Coach lighting batteries

rusty spike

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4 Aug 2019
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Hi
I’m mostly running 1:20.3 Accucraft locos and stock on r/c DCC.
I intend to use the installed lighting in the coaches and cabooses.
I would be interested what folks do to battery power the lighting: ie, batteries in one coach and plug/socket wire to further coaches or coaches carrying their own battery pack.
Re-chargeable or not?
If using one battery, is there any merit in using a sealed lead acid type? I have 4 coaches, probably with 5V lighting, would I therefore require a 20v supply?
Look forward to hearing your views:)
Richard
 

Neil Robinson

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24 Oct 2009
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As you are operating DCC you could use track power as the lights won't go out when the train stops.
On some of my stock I have nominal 9V PP3 rechargeable batteries in holders fixed to the undersides of the coaches. These feed leds in series parallel.
 

Fred2179G

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20 Apr 2017
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4 coaches, probably with 5V lighting, would I therefore require a 20v supply?
Not if they are LEDs. A string of 5V LED tape can be paralleled many times, as they take so little current.

I did my Accucraft coaches with 12V LED strips and a 9V battery underneath. The frame of the coach can easily be warmed with a small torch and pushed around to fit the battery:

IMG_0906-battery-underfloor.jpg

I put a brass strap across the top to stop it dropping onto the ties/sleepers. Once painted black it becomes invisible.
One battery per coach reduces the hassles of coupling/connecting. There's a cheap push-button on/off switch further down the coach.

If the lights would be used a lot, I would use a rechargeable.
 

GAP

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Not if they are LEDs. A string of 5V LED tape can be paralleled many times, as they take so little current.

I did my Accucraft coaches with 12V LED strips and a 9V battery underneath. The frame of the coach can easily be warmed with a small torch and pushed around to fit the battery:

View attachment 287344

I put a brass strap across the top to stop it dropping onto the ties/sleepers. Once painted black it becomes invisible.
One battery per coach reduces the hassles of coupling/connecting. There's a cheap push-button on/off switch further down the coach.

If the lights would be used a lot, I would use a rechargeable.
Just to add onto the battery type a rechargeable is only around 7.4V so still plenty for a 5V circuit.
As for a Sealed Lead Acid they are fairly weighty compared to other battery types, personally I would not use one in your situation.
 

Bill Barnwell

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30 Sep 2017
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Ormond Beach, Fl
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Hi
I’m mostly running 1:20.3 Accucraft locos and stock on r/c DCC.
I intend to use the installed lighting in the coaches and cabooses.
I would be interested what folks do to battery power the lighting batteries in one coach and plug/socket wire to further coaches or coaches carrying their own battery pack.
Re-chargeable or not?
If using one battery, is there any merit in using a sealed lead acid type? I have 4 coaches, probably with 5V lighting, would I therefore require a 20v supply?
Look forward to hearing your views:)
Richard
I have LGB overtone coaches and have lit 3 and soon to be 4 of them using 2 AAA batteries RC car switch and 2 10MM soft white LED's 2 battery holder, used stained glass copper tape for wiring and evergreen polystyrene rectangle tubing to hold the bulbs with good success. have never changed the batteries in any of the cars and probably have 4 to 5 hours on each, colored the LED's using a yellow high lighter. being as the LED's require only 3 volts it as a simple installation. The observation car was the first to be completed and battery's are still good and they power 2 side marker lights, drum head light, 2 interior lights + a yellow light in the over head where the open section is, very happy with the results see pictures, Bill
 

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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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rusty spike

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4 Aug 2019
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Many thanks for your excellent suggestions and examples of your set ups :)
I had considered the track powered option but figured I had gone battery power to save cleaning my track :)
I will carefully consider the options and report back :)
 

Northsider

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3 May 2012
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I used to fit PP3-powered LEDs to my coaches, but the most recent one used a Layouts4U coin cell, which is lightweight and compact -I fitted the holder to underside of the roof.
 

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
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I used to fit PP3-powered LEDs to my coaches, but the most recent one used a Layouts4U coin cell, which is lightweight and compact -I fitted the holder to underside of the roof.

I've used PP3 setups in the past, also inside the coach roof. What is the operating life of the coin cell version like compared with the PP3?

Jon.
 

Northsider

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I've used PP3 setups in the past, also inside the coach roof. What is the operating life of the coin cell version like compared with the PP3?

Jon.
Hard to tell, because although I fit lights, I don't often use them! That said, the coin cell lasted all day at the National the other week, and still works...
 

rusty spike

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Hard to tell, because although I fit lights, I don't often use them! That said, the coin cell lasted all day at the National the other week, and still works...
Hi
Any idea if the coin cell is compatible with light bulbs?
Thanks
 

Greg Elmassian

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8 Mar 2014
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sure, for 1/10th the time!

your little incandescent bulbs will often draw 100 milliamps, 10 times what your LEDs will use... in other words, not a practical situation.

(that is assuming you find 3 volt bulbs first)

Greg
 

jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
24 Oct 2009
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sure, for 1/10th the time!

your little incandescent bulbs will often draw 100 milliamps, 10 times what your LEDs will use... in other words, not a practical situation.

(that is assuming you find 3 volt bulbs first)

Greg
3v grain of wheat incandescent bulbs are easy to come by. I light some of my coaches with these. But powered by a pair of AA cells. I don’t think a coin cell would power these fir very long. 3v LEDs are also available and would last longer.
Neither that I have used are particularly bright. Ok when it’s really dark, but not so noticeable in the fading evening light. I have some coaches which take power from the rails - just over 16v DCC for me. 18v grain of wheat bulbs in this instance are much brighter - just right for me.
 

Greg Elmassian

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the issue is that incandescent bulbs usually draw about 10 times the current/power as LEDs

So an incandescent bulb will need a battery with about 10 times the volume (VERY roughly) as the battery for a LED

coin cell not enough capacity to be practical.

(I'm making a lot of approximations, since voltage and current factor in here, but basically the power in a battery is driven by the physical volume, and yes I know lithium is higher density and yes I know you don't need to run incandescents at full voltage just like you don't need to run LEDs at full current)

Further, the way you design the power for LEDs is basically the electrical opposite of designing for incandescents.... incandescents need limited voltage, LEDs need limited current... but I think those concepts are beyond the scope of this thread.

Greg
 

Northsider

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Hi
Any idea if the coin cell is compatible with light bulbs?
Thanks
Probably not; as Greg says above, bulbs work differently (I am no electrologist!) and need the oomph that bigger batteries provide.
 

rusty spike

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4 Aug 2019
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Thanks to you all for the further info…AA’s it is then :)
The only issue to resolve now is the ‘see through’ Accucraft coaches when the lights are on. I’m going to strip one down during the winter when playtime is limited and either apply a dense brown paint or tape inside the coach walls.
Even in the sunshine, the silhouette of the coach seating is very noticeable.
 

jimmielx

45mm gauge track - approx 16mm scale (1:19)
24 Oct 2009
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Hastings, UK
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Annie and Clarabel present the same problem - translucent sides.
I made an interior for them out of card - designed in CAD and cut on a vinyl cutter with unnecessary detail.
I wouldn’t recommend paint - it would have to be very dense indeed to prevent light passing, and it usually isn’t. Many tapes are also not opaque. A simple solution would be a piece of card with cutouts for windows, stuck to the interior walls.
Whatever you use, first hold it up to the light, if no light passes through it’ll be fine. If not try something else!
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