Modifying a Piko 25 Tonner to Battery Power.

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
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2,137
Pennsylvania, USA
Yes, you can get a lot more grunt out of a lot less space with Li-on batteries - the big issue is the charging regime which, at the time that I investigated, is not entirely straightforward. GE Rik of this parish has quite a lot of info about Li-on technology as he uses them exclusively :nod::nod:

Now to find a link to his blog spot - I may be some while :emo::emo:

Try this

Peckforton Light Railway: Quick introduction to the iMax B6 charger


Every one of those blue Li-on batteries I buy comes with it's own charger. The chargers are of the wall wart type. The other Li-on batteries I use are of the built up cell variety. they use a smart charger that I purchased separately from All Battery dot com. These batteries are the 14.8 volt type and power my larger locos and trailing cars.

I've been very happy with the Li-on technology. It's much more technical than I and smarter too.....:think:.....I'm sure that I am not telling you anything you don't already know. If you find Rik's blog spot, let us know. I seem to recall it also.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
30,364
3,640
North West Norfolk
If you find Rik's blog spot, let us know. I seem to recall it also.

It's on that link that I gave you - the Peckforton Light Railway.

Yeah, that is an alternative - dedicated chargers, but that leads to a lot of chargers. The other issue that put me off the 'ready to use' blue pack Li-ons, was that they were switched, with the switch being on the pack - burying a pack in a loco would most times make it difficult to operate the switch.

As I say, I almost went there when I was struggling for space in the MDC Hustler, but circumnavigated the issue, and, a bit like Jon, all the time the Ni-Mhs do what I need them to do, I'll stick with me quill pen and abacus .................. :rock::rock::rock::rock::rock:
 

casey jones snr

Registered
20 Apr 2010
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Charnwood Forest Railway. Rothley. Leics.
Thanks Paul, will be an easy little beast to bring to your line when you are up and running again. Will be possible to fit it in a small box in my Rucksack when I come over by train.
I look forward to seeing it in action Jon:clap:.
 

Madman

Registered
25 Oct 2009
14,283
2,137
Pennsylvania, USA
It's on that link that I gave you - the Peckforton Light Railway.

Yeah, that is an alternative - dedicated chargers, but that leads to a lot of chargers. The other issue that put me off the 'ready to use' blue pack Li-ons, was that they were switched, with the switch being on the pack - burying a pack in a loco would most times make it difficult to operate the switch.

As I say, I almost went there when I was struggling for space in the MDC Hustler, but circumnavigated the issue, and, a bit like Jon, all the time the Ni-Mhs do what I need them to do, I'll stick with me quill pen and abacus .................. :rock::rock::rock::rock::rock:

Not to belabor the subject, but I have found some of those small 168 Li-on batteries don't have the on/off switch.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
30,364
3,640
North West Norfolk
Not to belabor the subject, but I have found some of those small 168 Li-on batteries don't have the on/off switch.
Things move on ................ :nod::nod::nod:

There may come a time :whew::whew:
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,762
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73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Hi Jon,
Just curious.. How fast does it go on ten cells? - I ask, as the Piko battery version runs on six, at a reasonable pace.
Thanks,
PhilP.
I have finally got round to checking that. Though as I said earlier it is running on a Cobra speed controller with that set to the slowest speed. Radar Trap (well Model Speed App on the iPhone) catches it at max 26-27 Scale KPH. I also did a lap time on my approx 2.5K Scale Length Circuit as 5.35 Minutes.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
30,364
3,640
North West Norfolk
I have finally got round to checking that. Though as I said earlier it is running on a Cobra speed controller with that set to the slowest speed. Radar Trap (well Model Speed App on the iPhone) catches it at max 26-27 Scale KPH. I also did a lap time on my approx 2.5K Scale Length Circuit as 5.35 Minutes.
Out of idle curiosity, Jon, how easy is it to get at the Cobra and change the power curve to a different option - just to measure the effect?

If it's anything like my Hustler, the answer is likely to be :swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear:
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,762
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Out of idle curiosity, Jon, how easy is it to get at the Cobra and change the power curve to a different option - just to measure the effect?

