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    • January 13, 2020 12:02 AM EST
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      What tests do you do to determine which you salvage?

      I separate all the cells, from the battery packs, and check their voltage with a digital multi meter. 

      What I have found most often then not is the BMS has given up the ghost. Or, occasionally, one cell has very low voltage. I'm surprised, most cells are within .05 volts of them selves.

       

      I buy the 18650 battery holders and 4S BMSs from ebay and wire it all up so I can swap battery packs out easily. The BMSs are not "balance charge" BMSs just over charge/undercharge and over current, 4 or 5 amp. I always have extra battery packs charged and ready to go. I started putting the date on the batteries so I can try and keep track of how old they are and what ones seem to not perform as well.

       

      I have two chargers, both Tenergy's. One charges at .5ah and is manual voltage select-able, 1-4 S. The other charges at 1ah and is fully automatic. These seem to work fine for me.

       

      I've never owned a brand new Li-ion battery pack and have never did any "scientific" testing on the packs that I've built, so I don't really know how good these are. I know I can run my Bachmann 4-6-0s with Revolution controllers and MyLocoSound cards pulling seven cars for about four hours at a prototypical speed, or about 48-52% on the Revolution controller. I'm not sure if I can ask for something better?

       

      I'm very happy with these, never had a mishap. And, the cost to me is minimal.

       

      Adam

    • January 12, 2020 11:08 PM EST
    • What tests do you do to determine which you salvage?

    • January 12, 2020 10:09 PM EST
    • Rooster ' said:

      Why hasn't anyone shown video of "their" trains running using Li-ion batteries yet?

      I have in a previous post.

      I build my own.

      My Bachmann's pull 7 cars for about 4 hours. I'm not sure of the ma hours of these packs because I make them from defective battery operated power tool battery packs. I'm the equipment manager for a large contractor and when a battery pack comes in as defective, I dispose of it...

       

      Adam

    • January 12, 2020 7:18 PM EST
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      Just taking one of the many good points Michael made:

       

      "Why hasn’t anyone inquired about the effects of slow charging our Lithium cells/batteries????"

       

      Because, reading carefully from the responses of the people who sell them and people who assemble them and users, the ASSUMPTION has been made that slower charging is safer and "simpler"....

       

      No facts to back this up except people claiming no issues. Do they know if the lifetime/power capacity has been compromised? I'm pretty sure not.

       

      The problem at this point in the thread, is further discussion would involve statements like: "Just selling batteries does not make you an expert", or the fact that it has worked so far does not mean it is the best way.

       

      I have no wish to polarize or cause issues here, Michael has stated what my engineers and my research as an engineer has yielded. I run a small company of electronic engineers that design things and we always go by the manufacturer's specifications, and work the their recommendations first.

       

      Anyway, I stopped "trickle charging" batteries about 30 years ago, as I had shorter battery lifetimes as predicted by the people who were battery experts at that time.

       

      Greg

       

       

      Why hasn't anyone shown video of "their" trains running using Li-ion batteries yet? Do they really work or is this just a discussion about how to make them work properly with no proof that they really work ?

    • January 11, 2020 3:33 PM EST
    • Greg Elmassian said:

      Just taking one of the many good points Michael made:

       

      "Why hasn’t anyone inquired about the effects of slow charging our Lithium cells/batteries????"

       

      Because, reading carefully from the responses of the people who sell them and people who assemble them and users, the ASSUMPTION has been made that slower charging is safer and "simpler"....

       

      No facts to back this up except people claiming no issues. Do they know if the lifetime/power capacity has been compromised? I'm pretty sure not.

       

      The problem at this point in the thread, is further discussion would involve statements like: "Just selling batteries does not make you an expert", or the fact that it has worked so far does not mean it is the best way.

       

      I have no wish to polarize or cause issues here, Michael has stated what my engineers and my research as an engineer has yielded. I run a small company of electronic engineers that design things and we always go by the manufacturer's specifications, and work the their recommendations first.

       

      Anyway, I stopped "trickle charging" batteries about 30 years ago, as I had shorter battery lifetimes as predicted by the people who were battery experts at that time.

       

      Greg

       

      In my case I until this thread came along I was not aware know trickle charging could damage Li chemistry batteries I will now change that.

      I have been charging my NiMH batteries (yeah I know its an unrelated subject) for over 10 years at slightly over 1/10C (0.3A for 2750mAH) and they are still just chugging on, this is why when I switched to Li I just started treating them the same way, biggest influence were all the horror stories that are floating around on forums and the net (also talking to model plane flyers at the local club) so I went down the safety path.

      As for OEM specs on my batteries I have no idea who made them and I am fairly sure that the seller (Hobbyking) would either know or would share the knowledge. 

      I think the majority of users, having no technical/engineering training, would not be able to understand OEM specs, and not to mention being able to access them in the beginning, so they rely on the sellers to do the work for them and provide matched batteries and chargers when first starting out. 

      They probably don't even consider, let alone log, performance.   I suggest they just run them till they die and replace them with the same thing (Devil you know).

