4 different voltage batteries are used.
7.2 volt NiMH (6-AA Cells),
8.4 volt NiCads (7 cell sub "C"),
9.6 volt NiMH (8-AA cells) and
12 volt lead acid (Gel cells).
The 12 volt batteries are used in the passenger
Ten Wheelers and the Tandem Porters when
the snowplow is clearing the tracks.
The track power connection from the motor of the
Porter is rerouted it to a DPDT switch that will allow
either battery or track power to power the engine (1). A
wire is soldered from the center contacts on the switch
to a power plug (2) that is plugged into a jack (3) in the
body of the trailing car. The leads from the jack go
through a DPDT center off toggle reversing switch (4)
so I can control the direction of the train. The batteries
have female quick disconnects on them that are mated
with a male quick disconnect from the reversing switch.
A hole (2) is drilled into the front of each engine so the jack can be installed for the power
connection. The jack (1) is wired directly to the battery terminals on the track/battery selector
Power plug from the leading engine is plugged into the front jack (1) on the trailing engine.
All DC connectors are wired center positive
for systemwide continuity
Radio Shack part and charger numbers......
7.2/9/6V Charger #23-333 $9.95
DC Power Connectors 5.5x2.5 mm Plugs #274-1573 $1.99 (Pkg of 2)
Panel Mounted DC input jacks 2.5 mm ID #274-1576 $1.69 ea
DPDT Center Off Switches #2750-620
22 Gauge Stranded Hookup Wire
The NiMH batteries will run a single Porter pulling 6 cars of about 4 hours. Tandem Porters for
about an hour and 45 minutes. NiCads will run 2 hours, Gel Cells about an hour and a half.
The batteries are changed very easily by taking the false load off the battery car, unplugging
the discharged battery, plugging in a newly charged battery and then charging the discharged
Chargers are standard Radio Shack 7.2 or 9.6V for NiMH batteries. I have 2. The charging
time is about 8 hours. An 8.4 volt quick charger is used for the NiCads (1 1/2 hour charge) and
a 12 volt auto/motorcycle $16.00 Wal-mart 1 amp special trickle charger will charge the Gel
Cells in about 3 hours.
The system is pretty simple. I just plug the batteries into the battery cars and let the trains run.
We built the layout to entertain ourselves and the folks in our community.
This page last modified on Monday, April 09, 2001
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