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Author Previous Topic: An Experiment in Wireless Charging Topic Next Topic: Dead Rail RailPro
Page: of 6

jburch
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/14/2015 :  4:20:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Larry, welcome aboard

Tom, I am not familiar with Rail Pro, but after checking out their website it seems a bit pricy and you still have power to the rails. As far as converting it to battery power it would depend on if it is running AC or DC and how many volts does it need to function. Most of the dead rail systems out there use a decoder (except Deltang) and their own throttle which in some cases works with other systems. As far as Rail Pro working on other layouts, there is some sort of a power supply they have that hooks up to the track. It will depend on what that supplies, power and/or signal. Most of your other dead rail systems can run on any layout, they don't even need track.

Run time is a loaded question. It will depend on what voltage motor draw and more importantly how many mAh in the battery. Times is excess of an hour is very possible.

Dead rail is just that, the ideal situation is no power from the rails. S-Cab system will charge the batteries through the rail. To some that is important, to other not. You want to be able to disconnect the battery from the loco. Some use reed switches, others simple on/off, and some just disconnect the battery with a plug.

Will it all fit in an HO loco, hard to say, since I am in On30, but I know it is being done. You can also use an A-B setup with the motor in the A unit and all the electronics in the B Unit.

Hope this helps some.

Jeff B



Country: USA | Posts: 328 Go to Top of Page

Tommatthews
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 02/14/2015 :  5:15:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here is an old topic that might be of interest:

http://railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=42081


Tom M.

Country: | Posts: 9572 Go to Top of Page

johnhu
New Hire

Posted - 02/18/2015 :  9:23:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi From Australia.

Just to add to this topic. I use two different Dead Rail systems on two different layouts. Both layouts are On30, but have very different stock.

The first layout is based on what we call "Timber Tramways" (small light logging lines). Very small steam (0-4-0 tank loco's) and small diesels / rail tractors are common motive power. For this layout I've used a couple of heavily kitbashed Bachmann On30 Davenports, and a scratchbuilt Krauss tank locomotive. Now space is at a premium in these locos (the Davenports have no cab to hide anything in, so all equipment must go under the hood). Because of this lack of space I went with the Deltang system which has very small receivers, and doesn't need an additional DCC decoder. Of course you miss out on sound from the locomotives, but I can live with that. Originally a 250mAh lipo and a Deltang receiver was under the hood on the Davenports. For the steamer, I installed 2 x 200 mAh lipos (one inside each side tank), and a receiver up under the cab roof. The voltage from the single cell lipos is stepped up using a step-up voltage regulator to 5v.

The second layout is based on Colorado Narrow Gauge (RGS), and uses the MMI C19 2-8-0 and K27 2-8-2 locomotives which are a lot larger than the small equipment on the other layout. These locomotives already had Tsunami DCC sound decoders installed inside the boilers, with the speaker in the tender. Ideally I wanted to keep the sound systems. So for this layout I used the CVP Airwire transmitters (T5000 throttles), and a combination of the CVP Airwire 'Converter' receivers and the Tam Valley 916mhz MKII receivers (One of the frequencies that the T5000 can transmit on, matches the Tam Valley receiver). The locomotives have 900mAh batteries installed with the receivers inside the tender.

I hope the information is of interest.


John



Country: Australia | Posts: 23 Go to Top of Page

tloc
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/18/2015 :  10:07:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks to all who responded to my posting. I am continuing to review systems and I agree the Rail Pro maybe more costly then other systems.

I am also beginning to wonder if batteries will fit in HO diesels. I am currently building a switching shelf layout and running 2 locomotives so one can carry the batteries isn't protopical. All the batteries SEEM to take up alot of room.

Enjoy the day



Country: USA | Posts: 1942 Go to Top of Page

stockjunkie
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/24/2015 :  08:00:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit stockjunkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi gang,

Here is my experience with dead rails. I go to an ops session every month near San Diego put on by Steve Harris. He has a beautiful HOn3 layout, and several of the guys who show up are into Dead Rail.

About 4 years ago I decided I wanted to switch to Dead Rail. One of the guys in the group was Mike Pfulb, and he did installs. Sadly Mike passed away last week. He invited me to a big train show where his dead rail module club was operating. I spent two hours asking every question I could think of, looking at the products and running trains. I was convinced right then that Dead Rail was going to be the future of running trains.

