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 An Experiment in Wireless Charging

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Bernd Posted - 07/10/2018 : 2:29:44 PM
I'm going to experiment with wireless charging of battery operated HO scale locomotives.

I received my order for wireless charging boards from the Robot Store today. My hope is to see what can be done in this area of using battery power to run engines.

I'll post more in the next post in the next day or so. Hopefully DanT can coach me along in this project.

Bernd
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
DanT Posted - 09/21/2018 : 11:49:18 PM
Since the transmitter current is not mentioned, and receiver voltage and current is, I'd say the available output is 5V x 150mA (0.15A) or 0.75 Watts. This is a very low value for charging the Li-ion battery I mostly use, i.e., Panasonic NCR18650B batteries rated at 3.7V and 3,400mAh, or 12.58 Watt-hours. If you divide the wattage rating of the receiver coil into the wattage rating of the 18650 battery, you get a ballpark figure of 16.77 hours, too long a time to charge batteries, especially if two, or possibly three batteries are used in a loco.

My testing, for what I'm doing (in HO Scale) shows I should use a 3 Watt or 5 Watt charging track. This is based on an average locomotive battery capacity of 12-24 Watt-hours (1 or 2 batteries). But everyone's needs are different. A small BPRC switcher engine doing yard work on a layout for an hour or two will do fine with a small battery and 3/4 Watt charging track.
The 1 Watt charging track I built will be used to charge batteries in a caboose or passenger car with LED lighting.

I need to mention many of the wireless charging coils you see on eBay do not have the ferrite backing material that is needed to focus the electromagnetic field. They are available in small sheets about 1,2 and 3 mils thick. I decided to buy the coil set in the following link because of the higher output rating:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wireless-Charging-Charger-TX-RX-Power-Supply-Module-for-Cell-Phone-QI-Standard-/253583315630?hash=item3b0abe52ae

There's also a slightly better set of specs here that explains what's going on. Important too is the claim they follow the Qi Standard, which means I should be able to interchange my coils and boards with theirs. We'll see. I'm afraid it's not that simple. The more I get into this, the more variables I discover.

Finally, and without getting into the details, there are two basic charging methods. The first, and most common, and the one we're likely talking about here, is electromagnetic induction charging. This method relies on the precise overlap of coils with the least amount of distance between them. This is problematic to begin with, and a great challenge. The second is magnetic resonance charging. In this method, while precise positioning is not required, the electronics are more complicated.

This causes me to reconsider if wireless charging is worth the cost, or effort, or the extra space requirements in an already crowded platform. On the other hand, parking your train on a charging track to recharge, and the joy of not caring about track power, is a great incentive.

Dan
BurleyJim Posted - 09/21/2018 : 7:24:49 PM
If it was the output current, it would be 0-150ma or whatever the maximum is.
That's why the 50-150ma value is more than likely the input current. 9 Volts @ 150 ma is 1.35 watts.
5 Volts @ 150ma is .75 watts, so if they're calling this 1-2 watts. You can see that there is a mismatch
in the logic.

Jim
Norton Posted - 09/21/2018 : 2:41:50 PM
Jim, et. al., t.

If it was related to the input, it wold be linked to the 9 volt source voltage. Because it's linked to the 5 volt output, its the output current. devices like this rarely show the input current.
BurleyJim Posted - 09/21/2018 : 1:58:53 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Bernd

quote:
Originally posted by BurleyJim

OK guys, you are pulling me down this rabbit hole with you. Here is another link that has a little more reference info about those chargers.

It says receiver current is 50~150 ma. What is the transmitter current? How efficient is the combination? Will you be repowering your equipment with lower voltage motors?


Jim



Welcome to the bottom of the rabbit hole.

