Battery v Track power - a personal perspective

Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
6,074
145
65
Hutt Valley, NZ
The situation is really no different to charging the 6 cells within the 7.2V pack, as they are in series.
QUOTE]

When all else fails, read the instructions.....

My charger is good for 4-8 cells, and since each of my packs are 6 cells, I think I'll just stick to seperate charging.... don't want to stuff the charger, or give the battery the 'wrong message'.

Thanks for the help Greg, and others.
 
Tony Walsham

Tony Walsham

Manufacturer of RCS Radio Control.
25 Oct 2009
2,112
10
Casino, NSW
This circuit is designed for putting two separate 14.4 volt packs in parallel.



It isn't going to work with just two 7.2 volt batteries.
The idea is to already have the two packs charged in series = 14.4 volts.That would mean a new charger that can handle 12 cell packs.
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,455
15
65
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
Found that out, the hard way :cry: Switched the Critter off on the loco, but left the battery connected... didn't notice that the light was still on. That drained the battery over the course of a week. Went to recharge, and the charger 'rejected' it. Lesson learned.

I've got two shrink wrapped batteries.
Gavin
Re comment in Bold how have you got your batteries wired?
I use a Double Pole Double Throw Centre switch on all my locos.
Basically there are 3 positions on the switch configuration
1 On = battery available to ESC lights Sound card etc
2 Off = No battery available to ESC lights Sound card etc
2 Charge position connected across the battery but all electronics disconnected no current draw, in this position battery voltage can be measured and a charger can be connected. If you want I can post a block diagram.
This config allows the batteries to be charged in situ with no disassembly required.
After saying that I use this config for NiMH batteries only, for my LiPo batteries its charge off loco in a charge bag, in a metal box, on a concrete floor, out in the open which is overkill as I only charge then at 0.1C ie a 5A battery charging current of 0.5A takes a long time but the risk of failure is low.

You really must cross to the dark side of the hobby young Padawan its really not that hard;) ;)
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,603
144
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
For my LiPo batteries its charge off loco in a charge bag, in a metal box, on a concrete floor, out in the open which is overkill as I only charge then at 0.1C ie a 5A battery charging current of 0.5A takes a long time but the risk of failure is low.
I may be tempting fate, but all my li-ion batteries are built in to my locos and are charged in-situ using the same two way wiring circuit as described above. I've been using them for around five years now and not experienced any problems. I've had only one thermal runaway with li-ions and that was when I inadvertently shorted out two cells when I was soldering up a pack. One of the cells got a bit hot and vented for a for a minute or so, but that was all.

Not that I am complacent. I never leave locos unattended while they are charging and charge at 0.5A with an intelligent charger.

Rik
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,455
15
65
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
I may be tempting fate, but all my li-ion batteries are built in to my locos and are charged in-situ using the same two way wiring circuit as described above. I've been using them for around five years now and not experienced any problems. I've had only one thermal runaway with li-ions and that was when I inadvertently shorted out two cells when I was soldering up a pack. One of the cells got a bit hot and vented for a for a minute or so, but that was all.

Not that I am complacent. I never leave locos unattended while they are charging and charge at 0.5A with an intelligent charger.

Rik
Rik
Being new to the Li chemistry I am erring on the over safe side.
I have had advice from another couple of sources who do the same thing they told me they feel confident with what they are doing, but until I have time to monitor batteries (read still working but a whole new ball game when retirement hits) I will still do what I am doing even though I really don't think that there is a danger in slow charging/discharging Li chemistry batteries.
Most of the major failures I have seen on the net are from battery abuse but you have to discount the Dreamliner and Samsung fiascos which were both design failures.
 
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ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,603
144
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
Rik
Being new to the Li chemistry I am erring on the over safe side.
I have had advice from another couple of sources who do the same thing they told me they feel confident with what they are doing, but until I have time to monitor batteries (read still working but a whole new ball game when retirement hits) I will still do what I am doing even though I really don't think that there is a danger in slow charging/discharging Li chemistry batteries.
Most of the major failures I have seen on the net are from battery abuse but you have to discount the Dreamliner and Samsung fiascos which were both design failures.
Yes, always pays to be cautious. I have read somewhere that cylindrical Li-ions are a bit more stable than the LiPo pouch type of cell. LIFEPO4 cells are even more stable but only give 3.2v output rather than 3.7v.

