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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,    I am getting ready to do my first battery power conversion.   I will use the TE 75 onboard receiver, and a accessory receiver to toot the whistle and bell on a Sierra Sound system, and maybe to control the lights.  I do not want to use Lith Ion Batts.                                         
I will start with an Annie or Connie (stilll undecided) for the first try.   I will cram everything into the tenders as I don't care for trail cars ( hard to get both on the turntable, and not great for switching).    I think I have the installation figured out, but have some questions about batteries and chargers.   I have been looking at 7.2 volt Nimh 2300  Mah  battery packs and a smart charger, and also considering making my own packs.  

I am wondering about which are the best connectors, Tamiya Standard, Tamiya Mini, or Dean, but can't find anything with the benefit/disadvantages of the types,   Anyone have any thought or comments, on connectors,  Wire sizes etc.

I understand I will have to connect two battery packs together, but get confused,  I guess I have to connect them in series to get the 14.4 volts??  Is this correct?    Once I get them together, do I have to seperate them for charging, or can both be charged simultaniously with the smart charger?  Do I need a 7.2 volt charger, or a 14.4 volt charger?   I want an external charging jack, so I want to do it right.                                                                                            

One seller suggested using a single model aircraft 12V 2800 Mih  Battery, since the locomotives really don't need a lot of speed, would this work? 

Any advice or comments would be appreciated.
 

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I assume that you are not using tool batteries. If you are building up a battery, 14.4 volts is pretty common. If you put 2 7.2 volt packs in series, you will then have 14.4 volts. You can charge both packs at the same time with a smart 14.4 volt charger. Please make sure that both packs are equally charged before you put them together.

I do built-in batteries on all of my installs. Do you already have your radio and sound unit. If you are going to use all of those pieces, there might be better alternativves for what you are doing.
 

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Bill

A start on some answers to your questions ... you may want to take a look at our club website www.ovgrs.org where resident expert Paul Norton has written up a good many battery installs especially using Aristo products.

On batteries, if you use 7.2V packs, then yes they are wired in series to produce 14.4V. This is sufficient for the Annie or Connie though most modellers running USAT or Aristo diesels seem to prefer 19,2V. The use of only 12V is probably not a practical idea as the TE onboard may not respond at that voltage.

In terms of batteries, NiMH cells are readily available at most any big box store at a good price. These are untabbed though ... we have been using battery holders for many years without any problems although all would agree that built up packs of tabbed cells are a somewhat better if more costly alternative. A pack of 8 and a pack of 4 wired in series will work well for your application at a low cost.

For charging, 7.2V chargers have been available for some time but that of course means that two 7.2V packs have to be switched to allow them to be wired in series for running but then separated for charging. And unless you have two chargers, then each pack must be charged individually. A circuit for doing just this is presented on our website. In practice, we have preferred to charge the full pack of batteries together whether it be 14.4V or 19.2V. RCS makes a very good charger for NiCads that will also charge NiMH but a homemade charger will also work as will a smart charger from one of the battery vendors.

Charging is an area where the advocates of track power frequently focus citing it as a hassle. If your normal running style is to sit on the patio and let the train make circuits all day, the battery will run down and need charging. No one in our club runs that way so the charging is a between operations affair and does not cause us any grief. Some battery power users prefer the tool batteries and locate them in a power carfor a quick change. It is also possible to do a fully contained install as you describe but to also have a second set of batteries in a trailing car (which may not be added to the train till needed). When the main batteries run down, the second set can be switched in readily simply by plugging in a jack. Again, RCS makes a product specifically for this purpose.

You also asked about plugs. Generally, members of our club have moved to use either the RCS jacks or the Aristo plugs. Our RCS installations are all self contained and the jack is used for charging. Our Aristo installations are a mix of self contained and battery cars but the Aristo plugs are used for charging, MUing, and connecting battery cars. You do ask for "best" without stating your parameters. To me a perfect plug would be:
1) invisible or close to it
2) indexed to prevent the wrong polarity on insertion
3) robust enough to withstand lots of use
4) easy to plug in and unplug but with a positive attachment to prevent accidental unplugging
5) corollary to 4 above, strong enough to withstand a coupler/drawbar breakage

Clearly, the perfect plug does not exist but you can take your pick depending on which of the parameters you feel is important.

