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Well, I built my first battery car today, and while there are a few wrinkles to iron out, I’m fairly please with the overall outcome.

Ralph began “our” transition from track power to battery by utilizing Craftsman 19.2 VDC NiCad batteries that he had hanging around (job related stuff).

He was able to get a couple of hours run time with both his Pacific and also his Annie. His wife’s USA F3’s also run for a couple of hours (batteries in both the “A” and “B” units), so I figured that these would work well enough for me, too…

I wanted to have commonality amongst the battery systems and chargers, just so that should we need to make “changes” on the fly, the basic “platform’ would be the same.

His method of mounting and charging is a little less complicated than mine, but it works for him. I simply didn’t want to have to take the top off of the battery car to charge it.

Headed over to Sears to pick up a pair of batteries and a charger, and naturally left my Craftsman Club card at home. No extra 10% off that package for me this time… Dang.

Funny part was, when checking out, the sales clerk asked me if I wished to purchase the 2 year extended warranty. I said, “Nope. Just gonna take them home and cut ‘em up…” The look in his face was worth the missed discount.

The batteries themselves have a pretty big profile, so in order to make them fir in a box car, the stem that interfaces with the charger had to be chopped off. Carefully. Very carefully…



Anyway, I had picked up a few old USAT cars (at about $10 a copy), and they only had four screws holding the roof on, so they became the victims of my nefarious plan.

There was one wire that needed to be snipped before I could cut the tab to the capacitor (or whatever that big cylindrical thing is) that held the stem in place.



There are six different power “leads” from inside the battery case up through the stem, so a simple power jack wasn’t going to work for me.

Had a bunch of nine pin computer type connectors that I’d used as control wiring on my old Christmas modules that I’d squirreled away upon dismantling that mess. I am hard pressed to throw way anything that even remotely appears useful. While this big old jack sticking out of the end of the car is in no way “to scale” or “prototypical”, it looked like it would do what I wanted to do. Where there were larger gauge wires (16 as opposed to 22), I simply doubled the 22 gauge wires, using up eight of the nine pins.

Punched a hole in the car, and bolted the receptacle into place.











Took the stem “guts” and casing away from the battery itself, and made up a pigtail that goes from the charger to the receptacle on the car.










On the output end of the car is a simple two wire lead that plugs right into the back end of my SD-45.

The battery charged up just fine, and nothing has caught fire out in the shop just yet, so I think I’ve got a reasonable handle on this particular challenge. The fire extinguisher is right by the door, and properly charged…

I may make some refinements in the installation on the next bunch of cars, but this is my basic approach…

So, now I have to figure out why my SD-45 does not respond to any commands from the TE…

I love this crap…
 

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There is no turning back.


 

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Just curious,does it say anywhere on the battery what the mah rating is?
 

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with that battery system it sure looks like you took the hard road, but welcome and we look forward to having you here.

KC
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Posted By Paul Burch on 02/24/2009 8:45 AM
Just curious,does it say anywhere on the battery what the mah rating is?


Paul,
Nope, no place.
I looked and looked, but there is no direct information.
That's why I waited to see what sort of running life Ralph was getting before I decided to follow along with this type of battery.
So far the investment is reatively minimal, and if it doesn't work out in the long run, I'll find another approach.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Posted By kcndrr on 02/24/2009 9:17 AM
with that battery system it sure looks like you took the hard road, but welcome and we look forward to having you here.

KC



KC,

Yeah, there is a bunch of butchering and cobbing together, but my trade off was cost.

I can get a pair of batteries for about $60 bucks on sale from Snears, and spend a few hours making a mess out of perfectly good rolling stock, but that's the extent of my outlay.

To get 14.4 battery packs built up locally runs about $100 per pack, plus the associated plugs and jacks to make up the trailing battery cars.

Additionally, those built up packs take a bunch of hours to recharge, where the Crappsman units are refreshed in 1 hour. Much preferred time frame when having to rotate battery cars in and out of the consist (for longer run times - like when required for open house viewing).

I will probably figure out a way to make the jack less noticeable on the next one(s).

TOC is prolly rolling around on the floor, laffing his posterior off.
As would be Duh-White, and TWS, and Marty, and who knows who else...

