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
Take it one step further, use rechargeable batteries and add a voltage
regulator circuit (about the size of a DCC decoder) to keep the batteries
charged under track power.
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.
Sounds like a fun project.
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
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!!