Those are the ones I purchased from e-bay. I haven't had the time to experiment with them yet. By Tx current do you mean what the board needs to function or it's out put? I believe efficiency will depend on how close the coils are to each other. Obviously the closer the better. And I'm looking at using lower voltage motors with higher RPM and gearheads. This is how VW powered the early Beetle, high reeving 4 cylinder with low gearing. I believe in first gear it could crawl straight up a wall.

Stay tuned. I think between me and Dan, more Dan though than me, we'll have some battery powered engines cobbled up for the general public to critique.

Bernd



That may be why they were called Beetles.

Input power 9 volts @ some current. P = I*E versus output power 5 volts * 50-150ma? I don't know whether that 50-150ma is what is outputted to the battery or is the current drawn from the 9 volt source. I have a difficult time understanding Chinesium.

Jim
Bernd Posted - 09/21/2018 : 08:51:49 AM
quote:
Originally posted by BurleyJim

OK guys, you are pulling me down this rabbit hole with you. Here is another link that has a little more reference info about those chargers.

It says receiver current is 50~150 ma. What is the transmitter current? How efficient is the combination? Will you be repowering your equipment with lower voltage motors?


Jim



Welcome to the bottom of the rabbit hole.

Those are the ones I purchased from e-bay. I haven't had the time to experiment with them yet. By Tx current do you mean what the board needs to function or it's out put? I believe efficiency will depend on how close the coils are to each other. Obviously the closer the better. And I'm looking at using lower voltage motors with higher RPM and gearheads. This is how VW powered the early Beetle, high reeving 4 cylinder with low gearing. I believe in first gear it could crawl straight up a wall.

Stay tuned. I think between me and Dan, more Dan though than me, we'll have some battery powered engines cobbled up for the general public to critique.

Bernd
Bernd Posted - 09/21/2018 : 08:43:46 AM
quote:
Originally posted by DanT


I assembled a couple of charging tracks (1 Watt and 2 Watt), but was not able to post photos. I have new information on posting and will try again. I've started the rebuild of two of my engines. One will hopefully be capable of 2S balance charging. The challenge is fitting everything in including wiring, and making it work! I'd like to complete this project next month.

Dan



Hi Dan,

Good to here you're making progress. As I've shown I received my 5v charging coils but haven't done anything with them. I've been busy exchanging e-mails with Ted Scannell on eddy current clutch and springy beam suspension on model engines. He's the one that pointed me to the ones on E-bay that Jim mentions in his post.

Awaiting to see what you've done. Glad you figured out how to post pictures.

Bernd
BurleyJim Posted - 09/21/2018 : 08:35:29 AM
OK guys, you are pulling me down this rabbit hole with you. Here is another link that has a little more reference info about those chargers.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/5V-Wireless-Charging-Transmitter-Receiver-Solution-Module-Inductive-Charger/173278909323?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20131231084308%26meid%3D09c4d3b34d534fb8a5dadb8215081327%26pid%3D100010%26rk%3D6%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D182027927893%26itm%3D173278909323&_trksid=p2047675.c100010.m2109

It says receiver current is 50~150 ma. What is the transmitter current? How efficient is the combination? Will you be repowering your equipment with lower voltage motors?


Jim
DanT Posted - 09/20/2018 : 8:59:13 PM

I assembled a couple of charging tracks (1 Watt and 2 Watt), but was not able to post photos. I have new information on posting and will try again. I've started the rebuild of two of my engines. One will hopefully be capable of 2S balance charging. The challenge is fitting everything in including wiring, and making it work! I'd like to complete this project next month.

Dan
Bernd Posted - 09/05/2018 : 2:49:22 PM
Received the new wireless charging boards this past Tuesday.

Here's what they look like. Close to the first ones I got, just a bit smaller and the coil is much smaller. Also they work on 5 volts, not 12.



Comparison between the 12 volt and the 5 volt coils. The upper two are the transmitters. The lower two are the receivers. Quite a difference in coil diameter.



And the fit nicely between the HO scale rails. might even work for HOn3 and HOn30, which means they should work for "N" scale.



