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Batteries Or Super-Capacitors ?
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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 10:54 am
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Steve Soar
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Hi.  

Batteries are ok and give a good run time of a few hours, 
however require an on/off switch and a specialised charger.


In comparison, super-capacitors hold less charge,
but can be recharged in seconds, and no on/off switch required.

A short section of track powered with a 12V plug adapter,
re-charges the super-capacitor via the loco pickups.


I have a test track with a 1 metre section of powered track,
the rest of the track is un-powered. 

The loco charges the super-capacitor in seconds, on the powered track.
The loco will run up to 25 metres on an un-powered track.   

There is no waiting time for a charge.


The super-capacitor supplies a boost circuit, which outputs a constant 12V,
until the super-capacitor is discharged to approximately 3V.

The circuit is simpler than the battery circuits.

1. No switch
2. Fast charging, less than 5 seconds
3. Cheap charger, 12V plug adapter
4. Only 1 metre of track to keep clean

I have used 4 of 15 Farad 2.5V super-capacitorss in series,
to give 10V to the boost circuit.

Power from the rails is bridge-rectified to charge the super-capacitorss.


Photo attached shows my first prototype.  
It will be much tidier on a PCB.





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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 11:25 am
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Chris Morris
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Not sure on capacitors.

Now, I only have experience with mains voltage capacitors,
& they can really go with a bang if given a feed of over voltage.
I have also had a few shocks off mains voltage versions.

But the more informed will give you advise on the pros & cons.




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Chris, from Norfolk UK. "Using On30 Scale"
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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 01:23 pm
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Michael M
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Steve,

Looks interesting. 


Would like to see more.




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Michael
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Nye, Inyo & Esmeralda Railroad

https://www.flickr.com/photos/183715370@N03/albums/72157710477887657/
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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 01:58 pm
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Steve Soar
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Hi,  

Thanks for the feedback.

Supercaps are not too bad,
providing they are not overcharged too much.
  
Like all things electrical,
they need to be treated with a bit of respect.

I have not had any problems to date.

I will post more of my findings,
as I experiment with the circuit.

Regards

Steve


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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 02:06 pm
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Steve Soar
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Hi Michael

Thanks for your interest, 
early days.  

I will post updates as I do further testing. 
The next step is to get a prototype PCB.
 
Regards

Steve


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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 05:28 pm
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Helmut
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I have been using Supercaps to overcome dead spots "for ages"
(that is since 2009, and using 6S@13V for a garden railroad)
and have several TT scale locos that run off a 5.5V Supercap.

The voltage is stepped up to 9V with a 'Pololu' in case of contact loss.
No capacitor problems encountered for years!


Addendum:
Just one of the circuits I employ:







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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 07:10 pm
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Steve Soar
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Hi.

Excellent,
all we need now are some super supercaps.

Regards

Steve


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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2021 09:09 pm
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Helmut
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A short video of a test I made in 2009.

The loco is using an analog supercap-based buffer.

The difficulty is to avoid lags in reaction time under normal operation conditions,
making the circuit much more complicated than the one for RC/digital.




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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2021 02:20 am
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Rod Hutchinson
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Helmut wrote: 
The voltage is stepped up to 9V with a 'Pololu' in case of contact loss.
No capacitor problems encountered for years!


Helmut

Is the input voltage to the Supercap from Track or Battery?




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Rod Hutchinson
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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2021 06:03 am
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Steve Soar
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Hi,

Thanks for the video, 2009 ... early days.

Supercaps are great.

If some of the new graphine types,
under development become available,
then it will be a game changer.
 
Interesting times we live in.

Regards

Steve


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