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jimbob

Inverters and DCC

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As my train shed is not connected to the mains I have to run a 30 cable from the house when I wish to play, sorry operate. Now I was considering using a 12 volt battery with an inverter to supply the power, permanat mains power is not an option at the moment.

I am an electical idiot so will this set up work with DCC and what rating inverter would I need asuming I was using some sort of camping battery?

Any help useful

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I used to use an inverter in my catering trailer. All it does is convert 12v DC to 240v AC, just the same as a power point in the house. A car battery will do, but a leisure battery is better suited. I used an 1800W inverter which kept three motors running, plus the electrical sensors in a gas burner. That would also power an electric drill with ease. 1800 is far too big for railway needs, but doesn't take any more battery power to run. I think I would be looking for around 500 which is more than enough. It's the battery that's important, as a car battery is designed to give short heavy burst of power and the leisure battery is designed for a constant trickle and will take more in the way of deep recharging.

Just remember to treat the Inverter's output exactly the same as you would normal household power.

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Well, suck it and see time. I've ordered a 500w inverter and a leisure battery and on top of that a small solar panel to act as a trickle charger for the battery. All up cost around £100, much cheaper than the best quote I had for even just fitting an outdoor socket and wiring. It's not the ideal solution but planning some improvement work to the house, including rewiring, sometime in the next 18 months so will do it then.

The main advantge will be that I can operate when ever I want with out needing to run cables from the house etc. Hopfully the solar panels will keep up with power usage and I will only need to recharge the battery from the mains when the cables out for things like cutting the grass.

Will updadte you when it's up and running.

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I spent 12 years living in West Wales. We often had power cuts because of the overhead lines. An inverter would have been handy if only to give a couple of light bulbs during those times.

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Your DCC doesn't need 240v AC. It will probably need about 15volts dc. Does your DCC system have an external "power brick" transformer, if so that will tell you how many volts and amps your system needs. Two 12 volt batteries in series and a regulator to set your voltage and you should be fine. Yes you may be pulling a couple of amps, so think car batteries rather than AA's.

All you are doing with an intervener is transforming DC it into AC and then back to DC with the power brick.

Now I think about it, I'm surprised we haven't had this kind of thread before.

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I've been doing some googling and my DCC system, NCE PowerCab, should run with a car battery as a power supply.

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I feel I should point out that the DCC systems I have any experience of, have inputs from transformers of higher than 12 volts.

A car battery MAY have a higher potential than 12 volts but that couldn't be guaranteed for any length of time. The transformers are normally stabilised supplies. The Hornby Elite uses an input of 15 volts DC and the ESU EcOS power supply is adjustable between 14 volts and 21 volts to cover different gauges with a lower setting being used for N gauge than 00/HO, and the top setting being 21V for Gauge 1 and G Scale. ESU recommend an input voltage of 16V to 18V for 00/HO which is what we are interested in. I would suggest that an outdoor layout should not be restricted by the power available.

If you use a ZTC 511 or 611, an AC supply is required in any case.

If you don't use DCC but are operating the old way, most controllers may be happy with a battery supply but I would recommend a leisure battery (as used in caravans, mobile homes etc.) rather than a starter battery which is designed for bursts of high discharge to turn the engine over. A leisure battery would be more suitable for a longer period with a steady modest drain and trickle charging.

Dave

P.S. Sorry, I missed Chris's suggestion that 2 x 12 volts batteries could be used in series, and then the voltage would need to be reduced with a regulator. It doesn't seem to be a lot more elegant a solution than using an inverter but each to their own! It wouldn't work with ZTC either.

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Well it's all here and set up. 12 volt leisure battery (70ah), 300watt inverter and a cheap solar panel to trickle charge battery when not in use.

Using a Bachman EZ comand system 16 volts according to plug brick and it works just fine. So far it's done to operating sessions, couple of hours Friday and about 5 hour today. Think the fan on the inverter may use more power than the controller.

Need to have some sort of meter to see what state the batterys in, any suggestions? If so please treat me like a total idiot as tech talk is total gibberish to me!

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