       

      Might I suggest that Greg and Michael collaborate and write an informative article on this subject and have it posted on Greg's site and as a "Sticky" in FAQ (if this forum has that facility) for all to read and thus reduce the instance of future "going round the buoy again" posts on this subject.

    • January 11, 2020 2:02 PM EST
    • Just taking one of the many good points Michael made:

       

      "Why hasn’t anyone inquired about the effects of slow charging our Lithium cells/batteries????"

       

      Because, reading carefully from the responses of the people who sell them and people who assemble them and users, the ASSUMPTION has been made that slower charging is safer and "simpler"....

       

      No facts to back this up except people claiming no issues. Do they know if the lifetime/power capacity has been compromised? I'm pretty sure not.

       

      The problem at this point in the thread, is further discussion would involve statements like: "Just selling batteries does not make you an expert", or the fact that it has worked so far does not mean it is the best way.

       

      I have no wish to polarize or cause issues here, Michael has stated what my engineers and my research as an engineer has yielded. I run a small company of electronic engineers that design things and we always go by the manufacturer's specifications, and work the their recommendations first.

       

      Anyway, I stopped "trickle charging" batteries about 30 years ago, as I had shorter battery lifetimes as predicted by the people who were battery experts at that time.

       

      Greg

    • January 11, 2020 12:25 PM EST
    • How many of Don’s 600 batteries are 4/5/6 cell series batteries, being charged with the correct 1A charger? How many are 4/5/6 series-parallel batteries are being slow charged with the 1A charger? What is the failure rate herein? Sadly most series-parallel battery owners don’t even recognize their batteries maybe suspect and not performing as they should.

       

      I haven’t made any assumptions… I did however share published manufacturer data sheets; the FACTS!

       

      Specifically, I provided links to the cell manufactures and battery charger’s data sheets with specifications in several threads. These manufactures are the authority on their products. Local joeys, battery resellers, hobby shops, wholesalers, battery assemblers and even battery charger manufactures are NOT the GO to people for recommending how to care and feed Lithium cells/batteries. What are the qualifications of these individuals for suggesting its acceptable practice to SLOW charge LG Chem, Samsung and or Panasonic Lithium cells contrary to the cell manufacturers published specifications? Perhaps those that continue to espouse inaccurate information can share documentation that supports their assertions that are again contrary to the cell OEM's. Why would I or anyone else consider and follow said inaccurate recommendations from these individuals without valid published data, lab tests, empirical data and such. It’s really that simple………

       

      Why hasn’t anyone inquired about the effects of slow charging our Lithium cells/batteries????

       

      I’ve been involved with the 18650 Lithium cell types for 20 years as well NiCd, Ni-Mh and others of the RC car/truck/boat/aircraft world starting mid 90’s. The whole of my experience with Lithium 18650 cells began in 1998 with Tadarins 800mAh lithium metal cells, searching for lighter batteries to power the flight control systems of Giant Scale or 40% scale model airplanes. The needs of hungry digital servos proved early on that we’d have to utilize the cells in series-parallel formats. Around 2001 Lithium-Ion 18650’s cells came to market; the original cells were 2000mAh capacity. I/we gleaned real-world data on performance and short comings therein with lab charging and cycling equipment, flight logs and specifically monitoring and recording each and every battery in hand. A few years after the Lithium Ion 18650 were released Li-Po’s hit the beaches running. Electric powered aircraft was NOW a viable consideration. For many years my son and I were heavily involved in the RC Plane world traveling around the county to shows, invitation only contests and events. We had established multiple relationships/sponsorships with several battery assembler/resellers for the scale avionics world. I can suggest that we’ve used, graded and damaged thousands of Lithium batteries over the course of said experience. The battery sponsors gave us these batteries to evaluate, use and abuse.

       

      I came to trains and batteries around 2007. I have a few engines equipped with Li-Ion batteries; the rest of my engines are equipped to use Li-Po’s. I continue to fly RC planes and play with other RC hobbies. Presently I care and feed 43 Lithium batteries for our toys. I also have equipment to grade, cycle and jigs to assemble 18650 cells into batteries with WELDED battery straps verses soldering wire or similar ilk.

       

      I don’t have a bone in this game, I DON’T like to see others recommend and espouse what I know and can document is misinformation!

       

      Link to maiden run of SP F3’s equipped with Airwire, Phoenix and Lithium power on my buddy Noels layout. I presently am layout less; a recent property purchase will eventually provide the space for a large layout.

       

      Michaels F3's on Lithium

       

      Nuff said. Have fun guys.

      Michael

    • January 9, 2020 10:26 PM EST
    • Thanks Don.  You hit the nail on the head. Most of your customers prefer safety & simplicity over extended life in charge cycles.  Not saying that this is a bad thing. The cost of convenience is part of the equation.

    • January 9, 2020 9:53 PM EST
    • Rooster ' said:
      Richard Mynderup said:

       

      I'm good with discontinuing this post if you are...I wish all a good start to the new year!!

      Richard

       

       

      I'm good with it as well Richard.

       

      However it would be REALLY COOL to finish this post/thread with ALL those knowledgeable folks that have helped and chimed in show us some video of THEIR trains running or on their layout running  Li-ion battery power.

