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enginear joe

Battery power

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I wanted to run track power as my history with cordless drills has been rough. I don't like the idea of spending large sums of money on batteries, and their life cycle dying out early. I see a lot of guys enjoying their outdoor layouts much deeper into the winter season and that has me second guessing myself. I have 2 Dash 9 Aristo's that seem like they'd be the perfect candidate for the swap to battery? I have PS2 already installed in both and I like the sounds. I want to stay with track power and wish by now, that these systems would be compatible. Like they could recharge themselves while running over powered track? I'm not sure that would be a big gain?

 

 When you install a MTH TIU in a trailing car that becomes the control for the engine anyways, doesn't it? There doesn't seem to be anywhere to go to learn much about battery powered MTH use. I do see it listed as an available option on Ray's pages. Do any here have it? How do you like it? Are there better brands of batteries to use? Is it worth it?

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To me it all depends on your situation.  I've run track power in the winter in the past with no issue and the only real issue you would encounter is Ice or Snow.  If you have ice on the rails you wont be running trains with either track or battery power.  With snow I've never had problems as my snow fighting videos show.   (I can see where someone would want to run their snow blower motor on batteries even though I've setup mine to run on track power ok.)  I understand you have all Stainless steel rail and if you have all stainless steel direct to rail split jaw clamps on all rail joints you wont have conductivity issues (I know this from experience) so you're someone that to me would be the last person I would see compelled to go battery power unless you wanted to run on other layouts that are poorly put together and dont support track power reliably.  There are a number of individuals down in Arizona that I've done MTH battery setups for, some are online here.  They use it to run on a large shared club layout so they can be completely 100% independent.  My opinion is that knowing your layout situation that unless you plan to visit other places I don't think this is worth your time, effort or money.  Battery power has its benefits to particular situations but it's not the only way to reliably run your trains (especially so when you have an all Stainless steel rail layout).

 

Yes when you install the TIU in your rolling stock it becomes the source for control of the engine.

 

I no longer have any information on battery power setups as I have found it is too time consuming to provide support for these kinds of self-installs.  

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That was a thoughtful reply. I get lead into things that others try. I originally decided that I needed to go with track power for overall economy and performance. With 2 specific engines that need some tuning, I thought I'd dabble with battery power to see how it works overall. I mean I know it's good, but battery life and performance testing, on a smaller scale.

 After spending all the extra money to have stable track power, You are right that I should stick with it. I'm happy that I chose it and get great performance and control from my stock MTH engines. I really need to modify others fully, to comply with the rest. Track issues like leaves, seeds, and dirt need to be dealt with in their seasons. Ice and snow, present another problem. I didn't want any of my top performers, to get rusty wheels or messed up by water, etc., during the winter running. I put my older used Aristo Dash 9 on the track before cleaning, at it threw a fit. I had to spend serious time cleaning and modifying it for stable power pick-up. The MTH engines, acted like there was nothing wrong. I have a new Aristo DASH 9 that still is finicky. Hence the 2 that would be candidates for battery??

 So a post like Jerry's about MTH performance rings true with me. I dabble with other brands and would like them all to run worry free. I think I'll look into redundant power pick-up on my Aristo's to be assured of worry free performance. I feel they need either sliders or plungers added, or both to stabilize performance. I think that battery users get that from not having to rely on sub-standard power supply to the boards. Of course they have to pay in the end, with battery replacement.

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One the wheels and moisture, Aristocraft and MTH both have a brass/copper alloy for their wheels so they will never rust.  USA Trains uses Stainless steel for their steamers wheels and I think a similar brass alloy for the diesel wheels.  I dont think there is much on any engine I can think of that would rust except for engines/cars that have steel suspension springs.   The Aristocraft green gear box (which is on most diesel and steam engines) may have steel springs that support the power pickup roller ball and that may be a reason to keep the Aristos away from unnecessary moisture although I have run mine in snow with no seemingly long term issues.

 

I have seen some Aristo Dash-9s that had finicky power pickups, my suggestion is to put the engine on rollers and set the engine running for a good long time at a moderate to higher speed and ensure the power pickup rollers that are built into the gear box wears away any oxidation/corrosion on the axles/contact points and slide the engine side to side some.

