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I just read a number of responses about the battery vs transformer thing and wow. I am new to this forum and not even sure where to begin or what section I sould be sending messages in. So I'm here and here I go. Iam going to do the battery thing. I've just started about two month ago with G scale and look forward to spring to building the "garden". My question is: what voltage and amphour battery should I be looking for? Is there a max volt and Ah rating that shouldn't be exceeded? Has any one used lap top li-ion batteries in their loco's? Some of those lap top batteries look like they would fit in the boiler of the steam engines. I would like to be able use one size, one brand, one voltage rated battery (or serires of batteries) for any and all the loco's I would use. Yes, I realize thats not likely to happen and should just figure that if its batteries then i will have mulitple styles, types, shapes, etc. along with as many chargers. Some addition facts (statments): I do want to put the batteries in the loco's not trailing cars, Ii have been looking at batteries on line for weeks primalry looking for size and shape to fit in loco's, then volt and amps, Im not hooked on any one type of battery either. I have found 12v SLA's that would fit in my U-boat (2 side by side in the long hood section) as well as a lap-top style li-ion that's almost the same size. I also intend to either invest in Airwire or Locolinc for the R/C part of this. Any thoughts and input would be appreciated.
 

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Lots of questions, I'll try to help here:


My question is: what voltage and amphour battery should I be looking for?

Well, it depends on the loco, the load, and how long you want to run. I'd make these decisions, if only rough guesses first. Figure out what length trains, what your grades will be and how long you want to run them. Also, how fast, like logging train slow, freight medium, or passenger fast, for example.


Is there a max volt and Ah rating that shouldn't be exceeded?

Amp hours will probably self-limit because more is just larger. Voltage will again need to be considered along with how fast you want to run. Over 5 amp hours and over 24 volts would be sort of the "top" in my opinion.

Has any one used lap top li-ion batteries in their loco's?

I have not specifically seen posts of people using these, but no reason they could not be used.

Some of those lap top batteries look like they would fit in the boiler of the steam engines. I would like to be able use one size, one brand, one voltage rated battery (or serires of batteries) for any and all the loco's I would use. Yes, I realize thats not likely to happen and should just figure that if its batteries then i will have mulitple styles, types, shapes, etc. along with as many chargers.

You did a great job of answering your own question, and I agree with your answer!


Some addition facts (statments): I do want to put the batteries in the loco's not trailing cars, Ii have been looking at batteries on line for weeks primalry looking for size and shape to fit in loco's, then volt and amps, Im not hooked on any one type of battery either. I have found 12v SLA's that would fit in my U-boat (2 side by side in the long hood section) as well as a lap-top style li-ion that's almost the same size.

If you have large locos, almost any technology will "fit", but most locos will have challenges on space, and you might have to at least go to nicads, and possibly li-ion due to space considerations. I'm not a big fan of nickle metal hydrides, they are not much more "dense" than nicads, and my experience is that they do not last (total cycles) as well as nicads. If you are tight on space, then li-ion might be the only way to go.


I also intend to either invest in Airwire or Locolinc for the R/C part of this. Any thoughts and input would be appreciated.


If I was just starting out, I would probably look very closely at the choices. Locolinc has many users, but there are limitations in range and other areas. AirWire has more flexibility in motor controllers (QSI and AirWire) and much more flexibility in interfacing to sound systems.

Regards, Greg
 

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I had Locolinc in some engines. Many folks like this system. I have since converted entirely to AirWire. I have had much more luck with that system.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My first thought and ideas for the layout is logging with shays (1:20.3) and some maximum grades!!! I live on a hill. My second loop or track is planned for 60's & 70's freight (1:29) with diesels.
 

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Shays will have little room for batteries. If you want sound too, you are definitely in li-ion land, and if not, I believe Dave Goodsen has squeezed nicads into it... Grades kind of are no nevermind to shays, since they are so geared down.

Freight, how long trains? like 10 cars, or 30 cars? makes a big difference in load.

I'm also assuming not using trailing battery cars, especially if you have a shay.

Regards, Greg
 

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Tony, I did my best on the battery questions, but you have more experience in battery choices, would you please comment? (Then my comments in the future will be of higher quality).

Regards, Greg
 

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Jafaman,
Welcome to wonderful World of battery R/C.
The subject of batteries can be an emotive subject just like the battery - v - track power debate.
I have been working with battery R/C since 1985. In all that time I have used many types of batteries.
SLA, Ni-Cd, NiMh and NiMH hybrid Alkaline.

In the USA Ni-Cd and NiMh cells are available in a myriad of sizes and capacities.
As I live in Australia I can really only get AA size and SubC size Ni-Cd and NiMh batteries.
I much prefer Ni-Cd to NiMh for the reasons Greg has given above.
Ni-Cd are more forgiving when charging as they can be left on a standard trickle charge without damaging them.
NiMh MUST be charged on a peak detection charger. They do not like being overcharged.
SubC cells can handle very high current draw, whereas AA size cells cannot handle much more than 1 amp without degrading the life span.
Where I have to use AA cells I only recommend Sanyo ENELOOP hybrid NiMh - Alkaline cells.
Only ever use Japanese or European made cells. The Chinese made ones are junk.

Always use a good quality charger. Chargers are made that can do both chemistries with a peak detect then top off on trickle.