Regards ... Doug
 

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I use the Tamiya connector for the battery and charger and lift the coal load for access to the battery and connector. For connector between tender and loco, I like these.



You can find both at allelectronics.com

all-battery.com has NIMH chargers that detect the number of cells and adjust themselves for $25. They include a thermocouple to shut the charger off if the battery starts to get hot.
 

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If you want to have a look at my Annie installation, just click on the following link. There is a lot of useful information there.
http://ovgrs.editme.com/Annieovgrs.editme.com/Annie
 
I cut a platform out of styrene sheet and mounted it above the speaker and around the Bachmann sound card (chuff only).
 

 
My homemade NiMH battery packs were fastened to the sides of the platform with cable ties. The receiver is mounted on the back.
 

 
Only the rear light wires are attached to the shell. Everything else rides on the frame which is great for testing.
 

 
I hot glued a styrene bracket to the top of the battery holders to hold a Black Kat antenna. With it and a telescoping antenna on my transmitter, I get at least 100 feet of reliable and responsive radio range. Noise suppression components are not required because the receiver is isolated from the motor.
 

 
The two black, 2-pin plugs are used for charging. They are easier to mount than jacks and won’t short. I get better results charging my battery packs separately than others have charging them together. The original Bachmann white, rear light plug now passes power to the locomotive from the receiver. The rear light is attached to the rear lighting circuit of the receiver and can be used for programming. The other white plug is for the sound cam in the locomotive.
 
If the female portion of a 2-pin plug is used for charging, the wings can be removed to make it less obvious. Here is the charging plug for the lithium-ion battery pack in my NW-2 hanging on the pilot.
 

 
 

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My point was that if you are going to spend $300 on radio equipment, you can do better that Aristo, especially if you do not have your sound unit either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi guys I just spent the last hour responding to all of you and when I hit the send button it all dissapeared. Total frustration but I am to tired to try to retype the two pages of response I just lost. Suffice to say you have all been help ful and I will sit down tomorrow and try again.

Bill Swindell I am open to suggestions for future use!! Let me know your idea.
 

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I install and use AirWire.  Street price is right at $300 for 1 receiver and a transmitter.  For sound, you can easily hook a DCC compatable sound system to it.
 

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Posted By Torby on 02/26/2008 8:11 AM
I use the Tamiya connector for the battery and charger and lift the coal load for access to the battery and connector. For connector between tender and loco, I like these.



You can find both at allelectronics.com 


all-battery.com has NIMH chargers that detect the number of cells and adjust themselves for $25. They include a thermocouple to shut the charger off if the battery starts to get hot. 



Heres the link mto what Torby mentioned.

http://www.allelectronics.com/index.html

Bubba
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok Guys Here I go again.    First let me say that I have been looking at Paul's installations especially the one for the Annie for a long time and will probably do that one as my first attempt.  Here is some background on what I am trying to do.  My RR is track powered using blocks and is controlled by two TE Tracksides,  I run short mixed trains and am into switching.  I want to add battery power to increase flexibility and to have somthing to run independant of the track power, but want to switch back to track power when the battery runs out.   I have a waist high spur which runs through a wall into my shop where I will have a charging station set up to connect to the locos easily.

Thanks to the responses I know that I can charge both battery packs at the same time with the right charger.   I am looking at batteries from all battery.com  and may go with 8.4 packs as the middle ground between the 7.2 or 9.6 versions.   Looking at them this one seems to be a good value http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1713  At 14.99 it is way cheaper than individual cell at my local Wal Mart, but the footprint is larger that I want, but I like the nflat style rather than the hump style.   This is the hump style and is even cheaper http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=535.   The 7.2 packs I am looking at http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1766  are pretty reasonable as well.  The charger I am looking at is reasonable and will handle either two 8.4 battery packs or two 7.2 packs at the same time.    Your comments here are needed as I want to order the batteries and charger tomorrow, and want to be sure I am not screwing up in some newbe way.    If I make up my own battery packs, I am looking at the following, either http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1342 which have the tabs, or  sub c http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=452   which do not have the tabs, both of these are way cheaper that my local Wal-mart.  I am not sure what the shipping cost will be though.

