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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep reading about how great battery operation is, how cheap it is, how easy it is to do, how it will bring about world peace and make men and women finally understand each other. I'm track power guy, but I'm ready to try a conversion. Specifically, one of these:




It's an LGB four wheeler and I want to convert it to battery, and use it at first just to haul a cleaning car but maybe also as a diesel yard switcher.

So I know how to disassemble it, how to isolate the motor. I'll control it with either an aristo 75 mhz or an aristo basic te, because I already have one of each, or maybe one of del taparo critter controls. Yes, I know that RCS causes angels to sing water to flow from rock and airwire makes your dinner for you and tucks you in at night, but I want to avoid spending a lot of money


Ok, so I need
A: Batterries
B: charger


I know that Gorge Schreyer has a link on this but things have changed since George's post. Do I want Lithium batteries What kind? Can I charge it using those two little holes with brass contacts KGB thoughtfully left in the back? I've gone to allbattery and been very confused about how many cells, what kind of cells, what kind of charger, etc. If any of you could point me to a good source for a simple setup that's cheap, Id' be happy. Keep in mind that the reputation of battery power itself is on the line!! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif" border=0>
 

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Most folks only need one battery charger, so I wouldn't skimp there. I like and use this one: http://www.horizonhobby.com/ProdInfo/Files/eflc2020-manual.pdf. It is the E-Flite Pinnacle +. It will charge from 1-14 NiCad and NiMh cells. Smart chargers will probably extend the life of your battery pack. I use NiMh cells. The lithium stuff is still a little scary, but I may try them one of these days. The number of cells is determined by how much voltage you need to run your loco at the speeds you like. Measure the track voltage before you start hacking it up. 14.4V (12 cells) will probably work well and you may be able to get by with 12V (10 cells),less space. Allow some extra voltage for loss in the driver (some systems will drop several volts across the motor driver - mine is less than 1 volt), and also for sagging voltage as the battery runs down. Choose the largest mah rating batteries that will fit into the space you have (2000 to 4000 mah).

I wouldn't use the two brass jacks for charging because you will always have to be concerned about polarity, but you could. If you use removable batteries, of course you don't even need a charging jack. If you want to charge in place, the location of the charging jack depends on where you will be charging. If you want to leave the loco on the tracks, then it needs to be accessible; mount on the rear end. If you are going to carry it into the shop (small locos like these are easily transported), you can mount the jack on the bottom side or any other convenient place. And of course, you can use a battery car. Lots of options and they all work.

The manuals for my Critter Controls are posted on my website. They contain some general information about battery conversions that may be of help to you. www.GScaleGraphics.net
 

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OK, Lownote, here goes...
First, you might glance through the ECLSTS Seminar notes from years ago, when I did the battery & r/c thing. 35 pages, .PDF file
http://gold.mylargescale.com/PeteThornton/ECLSTS-seminar/Battery%20&%20Radio%20Control2.pdf

Page 21 has the wiring diagram from my small Bachmann 2-4-2T which you may find helpful as it has an Aristo Onboard-TE. Pages 14/15 show a battery boxcar that I built for someone in CO which uses the LGB plugs at the back of your loco. There are also pages with the pros and cons of various battery types.

For batteries and charger, I normally use a flat pack from Radios Shack designed for race cars. They are AA cells arranged as a 7.2V or 9.6V pack with a connector, and they come in NiCAD (v cheap but resist the temptation!) or NiMH. NiCADs work fine, as TOC will attest when he finally posts contradictions, but there's no problem with NiMH as long as you are careful not to overcharge them (they overheat and explode.) I always undercharge them as they don't come with a temperature sensor.

Two packs give you either 14.4 or 19.2V - the latter might be most appropriate for a loco designed for 0-24V operation. I use a charging system involving a small power socket (again from RS - see seminar notes,) and a charger from RS designed for NiMH or NiCAD batteries, and I charge my NiMH on the NiCAD setting.
Your biggest problem in that little loco is where are you going to put the batteries?
 

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Remember the North Pole thread several winters ago?
THAT engine, 1200MAH 14.4V NiCad, RCS, ran at the pole for 4 hours, he gave up, went back to the ship and ran for another 3.

Rule 7 states:

New entrants into battery r/c will generally think "cheap is better", and often will sometimes burned out and give up when the equipment fails to perform.

Do at least the first one right.

Ever own a British motorcycle?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not worried about rc yet--I just want to make it a track cleaning car. So the first thing I'll probably do is just an on/off switch or maybe Del's critter control>thn I can worry about finding the most expensive RC unit
 

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Lownote et al....Glad I lurked here.

Thanks for the info above. I like the idea of battery power, but many of the remote/RC systems reminded me of DCC (functions, assignments, etc), and my past bad experiences with that format in the 1990s.

