New starter from Ross-on-Wye, UK

PhilBan

PhilBan

Registered
27 Sep 2020
4
0
65
Ross-on-Wye
I'm considering a radio controlled battery powered system in G Scale, my good lad seems to be almost supportive of such a thing. It needs to be done properly, no R1 LGB curves, thinking of battery power to avoid a lot of track cleaning, so looking for advice on batteries and chargers, really. Transmitters and receivers could come later, but let's say one loco with 2 (or 3) sets of batteries so they can be charging while the loco is chugging round, and swap batteries when one lot goes flat.

I welcome any pointers to batteries, assuming that I know nothing about which type of battery is the safest, what sort of chargers are available, and are there such things as battery packs than can be removed from a loco and plugged into a separate charger?
 
P

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
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57
Royston
Welcome to the forum Phil. I'll leave any advice to the real experts on here, but batteries these days are pretty good and can usually last a good session before needing a recharge. Take your layout building in slow steps. It's easy to go mad and try and build an empire too quickly. Remember, you can always extend or change at a later date.
Oh and beware of the awful jokes!
 
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Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
28,501
3,437
North West Norfolk
Welcome - battery power is good, but it's well worth doing the research.

Not many locos have a system for removing to charge, but there are safety measures to ensure safe charging on board.

Some of us stick with the older technology of NiMh while others have mastered the challenges of Li-on systems.

In a nutshell, Li-on will give more power in a smaller space, but the tech is more challenging.

Of the few ready-to-run battery powered locos, I don't think there are any Li-on yet.
 
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PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,767
2,769
Tamworth, Staffs.
Welcome to the Forum, Phil..

You should be able to get enough battery in a G scale loco to last (at least) as long as you wish to run that loco in one day..

Making the battery-pack removable, means a lot of fiddle, and excessive handling of the loco(s). - If you wish to share the technology (at least to start with) consider having batteries, receiver/controller, even sound if you want it, in a trailing vehicle.
If you are using LGB loco's, and your track is totally dead-rail, you do not even need to open-up a loco initially. - You can use the socket(s) on the back of the loco to supply the power to the loco.

Oh, and I declare an 'interest' in such things radio-control. :)

PhilP
phil@rctrains.co.uk
 
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JimmyB

JimmyB

Semi-Retired; more time for trains.
Hi Phil and welcome. I moved to battery power (slowly) last year, and I have gone for Li-Po, as used by model aircraft users. There is a lot of hype over the dangers, and lots of video showing them burst in to flames, however if treated correctly in use, charging and storage I believe they are safe. Why Li-Po, well you get more amps per physical size, a battery (3c - 11.1 volts) not much larger than a PP3 will power a Stainz with sound for more than 3 hours continuous running, I don't have spare batteries, just charge after every use.
 
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Zerogee

Zerogee

Clencher's Bogleman
25 Oct 2009
17,122
1,687
North Essex
Welcome, Phil - you'll get a lot of good help on here, and more than a few bad jokes! ;) :angel:

While I stick MOSTLY to track power, I have built a couple of battery locos (while retaining full DCC control) to take to other folks' lines which may not have DCC track power available; these threads may be of some interest to you, I hope:



Echoing other posts above, I'd recommend not trying to remove batteries from the locos for charging - opening up a typical G scale loco is a lot of faffing around (and usually a lot of screws to remove) and you really don't want to be doing it every running session.
If you can fit a suitable Li-Ion battery pack then it will run a two-motor loco for several hours, and a single-motor one for nearly twice that, so one charge will usually be plenty for a typical running session - it's not like the electric flight and car racing boys who burn through a battery pack (possibly poor choice of words there...) in ten minutes and then need a fast recharge....

On safety, provided you use good quality batteries with in-built protection circuits then you really shouldn't have to worry - most if not all of the horror stories/videos are of li-Po "soft pack" batteries from China, charged and discharged at ludicrous rates for the aforementioned flight and racing purposes; with trains you're not treating/mistreating the batteries to anything like the same degree. Good, protected batteries, a proper matching charger and an onboard fuse, and you should be fine!

Jon.
 
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dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,001
3,700
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Welcome to the Forum, have a look at some of the sundry Battery conversions on here. My choice is NiMh but have dabbled with a couple of Lipo’s. Then as you say there are Rx and Tx (Receivers and Transmitters). My prefered option is Fosworks though again I have dabbled with Micron.



A good start may be a Fosworks PNP 100 wiring loom with a couple of extra wires to connect motor, a battery pack, DPDTCO (Double throw double pole Centre off switch for reverce and stop) Smart Charger. This would get you going and other things would be able to plug in eventually like a RX, speed control and Sound should you need sound. Fosworks will talk you through what you need, but so would Micron and indeed our own Phil on here I think as well.

This is a lnk to Battery Power in the Forum where you will find my and many other conversions to Battery Power.


Welcome to the world of no track cleaning and no spaghetti wiring round the layout!
 
