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davecttr
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With new battery technologies being reported in the press at regular intervals things are looking good for removal of the last obstacle to the perfect battery powered train. There is the university of Chicago nano 3D system which promises battery capacities of potentially a thousand times better or the recently demonstrated Isreali nano-spheres which can increase capacity by about 10 times and recharge in seconds.

The problem is that these technologies take time to bring to market and it has been reported that because of marketing the portable device manufacturers are unlikely to sanction more than about a 20% increase in capacity per year as they want to go on bringing out new phone models etc annually.

We all want the most powerful battery but what would your minimum satisfactory increase in battery capacity be? What about run time? for me 30 minutes under load is what I am aiming for but should I aim for longer?

jtrain
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Depends completely on what kind of operating you want. For me, a battery powered Fn3 would be great, ad it's starting to look like such a power system would be even better than DCC for one reason, when going to train shows there is no need for a power supply.

If doing a short operating session, I think a run time of 45 minutes would be adequate. But when running outdoors, the train would need to have at least 3-4 hours of run time. Running at a show, you'd want at least 2 hours, but at a show it's common practice to have a second train ready, and that goes out while you rest the other one, which can be quick charged or have the battery swapped out. A train show typically is open 7-8 hours of the day, and most are only two day shows. Small scales have this covered perfectly with Lipo batteries and low current draw.

But large scales like Fn3, 1/24, 1/29 and so on require a lot of power. I haven't gotten a chance to test my Bachmann 0-4-0 yet, but it could pull as much as 2 Amps at full stall.

Battery packs, in case you or some reader doesn't know, comes with the power listing: 7.2V @ 2200mah is a common rating. 7.2V determines the max speed of the locomotive, but 2200mah means that the locomotive can run for 1 hour if drawing a constant 2.2 Amps, or 2 hours if drawing 1.1 Amps.

Modern motors are also more efficient, so batteries can go further. One thing I don' think you'll see dissappear is the trail car, because it makes installations so much easier.

Now despite what I've said, I haven't actually built any RC trains, or converted any. This is because I have not yet figured out quite what is required. I don't like spending $300 on a starter RC system with batteries for a $100 Bachmann Loco. What the RC community really needs to do is create an affordable product, with a basic model that sells for around $100, is easy to install, has clear instructions, and is small enough to fit in even the smallest of locomotives. Then there can be more powerful, more expensive options to add on to this basic system. So a $100 dollar loco only needs $100 more to be converted, and for that you get basic speed control, direction, and an on/off switch. A $200 loco can also have the $100 system, but there could be more options available to it. and so on...

To sum up my problems with RC, Airwire is too complicated for my needs, RCS in Austraila is a bit expensive once shipping is added in, and Deltang doesn't tell me what I need to turn a loco into RC and battery power.

Simplicity brings customers, and RC doesn't yet have that simplicity. I'll admit, RC is an easier concept to understand than DCC, but DCC has ready to go systems that require very little set up, RC does not.

So that is what I'd like to see come out of RC. Batteries are the least of the problems, certainly the least of mine.
But since I'm new to the concept, my opinion is worth what you paid for it.

Happy modeling:thumb:

--James:java:

Last edited on Fri Apr 11th, 2014 11:10 am by jtrain

Tony Walsham
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James are you asking for a complete system TX handpiece, RX and ESC for $100?
Rest assured that is not going to happen.
However, if you would stump for 1 x TX that can be used with all models   and pre-wired and set up 3 amp RX/ESC's then they are already here. With LED constant brightness directional lighting outputs too.

PM me for details, prices, and shipping costs.

Tony

NathanO
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When it comes to batteries, which is what I thought the thread was supposed to be about, to me the most important part is safety. Many 'modern' batteries tend to overheat and catch fire. Others start to loose the ability to get a full charge in a short time.

Price per useable power would be high on my list as well as weight and volume per useable power.

Nathan

W C Greene
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Well, here's something. If you want...IF...in the r/c store, FUTABA has a nice 2 channel/2 stick r/c "ground" system (ATTACK) which most times retails for around $50USD. This would control a large scale loco quite well since r/c cars pull more amps than the locos you have. Batteries can be as simple as AA's or Ni Cads or Li Polys, whatever can fit into the loco. So, around $100USD can do the job. This is "old tech", 27MHZ AM but it works.
I have used rechargable Lithium Polymer batteries in my locos for at least 10 years now and the older lokies have batteries that old and with a charge, I still get 6 or so hours run time. My locos are basically On30 "off the shelf" Bachmann but in a larger than 1:48 scale, I have room for larger batteries. Using slow charging, I have never had any overheating problems. Just be careful.

Woodie

Tony Walsham
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The problem with 27 MHz is that it is very susceptible to Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). They also require very good motor "noise" suppression. The RFI and "noisy" motors causes the ESC to glitch when the RX is buried inside a loco causing the loco to often jerk backwards and forwards.

No problem using very low cost car ESC's but brushed motors are very thin on the ground as most cars, bots and planes nowadays use brushless motors which are totally different.
Also most car ESC's can usually only handle max 10 -12 volts when locos like the Bachmann big haulers are best on 14.4 volts. 4 x LiPos or 12 NiCd/NiMh cells.

I do agree that AA size rechargeable cells will work just fine for low current draw locos where they will fit. Beware of NiMh as they do have a habit of rapid self discharge on the shelf. Sanyo developed hybrid NiMh/Alkaline cells specifically to overcome that problem. They are known as LSD cells. Aldi sell 4 x packs for around A$6-$7.
I do not recommend AA cells for larger Large Scale locos. They have built in chokes to limit current drain. Sure you can draw 2 amps but that will shorten the battery life. I still use and recommend SubC NiCd cells.
Many Large Scalers nowadays use Li-ion rather than LiPo's. LiPo's usually have to be charged in special ceramic protectors although low cost charge bags are now available from Hobby King.
Making batteries easily removable for charging is not always easy.

W C Greene
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Goodness, I guess the Lord loves an idiot...I have no problems with my old timey AM stuff. Guess that I must be living right.

Woodie-going outside and running my trains

mwiz64
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If I wanted to try R/C on an Fn3 scale train and I didn't want to break the bank, I'd just buy what any R/C car guy would need to buy. Here is an example of a cheap easy system that you could install in a tender or following car.