 

I agree with you on the sliders and that is one reason I like and prefer my engines have them as those engines perform well in a much wider range of track conditions where engines with just wheel power pickups can be more susceptible to power pickup problems.  There was one engine I experimented with removing them from and just adding more wheel power pickups and ended up putting them back on.

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I thought about switching over, did pick up a MTH car a guy had made for battery, had a stripped down TIU in it. Kept thinking about it, I never go to  other layouts(only one other  in town, others are 150 miles away). So I don't go to other layouts. My track power is always good and engines run fine. I do have some battery powerd Aristo's, but seldom use them.  I originally converted them due to their bad wheel plating, so they did not run well.  Not sure Aristo ever fixed that or not. Ray advised me to use the TIU for bench testing, so I thought that was a good idea.

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I am also track powered. :D

However I do have a battery that I use in the rotary snow blower or the leaf blower.

Ray I started the snow blower with track power , But I found I could run the blower full tilt (Battery)and creep along with track power.

I then picked up a USA engine that was converted to Battery .. I use this to pull my track cleaning cars! :ph34r:

For exercise sometimes I will walk the line with a pole sander. ^_^

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On 2/28/2016 at 10:51 AM, Rayman4449 said:

There are a number of individuals down in Arizona that I've done MTH battery setups for, some are online here.  They use it to run on a large shared club layout so they can be completely 100% independent.  My opinion is that knowing your layout situation that unless you plan to visit other places I don't think this is worth your time, effort or money.  Battery power has its benefits to particular situations but it's not the only way to reliably run your trains (especially so when you have an all Stainless steel rail layout).

 

 

Raymond has converted MTH engines to battery for me. I have one boxcar for the battery, and another with the TIU in it. The system works without any problems, at least for me. The only problems I have are user error. I run my trains on a community layout and this is the only way I could get my MTH system to work. For my use this system is great.

 

I can say that if I had my own layout, I would probably use track power. I would rather leave the equipment stock from the factory, although, I do trust Raymond's expert work.

 

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It's not cheap to get started in battery power that's for sure but the cost per unit does come down once you have the common elements. The first CAB throttle and battery charger being commonly shared components. So I decided to do both battery and track in combination for the flexibility.

 

I just converted a Bachman 3 Truck Shay to Airwire. I will do a USA NW2 and Bachman 2-4-2 next. Then leave a 4-6-0 and C19 track powered.

 

We moved last year and the old layout was track powered with no problems. It was fine. My thought is the new layout will be two loops plus several switching areas so having a track powered train running and being able to independenly control the switching areas made some sense. It certainly simplifies matters.

 

A lot of people look at this as being one way or the other. I think in my head at least the combination of the two makes sense.

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Joe, as you know, all of my locos, so far, are battery power.  Take a look at the P42, T1, and E8, all on battery.  My reason, basically, was track cleaning and connectivity.  I also have a Challenger on battery.  I am also going to attempt to run some of my other locos on track power, getting tired of the procedure of converting. Bob.

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Just for the records there is one other good reason to go battery power: Its if you run electric powered locos with live steam. Most live steam locos are not insulated (I say most because Aster did dable in this for a while in the early eighties and I have two) But that is not the only reason also, live steam locos (especially the earlier less sophisticated models with graphited yarn piston rings and gland boxes) tend to spray a good deal of steam oil on the track and this wreaks havoc for electric workings because it gums up the wheels with gunk. So this is an added reason to go battery operation. I am giving it serious thought. My main problem being that I have over ten electric locos and outfitting them all with batteries and control systems would be out of the question. So I may use one battery and TIU car for my MTH locos and one for my French locos + individually controled switchers with on board batteries and control system and also for my Renault railcar.

I am also pondering on a new railroad (I am planning to move soon) with electrically operated yard and branch leading to the yard and connecting to the main outdoor loop and division points at the connection with exchange from electric or diesels to steam running on the main loop (Or oval for steam) thus separating the two except for a very short section where the electrics are run into a pocket siding and steam coupled up for the mainline run. But in that case I wont be able to enjoy a run with electrics on the main line... What a dilemna. Also I recognise that I do pretty well with steam locos but am totally useless with electronics... Oh well....

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My live steamers spit stuff all over also, but a wipe down and run the LGB track cleaner loco around and it seems okay. I don't run any electrics when running the live steam though. I hear you on electronics, is a mystery to me, Ray can tell you that!:Smiling_with_Sweat_Emoji_large(24x24):

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