If it's anything like my Hustler, the answer is likely to be :swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear::swear:
Easy peasy, there is a small button that is pressed with 3 sets of how the lights blink. 1 2 or 3. You just press the button to and hold get a steady light. Let go and it will flash in groups of 1 2 or 3. Press and hold the button and you change to the next setting which is seen as you release the button again. If it is on 2 ypu will need to rotate via 3 to get back to one.
 

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
30,364
3,640
North West Norfolk
Easy peasy, there is a small button that is pressed with 3 sets of how the lights blink. 1 2 or 3. You just press the button to and hold get a steady light. Let go and it will flash in groups of 1 2 or 3. Press and hold the button and you change to the next setting which is seen as you release the button again. If it is on 2 ypu will need to rotate via 3 to get back to one.
I wasn't sure how accessible the button was :mask::mask:
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,762
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73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
it is on the Cobra circuit board, so it does mean getting at that..:nerd:
I wasn't sure how accessible the button was :mask::mask:
Oh see what you mean now, not so easy on this baby. Pretty well all of my conversions would make it difficult to access without dragging some part of the body off. With the 25 Tonner it would mean dragging the chassis out and then undoing all the gaffa tape that is holding it in place to see the effect for of each the two speed steps and putting it back together after a test run. No chance, sorry.

But as I set all of mine to the slowest option is does not matter so far as I am concerned. If I remember the next time I have some new Battery Kit I will measure the difference on my test rig.
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
So we had what I though was a failure with this beastie a week or two back. This would mean a pain trip back into the insides to see what may be wrong. To this end I have bought a spare RX and Cobra so that I can at least try to work out where the issue may be. However on undoing the beast I found a wire that had come out of a screw terminal. Now the issue was not this as this wire was from the Rx to the MLS card. So I tried the loco undressed as it were and all was well, so the problem is not resolved in that I have not a clue what was wrong, best guess is that the batteries in the TX were out of place a little and not giving full power. This was probably why the lamp on the Tx looked a little dark as when I removed the batts to check them they were a full 1.5v and the light was brighter when put back. Hm. Anyhow during this I noticed some cosmetics that needed attending to and it was considered worthwhile to get the MLS IR receiver into the cab rather than burried deep within the inards so that I can change the way that the sounds are working.

The IR and wires to the speaker go up the back of the Cab and had originally been glued in place however this all came loose so I used some very this insulated wire to hold it in place through a couple of holes in 2 places. Hopefully you can just manage to work the inside on the second picture, I reasoned that the IRR looked like some kind of junction box inside the cab. Not quite sure why Bertie is sideways. The outside wire will be hidden in some kind of plasticard trunking as seen in the final picture.
3570FACB-D926-4E98-B04D-3AF325436A59.jpeg

40D4C5E7-F8A7-46AF-A3CB-CE2A315784D2.jpeg
Another thing that I am doing when any work gets sone to my Battery fleet is to make the Fuse accesible, again it is a pain to have to pull a loco to bits to get to the fuse. There was a bit of a pondering issue with this as the place for a tool box has cosmetic opening doors so as I had blocked them on the otherside I reasoned that I should not do the same this side. Thus this under footplate box was added the other side as well. The wires to the fuse needed to be extended to facilitate this so Mr.Soldering Iron was in action for that task. There is just enough space to get the fuse out with some gentle manipulation.
4831ED07-B660-4A8D-837A-535EF4A61174.jpeg
Below can be seen that some of the handrails have suffered some damage, careful drilling into the ends with a very fine drill and some 47thou copper wire was Hafixed into the holes. I only want these to be press fit as this tends to save further damage as they will pop out with any abuse. The rear shunters steps have also suffered so they got the similar treatment.
6653D99A-EF39-4A6F-9349-93110B25EB4B.jpeg
As can be seen here all go back in place nicely.
D11E9533-86BA-47FC-A4C6-6E940F7B1733.jpeg BEB6C22A-0813-42B0-9E7D-ED5253B42E39.jpeg
Finally a test run was in order and I am pleased to say that 25 tonner is fully repaired and ready to go back into useful service. Oh you can make out the black cosmetic trunking on the rear of the cab to hide the abuse inflicted with the wire holders
789BD5D0-9075-4EB9-AD5C-FF93C211414F.jpeg
 