Radio:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__10608__Hobby_King_GT_2_2_4Ghz_2Ch_Tx_Rx.html
Speed Control:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__32025__HobbyKing_X_Car_45A_Brushed_Car_ESC.html
Battery:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__6308__ZIPPY_Flightmax_1300mAh_3S1P_20C.html
Charger:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__22297__Hobbyking_ECO_SIX_80W_6A_2_6S_Battery_Balance_Charger_AC_DC_w_PSU.html

How does it work? Simple, plug the controller to the radio receiver. Connect the battery to the controller... might need to solder up a connector on the controller side. Connect the controller leads to the motor terminals. Again, you might want to solder up a connector for this. Id use the connector between the battery and the controller as an on/off switch on the loco but you can wire in a switch, if you like. Now turn on the radio and loco and go play. How long would this installation take me....? Maybe an hour at most and I haven even spent $100 total... including the charger.

Herb Kephart
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With S-CAB, a single 850Mah LiPo, and BPS, I can get 2 hours switching time.

So for my purposes this is the perfect system. If you look at the S-CAB.COM site, you will see that it is simple--connect the receiver board to the BPS (which raises the single cell 3.7 volts to 12 volts) and to the battery--and go.

It has features that you can set, such as acceleration and deceleration rate, reduction of top speed and the like, but the default settings work well--and they can easily be changed later when confidence builds.

But since th question was asked-- Yes-smaller batteries. I would like to see 1000Mah LiPo's WITH built in overcharge and undervoltage protection, at 2/3 or 1/2 the present size. But some other battery system will probably replace them before that happens. Batteries should be flat, rectangular -round ones waste too much valuable space.

As to the overblown (IMHO) LiPo danger--this comes from the air and race car folks trying to recharge as quick as possible. We can recharge slowly, and after my batteries are fully recharged, I can barely feel any heat in them.
How many LiPo's have you blown up, Nathan?

Herb

Helmut
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@mwiz64
Agree with exception of the TX/RX. GFSK without FHSS is not that interference-free. This one is much better. FHSS IMHO is the best choice for track vehicles. And Ihave a lot of them going so far, not only in TT scale.

Last edited on Fri Apr 11th, 2014 03:29 pm by Helmut

mwiz64
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It's only about $10 more Helmut and it comes with a rechargeable battery and charger for it. If you say it's better at rejecting interference, then I'm with you on the recommendation.

Pete Steinmetz
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NathanO wrote:
When it comes to batteries, which is what I thought the thread was supposed to be about, to me the most important part is safety. Many 'modern' batteries tend to overheat and catch fire. Others start to loose the ability to get a full charge in a short time.

Price per useable power would be high on my list as well as weight and volume per useable power.

Nathan


Li Po batteries shouldn't get hot. I hear stories about them catching fire. I have never seen one catch fire live. Unless the operator is doing something wrong, they should be perfectly safe.

The guys that have problems are the flying guys. They abuse the batteries, then poof. Or as it is known in the battery industry, "Rapid Disassembly" LOL

dan3192
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I thought it would be appropriate to post here information about a battery type I'm using for HO which has a high energy density, and which may be well suited for several other applications. It is the Panasonic NCR18650B rated at 3.7V and 3,400mAh. The 18mm battery diameter allows use in wide bodied diesels and most hood type diesels. Batteries with undervoltage and overcharge protection are also available.

I'm using two of these in series in a combine car to power a BLI Hudson 4-6-4 steam engine. The engine draws approx. 150 mA at 10-12V, which is medium-high speed. A step-up voltage regulator boosts battery voltage from 7.4V to 12V. The engine is equipped with a QSI sound decoder and DelTang Rx61x receiver/electronic speed controller. 

Rercent testing showed the batteries at 3.95V after an approx. 4 hour run with the Hudson engine pulling 8 Bachmann pasenger cars around a large modular layout at an average speed of about 60 smph. I found a performance curve for this battery which indicates a relatively long run can be achieved before recharging is required.

I'm posting this to alleviate fears about batteries being the weak link for battery powered, radio controlled motive power. I think we are past this point, especially where small scale operation is involved. I hope to see AA and AAA versions for some of the smaller models I want to convert. See the DelTang topic for more information.

The performance curve is shown below. 

Dan


 

Pete Steinmetz
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Dan:

Thanks for posting the info about this Lithium Ion cell from Panasonic. You are very lucky to have the space to use 2 18650 cells plus a voltage booster.

Most of us don't have that kind of space so we must use much smaller batteries of the Lithium Polymer variety. My sweet spot for size and capacity is 240mAh. That's a far cry from your 3200mAh cells.

Lithium Ion cells are only made in certain sizes. Lithium Polymer can be made in almost all possible combinations of width, length, and height. Sizes are capacity dependent.

I would love to be able to use 18650 cells from a quality manufacturer like Panasonic. Instead, those of us using Lithium Polymer have to use cells from unknown manufacturers. Some cells are of good quality and some cells aren't. There is no real way to tell until they are used.

Plus, no Lithium Polymer vendor wants to reveal the actual factory manufacturing the cells. Some vendors say they have a factory when they are only having a real factory put their name on the cell.

Pete Steinmetz

Tony Walsham
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I cannot imagine any reputable factory putting the name to a non genuine product.
Fakes are an unfortunate reality in this industry. Just like fake Spektrum RX's were until they were stamped out.
Caveat Emptor.

Tramcar Trev
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mwiz64 wrote:
If I wanted to try R/C on an Fn3 scale train and I didn't want to break the bank, I'd just buy what any R/C car guy would need to buy. Here is an example of a cheap easy system that you could install in a tender or following car.

Radio:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__10608__Hobby_King_GT_2_2_4Ghz_2Ch_Tx_Rx.html
Speed Control:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__32025__HobbyKing_X_Car_45A_Brushed_Car_ESC.html
Battery:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__6308__ZIPPY_Flightmax_1300mAh_3S1P_20C.html
Charger:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__22297__Hobbyking_ECO_SIX_80W_6A_2_6S_Battery_Balance_Charger_AC_DC_w_PSU.html

How does it work? Simple, plug the controller to the radio receiver. Connect the battery to the controller... might need to solder up a connector on the controller side. Connect the controller leads to the motor terminals. Again, you might want to solder up a connector for this. Id use the connector between the battery and the controller as an on/off switch on the loco but you can wire in a switch, if you like. Now turn on the radio and loco and go play. How long would this installation take me....? Maybe an hour at most and I haven even spent $100 total... including the charger.

I concur completely.