Two of my locos (my earliest) are powered with 12v (well 11.1v) LiPo pouch battery packs - I keep checking them for puffing-up but so far so good.

I think model car and plane modellers tend to abuse their batteries more than railway modellers as they generally want faster charge rates and higher amp drain from their packs - whereas we are, by comparison, quite sedate users of power from our battery packs. Hence the packs are put under less stress.

Rik
 
Gavin Sowry

Gavin Sowry

Garden Railroader and Raconteur
27 Oct 2009
6,074
145
65
Hutt Valley, NZ
Gavin
Re comment in Bold how have you got your batteries wired?
DPDT centre off swich to select track or battery. The Critter has a separate switch already built in to isolate the motor. Problem was, I left the switch allowing the battery feed on, but turned off the motor. Battery power of course, was still feeding the lights. Lesson, switch off the DPDT.

Last night, I fired her up, worked a treat. But, I'm still keeping track power. ;)
 
gregh

gregh

electronics, computers and scratchbuilding
Found that out, the hard way :cry: Switched the Critter off on the loco, but left the battery connected... didn't notice that the light was still on. That drained the battery over the course of a week. Went to recharge, and the charger 'rejected' it. Lesson learned.

I've got two shrink wrapped batteries.
That's why I like to have sound in my locos - you can tell when they are switched on. Doesn't matter how cheap the sound - it's better than nothing.
 
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GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,455
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65
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
That's why I like to have sound in my locos - you can tell when they are switched on. Doesn't matter how cheap the sound - it's better than nothing.
Hearing you there Greg, please pardon the pun, and some even double as a level indicator ie low level sound stops.
I have 2 basic Bachmann white noise generators that just emit clicks when the battery level is getting low.

When I get more proficient I plan to use all picaxe sound in most of my locos with the whistle sound being made constantly when battery is below a certain level.
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,455
15
65
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
I was talking to a model plane bloke at work the other day and as usual the subject of batteries ended up in the conversation.
I mentioned that my ESCs have built in low voltage cutoff but they only look at the total battery voltage.
He suggested that I might get these. https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykingtm-lipo-voltage-checker-2s-8s.html?___store=en_us
Or this one https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykingtm-lipoly-low-voltage-alarm-2s-6s.html

The people in his plane club use them as well as their return to home low voltage protection gear.
I am thinking that I will get 2 for my Lipo powered locos as extra safety and a warning that battery change is due.
They should be easy to install into homemade packs all that is needed is a lead to each cell with a suitable plug.
Just a thought.
They would be handy to use to monitor batteries that are on the shelf waiting to be used if replaceable packs are used (like my set up) might get an extra one or two.
 
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ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,603
144
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
I was talking to a model plane bloke at work the other day and as usual the subject of batteries ended up in the conversation.
I mentioned that my ESCs have built in low voltage cutoff but they only look at the total battery voltage.
He suggested that I might get these. https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykingtm-lipo-voltage-checker-2s-8s.html?___store=en_us
Or this one https://hobbyking.com/en_us/hobbykingtm-lipoly-low-voltage-alarm-2s-6s.html

The people in his plane club use them as well as their return to home low voltage protection gear.
I am thinking that I will get 2 for my Lipo powered locos as extra safety and a warning that battery change is due.
They should be easy to install into homemade packs all that is needed is a lead to each cell with a suitable plug.
Just a thought.
They would be handy to use to monitor batteries that are on the shelf waiting to be used if replaceable packs are used (like my set up) might get an extra one or two.
Great idea, thanks. I include balance charge leads on all my packs so adding one of these will be a doddle.

Rik
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
24,973
479
North West Norfolk
DPDT centre off swich to select track or battery. The Critter has a separate switch already built in to isolate the motor. Problem was, I left the switch allowing the battery feed on, but turned off the motor. Battery power of course, was still feeding the lights. Lesson, switch off the DPDT.

Last night, I fired her up, worked a treat. But, I'm still keeping track power. ;)
I only have one loco where it is not obvious whether the switch is in on or off position, because I used a push button type connected to the exhaust pipe - press the exhaust down for on, down again for off (I like to try and conceal my switches as much as possible). Charging circuit is open when the motor is switched off.

