come of it short term, but it may not function at 100%(?)  

 

  I'm need to be reminded exactly why exactly are you going to batteries too?

Outside? Plagued by track power issues? Control power issues? The fun/challenge?

 

  If your running two rail, especially a low code, I think you would have to limit the rollers drop height for any turnouts etc. (drags & snags, not shorts).

But "on track" charging would be neat. Third rail makes it easy.

 

 A higher than normal raised center rail (its already higher than the outsides), should make for easier passage over any 2r junctions.

So would a high sitting copper shoe. I know you could fab one easily enough.

 Copper shoes conduct very well, and you wont be dragging a bunch of them all over. Just one shoe, and a track or two. 

 

I'm curious about where you are going to put the batteries too.

One trick I liked I picked up on at the Bachmann sites large scale section, was swapping in pre-charged tenders, and/or cars*.

 *A step further, was mini headphone jacks at the rear of a tender, and a few batteries hidden in various tethered rolling stock. The various headphone jacks can be applied creatively for other power options too. 

 

Hate the thought of the jacks looks? 

 OK .

Use a new trains replacement tether. 

(Or paint it, to try to make it look like a drain?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





The LC comes with a DC power-pack, so clearly they'll run on DC.  From my LionChief Plus Camelback manual...

 

User selected operational modes: Conventional AC transformer control mode or LionChief™ wireless remote control with AC or DC power.

 

 

Sounds like the LC+ runs on DC as well.

I didn't have a clue it would come with DC power. 

That should make it simple as he chooses.

Thank you for clarifying that John.

There was talk about using ac that way a while back, and its use has been on my mind in general. 

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Yes the run on either, and Lionel has been sending an inexpensive and low power wall wart DC power back with the LC sets.  G

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Just for the record, battery powered Ogauge is not a huge technical issue by today's standards. There are a number of battery systems that will perform adequately like NiMH which is easy to work with and relatively inexpensive. I have four locos running on battery power for over a year and they perform flawlessly. One of the R/C modules is dual power and can run either from battery or center rail track power by flipping a slide switch on the module. The dual power setup also allows for convenient recharging of the battery when parked on a designated siding with DC which provides the appropriate recharge current applied to the insulated center rail of the siding.

20150926_190247_Richtone[HDR)20150926_190334_Richtone[HDR)

Quite successfully.  It unfortunately doesn't have enough traction to pull two cleaning cars around the layout as I hoped, but it's become the breaker shifter.  I haven't recharged the battery in months.

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

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Long time lurker, first time posting.

I had the same idea, but my goal was a low-cost garden layout. I planned on using welded low-cost 1/8 steel bar instead of Lionel track, so track power wasn't an option.

Since my brother gave up on the garden, I think I'm going to build a shelf switching layout with styrene rails.

The radio control is great for operation, so Lionchief seemed about perfect. The battery came from my airsoft stuff. The only thing that needs work is the low-speed operation, but I think a second powered truck will help significantly.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m_sI1nZVjZQ

Oh, I rewired the truck backward, that's why the headlight turns on against the direction of travel.

 

I think the poor low speed performance is more a result of the gearing than any inherent flaw in the LC hardware.  As for styrene rails, a) why reinvent the wheel, and b) I think styrene will prove to be too soft.

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 have considered the gearing, but the amount of time/effort to regear it, I think I'd first power the other truck. If that's ineffective, I'll probably upgrade to a lionchief +, assuming they use a different motor setup (vertical can motors?)

 

Styrene because it's cheap, flexible, and won't require welding.

I would use Lionel straights, but the turnouts need to much more broad then traditional, and they're very expensive. I built one out of steel before, and it worked well enough. But the flexibility of styrene will make construction much easier. Gluing instead of welding means I'm closer to the wife instead of freezing in the garage. As for weight/being soft, I don't forsee an issue, but I also don't have the material in front of me. Time will tell.

As for reinventing the wheel; the most dangerous phase is "But we've always done it this way"

Lucky_13 posted:

As for reinventing the wheel; the most dangerous phase is "But we've always done it this way"

Amen.

 

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

JohnGaltLine posted:
Lucky_13 posted:

As for reinventing the wheel; the most dangerous phase is "But we've always done it this way"

Amen.

 

You do know there is an opposite side to every coin right?......Sometime you do it that way because it works! G

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Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

Well, yes, things tend to be done the way they are because they work that way.  It doesn't mean there are not other ways to do the same thing.  Some of those ways are better than the time honored tradition, some are worse, and most of them are better at some part of the task and worse at others.  often times throughout history folks went off in their own direction and soon enough created entirely new industries simply because they thought they had a better idea for a widget.  