I bought enough R/C gear to control 6 of my trams for just a tad over AU$100. Only 1 Tx but 6 Rx, 6 ESC's.
In fact buying the expensive R/C stuff can give you problems when "binding" the Rx to the Tx so stay away from sets with LCD displays etc.... I've even tried the really cheap speed controls via eBay and they handle my line voltage of 13.8 quite well. If they were running at 10amps maybe they would fizz but all seem to be happy at 14V, 2A and cost nothing....

R/C for trams goes back to the 1950's as the pic clearly shows.

Attachment: 1296 @ La Perouse loop..jpg (Downloaded 79 times)

davecttr
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I have found through experience that hobby battery capacities can vary by at least 20%, not good when you are trying to make a pack with balanced discharge!.

So the answer is a single battery with voltage regulator and one of those panasonics would be good, except it won't fit. There appears to be a smaller 2000mAh version which is 50mm long (NCR1850) which is a possibility. Panasonic do make a large range of prismatic batteries, none of which would fit in my loco tenders.

Their high capacity batteries do seem to use a different technology as about twice as much energy is being squeezed into the same volume. It would be good if they made a 25x50x12mm 'square' battery.

NevadaBlue
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OK, I have a question about charging. I want cheap and easy. I'm using 2 LiPo batteries in my loco build and do not want to take them out to charge. I also don't care about balancing them. The batteries are dirt cheap and if one dies, oh well.

So, I have the two batteries in series and want to use a JST 2 wire plug set for charging. Can I use (and where do I find) a simple 7.2 volt LiPo charger?

fallen
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Ken, I suggest you should have a balance charger. Otherwise the batteries may get damaged, one will likely be overcharged eventually, and damage the loco in the process. This is because the LiPos, unlike the NiCad batteries most people are familiar with, can build up imbalances due to different internal leakage currents over several charge/discharge cycles and eventually one will get overcharged an fail, perhaps with a bang.

I have a two cell setup that I charge with a £10 balance charger using an ordinary servo plug as connector for the three wires you need for this. The charger is no more expensive than a single cell charger and the connector no more complicated than a two wire one to use.

It's really not worth the risk to not use a balance charger.

Frank

Tramcar Trev
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NevadaBlue wrote:
OK, I have a question about charging. I want cheap and easy. I'm using 2 LiPo batteries in my loco build and do not want to take them out to charge. I also don't care about balancing them. The batteries are dirt cheap and if one dies, oh well.

So, I have the two batteries in series and want to use a JST 2 wire plug set for charging. Can I use (and where do I find) a simple 7.2 volt LiPo charger?


This one looks good and has a US plug....
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Balance-Charger-Esky-2S-3S-Cells-7-4v-11-1v-Li-Po-Battery-Power-Adapter-AC-to-DC-/221308419291?pt=AU_Toys_Hobbies_Radio_Controlled_Vehicles&hash=item3387027cdb

Rod Hutchinson
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I use Skyrc unit. Cheap, cheerful & works.

Have a look at eBay item 371163853162

Tony Walsham
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Nice find Trev but that does not have a JST cable connector.
Perhaps Ken could be more explicit as to which type of JST connector he had in mind.

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I guess you guys are right. I'll add the three necessary wires to my Y-connector on the battery pack and order the charger and some plug/socket combos. I don't have any of the 3 prong balance plugs at all.

This is what I wanted to use, but probably best to do it right.


dan3192
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Pete,

I hope you noticed the batteries and voltage regulator are mounted in an 80' combine car, or cheat car as some naysayers call it. See Post #687 under the DelTang topic for a photo of the arrangement used. Post #702 gives information on performance and expected run times based on the original cells. These higher capacity cells (50% more capacity!) are what I used at the Amherst show.

My main problems with Lipos are the oversized wiring and big connectors used to handle high currents. I have several square shaped Turnigy Nano-Tech 2s and 3S Lipos I have difficulty fitting in a model. I'm also not wanting to modify the wiring to fit the small Pololu connectors I use. They might be better suited for larger scales.  We'll see.

Early on I bought a few AA and AAA China-made Li-ion cells and quickly found out how grossly overrated they are. They look nice, but don't live up to their specs. I started using Eneloop NiMH batteries and they are great. What they lack in capacity they make up for in weight, about 30% heavier than Lithium cells, which is good for traction. My Amtrak diesel weighs in at 1 lb, 2 oz and outpulls my Hudson steamer!

Dan

 

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Thanks for the advice. I ordered a simple 2s/3s charger and a bunch of the proper connectors this afternoon.

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Yes the leads are designed for massive currents. Solution is simple though but does require a little care. VERY CAREFULLY remove the outer wrapping around the battery at the point where the leads come out. Its usually heat shrink or fibreglass tape. Then expose the points where the leads are soldered onto what is the under volatge/over current protection PCB and then put something over one of them to insulate it to prevent accidents. Then unsolder the wire and solder your own thinner more flexible wire on, then repeat for the other wire. Recover with some form of insulation, I use the liquid tape stuff. If space permits this can be done with far less adventure by cutting the existing wires off (ONE AT A TIME) and soldering on your own wire and cover with heatshrink. This lets you choose the connector of choice. I use the red JST ones they can handle around 5Amps...

Tramcar Trev
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dan3192 wrote:
Early on I bought a few AA and AAA China-made Li-ion cells and quickly found out how grossly overrated they are. They look nice, but don't live up to their specs. I started using Eneloop NiMH batteries and they are great. What they lack in capacity they make up for in weight, about 30% heavier than Lithium cells, which is good for traction. My Amtrak diesel weighs in at 1 lb, 2 oz and outpulls my Hudson steamer!

Dan

 

I have a source of 18650 cells for free. I buy them as per the capacity in the ebay add knowing no way can you get 5a/h into a 18650 case, send the seller a question asking if the capacity is genuine, they assure me it is so I buy a dozen. The Cells arrive, I check the capacity on my ImaxB6AC smart charger and discover they are in reality 2.2a/h complain to the seller, demand a refund, they refund and I have a dozen 18650 Lion cells for free. You may call me a a devious underhand cold callous turd but hey I asked the questions before purchase.

Pete Steinmetz
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"I have a source of 18650 cells for free. I buy them as per the capacity in the ebay add knowing no way can you get 5a/h into a 18650 case, send the seller a question asking if the capacity is genuine, they assure me it is so I buy a dozen. The Cells arrive, I check the capacity on my ImaxB6AC smart charger and discover they are in reality 2.2a/h complain to the seller, demand a refund, they refund and I have a dozen 18650 Lion cells for free. You may call me a a devious underhand cold callous turd but hey I asked the questions before purchase."