I therefore wired the headlight LED in parallel so that it shouts at me if I've left it on :emo::emo::emo:

88587_6e644763a6c8a9d5891e15eee489748a.jpg
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
3,045
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Royston
I have suitable 3,4 or 5 pin 2.5mm pitch JST leads if you wan to make your own balance-charge leads up..

http://rctrains.co.uk/Accessories.htm#Connectors

Scoll-down to find them..
PhilP.
I only have one loco where it is not obvious whether the switch is in on or off position, because I used a push button type connected to the exhaust pipe - press the exhaust down for on, down again for off (I like to try and conceal my switches as much as possible). Charging circuit is open when the motor is switched off.

I therefore wired the headlight LED in parallel so that it shouts at me if I've left it on :emo::emo::emo:

View attachment 228969
That was the first and best piece of advice someone gave me when I fitted RC to one of my locos. Obvious really and easy to do.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,817
345
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I only have one loco where it is not obvious whether the switch is in on or off position, because I used a push button type connected to the exhaust pipe - press the exhaust down for on, down again for off (I like to try and conceal my switches as much as possible). Charging circuit is open when the motor is switched off.

I therefore wired the headlight LED in parallel so that it shouts at me if I've left it on :emo::emo::emo:

View attachment 228969
A sound loco will do the same thing, but not necessarily in a visible way.
JonD
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
24,973
479
North West Norfolk
A sound loco will do the same thing, but not necessarily in a visible way.
JonD
Quite, but the range is often less, and there isn't room for sound in that little crew cab o_O
 
GAP

GAP

G Scale trains, Lawn Bowls.
14 Jun 2011
2,455
15
65
Bundaberg Queensland, Australia
Quite, but the range is often less, and there isn't room for sound in that little crew cab o_O
I have a speaker form an old laptop in the cab of a diesel that is probably smaller in volume.
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
24,973
479
North West Norfolk
That was the first and best piece of advice someone gave me when I fitted RC to one of my locos. Obvious really and easy to do.
Yes, it's so obvious it took me an awful long time to work it out :nerd::nerd::nerd:
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
3,045
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Royston
Yes, it's so obvious it took me an awful long time to work it out :nerd::nerd::nerd:
Oh I wouldn't have worked it out on my own, someone told me! That's how these things work, you learn from other people's mistakes and cock-ups:giggle::giggle:
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,817
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I do not wish to raise the discussion on the merits or not between Battery and Track Power, my personal decision has been made it is Battery and Live Steam for my own future. Well except for perhaps odd sessions in the Shed during the Winter but that must be a different story.

However as with all things, issues always arise and with the lack of need to clean Track comes the issue of Crud. Not dirty Track, but small stones and objects that are deposited on the Track by Rain, Wind, Urmsleygurmsleys or whatever. These are normally observed and picked up when using the trusty LGB Cleaning Block, but sadly missed now. So what is to be done? Well a cleaning Wagon of course.

This track Cleaner has been seen before and the pic below shows how It was as used on the Ruschbahn and on occasion here. The Middle Bogie is a Norms Model Supply Ckeaner procured by Andy from the USA. Has www.choochoostuff.com on it as well, not sure if they are still in existance but it was a pretty useful beast. I knocked up the setup for Andy at some stage and its utility can be clearly seen here. Also to be seen in the pic is the Brush that I obtained from Poundstretcher, the £1 price being reduced at the January Sale - result.
113865_b41d9ba7da38013927a3429d88b625c8.jpeg


The Track Cleaning Bogie was removed for possible future use (never ditch anything) and one ends Bogie was reverced together with the block at this end being Srewed and Glued right on the end of the Chassis. The Cleaner can be seen to better effect below.
113860_66b00a33238d1b0fbcb745e27372171c.jpeg


The Handle of the Brush was chooped off, the wood being placed in the Log Burner pile. Then the remaing bit was screwed onto the moved block with a few subsequentky shortened Coffee Stirers used to block the Brush out so that it sits vertically. The view below shows the final setup.
113863_f609847bbecd2a3d7331290d17c67724.jpeg

In use it is better pulled by a Battery Loco which must navigate all the Bumps and Lumps in its perambulation round the line. If Propelled the Bristles catch between the Wheels and Rail. A further benefit of this beastie is that said crud is sometimes removed from between Point Depressions and Check Rails as well.
 

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