I don't know if styrene will hold up over time as a track.  I think it may be too soft, and will eventually cause problems.  I can think of several such problems that are likely.  on the other hand, perhaps these problems are an acceptable tradeoff for other benefits.  I don't know.  Maybe in six months or a year, Lucky_13 will report back on how the track is working out.   Perhaps if interest in battery power grows we will see one of the manufacturers bring out an injection-molded plastic track system that can take the abuse of UV light and weather for outdoor use, and look fairly realistic in the process... and likely cost much less that traditional metal track.  

From time to time in the corse of invention, someone tries something new, that seems like an odd choice to the specialists in a given field, but that opens up new doors to further progress that would not have been possible with the path of conventional wisdom.  Folks fail as often, or perhaps more so than they succeed, but that is no reason not to let an idea run it's corse.   Nothing is ever the best possible version of a thing that could ever exist.  Someone will always find a way to improve it, or to make it more suitable for one part of it's task than a previous model.  

JGL

The moment man first picked up a stone or a branch to use as a tool, he altered irrevocably the balance between him and his environment. From this point on, the way in which the world around him changed was different. It was no longer regular or predictable. New objects appeared that were not recognizable as a mutation of something that existed before, and as each one merged it altered the environment not for one season, but for ever.
— James Burke
from Introduction to Connections by James Burke, Macmillan (1978)

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

"perhaps if interest in battery power grows we will see one of the manufacturers bring out an injection-molded plastic track system that can take the abuse of UV light and weather for outdoor use, and look fairly realistic in the process... and likely cost much less that traditional metal track."

Molded track is my (super long term) end goal. I've looked into 3d printing turnouts as a prototype, but the cost is just too high compared to building one out of styrene. My injection molding machine doesn't have the capacity to even do the parts of a turnout, and the mold would also be expensive. 

I'd love it if Lionel beat me to it.

With the popularity of Lionchief and +, I would hope Lionel would make a battery-powered version, and maybe release molded track. The transition away from metal rails is, in my un-informed opinion, the only thing making current Lego trains profitable. I also understand they're different markets.

And, there's no reason a duel-power Lionchief loco wouldn't be able to operate on either track system, just like Lego did.

Interest in battery power seems to be on the rise. The video in the previous post is an almost exact duplicate of my battery powered R/C setup which was featured as a video on the Lionel Collectors Club (LCCA) website in October 2014. (It's still there.) Details were outlined in a series of articles in the club magazine starting with the Oct. 2014 issue. But wait, I have something coming which you will love.

 

I'll read the articles next, but here's the video 

https://youtu.be/NAXGeeQj-K8

While I really like your method, and the ability to convert any locomotive, I think wiring a Lionchief locomotive to a battery is easier, and maybe a cheaper way to get battery-powered R/C.

However, if one already had a fleet of locomotives, I think your method would be superior.

Joe & Lucky 13: Thanks for your comments on my R/C system. Remember, this was designed and built in mid-2014. My original direct to loco R/C concept appeared in the TTOS club magazine in July, 2011, approximately 18 months before Lionel introduced Lionchief. Maybe this makes me the grandfather of Lionchief? Joe: I had no idea that there were direct links to the LCCA articles/videos and I've been a member for years. You can always learn something new if you pay attention. I have five locos that link up to three R/C battery/track power modules. One of the modules is a dummy ALCO A unit which really looks sharp coupled with the powered unit. I recharge the battery by parking on a designated recharging spur, but admit that a recharging jack on the module would probably be just as easy.

 

 

 

Bill Nielsen posted:
Lucky_13 posted:

It's a dead thread, but it's mine so I think I can revive it 😁

I've made a ton of progress on plastic track, notably with 3D printing. Here's a short video to demonstrate.

https://youtu.be/GjQtk378EgQ

It looks pretty good, but isn’t 3D Printing track awfully expensive?

Bill in FtL

 

Not at all - I don't pay for power and the printer is free to access - mine's in my shop, but lots of libraries have printers open to the public. In material cost, $20 of material can make at least 20 turnouts. My personal printer is under $200 and is easily capable of these prints.

BOB WALKER posted:

For what it's worth, check out my recent posting of the very first battery powered LionChief.

I've seen!  I actually used your experiment to justify my incoming Lionchief Plus loco - I had assumed it wouldn't work under 12V.

And for what it's worth, you're the very first battery-powered Lionchief *Plus* 

This thread has earlier regular Lionchief conversions.

 

I've also noted my posting mistake - this is NOT my thread...duh.

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