I originally went with the Stanton system, sold thru North West Short Line. It is a good system, it has been reliable and running trains was a great joy. The only drawback in this system is that you have to program your decoder (Tsunami) before you switch to batteries because you cant use the throttle to program after the switch has been done.

About two years ago Mike came by with the new CVP T5000 throttle and I like it much better. It fits in your hand better, and you can program your decoder with it. So I now use this throttle and will switch over to all CVP products on my next install. I only have the one loco dedicated to battery power so far. I wanted to get several more done but life got in the way.

I model in On3 so finding room for the battery etc is not much of a problem. I have seen several installs in HOn3 locos tho, and also in On30 shays, climax and porters. So I know it can be done. I am lucky in that two of the regular visitors to Steve's op session are Pete Steinmetz and Duncan McRee. Pete runs the Yahoo Dead Rail group and is extremely knowledgeable and Duncan owns Tam Valley, another Dead Rail manufacturer. As Duncan said to me last Saturday "dead rail is not coming, it's here". I look forward to furthering Dead Rail thru this forum, it is truly the only way to operate. JD.



Country: | Posts: 102 Go to Top of Page

stockjunkie
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/24/2015 :  08:20:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit stockjunkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I also wanted to post my reasons for going battery. Truth be told, I was ready to leave the hobby. I enjoy operating a layout a lot but I was having a terrible time keeping my rails clean. Before everyone posts their favorite rail cleaning tricks, trust me I have tried them all. Nothing worked for me. I could clean track and 20 minutes later I could run my finger along it and get a black streak.

I will also say that I use shadow boxes to hold my layout. So the layout is pretty well protected against dust etc. Each box has sides and tops, the only access for dirt and grime is thru the front, yet it still found its way in. The constant stalling of locos was embarrassing, especially at open houses. Nothing is more embarrassing than asking a room full of people "hey can you give it a little push over there".

I was running DCC using the NCE system. I had each section of rail wired with a feeder. And I still had the problems. Dead Rail has been a life saver. My loco will literally run across plywood or the garage floor. I cut all the feeder wires on my layout. I no longer have to worry about polarity on my wye. I no longer have to gap frogs on turnouts. I no longer have shorts, or spend days trying to isolate where the short is. Dead Rail lets you lay track and run trains like the real deal.

I am using Lipo batteries, three 3.7 volt cells joined together for 11.1 volts of juice. The battery plugs into my RC setup in the tender. I have seen posts where many guys want to recharge thru the rails. That has never appealed to me. I just switch out batteries when the one in use runs down. I posted to many groups when I made the switch and the most common reply was "well that's a pain in the ass to have to switch out that battery". Really? It takes me all of ten seconds to make a switch. I always ask them how long they spend cleaning track?

Going battery power has saved my from leaving the hobby. Some of you have seen this, but for those that haven't here is a short video of my setup in my loco. JD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNipamGMAos



Country: | Posts: 102 Go to Top of Page

johnhu
New Hire

Posted - 02/24/2015 :  7:23:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice short video.

A quick question on your batteries.
You mention using a 3 cell lipo (11.1v), but what capacity battery pack are you using (mAh).
Also, what sort of running time do you get from it with the K-27 loco / Tsunami sound before needing a recharge?

Thanks for your input............

John



Country: Australia | Posts: 23 Go to Top of Page

stockjunkie
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/24/2015 :  11:46:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit stockjunkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The batteries made up for me by Mike are made by Tenergy. Im no expert so I will read what is on the battery. It says Li-Polymer battery, or Li Po for short. It is a 3.7V 430 mAh. Three wired together at 3.7 volts gives you 11.1 volts.

I have never timed my loco from start to finish. I should do that, however when I first got it done of course I took it home and stuck it on the track to try it out. I ran it for about 20 minutes that day, and I would come home everyday and run it about 15-20 minutes. I did not have to recharge for about 6 days.

When I run it for shows, again it is not running constantly because I will shut it off between visitors. The last show I was open for was the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Pasadena. I ran the loco off and on for four hours and then had to switch out for a new battery for the last 1.5 hours.

I would say that you can get a good 2.5 to 3 hours of constant running before having to recharge. All I know is that the basic op sessions I run has never outlasted a freshly charged battery. And if my battery were to need recharging to continue with how long I want to run, I just switch in a new one and put the old one in the charger. It takes about 15 seconds to make the switch. Hope that helps, JD.