Although SLA cells are the lowest cost I do not like them. Their shapes are not vey good for installation in smallish locos. Plus, unlike Ni-Cd and NiMh they drop voltage as they discharge.
I have no experience yet with Li-Ion or Li-Pol batteries. Too many horror stories for me.
Others have had great success.

I hope that helps.
 

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I have only ever used batteries for my locos. However unlike Tony, I like SLA -because they are heavy and simple. I do however build my own locos and I would be the first to admit that I do have to calculate Centres of Gravity and design spaces for my "bricks". I do build them "somewhat" larger than you would consider "G" scale...

As to using laptop batteries for your locos -I would advise against it.

Have a look at the Tamiya "Race Pack" batteries that are so beloved of my son and nephews. They are designed for rough handling and have robust connectors -something that a laptop battery is not!!!


regards

ralph
 

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Welcome to the dark side



I use batteries exclusively. My big locos have 3800mAh 19.2v batteries that look like IEDs simply 'cause I can get them for $32 each. My little loco has 12 Duracell AA batteries. I should put rechargeables in it as I use it more than I used to. The "IED" battery won't fit in it.


This is 2 RC Race car packs like Ralph suggests taped together.


 

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I have done several 3 truck Shays. There is no space problem in them. I also put AirWire, phoenix sound & batteries in a 2 truck shay. All were NiMH 4.5AH batteries.
 

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Tom, do you have any pictures of how the batteries are installed in the Annie? I am trying to convert mine to battery but I keep having trouble when it comes to hooking up the batteries.
 

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Posted By trainbuffjr on 01/14/2009 7:49 AM
Tom, do you have any pictures of how the batteries are installed in the Annie? I am trying to convert mine to battery but I keep having trouble when it comes to hooking up the batteries.



Here is my Annie Tender with RCS, Battery, and Sierra installed...

2 7.2v cells as supplied by Dave Goodson (TOC)...Plenty of power and run-time for the kids and I



http://www.lscdata.com/users/cale_nelson/Build Photos/Annie/batender.jpg

can't see photo, i still don't understand how to post photos over here.......argh

cale
 

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Posted By c nelson on 01/14/2009 8:47 AM
Posted By trainbuffjr on 01/14/2009 7:49 AM
Tom, do you have any pictures of how the batteries are installed in the Annie? I am trying to convert mine to battery but I keep having trouble when it comes to hooking up the batteries.



Here is my Annie Tender with RCS, Battery, and Sierra installed...

2 7.2v cells as supplied by Dave Goodson (TOC)...Plenty of power and run-time for the kids and I



http://www.lscdata.com/users/cale_nelson/Build Photos/Annie/batender.jpg

can't see photo, i still don't understand how to post photos over here.......argh

cal

Just right clik your computer hold down drag over link turn blue hit control c then go up in browser erase that link, and then hit control v it will place link in browser and then show picture. Works on anything that isn't clickable and won't download or active link. The Regal
 

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As far as voltage and current ratings for your batteries go ... I always recommend you first measure your track voltage prior to conversion. Run the train at the speed you like with the load you like, and measure the track voltage. Add at least two volts and that will be your minimum battery voltage requirement. 14.4V for most steam locos usually works, 12V or even less for some small critters, and up to 24V for some diesels. But measure it and know for sure. Having established the voltage, you know how many cells you need. Now use the largest mah (milli-amp-hour) rating you can fit in the space available. More mah, more run time. You will want at least 2000 mah in most cases, 4000 for larger locos. Run times of 2-5 hours can easily be obtained. I have always used NiMh, but am now switching over to Lithium-Ion.
 

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Posted By trainbuffjr on 01/14/2009 7:49 AM


Tom, do you have any pictures of how the batteries are installed in the Annie? I am trying to convert mine to battery but I keep having trouble when it comes to hooking up the batteries.


I built a styrene platform, above the speaker and around the Bachmann sound board, for the battery packs in my Annie.





The battery packs were homemade using battery holder and snap connectors. Mine are 9.6 volt (8 cell) NiMH packs because that is what I used in everything else at the time, but 7.2 volt (6 cell) Ni-Cad packs would work in an Annie. Although I used a 75 MHz, an RCS receiver would work as well.

In you want to some more ideas and photos of the installation, there is an article on our club web site. Click on the Battery Powered and Radio Controlled Annie link to view it.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/Annie
 

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For my Annie:

I pulled out bachman's board and speaker. The trackside TE is screwed to the bottom.



You see there are 2 battery holders. One holds 8, and one holds 4. That's just 'cause I had them in my junk box. Don't use ray-o-vacs like in the photo. Duracell coppertops last longer and I've twice had rayovac batteries leak.

For sound, I have the Small Scale Railways card double sided taped to the back of the tender.



And the optical pickup is under the tender.



It had trouble working in sunlight, so I built a little box to shade it.

Then I added an ecubed antenna

 

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Posted By blueregal on 01/14/2009 9:39 AM


Just right clik your computer hold down drag over link turn blue hit control c then go up in browser erase that link, and then hit control v it will place link in browser and then show picture. Works on anything that isn't clickable and won't download or active link. The Regal

I get that, but I can't get my photos to show up over here in a post?
 
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