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Thread: Battery powered locos?

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    Default Battery powered locos?

    Saw this on youtube:

    https://youtu.be/b8sS113DghI

    Ugly but just a proof of concept. I've been wondering if this had been attempted yet with ever better LiOn batteries. Maybe I'm wrong but battery power seems like it would make life a lot easier, avoiding most of the wiring headaches that come with layouts. Also gives your train some weight!

    What do you guys think? Is this the future?
    "I apologize for the crudity of this model. It's not to scale..." -- Dr. Emmett Brown

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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    What do you guys think? Is this the future?
    Yes, it's the future certainly, but it will be a decade or more before a self-contained N scale locomotive becomes a commercial reality. Self-contained as in a suitable battery with enough amp-hours (or really milliamp hours) for 90-minutes of operation with sound and lights. And self-contained with some form of command control, be it through the rails or wifi.

    In sum, we're on the cusp of so-called "dead rail" being viable in N scale; just not there yet. It has yet to walk and run in HO.

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    So many things will become possible (or made easier) as batteries get smaller and more powerful. Efficiently powering my sister's camp in the Maine woods is one thing to look forward to, but dead rail running in N Scale is at the top of the list!!

    Inconsistent track power keeps me away from my layout.

    -Paul

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    I was intrigued by the idea of mounting the batteries in your rolling stock. But I imagine making the connections between cars in a way that doesn't ruin the aesthetics would be challenging. If only there was a way to pass power from battery car to loco through the wheels without electrifying the whole track.
    "I apologize for the crudity of this model. It's not to scale..." -- Dr. Emmett Brown

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    And, when they push the technology before it's ready, we will have realistic, spontaneous fires in our locomotives.

    Doug
    Atlas First Generation Motive Power and Treble-O-Lectric. Click on the link:
    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    My buddies and I were talking about the novelty of dead rail. We were thinking it would be neat to have the engine service facilities actually charge (service) your engine in between uses. After you run your engine for a while, pull it into the modeled fueling area or roundhouse for it to charge while you bring another engine into service.

    Like it has been commented above, we are a ways away before that reaches us in N scale.
    Bo D.
    B&O Keyridge Subdivision
    I'm not allowed to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. I'm not allowed to say how fast the Railroad Train can go.
    I'm not allowed to shoot off steam, nor even clang the bell. But let the damned Train jump the track, and see who catches hell!


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    Battery powered + Bluetooth = FUN!

    Someday, the tech will be small enough for both at the same time. I'm looking forward to it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yIhcD3jIgk
    N-joy!
    Tred - (USN-Ret.)
    Kansas City, KS
    (Sent using @ 1000Mbps)
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    Saw an article a while back (don't remember where) that was about being able to make the frame of the loco be the battery. So you wouldn't need to find room for the battery, it would just replace the frame, and the room you currently have for control boards and such wouldn't change. The article didn't address how the battery frame would compare to the current frames as far as weight goes, so that could be an issue, but I would think it would be doable with current technology, although possibly not cost effective. The article also mentioned the charging option that RailKing mentioned........which is also available with current technology.....where the charging pad would be hidden under the fuel rack/coaling tower of the layout and the locos would be pulled in to "fuel up". I think the technology is available, but it would take a big commitment to put it into production....how many of us would switch over? And the cost, especially initially, would likely be more than most of us would want to pay.

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    Sound like a great idea. But being the battery the frame of locomotive or not, this technology have a big glitch. TIME. If loco is not use for a period and the Li-Po cell fall under the safety of 3v/cell, bye-bye, ti's gone. I don't want to mention the great risk of fire of Li-Po batteries. Do not ask how catch fire 2 helicopters and burn completely. Lucky me, was outside. But, with time and the technology, who know where will arrive with this hobby.

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    Battery technology has plateaued. There are small improvements to be made,but energy density has reached close to their theoretical limit. Next Gen tech such as sodium or solid state batteries are a long ways off. There is also a limit to how small you can make the mechanical components. Flywheels can't be made smaller. Gears and worms would be prohibitively expensive to assemble if they were smaller.

    I could see some wireless control being incorporated along with capacitors to keep things alive in dirty track but I think DCC is so entrenched that it won't go away.

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    I’d settle right now for smaller keep alives built into all DCC decoders. That would solve 90% of my frustration with live rail DCC.

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    While it's fun to tinker with this stuff, the laws you're messing with are physics. More electronic 'stuff'=less weight, less weight=less tractive effort, less pickup. Poor contact=poor performance, and in DCC, general havoc. Miniaturization has helped make a lot of things possible in far smaller spaces, but you're still dealing with conflicts in physical spaces in N. It's not like you've got empty shell space like in the bigger scales, or the potential of loading up an E-unit with so much lead you'll burn the motor out (I go back into the old days of HO when motor overheating and current draw under full slip always told you to stop putting in more weight even if you had space for it). The only thing I've ever done in N that I had to back off on was the GHQ L1 conversion on the Kato 2-8-2, that thing is so heavy it would overheat the motor after half an hour or so.