Country: | Posts: 102 Go to Top of Page

johnhu
New Hire

Posted - 02/25/2015 :  6:17:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for that info, just what I was after. Much appreciated.
John



Country: Australia | Posts: 23 Go to Top of Page

tloc
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 02/25/2015 :  10:07:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jeff

Thank you--the video was great and helpful--the more info I get the more confirming on the dead rail decision I become

Enjoy the day



Country: USA | Posts: 1942 Go to Top of Page

stockjunkie
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/27/2015 :  03:38:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit stockjunkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Guys, I bought a new battery last week at Steve's monthly op session. Pete put it together for me and of course, I left it in my friends car. Every Saturday I go to this friends house and we work on trains, whatever we have going on.

So I will have this new battery and I will try and make a video of it. In the least I can post what it says on it. My old batteries were by Tenergy but Pete told me they now want suppliers to by in lots of 10,000 so that wasn't going to happen.

I expressed to Pete that I want to standardize on one supplier, such as CVP. This new battery he made me is supposedly better than the ones I have been using because it has a safety feature built in as to where it will not discharge too much. Sorry about being vague, I don't know a lot about it but will write down the details and post back here. JD.



Country: | Posts: 102 Go to Top of Page

wstrouse
New Hire

Posted - 02/27/2015 :  09:48:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have a lot of experience with electric RC planes. If you know know the current draw of your loco, the following formula will give you approximate run time. Battery capacity in MA divided by 1000 times 60 minutes divided by current draw in amps.

450ma/ 1000 x 60 / .5 amps = 54 minutes approximate run time.



Country: | Posts: 38 Go to Top of Page

Grant Whipp
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/27/2015 :  12:25:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit Grant Whipp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'd like to pose a question ... and, maybe this should/could be a topic all its own ... but allow me to preface it a bit, first.

I'm modeling in On30 ... my DW&A is a self-contained stand-alone module that can also be plugged into other modules ... it measures 33" x 54", and while the "mainline" and lower loop will be able to handle my B'man Shay, only locos of 0-4-2 size or smaller will be able to "climb the hill" to work the mine and logging load-out ... and while I am planning to power the tracks on the mainline and lower loop (so that I can plug'n'play with others), I would like my entire loco roster to be battery powered and include sound.

My understanding, thus far, is that in order to achieve that goal (right now), each loco would have to have a trailing car to house what ever pieces won't fit in the loco ... am I correct in that understanding ... (not my main question, BTW!)

So, here's what I want to know ... would it be a reasonable expectation that, given the speed at which this technology is progressing, will we be able to fit all the necessary bits into a gas-mech critter (without trailing car) sometime in the next 12-18 months?

Space on my DW&A is so limited, putting a trailing car behind any of my locos would essentially shorten each train by one car, and revenues are so tight that loosing a paying load could severely impact the railroad's bottom line ... ...!

Thanks for all your time and expertise! I've got so much to learn! As always ...

CHEERS!


"Who Knew Model Railroading Could Be This Much Fun"
CN&C - California Northern & Cascade On30 Modular Group, Founding Member
DWA - Diddy Wells & Afterthought Rwy

Country: USA | Posts: 433 Go to Top of Page

Tommatthews
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 02/28/2015 :  11:11:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Grant,

If you are powering a gas mech with no sound you can use two small lipo batteries producing 2 x 3.7v = 7.4V These are the ones for the minii helicopters. You can get the batteries and receiver into the cab of the gas mech.

Sound requires 3 batteries x 3.7V = 11.1V.

Trailing cars may not work for all but I like the space to install the receiver and larger battery packs. Scratch build a car that works for you.

Hope these comments help.



Tom M.

Country: | Posts: 9572 Go to Top of Page

Grant Whipp
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/28/2015 :  12:41:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit Grant Whipp's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Tom!

You have me thinking, now (yeah, I know ... dangerous!) ... wondering how it would look/work to have a "second cab" on a single truck link-&-pinned to the back of the gas-mech ...?

I'm still a l-o-n-g ways away from taking any action on this ... just filling my head with as much info as I can get ... ...!

CHEERS!


"Who Knew Model Railroading Could Be This Much Fun"
CN&C - California Northern & Cascade On30 Modular Group, Founding Member
DWA - Diddy Wells & Afterthought Rwy

Country: USA | Posts: 433 Go to Top of Page
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