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Wondered what you folks use for batteries to power large (LGB) trains? I am specifically interested in using cordless drill type batteries either 18V or 19.2 V I realize, a large train will probably run for only 30 minutes or so btu that suites me fine if I can easily swap batteries.
Any thoughts?
 

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Well if you could only get 30 minutes or so, I don't think it would be worth the trouble and expense. Think in terms of at least 2 hours, and more likely 4-5 hours or more. It depends on the current draw of the individual locomotive and how much room you have for batteries. For locos that draw 1/2 to 1 amp, I try to use 4000 to 4500 mah NiMh batteries, which will yield that 4+ hours of runtime.

The guys that use drill batteries usually get their long run times by swapping out batteries, as opposed to charging in place. But I would still think 2 hours at least? And I may be wrong, but I get the impression that most folks using drill batteries are running power hogging multi-motored diesels.
 

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How long does it take to charge the sub c packs? Most drill batteries are in the 1hour range.
 

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I use 18 volt Milwaukee,2.4 amh and get about two hours with LGB engines. About a hour with USA engines. I run a battery car and plug right into the back of the LGB engines, after I take the sliders and brushes off.
 

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I use sub-'C' packs removed from drill packs. I get them from Harbor Freight.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93655

They are 1.3 amp hour packs.



This photo shows a single pack mounted in my trailing control car. I currently use 2 of these packs in each of my control cars and get run time of about 2-3 hours running an RS-3 or GP-40 engine. To get longer run times, I have a trailing car with another 3 battery packs packs that plug into a mu cable on the first battery/control car. That double my run time.

To properly charge these batteries, you should use a constant current charger of 10% maximum current rating for about 17 or so hours. So for the above packs I charge at .13 amp for each sub 'C' pack for 17 hours. I have a simple constant current charge circuit built into each pack that utilizes a LM-317 chip.

Mark
 

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Posted By leonpete on 07/28/2008 7:20 PM
How long does it take to charge the sub c packs? Most drill batteries are in the 1hour range.




My 14.4 and 16.8v 3.8 Ah packs charge in under 2 hours with the all-battery charger.

-Brian
 

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Use good quality Japanese Sanyo batteries. Cheap battery packs are usually a false economy. Especially those made in China.
If you keep ram charging NiCd or NiMh batteries you will drastically shorten their life as in how many times they can be recharged.
It is far better to use the standard 10% rate for 14 or so hours. Doing so will maximise battery life.
 

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My 19.2v 3800MAh NIMH batteries run my Mallet 2 to 3 hours per charge and cost $32.
 

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I use the Makita 18 volt 3amp for long run times. They charge in 45 min and easy to swap out using clips. Also they a Li-ion and can be charged at any time and are the lightest battery available and only 69.99 a piece a great bargain. note: use the Makita charger it has a auto shutoff when fully charged. I have 6 batteries with 4 running and 2 always in the charger. In the aristo mallot with lights and smoke and qsi sound/dcc and a standard string of about 25 cars average run time is about 2 hours.
http://www.makitafactoryoutlet.com/makita/products/BL1830.asp

Jack
 
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