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Smoke, now that is another issue.  Not indoors for us.  We are seeing two pulmonary docs.  After I carefully described the non smoke nature of our locomotive smoke they each said that "if we smell it, it has an effect on our lungs".    So there is no loco smoking in our home.

I had a client for whom I built a large layout and he ran smokers.  However he had a very extensive series of ceiling registers that fed into a large blower which drew the smoke right out of the house very efficiently.  The smell never went up the steps and was barely evident in the basement.

Yep, the power came in at the rear on the main board.  I just added a little jumper set with a male and female connector to tap into the power.  I can restore the unit to the original configuration just by pulling my little harness out.

I did a little grinding on the ridges of the tender and now two of the battery packs appear to fit.  I'll have to arrange two charging jacks (not going to try to charge them in series), to charge the packs one at a time.  However, this should yield at least 2-3 hours of runtime at full voltage so every thing works.  I had to replace the huge speaker with a little flat one, surprisingly, it sounds just as good as the big one, obviously that one wasn't top shelf.

The final chapter has been written, at least for this little experiment.  I crammed two of the 9.6V NiMh battery packs into the tender.  I didn't have room for the charging jack I had installed, so I moved it to the underside of the tender.  The locomotive and tender are connected using a 2-pin 2.54mm Molex connector set, and I used the same style connectors in the 3-pin format for the tender internal wiring.  The seemingly "extra" connector set was do I can separate the tender shell from the frame, I abhor installations where shells are hard-wired to the frame!  So, I present the "finished" product.  The odd hole in the frame is where my charging jack used to be, but there wasn't space for it with the two batteries.

Since there are two battery packs and only one charger, I just split the charging and will charge them one at a time when needed.  I wasn't 100% sure about charging the two in series, and I don't have a charger that would do it anyway.

Tender configuration with batteries installed

LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N1

Relocated charging Jack

LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N2

Charger with dual head charging harness

LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N3LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion Schematic


Images (4)
  • LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N1
  • LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N2
  • LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion N3
  • LionChief Plus Battery Power Conversion Schematic

Bob, the beauty of that was that the switch was already there, I just swiped it from the useless CHUFF on/off function!

With the two batteries in series, I have plenty of voltage for the couplers and smoke.  It draws around .6 amps running light, and around .8 amps with a pretty heavy load on the drivers.  I ran it on my DC bench supply at 19 volts and then put some real drag on the drivers, the current was up to around .8 amps.  I figured in normal running, it would be more like .6-.7 amps.  That's also with smoke active, so I think the battery life should easily make around three hours, not bad for $45 total for the batteries and charger.

On LC+ and later Legacy, the couplers are operated using DC power.  Obviously, they've licked the issue of them sticking.

FWIW, it's not that hard to run E-Units on DC, if they eventually start to stick, just jumper in AC on the coil for a few seconds, problem solved.   I've installed diodes in a number of locomotives for people to quiet the E-Unit, I never got any complaints of them sticking.

This topic got me moving, bought the same battery pack, ready for a final install in a rs 3, but need some clarifcation please.  I assume you splice the wires from the battery to the lionchief board, what is the best method? Did you include an on/off switch between the battery and the board?  Is this even necessary?  I know this is basic for some but would appreciate any help.  Thanks

I'm guessing you didn't look at my diagram.

You must CERTAINLY want a switch between the battery and the board and the track!!!  What happens without a switch if you put power on the track?  OOPS! Also, if you don't have a switch between the LC+ board and the battery, the locomotive is always on, that's probably not a great option either!  Look at the left hand side of the diagram, that's the wiring in the engine.  You only need to switch the center rail power, it's pretty clear which lead that is, it comes in on a separate connector with red & black wires.  The red is the center rail.

As I described, I though fairly clearly, I used an existing switch on the engine to switch the center rail power to the electronics between the battery and the track.  That gives me dual-power capability, I can run on battery or track power.  So I have a standard LC+ locomotive that will run on battery as an option.

If you don't have a spare switch (the chuff on/off switch seemed like a good choice to me), you'll have to install one.  It should be a SPDT switch if you want the dual-power option.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Look yes, comprehend, not so much.  Loco being converted did not start life as a LC loco hence there is no switch in place.  Power pickups have been disconnected, I have no intention of this ever running on track power. 

All that being said I assume I need to splice into the wires on the battery to connect to the LC board.  It looks like I do need a way to turn off the power feed from the battery to the LC board.  I am always hesitant to cut any wire before I am certain I am not making things worse.  What connectors to you recommend in the spliced segment?  Are wire nuts sufficient or should I solder the connection?  Anyway thanks for the responses.

When you're doing something like this, pictures really make things clearer.

Since you don't intend to run on track power, just use a switch between the battery and the LC+ board.  I don't use wire nuts, but they will work.  I solder stuff as that's a connection I have confidence in.  I've found too many wire nuts rattling around in engines sent to me for repair...

Don't forget adding the ability to charge the battery pack.  Also, if you expect smoke and electrocouplers to work, you'll need two of these installed to get enough voltage for those functions.

Got it.  Charging adaptor will be under the frame similar to your install.  No need for smoke or elector couplers, this is going to be a utility loco that will pull a track cleaning car through all the hard to reach places. A single purpose tool if you will.  Solder it will be.  Sometimes a little reassurance is all that is needed.

@GGG posted:

You may want to consider a fuse also.  Batteries can source hi current and there is no protection.  Most G gauge work I have done with the battery crowd always have a switch, charge port, light indicator and a fuse.  G

An excellent point George, I may have to take it apart and add a PTC to limit current.  I have a switch and charging port, I figure the light is covered by the fact that the engine is running with it's lights on.  I don't really want a fuse, but a PTC would be a wise investment.

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