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FatherMcD

Registered
13 Mar 2014
124
14
Idaho
So we had what I though was a failure with this beastie a week or two back. This would mean a pain trip back into the insides to see what may be wrong. To this end I have bought a spare RX and Cobra so that I can at least try to work out where the issue may be. However on undoing the beast I found a wire that had come out of a screw terminal. Now the issue was not this as this wire was from the Rx to the MLS card. So I tried the loco undressed as it were and all was well, so the problem is not resolved in that I have not a clue what was wrong, best guess is that the batteries in the TX were out of place a little and not giving full power. This was probably why the lamp on the Tx looked a little dark as when I removed the batts to check them they were a full 1.5v and the light was brighter when put back. Hm. Anyhow during this I noticed some cosmetics that needed attending to and it was considered worthwhile to get the MLS IR receiver into the cab rather than burried deep within the inards so that I can change the way that the sounds are working.

The IR and wires to the speaker go up the back of the Cab and had originally been glued in place however this all came loose so I used some very this insulated wire to hold it in place through a couple of holes in 2 places. Hopefully you can just manage to work the inside on the second picture, I reasoned that the IRR looked like some kind of junction box inside the cab. Not quite sure why Bertie is sideways. The outside wire will be hidden in some kind of plasticard trunking as seen in the final picture.
View attachment 266986

View attachment 266987
Another thing that I am doing when any work gets sone to my Battery fleet is to make the Fuse accesible, again it is a pain to have to pull a loco to bits to get to the fuse. There was a bit of a pondering issue with this as the place for a tool box has cosmetic opening doors so as I had blocked them on the otherside I reasoned that I should not do the same this side. Thus this under footplate box was added the other side as well. The wires to the fuse needed to be extended to facilitate this so Mr.Soldering Iron was in action for that task. There is just enough space to get the fuse out with some gentle manipulation.
View attachment 266990
Below can be seen that some of the handrails have suffered some damage, careful drilling into the ends with a very fine drill and some 47thou copper wire was Hafixed into the holes. I only want these to be press fit as this tends to save further damage as they will pop out with any abuse. The rear shunters steps have also suffered so they got the similar treatment.
View attachment 266991
As can be seen here all go back in place nicely.
View attachment 266988 View attachment 266989
Finally a test run was in order and I am pleased to say that 25 tonner is fully repaired and ready to go back into useful service. Oh you can make out the black cosmetic trunking on the rear of the cab to hide the abuse inflicted with the wire holders
View attachment 266994
Regarding your repair of the steps and railings. Were the parts damaged during removal? Are they a press fit or glued? I just bought one of these myself and will need to remove some pieces to repaint it and want to minimize possible damage. It was the Christmas loco and at a reasonable discount, but the red frame has got to go! Thanks, Ken
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,762
3,935
73
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Regarding your repair of the steps and railings. Were the parts damaged during removal? Are they a press fit or glued? I just bought one of these myself and will need to remove some pieces to repaint it and want to minimize possible damage. It was the Christmas loco and at a reasonable discount, but the red frame has got to go! Thanks, Ken
Yes the handrails and rear steps are all push fit and can be removed with care. I have found over time that they have got well bashed about with normal handling of the Loco.
 

Steve Manners

Registered
2 Nov 2019
13
1
72
Hull
Hi all, just looking for some advice on SIMPLE Radio Control. At present I use Playmobil RC motor blocks as a basis for some cobbled together small British 0-4-0 locos. These are ones like LNER Y8s and Hudswell Clarke industrial engines.
I have a need for an 0-6-0 and have bought a PIKO 0-6-0 track powered motor block from Topslots. I read the latest edition of the G scale Society mag. with a review of the Piko diesel RC starter set. Julian Butcher who wrote the review mentioned a Piko RC receiver and key fob transmitter. I found this on the Topslots site and wondered if anyone had used them? I realise another route might be to add more wheels to an 0-4-0 block but that has its own problems so any advice on connecting the 2 Piko units would be welcome. Failing that I'll just have to read the instructions with the RC unit!
 

Moonraker

Registered
25 Oct 2009
994
97
South Australia
Please note that the Premium Light Industrial soundcard we released about a month ago includes three recorded sounds from the GE 25 tonner loco; the engine, the horn and the bell.

