Battery Powered Rotary Snowplow

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by rockislandmike, May 22, 2002.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    My undecorated rotary snowplow arrived in the mail today courtesy of my recent eBay foray. My question is - how difficult would it be to insert a couple batteries in this puppy with some kind of switch so the battery would power lights in the front, and the rotating snowplow itself ???

    I'm not very electrically advanced, so I'm not sure I even want to tackle this task, but it seems interesting to me. Perhaps the easier way to do it would be to get some power trucks for the rear axle that would provide power from the tracks ??? That would also get rid of the difficulty of finding a place for the switch too I guess.

    Thoughts ????

    PS - in case it makes a difference, it's an Athearn rotary snow plow (1194).
  2. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    It Don't Seem Hard

    Hi Mike, that doesn't seem too hard. First of all I think you would have to fashion a shaft and bushing for the blades to turn on (a piece of brass tube and some steel piano wire) then simply couple that up(with a set of Athearn universal joints) to a cheap low rpm toy motor mounted on the inside floor of the plow. The switch could mount thru the floor and out of sight under the carbody. Use white LEDS for the heat and less battery drain. A motor that runs at 6 Volts would be ideal....thats 4 AA batteries in series. You'd have to put a 560ohm resistor in series with with the LEDS though as 6 volts will burn them out instantly. You don't want the blades to turn real fast so some kind of geared motor would be the thing....snowplows turn at less than a 100 rpms but they've got one heck of a lot of horsepower behind them. Just some random thoughts;) :D
  3. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    I would have bought one of those snow plows if the store I was in had had it in stock. I thought about how it could be made to work too.......

    This is pure theory but worth thinking about....... to power (self propel) it the good mechanism from the HO Bachmann Spectrum 44 ton switcher runs good at 6 volts and I feel would be easy to fit. I've attached a pic of this loco's chassis in case you have never seen it's insides.

    The plow blades could be driven from a model boat can-motor with an planetary motion in-line gearbox (not sure if these g/boxes are called epicyclic). I think these units are also inexpensive. If the blades motor is fed from a tiny bridge rectifier the blades would turn in the same direction irrespective of the direction of the unit.

    Just my thoughts.


    Attached Files:

  4. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    If you use track power rather than batteries, you'll be able to install a decoder when you go dcc and be able to turn on the fan and lights independently.

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    I have an old Athearn rotary. Does yours still have the rubber band drive to the blades? If it does, then you have the shaft and bearings in place, but the shaft will need extending back. You can probably use rubber tube to connect to a motor.
    If you use LEDs for the lights, see if an extra battery will fit, then you don't need the resistor.
    Snow plows (to my knowledge) were never self propelled. The Plow engine was used entirely for driving the blades. Plows were propelled by up to three locos behind them.
    I think the blades were bi-directional and could be adjusted in pitch or cutting angle both ways. They would be set to throw snow to either side of the tracks.
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Here's just a little sketch of my ideas on the snowplow that I sent to Mike. Thanks to Errol for converting this to the correct format:)

    Attached Files:

  7. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Yes, and thanks very much to Vic for putting together that diagram.

    David, it does have the rubber band drive, but that just seems, well, silly to me. But it does already have the shaft in place, which should help a lot.

    I'm still kinda nervous, though, so don't expect a two-day turnaround on this puppy. Will post pics (or more likely more questions) as I proceed.
  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Thanks again everyone for all their great ideas. Now just one more question for now - where to get all this stuff that I need . . . .

    - clear/white LED's (I assume my train store will have these)
    - six volt low rpm toy motor (Radio Shack??)
    - battery holder for 4AA's (ditto?)
    - 560 ohm resistor (ditto?)
    - SPST switch (ditto?)

  9. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Just a suggestion

    Mike, as snow plows aren't in the habbit of lamming around at 40 mph, I would be tempted to use your throttle at up to 1/3rd - 1/2 settings to supply the plow through the track.

    My reasoning is that battery holders for 4x AA size are BIG and I can't recall ever seeing such for 4 x AAA size. Also, having to remember (and fiddle around) switching on and off a car mounted switch wouldn't appeal to me.

    Low speed motors? .... bear in mind that motor speed is directly proportional to applied voltage so in theory you should be looking for a 24 to 36volt motor to be run at up to six volts. Not off-the-shelf items!

    Heres an idea to consider, Radio shack has tiny motors designed to run off a photo electric cell. One photo cell would do the job but will need a reasonable strength of light. (just one of my hairbrained ideas :) ).

    As they say, "there's more than one way to skin a cat"! :)

    Have fun.

  10. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Try the above for the battery box and the white led's. I think the one Radio Shack carries is for 6 only need 4 cells:)
    They also have some cheap motors.:D

    PS: Errol.....I like the solar powered idea!!!:)

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