Ben Franklin?/ Reinvent the wheel?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by KCS, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    After tearing apart a 3 disc CD changer/radio I salvaged it for some motors and springs. I started playing around after letting the idea go for using the motors in animated scenery. I looked at the Model Power power supply in the box across the room and thought, "can I harness my own electricity to run my layout without having to plug it into the wall, such as those day's when the power goes out for a few hours and you have nothing else to do but run trains but can't because of no power.

    I started playing around mounting the motors to a small piece of sheet rock I broke of from some left overs and used the pulley's and belts crossing multiple motors in line with the one hooked up to the power pack. I noticed with one motor running 3 others and hooking up and LED to the leads of one was plenty of power to light it up plus run another one to turn a different belt. Over all, it is apparent that it is plausible. Now, for someone who is very electronically inclined.

    How can I power such without plugging in? (no gas generator!)The idea is without using one of those things burring up gas. I thought about something of a car battery array with an alternator in the motor consist to keep the battery charged while another motor in the loop is providing a steady current of 110 volts. Simply by the flip of a switch, the current runs through to the motor and everything starts up. Is this absolutely possible?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    If you are running dc and not dcc, you don't need 120 volts to run the trains. A car battery that is kept plugged into one of those battery saver trickle chargers that they sell for keeping batteries charge up on collector cars will be ready to go. I think you can probably get a Kallmbach or Carstens book on electronic projects that will show you how to make a transistor throttle. Most of those designs use a transformer to reduce 110 volts ac down to 12 volts dc. You can use the transistor throttle connected directly to a car battery without a transformer. Use a circuit breaker in line because a battery will push an amazing amount of amperage through a short circuit! You should not need to worry about keeping it charged, unless you plan to run trains for 24 hours or longer without power. If you make some sort of quick connect plug ins to allow you to switch over from the transformer to batteries. Then you just need to deal with light if the power goes out at night!
  3. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, the idea had come to me because for one, there's been some complaints about how igh the electric bill is even though I'm not at fault for it but I was thinking of a way to power the entire layout (animation, light's, trains, switchs, DCC, etc) without ever plugging into a wall. One day when we do move from here I do plan on getting a piece of land with a double wide and a portable building to put out on it for trains only and without the hassle of having to set in a utility pole to run from the house to the building. That's why I was curious as to weather it were possible for one motor to power a power generator while powering itself from the power generator. Maybe I'm thinking of the impossible by trying to defy the law of physics when it can't be done just canceling each other out.
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Even the battery charger needs to be plugged in, so by running on the battery power, you're still using power that came from the plug. In fact, there may be enough of a loss in all the conversion steps that you'd actually use more power to run the trains this way. :rolleyes: The one motor turning the other two as generators can't create more power than is put into it, either: otherwise we're talking here about some form of perpetual motion.

  5. alexander

    alexander Member

    Just out of curiosity, the use of motors like that, that what Dynamic Brakes are, right?
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Pretty much the same thing. The engineer of the locomotive can use the controls to alter the electrical circuits within the loco, so that the motors, still turning because of the momentum of the train, generate electricity instead of consume it. The power is sent to resistor grids, which turn it into heat, which, in turn, is dissipated by cooling fans. On a straight electric locomotive, the power generated this way is fed back into the supply system, either overhead wire or third rail, and it can be used to power other locomotives.

  7. KCS

    KCS Member

    That's pretty much the idea except using an alternator in that array to keep the battery charged rather than using a battery charger or wallwart. I'll have to draw up a diagram on it. Only thing I would need a motor that would produce more power than the rate it turns at. Hmmmm, the mad man is going back to the drawing board!
  8. Illus

    Illus Member

    Agreed. But if you do make it work, send me the plans, and I will take care of all the patent rights for you:)
  9. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    You are talking about perpetual motion. It won't work with any kind of current technology. If you have enough property, and no zoning problems, and plenty of wind, you could install a windmill to generate your power. If you get enough wind to generate enough electricity, you could sell the excess back to the power cmpany and thus reduce your electric bill.
  10. alexander

    alexander Member

    old bike, maybe?
  11. hooknlad

    hooknlad Member

    How about getting a solar battery charger??? I think after all is said and done with the engineering, it just may be cheaper to keep the layout plugged in. Considerations such as heat and light are also required for an effecient and enjoyable layout. I was quite miserable for some time running a layout in a detached garage with just a simple 100' extension cord ran from the house..... Now being a homeowner, the layout is just another necessary expense in running the household..
  12. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I could be wrong.

    Attached Files:

  13. Buddog

    Buddog Member

    Not to burst your bubble, but that may work only for a short period, there is always some loss due to friction, the pulley system and even motor at the end. The battery will last for a while but slowly you will not have enough amps to due much of anyting. I would be surprised if it ran for an hour, of course mattering the loads you put on it.

    The solar panel is a good Idea though it would help out allot

  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Everything that you have there is pretty low current draw. I can't see it using much power. In my childhood years I ran my first DC powered 0-4-0 Mantua shifter on a car battery since we didn't have electricity at the time. Not much in the way of speed control there unless I had been able to buy a rheostat and add it into the system. There is also a thing called The Law of the Conservation of Energy that says basically that you don't get something for nothing when dealing with systems like that.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    The power you get out of the wall outlet from the utility company is about as cheap as it comes. It is true that the source of energy for either a wind generator or solar cells is free, but the initial cost of the installation and maintenance is usually pretty high. For example, a solar cell system for a house is going to run $15,000 to $20,000. Then add in for occasional maintanance and component replacement and it takes many years to recoup the investment.

    Now, for a model railroad, using a solar cell battery charger and a battery might be a neat way to do it. Also, someone mentioned a bicycle powering a generator... that would work too, but seems more like work than a hobby at that point!

    Let's say your railroad is using 3 amps at somewhat less than 20 volts. That is less than turning on a 60 watt light bulb. Considering the power consumed by the average model railroad, you may as well just plug the thing into the wall socket.
  16. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, in a way this turned up a bit of a laugh. It was only a "wild" idea that just popped in from no where. I just wasn't sure if it were possible to do or not. Would be a neat publish for MR if someone could ever make it work full time. :)

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