I would be very careful with those cells. There are lots rejects floating around China. Somebody buys them.

I had a colleague offer me 10,000 18650 cells made by Samsung for $1.00 each. When I asked what was the reason for selling cells so cheap, I was told they were recalled and that 1 in every 1000 "Could" explode or at least suffer thermal runaway due to a flaw in the manufacturing process. There was no way to test them and figure out bad cells. Needless to say, I declined the offer.
Somebody bought those cells and either resold them in bulk or used them to power something. Kind of makes you think!!!

Tramcar Trev
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I suspect all the batteries that come out of china are made at "China Battery Factory 21". Most are fake branded and thats all you would expect. The ones I gouged seem to be ok apart from their claimed capacity, they all have undervoltage/short circuit protection boards under the shrinkwrap at the -end... The factor that interests me is that they can be sent airmail to AU.... I thought that was against international air freight regs too....

The other batteries popular for model railway use in larger scale are the so called "Blue" batteries, see; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/311164141028?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

These I have found to be close to the stated capacity and can be made much smaller by removing the blue packaging and replacing it with either a dunk in Liquid tape or covering in self amalgamating tape.

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I go with what Dan does and mostly use NiMH cells.  They are consistent, meet the published specs, are easy to find if I need some in a pinch, and are fairly tolerant of charging/discharging.  Of course I use LiPo for my N scale models since nothing else will fit and provide decent run time.
The low self discharge NiMH cells have slightly less capacity than the standard types, the choice depends on if you will use them soon after charging or not.

My latest project originally used 2xAA so I stuck with those and boosted the voltage to 3.7 V with a step up regulator from Pololu.

boB

Last edited on Sun Feb 1st, 2015 02:42 am by bobquincy

dan3192
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I would add that the 4th generation Eneloops are now rated for 2,100 charge/discharge cycles. Also the old EneloopXX is now EneloopPro rated at 2,500 mAh and 500 charge/discharge cycles. There's an Eneloop Twicell battery available that is also 2,500 mAh. I've read that FDK now makes all Eneloop batteries.

I recently purchased some Powerex Imedion AAA batteries for extended run times. They are 950 mAh batteries compared to the 800 mAh Eneloops I started out with 2 years ago. That's an 18% increase In capacity, which is fairly decent.

The point is, batteries are rapidly improving, making battery power and radio control an increasingly viable option for running our trains.

Dan

dan3192
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Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse, but I found a lot of useful information about Eneloops I hadn't seen before at the following link:

http://budgetlightforum.com/node/7336

General Conclusions (my own):

1. If you can live with lower capacities, don't want to manage batteries when charging/discharging, dread the thought of losing an engine or car to a Lithium battery mishap, prefer to spend less vs more on batteries, have the space to get the voltage and/or amps you need, or want to use the same batteries for your phones, flashlights, TV controllers, toys, computer mouse, etc - go with NiMH (low self discharge) batteries.

2. If you want maximum capacity, can find the right size for your model from what's available, are willing to be cautious about battery charging, discharging and storage, are not dealing with irreplaceable models, find that space is most important for what you want to accomplish, want long run times, or need the highest voltage you can get for the space available - go with Li-ion or LiPo batteries.

Nothing wrong with using both types - I do. It's your choice - to suit your needs.

Dan  

 

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Dan:

Thanks for your research. Ni-MH would be preferable to Li Poly except most of us don't have the space for AA or AAA cells.

To make a 12V pack, you would need 10 Ni-MH cells vs 3 Li Po cells for 11.1V

1.2V per cell for Ni-MH vs 3.6 or 3.7 for Li-Po.

Pete Steinmetz

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And to be sensible about this Li Ions and Lipos can explode but the likelyhood of them doing so is remote for the purpose you want to use them. ANY BATTERY can explode if its charged to quickly or abused (hit or had its casing damaged) or by drawing excessive current eg 10 amps from a 2A/H battery.... In practical terms they are quite safe. Just exercise normal care with charging and use. Yes I know there have been examples of mobile phones bursting into flames but ask how many mobile phones are there world wide and how many self destruct and then ask can you live with the risk...

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We can't let this thread die quietly or easily.

For energy per weight there is no challenger to LiPo and for airplanes and race cars that is a big deal. For trains however, weight is not so much an issue, volume is. LiPo, Li-Ion, and NiMH are all close for energy per volume. Compare a AA NiMH at 2500 mAH and 1.25 V (14 mm diameter x 50 mm long) with a Li-Ion at 800 mAH and 3.7 V (same size) with a LiFe (15x15x53) and a LiPo (43 x 25 x7) and we see all but the LiFe are close in volume!

Of course these numbers are not absolute and some LiPo are somewhat smaller than NiMH per energy, maybe 25%. The numbers keep changing as new chemistries are formulated and as the marketing departments make up new claims. ;)

Me, I use all of the above (except LiFe, so far) for various projects but there may be no clear winner.

boB

Last edited on Tue Feb 3rd, 2015 01:19 am by bobquincy

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mwiz64 wrote: _Speed Control:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__32025__HobbyKing_X_Car_45A_Brushed_Car_ESC.html

Questions for Mike and Trev,
  • Any issues with this ESC on 3 cell (11.2V) batteries, R/C cars generally only run 2 cell.
  • Can you get smooth control right thru the speed range, ie, are they ok for shunting etc.
  • Do you know if they have any short circuit protection.
  • When used in cars they generally require another smaller battery pack (4 x AA) to power the steering servo, I presume this isn't needed in this application.
Question for DaveT,
  • Can your TX's bind with any DSM2 RX and vice versa, can your RX's bind with any DSM2 TX?
Wayne

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I have not used that one. I have used this one; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/RC-ESC-10A-Brushed-Motor-Speed-Controller-for-RC-Car-Boat-W-O-Brake-/261210546358?pt=AU_Toys_Hobbies_Radio_Controlled_Vehicles&hash=item3cd15ca0b6
And it does the job running of my track voltage of 13.8VDC BUT I only draw an amp or so through it. May not like it if you tried to run 10 amps at 12V...
For railway use you DO NOT NEED A BRAKE in fact the brake will bring you to a shuddering halt.

I have also use this one; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/hobbywing-brushed-Eagle-20A-ESC-for-RC-airplane-plane-/191022652814?pt=AU_Toys_Hobbies_Radio_Controlled_Vehicles&hash=item2c79d65d8e

more expensive but generally better overall but does not have reverse but as I have to swing the trolley poles I use a manual dpdt switch anyway.