Experimenting will continue as soon as I finish up some work on my Torque Drive.

Bernd
Bernd Posted - 08/22/2018 : 3:09:09 PM
This subject may restarted again.

I received an e-mail from Ted Scannell from the CLAG site on what he used for his wireless charging set-up. He gave me a link to an E-bay seller. I found the seller also posts on the American E-bay. Just ordered 10 boards. They won't be here till sometime mid-September. So I'll be able to continue with the project. I hadn't expected to get back to this for sometime. Sometimes you just get lucky.

Here's the link to the E-bay seller: https://www.ebay.com/itm/5V-Wireless-Charging-Transmitter-Receiver-Power-Supply-Module-Inductive-Charger/182027927893?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Up-date: If you want to do a search try this phrase: 5V Wireless Charging Transmitter Receiver Power Module

Bernd
Bernd Posted - 08/16/2018 : 08:14:59 AM
I'm going to take a break from this experiment for now. I'll keep active in watching what you bring to the for front when you're ready. Perhaps I'll come across more info when searching for some other information. The TT scale bug has been on the side lines waving at me to get going on a module I started last year. I'll keep an eye out for your posts.

Bernd
DanT Posted - 08/13/2018 : 2:58:18 PM
I'm working on completing some test tracks for charging. The first will be a 2W arrangement for 1S battery charging. Another a 3W system for 2S charging. To be sure it works properly, I'll have to rebuild my 1S powered BPRC GP35 road switcher, i.e., move things around to fit new parts in with the old. What engine the 2S system goes into is not known yet, either my existing BPRC AMD-103 passenger locomotive or a new SD45 or FP45 diesel engine. Also considering an F7A/F7B combination, since I'll need more room than usual.

Sorry to say this takes time and I'm never sure when I can say "done". It does look like it will work. I won't miss removing batteries for recharging.

Dan
Bernd Posted - 08/13/2018 : 07:19:05 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Norton

Bernd,

Did you do the initial charging before you took it apart? Is that when it did not charge?

If so, then I think I can tell why it was for sale...



I had it on charge for over 30 hours.

Time for me to let this subject simmer. Perhaps somewhere down the line I'll come across more info and products out there to experiment with. I don't want to get into the electronics hobby again. I pretty sure I could build up Tx and Rx boards from discrete components, but want to get working back on my layout and rolling stock.

Bernd
Norton Posted - 08/12/2018 : 6:49:13 PM
Bernd,

Did you do the initial charging before you took it apart? Is that when it did not charge?

If so, then I think I can tell why it was for sale...
Bernd Posted - 08/12/2018 : 2:57:01 PM
As I said earlier that I went back to look at the CLAG website. They mention a wireless charging tooth brush. Off to E-bay in search of a wireless charging tooth brush. This is what I got for around $24.



It came with instructions on disassembling the brush so when the battery no longer holds a charge you can dispose of the battery properly. Yeah right.




So I took it apart. Hereís what the board looks like, plus the receiver coil. Itís quite small.



A coil comparison from the first Tx and Rx I started with.



A 2.4 volt motor and 2.4 volt NiMH batteries. (Two single 1.2 volt batteries.)



The transmitter board Bottom. This one was a bit hard to disassemble.



The other side and Tx coil. I was surprised to see it had two coils. Havenít figure that one out yet.



The transmitter coil wonít quite fit between the rails.



The receiver coil not fitting between the tracks was the second frustration point. The first was when I did the initial charging. Although the brush battery came pre-charged, the instructions said to charge the battery fully prior to first use. It should charge for at least 20 hours. The led shines red when sitting in the charger. It should turn blue when fully charged. After 30 hours I still had a red light. Question, was it a faulty board? So at this point in my quest for wireless charging Iím going to box everything up and let it simmer on the back burner.

Maybe somebody will read this and start their own research. I hope so.

Bernd

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