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Author Topic: Replace Battery for SPC Steam Loco Tender & Passenger Cars?  (Read 1425 times)

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« on: March 02, 2012, 11:28:32 AM »

I'm new to the Train world and didnt realize to power the sound on my 4-6-0 Steam Locomotive (South Pacific Coast #22) tender as well as the lighting on any subsequent passenger cards, that I'd have to use a 9V battery... well - the train is installed up near the ceiling and for me to have to switch on/off each individual car every time would be a tremendous hassle... So I've been prowling the internet - trying to find any kind of conversion kit that will allow the cars to pull power directly from the track instead of from the 9V battery but I'm failing to find anything.

I can't be the only person who's wanted to find a way around this issue... Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas? I'll go broke paying for 9V's!
Kevin Strong

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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 03:30:57 PM »

My first thought would be to add track pick-ups to the wheels of the tender (ball-bearing wheels, etc.), then get a 9 volt voltage regulator to power the sound system. A few things to consider with the voltage regulator solution.

1) You need at least 9 volts on the track to get 9 volts out of the regulator, so if your loco's running at lower than 9 volts, you're not going to get full power to the regulator. (I don't know what the minimum voltage requirement for the B'mann sound board is, but I'd guess probably 6 or 7 volts.)

2) If you're going to be reversing the loco on the track, you'll need to use a bridge rectifier in conjunction with the voltage regulator so the power going to the regulator and to the sound system is always the correct polarity regardless of which way the train is going.

3) The sound goes away when you slow/stop the train.

It's possible that you may be able to use a rechargeable 9-volt battery in conjunction with the voltage regulator etc, so it will keep the sound going at slower speeds. Look on Dallee Electronics' web page for a potential charging circuit. They use a rechargeable 9-volt battery with their stuff, and charge it from track voltage.



Loco Bill Canelos

Model railroading since 1947

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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 04:05:12 PM »

Your passenger car truck actually already have the holders for spring loaded pickups. I am  assuming you have the newer cars with metal wheels.  Simply get some pickups install them in the holders run the wires to the battery box and solder them to the leads.  when your train slows the lights will grow dimmer and out when stopped.  With the batteries the lights stay on even when stopped.  LGB, Aristo craft also sell the pickups if Bachmann is out of stock.  The lights in Bachman passenger cars are incandescent rather than LED's.  You could change them to led's and get a lot longer on time.  Rechargeable batteries are the way to go if you stay with them.  One guy I know uses a 4200 mah lithium Ion battery used in R/C cars to light his cars,  He puts the battery in the combine and runs leads through the cars using connectors.  This method requires only on switch for on and off.  you could also run a lead to the tender and solder them to the battery inputs on the tender floor, that way only one switch would cover everything.  If you use a connector on the battery, you could be charging one while the other is on the train.  Access thru the combine door would make it fairly easy to change the battery.

Kevin covered the sound and charging circuits ideas very well.

So you have several alternatives.   Personally, I like my lights to stay on while my train is in the station. 

Have fun!!!

Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway Missouri Western Railway
Semi Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!
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