Regrads
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
 

FatherMcD

Registered
13 Mar 2014
124
14
Idaho
I have one of the 25 tonners with the factory radio control. I added a MyLocoSound light diesel board. The stock battery pack is a removable 6xAAA unit. I fill this pack with NiMHs for a nominal total of 7.2v. The loco runs at a reasonable speed and the sound quality is good. The key fob is limited to forward and reverse buttons that increment/de-increment the speed and two sound buttons. The only problem I have run into is that as the batteries drain, pressing a sound button can cause the loco to stop dead. Not good for the long term health of the drive train! I expect the power draw of the sound card causes the available voltage to drop below the ESCs minimum. I haven't had a chance to run the batteries dead without sound to see how the loco stops. MyLocoSound has recently upgrade their light diesel card to include a bell sound for this loco. PIKO expects to have their own sound card for this loco available by the unmentionable season at the end of the year and I may buy one to see if it functions without stopping the loco suddenly. I also have some other battery options to try. I think the specs for the R/C unit call for a minimum voltage of 7.0v so there is not much of a margin. The R/C unit itself functions well and makes control simple.
 

Moonraker

Registered
25 Oct 2009
994
97
South Australia
I have one of the 25 tonners with the factory radio control. I added a MyLocoSound light diesel board. The stock battery pack is a removable 6xAAA unit. I fill this pack with NiMHs for a nominal total of 7.2v. The loco runs at a reasonable speed and the sound quality is good. The key fob is limited to forward and reverse buttons that increment/de-increment the speed and two sound buttons. The only problem I have run into is that as the batteries drain, pressing a sound button can cause the loco to stop dead. Not good for the long term health of the drive train! I expect the power draw of the sound card causes the available voltage to drop below the ESCs minimum. I haven't had a chance to run the batteries dead without sound to see how the loco stops. MyLocoSound has recently upgrade their light diesel card to include a bell sound for this loco. PIKO expects to have their own sound card for this loco available by the unmentionable season at the end of the year and I may buy one to see if it functions without stopping the loco suddenly. I also have some other battery options to try. I think the specs for the R/C unit call for a minimum voltage of 7.0v so there is not much of a margin. The R/C unit itself functions well and makes control simple.
Ken, I had the same problem when I was testing the new premium light industrial soundcard in my PIiko equipped loco which also has 6xAAA. There is an easy solution. Change the batteries to Panasonic Eneloop AAAs. These have a voltage of 1.5v and maintain that voltage much longer than ordinary batteries. Hence you will get 9v from your six pack and a much larger margin over the ESC and soundcard minimum. I just checked my Eneloops after an afternoon's running two weeks ago and they are still showing 8.1v. The Eneloops also last much longer.
Regards
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
 

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
Ken, I had the same problem when I was testing the new premium light industrial soundcard in my PIiko equipped loco which also has 6xAAA. There is an easy solution. Change the batteries to Panasonic Eneloop AAAs. These have a voltage of 1.5v and maintain that voltage much longer than ordinary batteries. Hence you will get 9v from your six pack and a much larger margin over the ESC and soundcard minimum. I just checked my Eneloops after an afternoon's running two weeks ago and they are still showing 8.1v. The Eneloops also last much longer.
Regards
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
Peter, what is the recommended minimum voltage for a MLS, I know your website shows a 9 volt battery for track power, but Fosworks informs that 6 volts is the recommended minimum voltage.
 

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,183
1,756
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Hi all, just looking for some advice on SIMPLE Radio Control. At present I use Playmobil RC motor blocks as a basis for some cobbled together small British 0-4-0 locos. These are ones like LNER Y8s and Hudswell Clarke industrial engines.
I have a need for an 0-6-0 and have bought a PIKO 0-6-0 track powered motor block from Topslots. I read the latest edition of the G scale Society mag. with a review of the Piko diesel RC starter set. Julian Butcher who wrote the review mentioned a Piko RC receiver and key fob transmitter. I found this on the Topslots site and wondered if anyone had used them? I realise another route might be to add more wheels to an 0-4-0 block but that has its own problems so any advice on connecting the 2 Piko units would be welcome. Failing that I'll just have to read the instructions with the RC unit!
Hullo Steve,

I fitted the Piko RC as described here;


The RC pcb replaced the one with the on/off switch and it was fairly easy to do, despite having to solve a couple of issues.

I brought mine from Sandy of Scottish Garden Railways.

If you need any help, drop me a PM....