Lipo Lion or other Newer Battery Types other than NiMhor Lead Acid

dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I am pretty well versed in the aspect of Batteries with NiMh and am well aware of the shortcomings of both NiCad and Lead Acid types.

But now I find myself wishing to do some smaller projects using Battery Power and may for these be tempted to go along the Lipo / Lion or other routes as may be advised in this thread.

But a few down sides as I understand them, Rik has posted a few notes in his blog about the use of Lion as follows ‘NOTE: It is unlikely you will find protected li-ion batteries with tabs as they should not be connected together in packs.’ so I wonder just how safely can one get up to or a little over 12v using these with say 4 in Seriies? And how can one charge them safely? I have also heard worrying horror stories about Lipo’s spontaneously combusting. Though I happiliy use a Mobile Phone and iPads with a type of Battery that may be one of these types.

I suspect that some Manufacturers may be able to assist with the correct supply of Batteries and Chargers for my requirements, but I feel that I need a warm comfy feel about a direction Lipo or Lion.

Also bear in my that I am looking for a smaller type of Battery as I will be wanting to incorporate DCC Sound in these projects using the Fosworks DCC Battery set up.

Any help / advice will be appreciated.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,710
147
North Essex
Hi JonD, I know I've recommended these many times before, but just as a reminder: the ones I use are the Ansmann packs, I buy them from Rapid (because they are local to me) but they are also available from CPC Farnell and others - very high quality industrial-grade battery packs, all with built-in protection circuit boards inside the shrink-wrap. The smaller packs can be connected together either in series OR parallel (I've checked with the supplier's tech people about this, and they have assured me it is safe) if you want to do your usual thing of distributing the batteries around the loco. A three-cell pack will give you 11.1 volts, a four-cell 14.8 volts which is what I use.

Lithium Batteries | Rapid Online{%22brand%22:[%22ansmann%22]}
(Edit: the forum hasn't converted the complete link, click on Ansmann in the "brand" part of the attribute filters to find the correct ones, or copy and paste the entire link above...)

I have them permanently installed in the loco, and charge them in situ with no problems, using one of the matching Ansmann trickle chargers from the same suppliers; this is the one I use for my 14.8v packs:

Ansmann 9C94212-01 Charger Li-ion 14.8V 2A

Hope this helps?

Jon.
 
BakerJohn

BakerJohn

Baker, Modeler, Flour Ambassador
Look at this! A thread of "Jo(h)ns"!

Anyway...
I'm using Li-Ion battery packs in my locos. As Zerogee says above; I buy the 3 or 4-cell packs resulting in 11.1 to 14.4v of power for my engine. I did a lot of research on Li-Ions before making a decision and the big thing for me (besides the reduced size) is that Li-Ions are in everything from laptops to cameras. I have a Lion battery from a 10-year-old camera that still works after 6 years of non-use.
The biggest thing is reading carefully what you are buying. I haven't seen any that don't, but making sure one is buying a battery pack with PCB is important. Also, if the loco's receiver has a protection circuit as well, that gives you piece of mind that you won't ruin your $50 battery.

It may not work for you, as I am in the USA, but I like All-Battery.com . This is the battery I plan to buy for my current project: All-Battery.com: Tenergy Li-Ion 18650 11.1V 2600mAh PCB Protected Rechargeable Battery Pack w/ Bare Leads . As you see, if you scroll down, the website tells you which charger to buy for use with the battery.


EDIT: I forgot something! I did a permanent install with my Forney's battery. But, I'm going to modify that with a 2-pin connector so that if it needs to come out it can. This will also make things easier if the battery does fail for some reason, I can get a new pack and test the loco with that one.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,710
147
North Essex
Look at this! A thread of "Jo(h)ns"!

..........
EDIT: I forgot something! I did a permanent install with my Forney's battery. But, I'm going to modify that with a 2-pin connector so that if it needs to come out it can. This will also make things easier if the battery does fail for some reason, I can get a new pack and test the loco with that one.
There's a lot of us about... ;)

Yes, when I mentioned that my batteries are "permanently installed", I simply meant that they are left in-situ for charging (which is accomplished using a red JST connector on a flying lead, which simply remains curled up on the floor of the loco cab until required). The battery pack(s) can be removed if required by removing the loco body and unstrapping the battery, which is retained very firmly in position by heavy-duty reusable zip-ties with a push-release catch, as shown here:


In the 2095 "whizzy cranks" BoBo, using an 8-cell "4S2P" pack giving 14.8v with 5200 mAH capacity:
battery-straps3-jpeg.247450


...and in the Saxon Meyer IVk, using a "4S1P" flat pack of 4 cells, same 14.8v but only 2600 mAh - which is still enough to drive the twin-motor LGB loco for several hours!
114015_36d2abd3cfb79b283cba9a4a80f75bfe.jpeg


Jon.
 
