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On Track Charging ...
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 Posted: Fri Nov 8th, 2019 08:03 pm
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Andy R
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Dave

Sorry to hear of  your eye problems.
Take care of them, they are not easily replaceable!

I have been 'playing' with a couple of the S-Cab BPS for a while.
Nice units but, as you write, somewhat large,
and unnecessarily high current rating for OO, but OK for 0 Gauge.

The basic principle is simple:

- Bridge rectifier connected to track pickups, followed by
- 5V regulator to give a stable supply for the
- Li-Po charger for permanently connected 1S Li-Po cell connected to
- 9V or 12V booster via FET switch plus
- Microprocessor to keep track of everything

It seems like the right way to go,
one less "hand of god" intervention during an operating session.

I now have enough locos to make checking and charging a PITA.

My idea of nirvana is a R/C enabled BPS,
that can let me know when a loco needs charging,
even when it is packed away in its box.

-- Andy




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 Posted: Fri Nov 8th, 2019 10:43 pm
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davecttr
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Yes, charging is a PITA.
 
I think I will have to invest in more charging capacity,
rather than the new loco I have been thinking of buying.

I exclusively use single cell 'UM' Li-Pos.
Some time ago I bought a Turnigy charger,
that can charge 4 UM batteries independently in two pairs,
using the two 2S charging ports with home made cables,
that turned two UM batteries into a 2S for charging purposes.

That model is no longer available,
but any balance charger that supports 2S balanced charging would be suitable,
with the addition of home made cables.


Andy, I agree with your basic principles,
and it was interesting to read a 2015 discussion that came to similar conclusions.
A small format module to do that could be very useful.

My 'bad' left eye is still improving,
apparently the time taken to fully recover from surgery can vary.
I am slowly building a Tx27 kit and the problem is not the eyesight,
it is my less than nimble fingers.




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 Posted: Sun Nov 10th, 2019 12:16 pm
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Steven B
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Dave,

A friend of mine has been using battery track charging since the Sacramento NMRA Convention in 2011.

He had used the Chubb system, which worked well, but it had limitations and he wanted to expand. 

In Sacramento he met Neil Stanton and went with the S-Cab. 
I have operated it and it works fantastically. 

He charges on specific staging tracks and in engine facilities. 
He has a number of engines now that use the system.

https://www.s-cab.com/neils-blog/battery-power-on-western-pacific

https://www.s-cab.com/neils-blog/battery-power-on-western-pacificThe
 
RDC is BP with the Stanton System see at about 16:28
He describes the system at 24:52

It is a very good system. 
I hope to go with it at some point, when and if I ever get to build a new layout.




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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2019 12:59 am
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Bob Walker
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Reviewed the neils-blog info on battery powered operation,

but there is not much detail regarding on-track recharging.



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 Posted: Mon Nov 11th, 2019 05:59 pm
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Geoff L
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The latest Acc and Ess Protocab newsletter (4 November),
contains details of their new remote charging module,
which may be of interest.

I have skimmed through it but not gone into the details,
so cannot say if it is entirely relevant.

Geoff


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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 09:07 am
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davecttr
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I don't have access to the Protocab newsletter so will have to wait for any explanations.

A few issues come to mind with on track charging.
The original BlueRail board switched seamlessly between battery and track power,
but only if both voltages were the same.

Maybe a better way is to have the battery replace the 'stay alive' capacitors, many DCC users fit in their locos.
You would have track power charging the battery and the battery powering the loco, with radio control of course.

There must be issues with this, you should not trickle charge a Li-Po battery,
my charger instructions say switch on the charger before plugging in the battery,
I presume you can't charge and discharge a battery at the same time.

Then we have the problem of 2S batteries.
These are very useful to maintain the voltage boost efficiency with power hungry locos.
It seems to me that any track charging system would need to handle a 2S battery as well as a 1S.

I think this 1S/2S battery issue has plagued Protocab,
because the voltage regulation/boost is built into the boards.




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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 07:59 pm
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Tom Harbin
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davecttr wrote:
I don't have access to the Protocab newsletter so will have to wait for any explanations.

A few issues come to mind with on track charging.
The original BlueRail board switched seamlessly between battery and track power,
but only if both voltages were the same.

Maybe a better way is to have the battery replace the 'stay alive' capacitors, many DCC users fit in their locos.
You would have track power charging the battery and the battery powering the loco, with radio control of course.

There must be issues with this, you should not trickle charge a Li-Po battery,
my charger instructions say switch on the charger before plugging in the battery,
I presume you can't charge and discharge a battery at the same time.

Then we have the problem of 2S batteries.
These are very useful to maintain the voltage boost efficiency with power hungry locos.
It seems to me that any track charging system would need to handle a 2S battery as well as a 1S.

I think this 1S/2S battery issue has plagued Protocab,
because the voltage regulation/boost is built into the boards.


Dave,

Since I don't have any working BPRC anything,
I'm working from research, but I believe you just described S-Cab.

The 1S/2S problem is mitigated by going with 2P batteries.
It doesn't eliminate the step-up regulator efficiency issues,
but it doubles the amps to help offset it.

It does work similar to, but not the same as, keep-alive capacitors on powered track.
The big difference of course is that you still receive command inputs,
since they are RC not track-based.

Tom


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 Posted: Tue Nov 12th, 2019 10:03 pm
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Andy R
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While 2S is attractive from an efficiency perspective,
it requires a new level of complexity for on-board charging.

The cells must be balanced during charge,
to ensure that one does not get overcharged.

Getting that into 00/H0 outline will not be easy.
Anyone up to the challenge?

-- Andy




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 Posted: Thu Nov 14th, 2019 10:04 pm
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Helmut
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I think I mentioned it in another thread before,
it may be an alternative to consider super-capacitors to bridge dead sections.

It is not completely 'dead-rail',
but you can leave all the tricky trackwork unpowered.

Just a not so good video showing a loco with a heavy (~250g metal) load,
on a dead section, to stress my point.

Correction
I just checked my files -it was 250g per car, totaling to 500g train mass.

Last edited on Fri Nov 15th, 2019 07:25 am by Helmut



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