12 volt battery as power supply?

Helitac Jan 17, 2021

  1. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    It looks like I'll need to rent a storage space to play trains. One part of this is a power supply. How about an automotive type battery, a fuse, and a rheostat? Should it be more complicated? And maybe could you recommend a high quality rheostat? This'll be HO scale and a "simple" one train at a time operation.
     
  2. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    I have used Deep Cycle batteries for boats and campers with a device that attaches to the posts with clips or cigar lighter outlet. This converts DC to AC with normal outlets to plug into. Available were you buy boats, campers and trailer hitches. I've used this to run drills and saws. You could then use a normal rheostat for model trains as well.
    Best wishes!;)
     
  3. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    How long do you think an inverter would last in such an application?
     
  4. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    One of mine is a single AC outlet that plugs into the accessories outlet on the dash of the truck. The second plugs into the accessory outlet in the box containing the large deep cycle battery wired into the box of the truck and used for bigger tools. Both of them were bought in 1991 and still work.
    The bigger one was in a pop-up camper and with circuit breakers and several outlets. But I don't think you want such a large unit. You would probably want a deep cycle battery that maintains the 12 volts longer and a special home charger for it.
     
  5. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    The battery in the back of the truck could also be used to power an electric trolling motor in the boat for a couple hours.
     
  6. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    Ok, so a deep cycle battery and a 12volt DC to 110AC inverter, on a wagon or cart type affair might work, but how long before I'd need to recharge it, a couple of hours?
     
  7. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    I don't know how much current my MRC 1300 draws, I guess that, a light (75 watt?), and my laptop/phone would be the load. I wonder what the battery draw would be. Am I getting into 2 battery territory?
     
  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Hey Y'all, I'm a DC dinosaur, but I ran my trains on a 12 Volt battery and a rheostat 70+ years ago. My reversing switch was to swap the leads to the track. You keep talking 120 Volts. That adds two pieces of inefficiency between your power source and the tracks which wastes energy and robs trains of power.

    Remember the KISS principal...Keep It Simple, Stupid! Honest, you don't need MRC or other controllers when you don't have 120 Volts available. Think 12 Volts.
     
    logging loco and acptulsa like this.
  9. mrhedley

    mrhedley TrainBoard Member

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    You don't necessarily need 110V to operate your trains. There are several makes of throttles that take a 12V DC input that typically requires a wall transformer for input voltage. If your input is a 12V battery you'd wire it directly, so why transform up to 110V to supply a device that transforms it back to 12V? That would only add inefficiency that would drain the battery quicker.

    Usually they are walkaround throttles that are tethered to the control unit. Innovative Technologies made one, and there are others. Most are no longer manufactured, however, so you'll probably need to find a used one. Check eBay "Power and Control".
     
    Hytec likes this.
  10. mrhedley

    mrhedley TrainBoard Member

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    Here is an example of a walk around throttle that takes a direct 12 VDC input. I don't know if its acceptable to post the ebay link, but I'll try. Cab Contrller Model 44 | eBay

    s-l1600.jpg If not, here is a picture of one.
     
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  11. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    So it seems like a deep cycle battery is my best option, the train(s) can run on DC direct from the battery, with a fuse and rheostat, and a fairly low power inverter for the rest. (light and 'puter/phone) Then I'll just need to schlepp the battery around to recharge it. Simple enough. Thank you all for the input, I'm clear now on how to proceed.
     
  12. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I've used a 9 Volt battery with clip leads for testing. Lasts long enough for a few circuits around the track.
     
    Kurt Moose likes this.
  13. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    Rather than a rheostat, you could buy the following throttle:
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/851.HTM
    While it shows the input voltage as 12-18 VAC, you could just as well connect your battery to that input.
    You'll lose some voltage through the bridge rectifier (unless you bypass it), but that will only affect the maximum speed at which your trains will run.
     
  14. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    I thought about that, it may be still in play, I don't know what a rechargeable one might cost, I don't like to throw batteries away.
     
  15. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I would just get a Jackery type portable power station and a DC PWM Motor Controller. The PWM motor controller would have the basic functionality needed to run your trains, and the power station could be used for all kinds of things like camping, emergency power, phone charging, running trains etc.

    Everyone should have a portable power station. For the cost of 1 locomotive, you can get one that can charge by solar, car socket, and 120vac plug, and run a portable cooler sized fridge all day at the beach. Run your trains at any venue without a power source, fairground booths, table at the library, dark dusty storage locker, etc. And they usually have a built in light too!.
     
    Helitac likes this.
  16. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    Yep, that's where I'm looking, wasn't sure about PWM, now that's settled. Thnx, Bobby.
     
    rray likes this.
  17. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    Yep, that's where I'm looking, wasn't sure about PWM, now that's settled. Thnx, Bobby.
     
  18. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    Whether you need an inverter at all depends on your accessories. They are all designed to work on AC, but if all you have are old school light bulbs, they don't care.

    As for your phone, a car charger powers it more efficiently than an inverter and a house charger (otherwise known as two inverters).
     
  19. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    It's true that converting from DC to AC will consume more energy. All mine were bought close to 30 years ago when battery powered wood working tools, digital cameras and computers were few and inadequate. And my model trains ran in the house/apartment.
    Deep cycle batteries, chargers and converters come in many sizes and voltages. There are battery, auto parts, hardware and farm equipment stores out there.
    If I was so inclined I would go with one about the size of the battery in mid-sized cars/trucks with a small two wheeled hand truck to move it. Also if you go that way and will be moving it into housing put it into a plastic box used in fishing boats. Even though they are sealed, they can leak.
     
  20. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    If you can park in front of the storage unit I'd keep it simple. Put a pure sine wave inverter in your car and run an extension cord into the storage unit. I've had good luck with Wagan on our boats and camper.

    If you think you are running the battery down go out and start the car up. It is true that inverters have a loss that could be a factor but being able to run the car at any time would forgo that problem in my mind and I'd doubt you would ever need to even run the car while you are there. If that was a real concern put a low voltage disconnect on the inverter.

    The inverter would let you run anything that you would use at home on the layout so no need to buy stuff you won't use after moving out of the storage unit other than the inverter. Just size it for your needs. If you run power tools to work on the layout a second cheaper non-pure sine wave might work for them or maybe you already have battery powered tools.

    Sumner
     

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