M

Michael

Registered
26 Jan 2010
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15
I use 18650 lithium batteries in my locos and portable equipment. I always use integrated charger / protection modules so there is no need for external intelligent chargers.

You have to be very careful buying these batteries on Ebay or elsewhere as there are many people who make outragious claims for the power and sell re-packaged cells removed from old computers. The maximum the technology can provide is around 3500mA so avoid Ultrafire 5000mAh ones!

I've standardised on the tagged ones from Samsung, INR18650-30Q. They are a little more expensive but work well and I have in the past carried out discharge tests to prove their capacity.

114023_5374ea1d9e05d9336b4b22129a821862.jpg


For my locos I use 4 18650s with a 4 cell protection board. These don't balance charge so I always use cells bought at the same time. I haven't had to replace any yet. Balanced ones are available (see previous post).

114024_b8d7c1d0cc44e5d1ad1cc9e162c7b2b9.jpg


For other portable equipment I use a single 18650 with a TP4056 protection/charger module. These charge the battery from a standard USB or 5 volt power source. I use step up or step down buck Pololu regulators to produce the voltage required.
114025_cfd62d3d6cb42b0bae2047c9dd46f90d.jpg

Hope this helps.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,812
344
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I use 18650 lithium batteries in my locos and portable equipment. I always use integrated charger / protection modules so there is no need for external intelligent chargers.

You have to be very careful buying these batteries on Ebay or elsewhere as there are many people who make outragious claims for the power and sell re-packaged cells removed from old computers. The maximum the technology can provide is around 3500mA so avoid Ultrafire 5000mAh ones!

I've standardised on the tagged ones from Samsung, INR18650-30Q. They are a little more expensive but work well and I have in the past carried out discharge tests to prove their capacity.

View attachment 247454

For my locos I use 4 18650s with a 4 cell protection board. These don't balance charge so I always use cells bought at the same time. I haven't had to replace any yet. Balanced ones are available (see previous post).

View attachment 247455

For other portable equipment I use a single 18650 with a TP4056 protection/charger module. These charge the battery from a standard USB or 5 volt power source. I use step up or step down buck Pololu regulators to produce the voltage required.
View attachment 247456
Hope this helps.
This may be an issue due to size, I think for me on Small Locomotives an external,charger will be a must.

Thanks guys lots of useful information. I am looking to do a Gauge 1 Y7 and an 0 Gauge Dapol Terrier. Not both G but the Y7 runs happily on my Garden G line and the Terrier will be the first of the Battery DCC Locomotives for my morinbund 0 Gauge Light Railway. Both are planned to have DCC Sound Chips in them. But whatever I manage would be useful for anyone contemplating DCC Sound in small Locomotives etc, an LGB Motorised Truck perhaps. My plan on both Locomotives is to use a Larger Rated 00 Chip which should give me the grunt I need. The Y7 only takes 4 AA Batteries to run so will be a lowish power drain, I cannot forsee the Terrier being much larger drain either with the slow speeds and small trains that it will be pulling.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,812
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Been having a look at the varying Batteries suggested, would appear that they are all way too big with the Voltages that I am looking for. So I have been back to the Article of the HO US Geep Battery Powered Loco in the June 2016 Model Railroader. Here the Power suppy is ‘Neil Stanton Battery Power Supply (BPS) voltage control and charging circuit board paired with a single cell 850mAH LiPo battery’ ( www.s-cab.com ). Hm looks like this link has been hijacked by sundry Cab Companies! I found the site by searching ‘Model Railway s-cab’. This system raises the battery voltage from 3.7v to 12v, it also allows the battery to charge from any voltage greater than 5v. Either AC,DC or DCC will work fine! On continuous Battery running of 1hr 20mins, probably enough for me but if I have some Track Power for it to sit on in the Fiddle Yard longer runs can be obtained. Here I am thinking of the Terrier.
 
Last edited:
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
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www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
-bbbb

-bbbb

Registered
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Idaho
I've been using two lithium ion 9 volt batteries in series with no problems. 18 volts gives a nice amount of power in such a small package. I've tried them in parallel before with no problems. I've got no protection boards, but I remove them from the loco for charging. is there a danger of merely using them without a protection board, when not charging them in the loco?
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,812
344
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
I've been using two lithium ion 9 volt batteries in series with no problems. 18 volts gives a nice amount of power in such a small package. I've tried them in parallel before with no problems. I've got no protection boards, but I remove them from the loco for charging. is there a danger of merely using them without a protection board, when not charging them in the loco?
Someone else will need to answer that question. As for removing before charging that is a complete pain in the butt so far as I am concerned, usually and especially so with small locomotives they would need to be so well stuffed inside that would be a real problem.
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
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North Essex
As far as I understand it (and there are several here who are much more knowledgeable on these things than I am), the only real risk you run by operating the loco without a protection circuit for the battery is that of running the battery too low, which can knacker it permanently. The protection board shuts off the battery if the voltage falls too low, before any damage can be done through over-discharge.
The potentially dangerous bit is in over-charging, which is why you should always use a smart charger unless the battery pack(s) are internally protected.