A mate of mine swears by these ones that are a tad too large for me to use and they run happily on 12V if you're only pulling a couple of amps through them and they also have a nice smooth linear response; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/1-8-1-10-RC-Car-Truck-Boat-320A-Brushed-Brush-Speed-Controller-ESC-W-Reverse-/361119667349?pt=AU_Toys_Hobbies_Radio_Controlled_Vehicles&hash=item541468d495

Its true you do not need separate power supply for your Rx, the bec (battery elimination circuit) takes care of that for you when you plug in to the Tx...

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Yes Wayne.
Regards, David.

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This is not new technology but it does allow you to make up your own battery by fitting cells where ever you can to get the "battery size you need" Good prices too: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/RC_PRODUCT_SEARCH.asp?searchType=10&strSearch=+single+cell&location=AL&idCategory=

You can also get "protection boards" for these cells that are soldered across the terminals of each cell to prevent over discharge, over charge....

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Tramcar Trev wrote:
This is not new technology but it does allow you to make up your own battery by fitting cells where ever you can to get the "battery size you need" Good prices too: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/RC_PRODUCT_SEARCH.asp?searchType=10&strSearch=+single+cell&location=AL&idCategory=

You can also get "protection boards" for these cells that are soldered across the terminals of each cell to prevent over discharge, over charge....


You get what you pay for. I have had premature failure with packs from Hobby King. These are RC cells. They are not commercial grade cells. I'm sure you can find sources for better quality commercial grade cells. Cost will be a little more, but quality will be better.

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Pete is right...you get what you pay for. I use whatever fits into my locos, most are 2 cell, 1200MAH or so and have been in use for years. Have fun and run a r/c train today.

Woodie

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Pete:

Been meaning to get back to you on your recent post (#33).

What you say is correct, but I generally take a slightly different approach. When remotoring, I prefer using 6V Escap, Maxon or Faulhaber motors because of their high efficiency. This does two things: 1) I only need half the number of cells for 6V vs 12V and, 2) high efficiency motors generally do the same work with fewer cells. The net result is less room required for batteries, LiPo or Li-ion.

When staying with 12V, as with the BLI Hudson I converted to BPRC, I use the highest capacity Li-ion's I can find. Fortunately, 18650 size 3,400 mAh cells are now available and I've since replaced the 2,250 mAh cells I used last year. For this conversion, I'm also using a step-up voltage regulator to boost 7.4V to 12V.

Yes, you lose about 10-12% battery power using a regulator, but with such powerful batteries, I'd rather have constant (and adjustable!) voltage for operation vs a little more operating time.   

I don't know what gauge or model(s) you are working with, but these new 18650's fit nicely in my HO narrow bodied diesels. 18500 x 2,000mAh cells are available for a better fit. I have a couple of protected 3,400mAh types, but they are "18700" in size. BTW, stay with Panasonic for quality cells.  

So 6V systems, high efficiency motors and high capacity batteries are what I shoot for, less some occasional modifying realities I have to live with.

Dan        

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dan3192 wrote:
Pete:

Been meaning to get back to you on your recent post (#33).

What you say is correct, but I generally take a slightly different approach. When remotoring, I prefer using 6V Escap, Maxon or Faulhaber motors because of their high efficiency. This does two things: 1) I only need half the number of cells for 6V vs 12V and, 2) high efficiency motors generally do the same work with fewer cells. The net result is less room required for batteries, LiPo or Li-ion.

When staying with 12V, as with the BLI Hudson I converted to BPRC, I use the highest capacity Li-ion's I can find. Fortunately, 18650 size 3,400 mAh cells are now available and I've since replaced the 2,250 mAh cells I used last year. For this conversion, I'm also using a step-up voltage regulator to boost 7.4V to 12V.

Yes, you lose about 10-12% battery power using a regulator, but with such powerful batteries, I'd rather have constant (and adjustable!) voltage for operation vs a little more operating time.   

I don't know what gauge or model(s) you are working with, but these new 18650's fit nicely in my HO narrow bodied diesels. 18500 x 2,000mAh cells are available for a better fit. I have a couple of protected 3,400mAh types, but they are "18700" in size. BTW, stay with Panasonic for quality cells.  

So 6V systems, high efficiency motors and high capacity batteries are what I shoot for, less some occasional modifying realities I have to live with.

Dan        


Dan:

Thanks for the update. I am in On30 and don't have room for 18650 or 18500 cells. Plus I need 12V as I have not remotored my Bachmann locos. I'm not sure how Tsunamis would work on 7.4V.

My life would be a lot easier if I could use 18650 or 18500 cells. I am very familiar with Panasonic cells. Good quality. LG and Samsung cells are also quality brands.

I avoid unknown Chinese brands. The slightly higher price of name brands is worth it to me.

Pete

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Pete:

On30 and no room? Too bad. I'm hoping soon for Li-ion's in AA and AAA format.

I've got some pretty, red colored 4.2v 4,200mAh Ultrafire 18650's available. Any one interested should send a PM.

Please, somebody, anybody send me a PM! They might be good for a flashlight...

Dan

P.S. Have accepted an invite for a clinic at the Mid-Eastern Region NMRA Convention in October. Dead rail operation sure to get more exposure.

 

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Dan:

PM sent.

Pete

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dan3192 wrote: Pete:

On30 and no room? Too bad. I'm hoping soon for Li-ion's in AA and AAA format.

 

Actually Li-ion is available in AA (14500) and AAA (10440), with and without protection circuits built in.  The AAA should work in some N scale models.  The ones with protection are sometimes a bit long but will work in some applications.

http://www.batteryjunction.com/14500-category.html
http://www.batteryjunction.com/10440-category.html

Last edited on Thu Feb 26th, 2015 12:27 am by bobquincy

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Bob:

Based on my experience with 18650 Ultrafire cells, I can't trust their ratings. Their claimed 4,200mAh capacities turned out to be around 1,100mAh. So I can't see buying their AA or AAA cells in the future.

I think Nitecore might have more realistic ratings, but for $7.95/cell you are getting 2.775Wh of power (3.7v x 750mAh) vs an Eneloop Pro or Twicell NiMH battery which costs $3-4 and is good for 3.00Wh (1.2v x 2,500mAh). I have a few Paisen protected Li-ion AA cells, but have not yet tested them. They are rated 3.7v and 1,200mAh.