Rhinochugger

Rhinochugger

Retired Oik
27 Oct 2009
28,501
3,437
North West Norfolk
Rule 1 - install a fuse as close as possible to the battery +ve

After that, take yer time and everything's fairly simple.
 
dunnyrail

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
18,001
3,700
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Rule 1 - install a fuse as close as possible to the battery +ve

After that, take yer time and everything's fairly simple.
Oh yes forgot that!
 
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idlemarvel

idlemarvel

Neither idle nor a marvel
13 Jul 2015
2,356
695
Ascot
Welcome to the fold. Your child/children will love g scale.
 
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PhilBan

PhilBan

Registered
27 Sep 2020
4
0
65
Ross-on-Wye
Thank you all for your welcome and your inputs, you have given me food for thought. My child would be thrilled to see something in the garden - he is after all only 36, but his daughter might like it, she hasn't reached 1 yet, but by the time I'm likely to get something set up, she'll be old enough to appreciate it, but not too old to be bored by it.
 
Gizzy

Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
33,601
1,666
60
Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
Welcome to the forum Phil.

I am mostly track power, but I have a Piko Clean Machine, a Playmobil diesel running on readily available AA batteries.

These are operated by my better half Mizzy.

I also own a NQD 2-6-2 steam loco which has a 7.2 V re-chargable battery pack as found at many model shops.

These Locos were ready to run and do not need converting to battery power....
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,851
552
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
Dependent on what type of "prototype" floats your boat you are probably looking at converting a loco that came off the drawing board intended for track powered use. Some, if you are lucky, like a lot of later Bachmann "Spectrum" range products have been designed to be switchable between electrical power sources but you are still going to need to go down the - Transmitter (TX) + Receiver (RX) + Electronic Speed Controller (ESC) + Battery&Fuse, route. And the optional sound card + speaker.

However there is a sector of the garden rail hobby, "16 mm" scale, where off the shelf battery powered products have a natural home. As you may have twigged "G Scale" is not an actual scale but more a catch all term for any stock that will run happily of the LGB's chunky 45 mm gauge track system. Like wise "16 mm" scale, which is an actual scale (c 1:19), tends to be synonymous with 32 mm gauge track systems - but far from exclusively. In fact most product made in that scale is designed for use on both 32 mm & 45 mm track gauges. The possible reason that purpose made RTR battery powered locos predominate in that sector is down to the fact it is also the home of many operators with lines that catered primarily for live steam power, not electrical, from the outset. Take a look at Roundhouse and PDF products, among others, for some interesting battery locos. If you like UK/Colonial narrow gauge Diesel & Steam outline of course. Max
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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San Diego
www.elmassian.com
Welcome!

One thing you said in your original post worries me a bit:
looking for advice on batteries and chargers, really. Transmitters and receivers could come later,

So, this can be done, but I don't recommend wasting the $$.... there are indeed small units that have adjustable speed from a battery, no remote control, just a fixed "voltage" that is settable:


But this simple control costs $39, so unless this is your end result, I say start with a battery and remote system that works well together from the get-go.

My 2 cents

Greg
 
PhilBan

PhilBan

Registered
27 Sep 2020
4
0
65
Ross-on-Wye
Welcome!

One thing you said in your original post worries me a bit:
looking for advice on batteries and chargers, really. Transmitters and receivers could come later,

So, this can be done, but I don't recommend wasting the $$.... there are indeed small units that have adjustable speed from a battery, no remote control, just a fixed "voltage" that is settable:


But this simple control costs $39, so unless this is your end result, I say start with a battery and remote system that works well together from the get-go.

My 2 cents

Greg

Thanks, Greg. I assume the unit sits on the loco, so if I ended up with an end to end layout, I'd have to go chasing after it to stop and reverse it?
 
Greg Elmassian

Greg Elmassian

Registered
8 Mar 2014
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641
San Diego
www.elmassian.com
There's MANY options, and you can get a more sophisticated control that will self reverse.

Most are made for track power, with "sensing sections", but there are solutions for battery, this one, from the same guy, will do what you ask:


very simple and foolproof, no remote necessary.

Greg
 
-bbbb

-bbbb

Registered
21 Dec 2017
347
109
Idaho
A simple search on ebay for "PWM (pulse-width-modulation) motor driver" brings up a bunch of options, some for less than $10 with postage paid; I saw one for less than $6 from china when searching with the 'worldwide' option enabled.
 
David1226

David1226

Registered
24 Oct 2009
4,668
6,013
70
Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Must I remind you all, once again, I have the cheapest option of the lot.

dig 170522001.JPG

David
 
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mike

mike

Master at annoying..
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
50,214
3,635
Rossendale
www.gscalecentral.net
Use someone else's?
 
PhilP

PhilP

G Scale, 7/8th's, Electronics
5 Jun 2013
26,767
2,769
Tamworth, Staffs.
Of course, you could have both? - Either drive the loco, or let it run on it's own whilst you sit and relax..



They can be supplied pre-programmed.. :)

PhilP.