Bachmann Message Board

Discussion Boards => Large => Topic started by: beanozork on February 15, 2007, 08:40:52 PM



Title: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: beanozork on February 15, 2007, 08:40:52 PM
I have a Pennsylvanian & just bought a East Broad Top combine to add to the train. I noticed it's lights are track powered. Can I convert the other two cars I have that came with the engine & tender? They are presently battery powered.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: the Bach-man on February 15, 2007, 10:09:50 PM
Dear Beano,
You can, and there are a variety of ways. However, the parts from the car you have may not be currently available. You'll have ti check with service to see if they're available.
Have fun!
the Bach-man


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: traindude109 on February 16, 2007, 10:39:31 PM
Personally, I was disappointed that Bachmann decided to go with track powered lighting on their great coaches. Track powered lights are always flickering, and if you stop the train, the lights go off, not very prototypical in my opinion. Also, track power can increase drag, limiting train size. When I buy some of the new coaches, I am converting them to battery powered lights before they even touch the rails. Just my 2 cents.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Paul W. on February 17, 2007, 08:44:52 AM
I also add battery powered lights to cars. Even if the train is stopped, they stay on. I know some folks don't like having to reach under to turn them on, but after a flip of a switch, my cars are lit and I'm off for some nightime running. 


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Terry Toenges on February 17, 2007, 11:56:10 AM
I'm converting a battery combine to track powered.
I decided to use the LGB ball bearing wheel sets that Curmudgeon recommended.
They have the contacts built into them. Just attach the wires to the two little prongs sticking up. They even include the fittings for attaching the wires to the prongs.
They are expensive, though, at about $26 per two axles.
Curmudgeon also recommended wiring all the wheels together on each side.
I'm also using plugs, so I can remove the body when I need to change bulbs or passengers.
I'm still doing the wiring on them now.
(http://products.lgb.de/medien.nsf/medien/2BCD112FA7AEB7248525693600529048/$FILE/67403.jpg)



Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on February 18, 2007, 11:21:29 AM
I agree with Matt and much prefer the battery powered lighting.   I was looking over the track powered cars and noticed that they come with metal handrails while the battery powered cars have the old plastic handrails. 

I would love to see the metal handrails and battery powered lighting become the standard. 


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: traindude109 on February 18, 2007, 11:40:24 AM
I totally agree!


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Ron Schunk on February 18, 2007, 08:57:14 PM
I just finished converting two passenger cars from battery to track power.
Parts list and info at: http://mylargescale.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=44742

Cheap ( <10.00 except for the wheel contacts) and easy.

I really got tired of changing out the batteries....


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: VirginiaCentral on February 18, 2007, 11:44:59 PM
I want both! I would like to see someone design a circuit to combine track power with batteries.  Track power would light the lights and charge the battery while the train is running and the battery would keep the lights on for a time while the train was stopped.  I would not know where to begin to design such a circuit but I am sure that some electrical genius could do it for us.

Jerry


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Fr.Fred on February 19, 2007, 02:09:41 PM
Most of the average runnig on most pikes, is during daylight hours; so the lights are wasted when on track power. The Battery power was much better as others have indicated. The nine volt batteries lasted a good, long time, and rechargable batteries were always an option.

  So; I'd stick with battery power and enjoy !

   You might be able to get the battery boxes from the parts department, if they are in a good humour....!!!!

  Fr.Fred


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Loco Bill Canelos on February 21, 2007, 12:39:29 AM
Jerry,

I definitely like that idea 8), because I still use track power and have that kind of system to recharge my sound system.  It is built into the sound card so I wouldn't know how to replicate it, but it is definitely something that could be done. 


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Jim Banner on February 21, 2007, 03:56:31 AM
The run time of battery lighting can be greatly extended.  Using LED's instead of incandescent bulbs can cut power consumption by 80%.  So instead of 1 hour on a 9volt alkaline, you get 5 hours.  With rechargeable NiMH 9 volts batteries, the time goes up to around 12 hours.  Make that a lithium polymer battery and it goes up to about 25 hours.  Still not long enough?  Put two AA cells in the battery box and four more in a battery holder in the washroom.  Make those high capacity NiMH cells for a life approaching 150 hours.

I run DCC which gives a constant voltage, but the pickup can flicker.  So I regulate the rectified DCC and regulate it down to about 9.5 volts.  Then with a pair of diodes, I let the lights choose either this regulated track voltage or 9 volts from a battery pack of 6 AA alkaline cells.  After 5 years running with this setup, I have yet to change the batteries.  And this is with the original bulbs, not with LEDs.   I have never measured it, but I suspect the lights run 99% of the time on track power and 1% on battery.  The only drawback is that it only works with DCC.   


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: rperego on February 21, 2007, 12:22:40 PM
Jim - when you say regulate, do you mean just a resistor or an actual voltage regulator?  Can you also explain the diode setup?