I also have some Ultrafire AAA Li-ion cells (3.7v, 650mAh) I bought about 3 yrs ago, but again, they don't deliver what they promise. So I should have said I'm hoping for genuine Li-ion cells in AA and AAA format.

I'll be staying with Eneloop for NiMH and Panasonic for Li-ion for now. BTW, the few Turnigy Nano-Tech LiPo's I have are very good.

Dan      

Last edited on Fri Feb 27th, 2015 05:57 pm by dan3192

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Dan.

I have some Ultrafire AA and AAA but never tested them for capacity.  I am not surprised to see that they slightly (or grossly) overstated the capacity.  They work well to light LEDs as they are smaller and lighter than the otherwise required 2 or 3 NiMH.  The low discharge rate may help them to come closer to the given ratings.

It's tough to beat Eneloop for watt*hours per $ so I use these for most of my projects unless I really need the size and voltage of lithium polymer or ion.

boB

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Bob, I think this is the right approach. I use eight Eneloop AAA's in my BPRC diesel and the engine weighs in at one pound, two ounces, thanks to the heavier NiMH cells. I get about 4-5 hours run time pulling a string of passenger cars at medium speed, more with occasional stopping or lower speeds.

I'll soon be putting together another engine like this one, but batteries will consist of two 18650's in series with an adjustable step-down voltage regulator (for constant voltage operation and setting maximum speed).

It's interesting how things have progressed. The original engine with eight AAA's gives me about 7.68Wh of power. The Li-ions should provide around 25.16Wh of power, which should increase run time to approx. 12 hours.

I posted this photo and video link a couple of years ago, but here it is again. I hope it encourages some to "take the plunge" and build something so we have more notes to compare with.

http://www.freerails.com/gallery/3980/3980_191251_590000000.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUwTYucn6u8

Dan

Last edited on Fri Feb 27th, 2015 03:20 am by dan3192

Pete Steinmetz
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bobquincy wrote:
dan3192 wrote: Pete:

On30 and no room? Too bad. I'm hoping soon for Li-ion's in AA and AAA format.

 

Actually Li-ion is available in AA (14500) and AAA (10440), with and without protection circuits built in.  The AAA should work in some N scale models.  The ones with protection are sometimes a bit long but will work in some applications.

http://www.batteryjunction.com/14500-category.html
http://www.batteryjunction.com/10440-category.html


I looked at Battery Junction AAA cells. I'm going to see if 3 cells will fit in my 2-6-0 tender.

I have access to a welder to build a pack. The cells are supposed to have protection. I will have to get a cell spec.

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Lithium cells work fine for LED lighting. Many probably know this, but for those that don't, the closer your battery voltage is to the voltage drop across the LED you're using, the better.

Example: Using a 9V battery for say an LED headlight (3.2V voltage drop) requires a 330 ohm resistor, which consumes 0.116 watts. But using a 3.7V Li-ion/LiPo requires a 27 ohm resistor which uses only 0.01 watts. That's a ratio of 11.6:1, a big difference when trying to conserve milliamps.

A good LED resistance calculator can be found here:

http://www.quickar.com/noqbestledcalc.htm


And when trying to sort out battery power and balance wiring for all my BPRC components, I found an excellent interactive website that made it very easy to understand. Just plug in what you are planning to do and the results are immediately calculated for you. It's a great learning tool for how multiple batteries should be arranged to provide power and to get balance charged. Here's the link:

http://scriptasylum.com/rc_speed/lipo.html

Let's build some trains!

Dan

Last edited on Sat Feb 28th, 2015 03:26 am by dan3192

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Two more tidbits from the experts:

1. Never use protected cells together to make a battery pack. This defeats the purpose of the battery's PCB. Protected cells are meant to be used individually.

2. NiMH cells can be arranged and wired like Li-ion/LiPo cells for multi-cell powering, charging and monitoring, if you don't want to remove them from your train.

Dan

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dan3192 wrote:
Two more tidbits from the experts:

1. Never use protected cells together to make a battery pack. This defeats the purpose of the battery's PCB. Protected cells are meant to be used individually.

2. NiMH cells can be arranged and wired like Li-ion/LiPo cells for multi-cell powering, charging and monitoring, if you don't want to remove them from your train.

Dan


Dan:

I must ask where you got this information? What experts? Are these RC guys?

1. Completely untrue. I can't even imagine anyone would say that. Maybe for RC with high discharge rates. They can't use PCM's because most PCMs will trip at around 3 amps. For train guys, protected cells are much preferred to non protected cells in a 2 or 3 cell pack.
The huge advantage they have is preventing the cells from discharging to low. Most cut off at 3V per cell.

2. True, but there is the challenge of connecting the cells together in a pack. soldering on the top and bottom of the cells can damage the cells internally due to excessive heat. If a person can buy Ni-MH cells with solder tabs, then solder to the tabs, that is the preferred method of building packs.

Pete

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dan3192 wrote:
Two more tidbits from the experts:

1. Never use protected cells together to make a battery pack. This defeats the purpose of the battery's PCB. Protected cells are meant to be used individually.

2. NiMH cells can be arranged and wired like Li-ion/LiPo cells for multi-cell powering, charging and monitoring, if you don't want to remove them from your train.

Dan


Dan:

You keep giving us facts from the RC car/airplane/heli side of the hobby. Their use of batteries is pretty different from the train guy use of batteries.

They have high discharge rates and have to deal with many elements that don't concern train guys.

There is some info we can use. The link to the wiring of the packs is a good one. If you want to balance your cells, it will show you how to wire the packs.

They use series parallel battery configurations. I don't recommend this for train guys. It makes everything much more complicated. It is not really needed by train guys.

I look at some of their links. Some info is true, some is absolute BS, some is humorous. I had to laugh at the buy on one of their forums that decided to drive a nail through a lithium polymer cell, just to see what would happen. Don't do this. Only bad things will happen.

They may be experts in the RC side, but much of what we do is more on the commercial side than the RC side.

Pete Steinmetz

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Pete:

You've put a lot on my plate, and I need to 'hit the sack" now because I'm being picked up early tomorrow by the guys in my train club for a train show.

I'll be happy to cite references with verbatim explanations. Some of your assertions are inaccurate or misleading based on my five years of research and three years of running BPRC locomotives. I think we have a misunderstanding based on how each of us is attempting to implement battery power for operating our trains.

That's fine, diversity is good, but please allow me 24 hours or so to get back to you to discuss all this in detail.

Dan

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Dan:

Please don't quote a bunch of info from the RC airplane/car/heli guys. What they do and what we do are different.

