Does anyone know of a company that manufacturers a battery powered HO gauge locomotive? My modular HO club uses reed switches for controlling signals and track power to the corresponding blocks. It is a pain at startup to go around and open all the reed switch circuits with a magnet. We hope to find a battery powered loco to pull around a caboose with a magnet. Any of you guys with kids or grandkids have any ideas?
I bought a cheap HO scale Hong Kong set recently - 0-8-0 Diesel shunter, two four wheeled wagons, track, station and accessories for $9.95. The loco will haul my track cleaner around the layout. The coupling rods are plastic so will eventually need replacing. The rest is basically rubbish but the figures will be usable with a cleanup and repaint. The loco uses an AAA size battery - the TV remote control batteries work in it when they will no longer drive the remote :-)
Back in the late 1950's, a company called K&O offered a "Hobo Loco" chassis under an Athearn F-7 A-unit shell. It used two C cells to operate a 3 volt vertical shaft toy quality motor that only drove the rear axle. It did not run worth a darn, so I would not recommend looking for one of those.
Can motors are so efficient (some of mine with flywheels will continue to energize the headlight while they coast to a stop after cutting off the power) one could easily make any such locomotive battery powered, and get reasonable life from the batteries. I'd suggest putting a Radio Shack battery holder in a B-unit or box car, simply running the battery leads to the motor, and disconnecting the existing truck pickup leads. RS offers a plastic holder for 8 AA cells in a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration that will fit in and F-7 B or a box car. (I'm using this arrangement to power a train mounted X-10 video camera). You probably will want to leave out 2 cells and substitute a jumper wire to get a more reasonable operating voltage. GQ
How about a dual motor diesel? I bet if you removed the body weight and one motor, you'd find room to put in a rechargable battery, a recharging plug, and a trim pot voltage regulator, as well as a recharging socket and a small slide switch.
Like the other posters, I did exactly this with an O gauge loco- took an older can motored EP-5(no sounds,just the reverse unit) stripped out everything but the motors. wired the motors in series, stuck a 9.6V battery pack(meant for an RC car) and an on/off switch in the roof. I use it to pull my track cleaners around- works like a charm!!