       

       

       I would except for a couple of small technicalities;

      • I am building my layout at present and have no track laid at present (will do when daytime temp is not 33C)
      • I would to figure out how to shoot and retrieve a video on the wife's camera and post it here (I have enough trouble with stills

       But I love to see videos of other layouts.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • January 9, 2020 9:39 PM EST
    • Rooster, great idea!!  I know I've really appreciated everyone's input and experience.  I feel after several years in the hobby I'm getting more and more knowledgeable but it's not just because of me. I've gleaned a lot from all who have given their input.

      So, I'm fine keeping this post alive...

      Richard

    • January 9, 2020 7:07 PM EST
    • Richard Mynderup said:

       

      I'm good with discontinuing this post if you are...I wish all a good start to the new year!!

      Richard

       

       

      I'm good with it as well Richard.

       

      However it would be REALLY COOL to finish this post/thread with ALL those knowledgeable folks that have helped and chimed in show us some video of THEIR trains running or on their layout running  Li-ion battery power.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • January 9, 2020 10:32 AM EST
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    • January 9, 2020 10:32 AM EST
    • Hi Richard, before we end this thread I must support my original message.  After being in this business for 20 years and transitioning to Lithium battery in 2014 I have a different perspective then the engineers.

       

      I highly respect Greg and Michael accurate technical reply's. I too have learned a lot from them and want them to continue to help us. They made assumptions not facts about my products. As a retailer my first responsibility is safety then technical correctness. I consulted with my Battery Assembler before makin this reply. 

       

      Based on selling over 600 lithium packs using 1 amp battery charger my customers have enjoyed a safe and expected runtime. I personally use our batteries and chargers. Yes convenience is great and my customers prefer it to removing the battery to charge and  then selecting the correct setting in a charger each time. I sold the Triton programable chargers when we had no other choice. With our  slow chargers I can offer Safety first and consistently achieve projected runtimes.  

       

       

       

       

      Don Sweet

      RCS of New England

       

    • January 8, 2020 10:16 PM EST
    • I'm thankful to everyone for their candid and educational thoughts regarding the Li-Ion battery.  I have already learned a lot and for that I'm most appreciative.  I also have a lot more to digest as I await the new Tenergy TB6-B charger from Amazon...however, I have enyough to be dangerous as they say...not dangerous as in blowing up my train shed dangerous...

      I'm good with discontinuing this post if you are...I wish all a good start to the new year!!

      Richard

    • January 9, 2020 9:27 PM EST
    • One thing, not sure if this is a consideration, but Airwire is very 'hackable' for lack of a better term.  It is DCC over the air on the 915Mhz ISM band, so for the most part, it's kinda 'open source' if you are so inclined.

    • January 9, 2020 6:37 PM EST
    • Welcome to LSC Timothy!

    • January 8, 2020 9:36 PM EST
    • I have Airwire, but I have also have used Railpro. I think Railpro is a much better system if you have the money. The speed control is very smooth, the touchscreen display is very straightforward and easy to use, (no DCC functions to worry about), and the sound selection and sound quality is very good. 

       

      Another nice thing about Railpro is that anyone can add sound files to their sound file library. That means there are almost unlimited possibilities for sound files of any loco or self-propelled railcar that you may want.  If there isn't, you can always upload your own file to their library. 

    • January 8, 2020 6:36 PM EST
    • If cost isn't a problem...

      I would say use a Protothrottle with Martin Sant's DCC Widget...

       

      But that's the $500 Protothrottle cost plus Martin's widget plus a DCC decoder. But you won't get a more realistic way to control your trains.

    • January 8, 2020 2:55 PM EST
    • Tim,

      I am curious have you managed to get your hands on or try both systems?  I myself have been installing RailPro and battery power into all of my engines which is coming up on 14 now.  I like railpro as to me it is a less expensive system with a lot of features.  Mind you the remote is a lit costlier but you only have to buy one and then its only buying a single decoder for each engine you install into and the decoders are less than $200.  Where as airwire you need decoder and then you need to go buy a sound decoder as well and that can run you over $300.  As for ease of installation you should no in G scale since there is no standard everyone adopted that is just plug a play you do usually need to cut and solder wires at times.  I believe aire wire does have drop in boards which do ease some of the installation but again that adds to cost.  I prefer the visual touch screen of the RailPro controller myself as I can see a picture and easily select loco's and I find no issue with responsiveness.  Only issue you can have is when you put in a metal steam engine where you range can drop a lot.  Engine will still continue on even when you loose signal and will reacquire once back in range but that is one thing I have seen.  Either system is going to be compatible with the engines.  If you have any other questions or want to know anything else just reply. 

    • January 8, 2020 2:44 PM EST
    • RailPro has a lot of nice features and benefits.  The reason I won't go near it is that the receiver only has 6 outputs for lights, etc.  With AirWire, you can use DCC function decoders to do whatever you like.  RailPro also won't let you sync chuff sounds with a pulsed smoke unit or trigger with an kind of axle sensor.  There is an input line on it, but it's not clear what it's for.  Perhaps in the future, this will allow external triggering.