I do NOT recommend RC cells (High rate cells) for train operation. The quality of RC cells isn't as good as commercial cells.

I have no problem with your views on Li -Ion or Ni-MH cells. Enloop and Panasonic are quality suppliers of "commercial" grade cells.

It's the Li-PO info that has some errors. You are getting a lot of information from the RC guys. Much of their information is not pertinent to our Model Train application.

Enjoy your train show.

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Pete:

I'd like to respond. If I run out of time this evening, I will continue to respond until the subjects you brought up are addressed.

1. Re using protected cells to make a battery pack, I've purchased many of my 18650 batteries from a seller and assembler of commercial cells in Texas. I consider him an expert in what he does. He also sells on eBay under the user name sqtruong and answers an FAQ as follows:

Q:  Is there a Protection Circuit Board (PCB) in this battery pack?
A:  No.  The battery pack is intentionally built without a PCB.  Contrary to popular belief, a PCB does more harm than good to a battery pack.  A PCB prevents the battery pack to be balanced.  All lithium battery goes out of balance as the batteries age, there is no exception.
 
You can read more about this on one of his auctions at the link below. Be sure to note his ability to customize battery packs as well as his large inventory of commercial cells. If you dispute his opinion, please contact him.    
 
http://www.ebay.com/itm/USA-8-4V-7-4V-battery-pack-for-CREE-XML-T6-SSC-P7-18-6Ah-capacity-GUARANTEED-/321630762306?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ae2aff542
 
 
Another source of information is the international seller batteryjunction.com. They comment on the use of protected batteries as follows:
 



Home > Batteries > Rechargeable Batteries > 18650/18500/18350 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries

18650/18500/18350 Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Batteries




"Lithium batteries are a great option for today’s high end electronics as these cells typically have higher capacities than their alkaline counterparts. Although rechargeable batteries tend to cost a little more than standard alkaline batteries up front, over the long haul, these costs are reigned in because you won’t need to replace rechargeable batteries nearly as much as alkaline cells. Of course these upfront costs are lower when you purchase your rechargeable batteries at Battery Junction. Our selection of 18650, 18500 and 18350 series rechargeable batteries from the Ultrafire, Titanium Innovations, TerraLUX and Tenergy brands are typically priced well below retail and in many cases, you can buy these batteries in bulk which lowers the prices further. We have just about every size of rechargeable battery that you need, with products including protected and non-protected cells. The protected cells feature a patented Internal PCB protection against under voltage and over voltage. These protected cells are best used in single cell applications because the protection is based on the correct voltage of a single cell.

If you attempt to bundle protected cells as a battery pack, this defeats the purpose of the protection. Battery Junction also has rechargeable batteries in stock that do not have PCB protection and these batteries are perfect for pack building. The bottom line is that if you are a remote control car or airplane enthusiast in need of batteries to build battery packs for these devices, or if you have a high-quality Nitecore or Fenix flashlight that you need to power, Battery Junction is your best source for very high-quality rechargeable batteries available at very reasonable prices with fast shipping on most items."

Again, if you dispute their opinion, please contact them. I'm comfortable with my decision to not use protected cells in a pack, however, you are free to do what you think is best. Please allow me the same freedom.

On another point you raised, I monitor cell voltage when in use and know how long it will be before I need to recharge. Also, the newer, high capacity batteries I use have sufficient capacity remaining after an operating session so that overdischarge is highly unlikely. Finally, the receivers I use have the ability to shut down when voltage gets low. Therefore my use of protected cells (I only have 2) will be limited to single cell applications.

More tomorrow.  

Dan

Last edited on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 02:53 am by dan3192

Pete Steinmetz
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Dan:

This is so off the wall as to not even be reasonable. You are not comparing apples to apples. Far from it.

You are grabbing a little info from one market (Bicycle lights). Then grabbing a little from another market (Flashlights)..

So far, none of this has anything to do with what we are doing which is model trains.

All applications are different. You can't compare battery usage in bicycle lights and flashlights to model trains. It doesn't work that way.

First, the guy in Texas is using a series parallel configuration. A PCM on these cells will affect the balance. We are using a straight series configuration. You can't compare the two. They re completely different.

The pack you referenced must be shipped as Class 9 Hazardous goods or the seller is in violation of federal law. Special packaging is required and it must be marked and registered. They are not allowed to be shipped by USPS under any circumstances. They can only be shipped by ground transportation as Class 9.

He knows a lot about batteries. However he must be buying Panasonic Cells on the Grey Market as authorized Panasonic Distributors are required to sell Panasonic Lithium Ion cells with a protection circuit.
Here is the data sheet from one of the cells he is selling.

http://tinyurl.com/mlczc8p
Read the Panasonic requirement.
I believe this cell is used in E cigarettes.

Here is another Panasonic cell he i referencing.
http://tinyurl.com/k3dvzna
Read the Panasonic requirement.
This is for a bicycle light.
No comparison to what we are doing.

The Ultrafire are flashlight batteries designed to be used in single cell applications. Some have protection, some don't.
Nothing to do with model trains. Once again, you are comparing apples to oranges.

Battery Junction is a fine supplier, but they are not a Panasonic Industrial Authorized Assembler. Their rechargeable Lithium products are from secondary suppliers.

You are free to use protection or not. It's entirely up to you.

The thing I resent is you are trying to act like you know something about batteries and you clearly know just enough to be dangerous.

You show this by grabbing some technical info from the flashlight industry, the bicycle industry, and the E Cigarette industry and applying that information to model trains. Apples and oranges.

Someone who was well versed in batteries would not do that.

I hope that the model train guys that read your posts, don't use your information in their model trains.

If they have bicycle lights, E Cigarettes, and flashlights, this info is mostly correct, but it doesn't apply to model trains.

All applications are different.

I currently have a project going with a high end flashlight manufacturer. I researched a lot of cells and chose a Panasonic cell with protection.

I was asked by an E Cigarette manufacturer to design a battery for their product. I declined.

Mostly I work on design of battery powered hand held medical devices using Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer batteries from major suppliers.

My RC credentials include matching cells and supplying packs that won National Championships in RC Cars, RC Airplanes, and RC Boats. These were with Ni-Cd packs.
I'm not involved with current LiPo cars, or flight. Way to many mad scientists.

Pete Steinmetz

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Here's something to support Pete's point.