Batteries WITH protection circuitry should be safe to charge in the loco, just as you do with your phone, laptop, tablet etc.....

Jon.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
14,812
344
71
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
As far as I understand it (and there are several here who are much more knowledgeable on these things than I am), the only real risk you run by operating the loco without a protection circuit for the battery is that of running the battery too low, which can knacker it permanently. The potentially dangerous bit is in over-charging, which is why you should always use a smart charger unless the battery pack(s) are internally protected.

Jon.
Aha yes I knew there was a reason for the protection circuit to be in the Loco. I would think with extensive operation it would be pretty easy to get to the point of very low or even a flat battery without one - result as Jon says a K’d Battery. Not good if you look at the cost of them.
 
ge_rik

ge_rik

British narrow gauge (esp. Southwold and W&LLR)
24 Oct 2009
9,603
144
Cheshire
www.riksrailway.blogspot.com
I've been using two lithium ion 9 volt batteries in series with no problems. 18 volts gives a nice amount of power in such a small package. I've tried them in parallel before with no problems. I've got no protection boards, but I remove them from the loco for charging. is there a danger of merely using them without a protection board, when not charging them in the loco?
If they are li-ion packs then they might include protection. If so, it would probably either say so on a sticker or a leaflet which came with them. The Ansmann packs from Rapid for example include protection.

However, if it's a LiPo pack such as those used by car enthusiasts then it probably won't include protection, in which case some sort of protection against over-discharge is a good idea as has been said already.

I am intrigued that it's a 9v pack, though. Normally, li-ion packs are sold as multiples of 3.7v (ie 7.4v, 11.1v, 14.8v etc). Are you sure it's li-ion and not LiFePo? They come in packs which are multiples of 3.2v (ie 6.4v, 9.6v, etc).

Rik
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
23,179
405
Tamworth, Staffs.
Rik is correct..

The '9V' refers to the size/shape of the 'package', and not the voltage..
The voltage will initially be 9.6V, 8.4V, 7.4V, or 7.2V dependent on model.
See:

Rechargeable 9V Batteries | 9 Volt Battery FAQ

If interested in this.. :nerd::think:
 
WKDOR

WKDOR

Registered
26 Oct 2009
729
2
Welsh Marches
Hello Phil

Can I attract your attention please?

Patient Mike
 
Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
16,710
147
North Essex
Rik is correct..

The '9V' refers to the size/shape of the 'package', and not the voltage..
The voltage will initially be 9.6V, 8.4V, 7.4V, or 7.2V dependent on model.
See:

Rechargeable 9V Batteries | 9 Volt Battery FAQ

If interested in this.. :nerd::think:
Hmm, wonder why they don't still use the old designation, "PP3", for a battery of this size and shape? I would have thought that would avoid all the confusion of when a 9V battery is not a 9V battery..... ;)

Jon.
 
-bbbb

-bbbb

Registered
21 Dec 2017
201
30
Idaho
...I am intrigued that it's a 9v pack, though. Normally, li-ion packs are sold as multiples of 3.7v (ie 7.4v, 11.1v, 14.8v etc). Are you sure it's li-ion and not LiFePo? They come in packs which are multiples of 3.2v (ie 6.4v, 9.6v, etc).
Rik
Rik, It's not a pack. I just took two lithium ion 9 volt 600mAh batteries (at about $5 - $6 each (which included a charger)) and I put them in series on a Playmobil 4034 converted to RC. There's not a lot of room in the 4034 tender next to the receiver for a huge battery pack made of AA cells(which probably wouldn't give me as much voltage as I want anyways). I make it a point to remove and recharge the batteries when the train starts to slow noticeably, and I'm under the impression that this does not end up discharging them completely. This is the kind of battery I've been using because it's cheap:

My impression(perhaps premature) is that their performance/longevity in the converted playmobil 4034(which can use all 18 volts for full speed) is better than that of 4 AA eneloops in a playmobil 4017(which uses about 4.8 volts at full speed(which is a comparable speed to the 4034)). The space I'm working with is pictured below. Only one battery is installed in this picture, though there's two now, but I think I just might be able to fit four (2 in series & 2 in parallel) If I ever get some more batteries. Notice how AA packs of the same voltage would not fit so well:

It's relatively easy to remove the 9 volt batteries after removing the wood pile from the tender since I gave so much slack in the wiring. I've only fully opened the tender here to show how much room for batteries there is with the power switch and playmobil RC car receiver/ESC installed.

By the way, I've enjoyed your website Rik. Thanks for all of the articles.
 
M

Michael

Registered
26 Jan 2010
78
15
They have 2 lithium cells in them so have a nominal voltage of 7.2 - 7.4 volts.