    I got in N for scenery ratio to trains, lack of space, and because I wanted to run LONG trains. Current production equipment full of gizmos (particularly sound) keeps knocking tractive effort down even though it's cool, I've seen it. Batteries at least are a tradeoff in chassis weight, but what you're actually fighting here is an electrical contact problem created by replacing weight with 'stuff' and lightweight frame alloys easier to manufacture and lead-free. Decoders have gotten so small that it's 'almost' a wash to have a decoder board vs a regular board, that's progress. Sound creation still depends on speaker size and air displacement, on prototypes that have rich bass tones difficult to imitate.

    If you really want to remember what it used to be like, find yourself an old Rapido 4-6-2 or cast-metal FA2. Lots of things we laugh at now, but the evolution toward lighter and slipperier is what makes on-board power look like the only solution when performance is erratic, to be kind. It didn't really hit me until I test-ran a BLI PA1 with sound on my layout, and it was just a complete fail. I'd take a Life-Like or even a old Con-Cor PA1 any day over that, at least it didn't constantly stall, and derail due to 'low profile' wheels. Yeah, that unit needed on-board power, or something, even though it looked magnificent.

    Physics is still the law, and it's a tough one in N. I do think its entirely possible in HO, although anybody tinkering with lithium battery anything needs to have a sincere respect for how this stuff can combust due to overcharge or damage, there are hundreds of videos out there. If you had a whole railroad full of these I'd think you couldn't get fire insurance for your house.....
    Randgust N scale kits web page at www.randgust.com

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    My personal belief is that battery power ought to be more of a hybrid or supplementary system, wherein the rails are still powered in general, to recharge the battery at every opportunity. The current that the motor draws comes via the battery, not directly from the rails, so in essence it's like you've got an electrical flywheel. With such a system you wouldn't need a huge amount of battery capacity, you'd just need a battery technology that doesn't degrade from frequent partial charging sessions. The track power might be "dumb", no need to worry about blocks aside from isolation at reverse loops, with command control signals sent wirelessly.

    Then you wouldn't have to worry about wiring to turnout frogs, or have sound cut out when you hit dirty track. Powered rails could also mean that older equipment can still be run with legacy control, making it easier to transition over.

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    Just what we need - more batteries (even rechargeable) to go in our landfills. And yes, I recycle, but so few people actually make the effort. I'm as interested in tech innovations as the next guy, but I don't think that battery powered model railroading is an improvement.

    N scale people in motion, now THAT would be a technological advance! Self cleaning rails, wheels, and contacts - WOW!
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    I've worked in the Information Technology field for the past 25 years. The LAST thing I want is to have to rely more on things that are new, expensive, temporary, disposable and unreliable. That is my world every working day of the year. NOT what I look for in a pastime.

    I run a DC layout. It's simple, reliable, tried and true. I can easily diagnose and fix just about anything on it myself, without programming skills or a degree from MIT. I enjoy it's simplicity. It takes a little more mental effort to manage the blocks and such, but I'd rather have that then have expensive crap go wrong at the worst possible moment. I'm not one to solve problems by throwing money at them, so old school DC works fantastic for me.

    Batteries? They have their place, perhaps, but as far as Model Railroading is concerned, no.

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    A long time ago I got into flying a radio controlled quad copter and through the friends I met, my little "air force" increased to 4 quad copters (2 store bought, 2 home made), 6 tri copters (all home made) and 5 actual planes (3 homemade). All flown with cameras for filming and cameras for FPV (First Person View) flying. Each had a minimum of 2 batteries up to 6 for some of them. Oops, forgot to mention the 4 ground vehicles too. I had to keep track of over 60 batteries, each one capable of starting a fire if mishandled or not stored at proper storage level.

    I've cut way back, sold most a while ago but I still maintain 2 of each type flyer and 1 ground pounder. The batteries still need to be maintained and checked once a month and restored to proper power levels. It is a pain to do but I prefer not to burn down the house. I know of 3 friends who didn't one lost his house, one his garage and everything in it (his wife was unhappy about her car) and one who burnt his truck up while we were having a group fly by not paying attention to the charging battery on the floor of his 2 year old Dodge Ram. These are guys who told me when I started how dangerous the batteries could be. They all had chargers like mine that could be set for nearly automatic use, but the chargers all stated in big letters right on them DO NOT LEAVE CHARGING BATTERIES UNATTENDED. All the battery manufacturers had the same warning on the battery.

    It only takes a second for something to go wrong and if you aren't right there it could be costly.

    Personally I love the idea of radio controlling trains under battery power, including FPV cameras and all. I know the technology is out there for it, even in N scale. (Z scale will need a lot more miniaturization) It needs someone to put it all together to profitably fit the demand. Sadly, I don't see it happening too soon. If it ever does I hope we can all remember to keep our batteries maintained properly.

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