Addendum:
Maybe you both are talking of  different 'cell protection'
IMHO Pete is talking about the built-in CID and PTC that every cell above a certain capacity sold retail must have, and Dan is talking about the external protection circuits that are found e. g. in every cellphone Li battery.

Last edited on Mon Mar 2nd, 2015 12:16 pm by Helmut

Pete Steinmetz
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Helmut wrote:
Here's something to support Pete's point.

Addendum:
Maybe you both are talking of  different 'cell protection'
IMHO Pete is talking about the built-in CID and PTC that every cell above a certain capacity sold retail must have, and Dan is talking about the external protection circuits that are found e. g. in every cellphone Li battery.


There are two types of protection circuits. Many cylindrical Lithium Ion cells such as 18650 size have internal protection on each cell. This can make the cell a little longer. Flashlight guys are famous for this.

Lithium Polymer packs and Lithium Ion packs have external protection either on each cell or one that protects the whole pack.

RC packs usually have no protection because the current draws are to high. they would trip the safety circuit. Safety circuit usually trips at 3 amps.

Dan was drawing his information from multiple battery applications. As I said, all applications are different.
We need to concentrate on model train applications and forget the rest of the applications.

Even in model trains, there are different requirements. G Scale draws more amps than On30 scale for instance.

W C Greene
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Batteries...I will just stick with my ancient Li Pos since they are installed in my equally old locomotives. I have only had one problem with a Li Po and that was when I stuck one with a screwdriver. Man, I ripped that lokie open so quick and threw the battery into the back yard...I never have moved that fast! But it just puffed up and laid there! Wheew!
I agree with Pete, whatever works in flashlights, cellphones, and space shuttles may not be what we want or need. I listened to guys who have been flying r/c planes and racing r/c cars for many years and they guided me to what I have now. Since I am a dinosaur, I never searched the net or pondered the merits of converters, circuits, or found truth in internet mumbo jumbo. I know, I know...I am operating what is basically "On30 on steroids" and would rather have a bit of battery in the cab instead of intricate detail (but ALL my lokies have crews in the cabs) and be able to run my trains anytime, anywhere, on anybody's layout provided it is 16.5MM gauge.
Am I ranting? Hell yes...I am ranting about something that I feel strongly about-radio controlled model trains. Now I will slide back into my cave and do some switching at the smelter.

Please note that no batteries were abused during the above tirade...

Woodie

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Good say Woodie! :bg:

So, is that cave of yours anything like the Caverns of Sonora?

W C Greene
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Ken...LOL

Woodie

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LiPo's CAN be made to explode, youtube is full of videos attesting to this. In reality they usually just puff up and emit clouds of smoke and sometimes flames if they are deliberately abused. Unprovoked "explosions" are quite rare. Get things into proportion you are far more likely to be blown up by an exploding LPG cylinder than a LiPo battery venting its spleen...

dan3192
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Pete:

Re connecting NiMH cells together in a pack is challenging and NiMH cells with solder tabs is the preferred method of building packs, I disagree. I buy pre-wired battery holders and use ordinary batteries without tabs. No soldering is needed.

It's easy putting together NiMH cells. My Amtrak diesel uses 4 Eneloop AAA cells in a Radio Shack battery holder which gives me 4.8V and 800mAh. A second battery holder was placed behind the first and the wires were run to the front of the first battery holder and connected together, red to red, black to black. Done! I get 4.8V and 1600mAh. Perfect for what I'm doing.   

And re I don't recommend series parallel battery configurations - It makes everything much more complicated - It is not really needed for train guys, I also disagree. What I described above is a series parallel arrangement which I've used for several years with great success. I'm posting this photo again to show this. It's not complicated and the arrangement was ideal for getting the voltage and current capacity I wanted.   



I'm not going to address all the rhetoric you've thrown out as they skirt the real issues and are not constructive. I don't care about a battery's intended use. If it has the volts, amps and quality I want, and I don't abuse charge and discharge ratings, it will be of interest to me.

Dan    

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dan3192 wrote:

A:  No.  The battery pack is intentionally built without a PCB.  Contrary to popular belief, a PCB does more harm than good to a battery pack.  A PCB prevents the battery pack to be balanced.  All lithium battery goes out of balance as the batteries age, there is no exception.
 
Not necessarily so. Some LiPo packs ( the dreaded) Blue ones have a small pcb on each cell which some how ensures that each cell is charged individually and also prevents voltage dropping too low ie under 3V.
These "batteries" are not equipped for balance charging and the suppliers claim the internal electronics takes care of it....
I have taken the outer packing off to gain some space and an electronics guru after he had looked at the chips on the boards and sussed out the circuit gave me the news that all protection boards are not the same, these aer the batteries to which I refer; http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/311164141028?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

they can be got in an assortment of A/H ratings that are not as generous as advertised....

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dan3192 wrote:
Pete:

Re connecting NiMH cells together in a pack is challenging and NiMH cells with solder tabs is the preferred method of building packs, I disagree. I buy pre-wired battery holders and use ordinary batteries without tabs. No soldering is needed.

It's easy putting together NiMH cells. My Amtrak diesel uses 4 Eneloop AAA cells in a Radio Shack battery holder which gives me 4.8V and 800mAh. A second battery holder was placed behind the first and the wires were run to the front of the first battery holder and connected together, red to red, black to black. Done! I get 4.8V and 1600mAh. Perfect for what I'm doing.   

And re I don't recommend series parallel battery configurations - It makes everything much more complicated - It is not really needed for train guys, I also disagree. What I described above is a series parallel arrangement which I've used for several years with great success. I'm posting this photo again to show this. It's not complicated and the arrangement was ideal for getting the voltage and current capacity I wanted.   



I'm not going to address all the rhetoric you've thrown out as they skirt the real issues and are not constructive. I don't care about a battery's intended use. If it has the volts, amps and quality I want, and I don't abuse charge and discharge ratings, it will be of interest to me.

Dan    


Dan:

What you are doing is quite different than what you referenced in your post. You can take the cells out to charge individually. You are not trying to charge them as a pack in series/parallel. The guy making bike packs was charging a pack. Big difference.

Ni-MH don't require PCMs. There are no balance issues because you are charging cells individually.

You have a good set up.

It would have made a lot more sense if you had showed this photo in an earlier post.

You have a lot of space, you are using Ni-MH and you are not using sound.

Most of us don't have the kind of space you do. Many of us are running sound. That's why we use lithium polymer. Better energy density than Ni-MH. We can buy cells and packs that have different lengths, widths, and heights.

Where is your receiver and decoder or speed control?


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