Give me enough free components, and I can make ANYTHING complicated...

 

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The only thing you may find is that the packs may not last as long, because 1 hour charging is rough on them (yeah, I know battery people will tell me they are designed for this).... Like everything else in the universe, you never get something for nothing, so the quick charging benefit is normally a tradeoff over the long term battery life.

All that said, you can get great deals on replacement batteries, since they are sold in much higher volumes than hobbiest battery packs.

So, I guess your soil was continuing to eat up your rail and joiners? Was that the prime motivation?

Regards, Greg
 

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The 19.2v Craftsman batteris come in three sizes....1500 mah (BCF-049), 2000 mah (BCF-050), and 3000 mah (BCF-064).

See http://www.batterybank.net/digital/powertools/craftsman1323903.html .

All are identical in appearance. You need to check the model number on the battery to know what you are getting.

Oh...and I have three of these 19.2v Craftsman batteries. All three have different model numbers...and none of them correspond to the numbers on that web page above. I think I'm into a go-figure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Posted By Greg Elmassian on 02/24/2009 11:27 AM
The only thing you may find is that the packs may not last as long, because 1 hour charging is rough on them (yeah, I know battery people will tell me they are designed for this).... Like everything else in the universe, you never get something for nothing, so the quick charging benefit is normally a tradeoff over the long term battery life.

All that said, you can get great deals on replacement batteries, since they are sold in much higher volumes than hobbiest battery packs.

So, I guess your soil was continuing to eat up your rail and joiners? Was that the prime motivation?

Regards, Greg



Greg,
Ralph has a couple of batteries that he says he's had in use out on the job sight for a few years, so I'm not going to sweat it too much.

As far as the track rot, we still haven't diagnosed that properly yet, but I've started to wonder if it might not have been an electrolysis issue (track power on moist/overly alkaline soil). No noticeable further deterioration in the nine months that we haven't run trains out there... Damn. It's really been that long since I pulled the poower packs...

Prime motivation was eliminating the gremlins that kept working their way into our phun. This method of powering may be less troublesome. Only time will tell...
 

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Discussion Starter #12

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Discussion Starter #13
Posted By Mike Reilley on 02/24/2009 3:27 PM
The 19.2v Craftsman batteris come in three sizes....1500 mah (BCF-049), 2000 mah (BCF-050), and 3000 mah (BCF-064).

See http://www.batterybank.net/digital/powertools/craftsman1323903.html .

All are identical in appearance. You need to check the model number on the battery to know what you are getting.

Oh...and I have three of these 19.2v Craftsman batteries. All three have different model numbers...and none of them correspond to the numbers on that web page above. I think I'm into a go-figure.



Mike,
I hit "go figure" the moment I walked into Snears...
 

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Mike,
That is what I was looking for. Those tool batteries are usually lacking on mah info. Sometimes you may not be getting much "bang" for the buck in what usually are fairly bulky batteries.
 

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Very interesting information about variations in the Mah in packs that appear the same on the outside.

I wonder how many other manufacturers do this?

Good catch Mike!

Greg
 

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sniff,,,sniff,,,,,,,,,,,,,sniff snifff...hehehehehe
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Posted By NTCGRR on 02/26/2009 6:45 PM
sniff,,,sniff,,,,,,,,,,,,,sniff snifff...hehehehehe


See!!! I *KNEW* it!!!

At least if I can ever get my crap together and get to Marty's, I should be able to make at least 1/2 a lap...
 

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Duncan,

You can always come to Marty's! There are plenty of trains to run. You just have to remember to stay away from JJ and Stan.
 

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Welllllllllllll..... After taking a few days off, I come back and find this new thread. Sigh....

What else can I say that hasn't already been or will be said in the future...

Y'er surely on the dark side.....


And I was even thinkin' about calling you to ask how deep you'd fallen in. :) :) :)
 

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See!!! I *KNEW* it!!!

At least if I can ever get my crap together and get to Marty's, I should be able to make at least 1/2 a lap...



Duncan. By the time Marty gets done adding track, bridges, new lines and stuff, it'll be a wonder if any of us will be able to make a full lap. There will be so much track we'll just keep going and going and going and going and never see the trains again.
 
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