Thanks, Bob


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Jim Banner on February 23, 2007, 12:14:00 AM
Dropping voltage with a resistor can be a risky business, and this is one of the cases where it is.  How much voltage a resistor drops is proportional to the current through it.  So if you install a resistor sized to drop from say 18 volts down to 9 volts for 4 lamps, it will not drop enough voltage for the remaining three lamps if one burns out.  If the voltage drop decreases, then the voltage on the lamps increases.  With lamp life varying as the 13 power of the voltage, a small rise in voltage shortens lamp life radically.  Within hours, a second lamp will burn out.  Then, within minutes, a third lamp, and seconds later the last lamp will burn out.

For that reason, the circuit I use contains a voltage regulator.  It is shown below

(http://members.shaw.ca/sask.rail/batterybackup.gif)

In this circuit, a bridge rectifier rectifies the DCC track voltage to dc.  As the DCC waveform is rectangular, virtually no filtering is required.  A small capacitor (.1 to 1 microfarad) is connected across the bridge rectifier to keep the voltage regulator from oscillating.  Too large a capacitor here can overload the command station or booster on start up if many lighted passenger cars are used.  The regulator is an LM317 adjustable voltage, integrated circuit regulator.  With the resistors shown, it can be adjusted from about 7 to 12 volts output.  The output of the regulator and the output of a 9 volt battery are both connected to the lamp(s) through diodes.  With this arrangement, whichever source (regulator or battery) has the highest voltage will be the one that supplies power to the lamp(s).  I usually adjust the regulator output to be about .1 volt higher than the output of a fresh new battery.  This is easy to do it you connect a voltmeter from the output of the regulator to the positive terminal of the battery.  Then you are measuring the difference in voltage between the two sources.  If you connect the plus lead of the voltmeter to the regulator output and the negative lead to the battery +, the variable resistor can be adjusted until the meter reads +.1 volt (NOT -.1 volt.)  By keeping the regulator and battery voltages similar, the lights do not noticably change brightness when switching over between sources.

I usually build this cuircuit on a piece of perforated circuit board and hide it either in the washroom or under a seat, depending on whether I install AA batteries or a rectangular 9 volt battery. 


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: dave2-8-0 on February 23, 2007, 01:26:01 AM
Jim,   Thanks for the posting of the circuit, this is just what alot of folks wanted...

I'm not a wiz at this stuff but I can follow a circuit enough to make it work...

A couple of ?'s  for clarity..

Is the output watts enough for all four lights, and would it power a second car if wired to the circuit?

Does the battery type make a differance? ie: NiMH, Nicad, alk,  and or do they need to be rechargable?

What works best?  6 AAs or 9V  cells.

Thanks
Dave Taylor
New Mexico Northern RR


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Jim Banner on February 23, 2007, 09:58:13 AM
Dave, thanks for asking.  How much current you can draw depends on track voltage and how big a heat sink you attach the LM317 to.  I use one of these circuits per car with no heat sink and it has no problem lighting all four lights.  You could use it power a second car but might need a small heat sink, say a 1" x 2" piece of 1/16" aluminum.  I have used a similar circuit with a 3" x3" heat sink to deliver an amp out at 18 volts in, but the heat sink ran too hot to put right next to plastic.  Based on that, you could probably use one circuit to power the lights in about 10 cars if you mounted the LM317 on a piece of 1/16" aluminum the size of the bottom of the car.  Whew!  Long answer to a short question.

If the rails are clean enough that the lights flicker only occasionally without the circuit, or with the circuit but with the battery turned off (I see I forgot the on/off switch in series with the battery) then there is very little draw from the battery.  With little draw, NiMH and NiCd batteries would probably go dead by self discharge before you ran them down in service.  I use alkalines because of their long shelf life.  Both AAs and 9 volt batteries work equally well.  In normal operation, you might have to change the 9 volt batteries once a year.  With the AAs, it will likely take several years to run them down.

To look a little deeper into batteries and battery life, let me say that I run on aluminum track, both indoors and out.  I can do this only because I oil the rails - one drop per rail every 100 feet.  This means I don't have very much flicker to start with - I would guess the batteries are supplying power to the lights only 1-2% of the time.  You probably have different track and may or may not oil it, but just the fact that you are running DCC means you are probably keeping your track pretty clean.  So I think you too would have very good battery life with this circuit and could stick with 9 volt rectangular batteries.  The built in battery compartment and on/off switch are convenient to use, and this leaves space in the washroom for the circuit.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: VirginiaCentral on February 23, 2007, 01:08:04 PM
Jim, Great circuit! I think that might be just what I'm looking for.
Jerry


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: rperego on February 23, 2007, 01:39:25 PM
Jim - thanks.  Duh, I could have answered my own question about using a resistor because I'm thinking of a board in only one car and running wires back to the others - which is another way the draw will change depending on how many cars are hooked up, hence negating dropping with a resistor.





Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Jim Banner on February 23, 2007, 05:15:51 PM
I hope I have emphasized enough that I run on DCC and the battery life results I get are based on DCC.  If you are running on dc, this circuit still works when the train in running at medium to higher speeds.  But during station stops, for example, the battery will be powering the lights full time as the track voltage on dc would then be zero.

If anyone is intersted, I think I could redesign another circuit, one that I developed originally for charging Soundtraxx Sierra batteries, to work for lighting.  That would require a rechargable battery and would be charged from the rails by either dc or DCC.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: VirginiaCentral on February 23, 2007, 10:23:06 PM
Jim, Yes, I would be intrested.

Jerry


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Pospete on March 12, 2007, 02:54:00 AM
   with my coaches I stripped them down and replaced the bulbs with LGBs own 24v bulbs, also using a couple of LGB pick up axles to convert battery to track( though the exsisting switch)  As I'm on DCC I have the otion to have lights on or off, tho usually off.
    Just a thought for those running RC/battery locos, just wondered if anyone had thought of or tried again converting or using track powered lighting, then just using a power supply to feed the track power for coach car lighting?


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: ED M on March 20, 2007, 05:15:21 AM
I sucessfully converted over my two Pennsylvania coaches by purchasing two East Broad Top coaches & using two of the pickup truck assemblies on the EBT coaches & exchanging them with the truck assemblies on the PA coaches. It worked perfectly with no blinking at all & now all four of the coaches have track powered lights. I was going to buy the new EBT coaches anyway so it basically cost me nothing to convert the PA coaches. I am pleased that I no longer have to replace batteries & flip switches constantly!


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: jviss on March 06, 2020, 09:26:05 PM
Dropping voltage with a resistor can be a risky business, and this is one of the cases where it is.  How much voltage a resistor drops is proportional to the current through it.  So if you install a resistor sized to drop from say 18 volts down to 9 volts for 4 lamps, it will not drop enough voltage for the remaining three lamps if one burns out.  If the voltage drop decreases, then the voltage on the lamps increases.  With lamp life varying as the 13 power of the voltage, a small rise in voltage shortens lamp life radically.  Within hours, a second lamp will burn out.  Then, within minutes, a third lamp, and seconds later the last lamp will burn out.

For that reason, the circuit I use contains a voltage regulator.  It is shown below

(http://members.shaw.ca/sask.rail/batterybackup.gif)

In this circuit, a bridge rectifier rectifies the DCC track voltage to dc.  As the DCC waveform is rectangular, virtually no filtering is required.  A small capacitor (.1 to 1 microfarad) is connected across the bridge rectifier to keep the voltage regulator from oscillating.  Too large a capacitor here can overload the command station or booster on start up if many lighted passenger cars are used.  The regulator is an LM317 adjustable voltage, integrated circuit regulator.  With the resistors shown, it can be adjusted from about 7 to 12 volts output.  The output of the regulator and the output of a 9 volt battery are both connected to the lamp(s) through diodes.  With this arrangement, whichever source (regulator or battery) has the highest voltage will be the one that supplies power to the lamp(s).  I usually adjust the regulator output to be about .1 volt higher than the output of a fresh new battery.  This is easy to do it you connect a voltmeter from the output of the regulator to the positive terminal of the battery.  Then you are measuring the difference in voltage between the two sources.  If you connect the plus lead of the voltmeter to the regulator output and the negative lead to the battery +, the variable resistor can be adjusted until the meter reads +.1 volt (NOT -.1 volt.)  By keeping the regulator and battery voltages similar, the lights do not noticably change brightness when switching over between sources.

I usually build this cuircuit on a piece of perforated circuit board and hide it either in the washroom or under a seat, depending on whether I install AA batteries or a rectangular 9 volt battery. 

I know this thread is old, but it's great!  It's a shame that the circuit diagram doesn't appear. Does anyone know why this is the case, for me at least?


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: DoyleS on March 09, 2020, 08:39:49 PM
Since pictures are not hosted on this site, pictures need to be hosted on a separate site and often they then have an expiration date.  Best bet is to PM the circuit poster and he can send it to you in an email, or repost a new link on the site here.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: Hunt on March 09, 2020, 10:30:53 PM
Since pictures are not hosted on this site, pictures need to be hosted on a separate site and often they then have an expiration date.  Best bet is to PM the circuit poster and he can send it to you in an email, or repost a new link on the site here.

Jim Banner died April 19, 2014.


Title: Re: Passenger Car Lighting
Post by: jviss on March 10, 2020, 05:58:26 AM
That's a shame, thanks for letting us know.