The Critter Control system was just what I was thinking I would like.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, so as I see it, I need to buy a charger--I'll follow Del's recommendation--and I need to get 12 cells of the largest rating I can find. If they don't fit in the engine, I'll put them in the cleaning car, although that works against my idea of someday making it a remote controlled diesel switcher.

Are these the right batteries? I want tabbed batteries, right? And then I solder them together--but how--positive to postive, negative to negative, with one lead from each side going to the controler (or the on off switch?

http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1342
 

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And I keep a charger for each kind of pack.
 

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Posted By lownote on 05/16/2008 1:44 PM
Are these the right batteries? I want tabbed batteries, right? And then I solder them together--but how--positive to postive, negative to negative, with one lead from each side going to the controler (or the on off switch?
http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1342


No, you want to put the batteries in series to "add up" the voltages. Postive to negative to positive, etc. (just like they were laid out end to end (button to bottom on non-tabbed) like when you put them in a device. You end up with on positive & one negative & the sum of the voltages. I use 16 cells for a 19.2V pack.
--
craig
 

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Good Lord.

THIS is why I get packes made up with 2 wires ONLY, and a charger that has a set protocol plug.

Read my first response.

Do it right.
When you actually have some experience, play games, but do it right the first time!
 

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I would stick to buying ready made battery packs, if possible. I supposedly know what I'm doing, and I can't say that I have enjoyed building the few battery packs that I have tried. Ended up less than professional, and besides its dangerous to be soldering on batteries and potentially shorting them out in the process. I will only buy ready made packs from now on unless I just absolutely need to have a custom shape pack to fit an odd space.

Here is where I go for battery packs: http://www.batteryspace.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=712 14.4V 2200mah or 4200mah would be my choice (if that is enough voltage for your application).

If you really want to solder your own; yes, you must use "tabbed" cells only. Then you will need to find a source for shrink wrap large enough to work on your battery pack. Does anyone have a good source for this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Posted By Curmudgeon on 05/16/2008 4:47 PM
Good Lord.
THIS is why I get packes made up with 2 wires ONLY, and a charger that has a set protocol plug.
Read my first response.
Do it right.
When you actually have some experience, play games, but do it right the first time!




Why I'm here!
 

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I think maybe TOC mis-interpreted what I wrote, (maybe I've mis-read him) so to clarify in case others mis-understand, I only use the EXAMPLE of button cells to illustrate how tabbed cells are wired together in a pack as most people are familiar with how they are loaded into a flashlight. I am not advocating trying to solder button-ended cells... as that does ruin them.

I personally don't think soldering up your own battery pack out of tabbed cells is hard.


--
craig
 
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LowNote...it appears you did not get my email I sent your way through MLS a week or so ago?-not sure why it didn't go thru?
anyways...therein I offered to send you my BIK (I am no longer using-from my trail car setup) from RCS to use on your install if you'd like...Remember you have all the old RC Car stuff laying around-I think you said that, and with an EVO throttle from RCS you can use a two stick remote to operate your locomotive with no herky-jerky motion.

I use standard plugs for everything...period....

and a Smart MAHA Charger (can be had from Dave, as well as custom built battery packs for loco specific installs)...it does a swell job on my NiCad and NiMh (can do others as well!)

Pre-fab batteries are an excellent choice, though I have recently built some of my own packs....

let me know if I can help further!
cale
 

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Posted By lownote on 05/16/2008 1:44 PM
Ok, so as I see it, I need to buy a charger--I'll follow Del's recommendation--and I need to get 12 cells of the largest rating I can find. If they don't fit in the engine, I'll put them in the cleaning car, although that works against my idea of someday making it a remote controlled diesel switcher.
Are these the right batteries? I want tabbed batteries, right? And then I solder them together--but how--positive to postive, negative to negative, with one lead from each side going to the controler (or the on off switch?
http://www.all-battery.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1342





Just so nobody thinks I have mis-understood.
When I see newbies wanting to know whether to solder + to + or - to -, or one lead of EACH going to a controller, THAT is what I responded to.
 

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I'd have to agree with TOC.
Also when I see a "train buff" look at a switch and not know which way the train will go, I don't give them a controller and send them on their way.
 

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Some people seem to forget that at one time THEY new NOTHING about wiring, batteries ,trains mechanical and electrical thingy ma jingy things, thereby making everyone else beneath they're level of expertise!! Just remember guys we all started out NOT knowing much, and learned from our mistakes, and from talking to others or those in the know, so to speak, so I don't believe anybody here has every come out of the womb being a so called "expert" or should demean anybody for being a newbie or "stupid as some would have others believe" So having said that lets all cut some of us "stupid people" some slack ok!! The Regal
 

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Guys

Let's keep this on subject and not personal.

As I understood the postings, it was suggested that the first time through, it pays to use manufactured components saving the roll your own approach for when you are more knowledgeable ... like knowing which leads to solder together.

I did not see any name calling in the earlier posts ... let's keep it strictly to the subject.

Regards ... Doug
 
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