Doug I appreciate your comments about the 12v issue and the TE, and will not go that way.   I have not looked at the RCS charger or its cost but the one above seems to fit my requirements unless you see somthing I don't.   Also I will consider a trail car later, but want to get through this first effort first.   I love your comments about the perfect connectors wouldn't it be nice!!   I'm looking for small size and reliability, and can't picture the size difference between the Tamiya standard and the Tamiya mini.   

Paul, I love the way you did the Annie conversion, it is terrific!   I will be sure to use the tender light for programming as you suggest, and will use the double deck technique, as well as the black Kat antenna, your comments on noise supression were especially helpful, and I am glad to know it will not be a problem with the Annie.   I do want to be able to switch from battery back to track power, and think it would be possible to make the front switch on the Annie boiler front into a battery or track power switch.  The thing I don't understand is how you power the front headlight if you use the wires for the rear headlight to bring power from the batteries to the motor.   I plan to leave the motor leads attached to the front switch and bring the power leads from the receiver to one side of the switch, and the power leads from the track to the other side.  Can this be done using the leads for the rear light as you did??  and how does the front headlight get hook to this???   Your NW-2 charging pin idea look great!!   I will do the same.    

Doug and Paul, your club website is really outstanding and has given me the confidence to do this first install.   

Torby, & Bubba Thanks for the web site info and I will look there for the connectors later today.

Bill, I considered the Airwire, but chose the TE because all my existing RC is TE, and because TE 75mhz receiver is $104, and the accessory reciever is $43, so about $150 per loco This lets me put in the Sierra for another $170 or the whole package for $320 including controllable sound.   My son is switching from Sierra to Phoenix, so guess who gets the old Sierra units at the special low Dad's price!    

Paul later this evening I will download your PDF and review it in detail, thanks for pointing to it.

Thanks to all for the great responses as they have given me a much higher level of confidence.   Please be sure to let me know what you think of the charger chioce, and battery options pro & con as I want to order them and don't want to make a rookie mistake!!! 

I know you are all busy and I especially appreciate the detailed responses.   
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After all that I forgot to ask about battery holders. What is the lowest cost source, and brand you feel works well?
I know there is somthing else I am for getting so till later Thanks again
 

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What kind of battery? My Annie has 2 AA battery holders I dug out of a junk box. It runs on 12 duracells.
 

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All the wires in the Annie for motor, headlight and rear light MU plug are joined with loop connectors on two posts. I had to take mine apart to find that out. This allows the rear light MU plug to provide power from the tender to the motor and headlight.
 
The Large Scale/NMRA switch at the front will reverse the flow of track power when toggled. This is accomplished by soldering the track power wires to the tabs on one end of the switch along with jumpers to the opposing tabs on the other end of the switch. I guess this gives the Annie the flexibility to run in the same direction as any other locomotive no matter how they are wired.
 

 
I unsoldered the wires from the tabs on each end the switch to isolate the track power pickups. The remaining wires on the center tabs of the switch must be attached to those previously mentioned posts to power the motor and headlight when using track power.
 
If the loop connectors for the just MU plug were removed from the posts and wired to the tabs on one end of the switch; that should provide battery power to the motor and headlight when the switch was thrown that way. If the track power wires were soldered to the tabs on the other end of the switch; that should provide track power when the switch was reversed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks, Paul. I am going to get my remaining items ordered and get started. Thanks for all the help!! Paul one other question, did you find it necessary to use resistors in the circuits for the lights attached to the TE like Aristo recommends or were the lights fine without them??

Torby, I may use AA or C which ever is cheaper, am looking for a low cost source since I don't have any in my junk box.
 
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