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Posted: 6/12/2023 7:07:29 PM EST
Long story short, I need a train set for a themed business function at a convention center. If I want electricity, it’s $300 for 2 days.

I went to our local hobby shop, picked up a Bachmann HO kit. Seems to be the right size for what I need.

Looks to be a 16vdc controller. Can I plug a fused 12vdc battery straight into it and let it run for 8 hours straight at a constant speed?

Or…

Will the battery die too soon?

Or Will my Bachmann train overheat/catch fire and stop working?

Do I need to run it in 10 minute intervals?

I may need to raise the track for display purposes. Is the Bachmann pier set worth it or would I be better off with wooden blocks or something?
Link Posted: 6/12/2023 8:19:54 PM EST
[#1]
Yes, you can run it on straight DC.
What are you using for a battery? It will drain the battery faster than you expect, I think.
I did a quick search of lawnmower batteries, and there seem to be some 12V 6Ah batteries.
I would expect the train to draw 0.5-.80 Amps at 12V.  0.5 Amps would run (approx) for 12 hours on a 6Ah battery. You good Lyft to Walmart and buy one, then throw it away after the show.  A better option would be a LiPo battery.  But, you couldn't fly with it if that's what you need to do.

You mentioned raising it up.  I would try find something in common use that you could use as a raised platform. Those plastic piers are notoriously flimsy and likely to wobble and derail the train. Give a little more details so we can make better suggestions.  A great option would be to by some sort of thick styrene at a hardware store and paint it gray or brown or something. Cut it into reasonable pieces that you can pack and store.  But, I don't know how you are getting to the show car or aircraft?

Also, sometimes you just need to suck it up at trade shows.  $300 for electric is the standard F-U fee they charge. How do you charge your phone or devices while at the show?
Link Posted: 6/12/2023 9:23:38 PM EST
[#2]
I’m driving there, 5 hours there in my pickup with the usual stuff. I was thinking a 6ah or 8ah SLA like in a UPS.

I usually charge my phones and iPad off a Dewalt 20v 5ah cordless drill battery with a usb adapter. I don’t know that I want to mess with pulling electricity off that. I stay in AirB&B’s. So I can charge whatever at night.

No matter where I go for trade shows, the union staff always treats us like dirt. Doesn’t matter that you spent thousands of dollars to be there and spending thousands in their city, you’re just an inconvenience. So I spend as little money as possible, bring my own chairs, tables, flooring. Not going to spring for a plug.

I’ve got 8 weeks to put it together, plenty of time to plan it out. I think we’ve decided on a 38” round track. Probably going to get 5/8 plywood or mdf for a stable base. I don’t know if 3/8 would be stiff enough.

My business involves small plants. I want to raise it 3-4” and put small trays of live plants beneath it. Then put small plants in some of the train cars. We’ve even discussed a second raised platform with plants above have the track, creating a tunnel effect.

I dunno. Got time to play with ideas. Enjoy myself a little. Work grind is a bitch this year.




Link Posted: 6/12/2023 9:44:12 PM EST
[#3]
Try this site. There seems to be decent knowledge base.

https://www.modeltrainforum.com/
Link Posted: 6/12/2023 10:05:10 PM EST
[#4]
Just here to show love for Bachmann. Still have my set in the attic.
Link Posted: 6/13/2023 12:53:01 AM EST
[#5]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I'm driving there, 5 hours there in my pickup with the usual stuff. I was thinking a 6ah or 8ah SLA like in a UPS.

I usually charge my phones and iPad off a Dewalt 20v 5ah cordless drill battery with a usb adapter. I don't know that I want to mess with pulling electricity off that. I stay in AirB&B's. So I can charge whatever at night.

No matter where I go for trade shows, the union staff always treats us like dirt. Doesn't matter that you spent thousands of dollars to be there and spending thousands in their city, you're just an inconvenience. So I spend as little money as possible, bring my own chairs, tables, flooring. Not going to spring for a plug.

I've got 8 weeks to put it together, plenty of time to plan it out. I think we've decided on a 38" round track. Probably going to get 5/8 plywood or mdf for a stable base. I don't know if 3/8 would be stiff enough.

My business involves small plants. I want to raise it 3-4" and put small trays of live plants beneath it. Then put small plants in some of the train cars. We've even discussed a second raised platform with plants above have the track, creating a tunnel effect.

I dunno. Got time to play with ideas. Enjoy myself a little. Work grind is a bitch this year.




View Quote
I loathe shows. I've done 3 a year for 15 years. I've been everywhere in the country I hadn't been previously, which was fun at first. I have staff who go for me finally, but I still go to one every year.

The shipping company put a big dent in the side of our custom made show crate this week. No damage to the inside equipment thankfully.
Link Posted: 6/13/2023 1:45:14 PM EST
[#6]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I loathe shows. I've done 3 a year for 15 years. I've been everywhere in the country I hadn't been previously, which was fun at first. I have staff who go for me finally, but I still go to one every year.

The shipping company put a big dent in the side of our custom made show crate this week. No damage to the inside equipment thankfully.
View Quote


At one point, I did 4 a year. I got so little traffic at 2 of them that we just pulled out. Then one of the associations disbanded and that killed that show. So there's just one left. Saved a lot of money, but I don't get that break to reconnect face to face with customers and industry people, the kind of stuff that helped me stay motivated. Now it's a long grind. I don't want to talk to people on the phone anymore.

We're a small family business and one thing I have learned is when you have people doing things for you who feel like they are going to get paid no matter how poorly they do their jobs, stuff gets screwed up. Especially freight. I've been screwed so much, I just don't trust many other people with the important stuff.
Link Posted: 6/27/2023 3:01:45 PM EST
[#7]
So is poor couplers across the board a thing?

Like I said, we bought the Bachman HO kit. The Thoroughbred kit, bought the pieces to make it a 38 inch round instead of an oval. We bought a 4x4 piece of thin plywood and my wife and I laid it out on our bed, it didn't work exactly perfect, but figured we just need a good surface.

On Father's day, we found a local marketplace listing for a Union Pacific Bachman engine, looks like a GP40, I dunno. I think the lady was widowed. Bought it with a box of adds and ends. Engine runs beautifully. Wouldn't stay connected to a car for shit.

So I ordered a bunch of Bachmann ez couplers and moved the whole thing to the living room table for a large flat surface. I also ordered a Walthers Burlington Northern GP9M because I decided I wanted trains that you would actually see in our area (or recent past).

Attachment Attached File


Put a new coupler on the UP engine, ran beautifully for 15 minutes then wouldn't stay coupled. Hooked up the Walthers engine, ran beautifully for 15 minutes, then wouldn't stay coupled.

Research says you have to put Kadee couplers on everything. Seriously? No life to the existing couplers at all. Any idea how long Kadee couplers will last? An hour on the track?

It is somewhat relaxing to watch it circle the track, even with no scenery or anything

Link Posted: 6/27/2023 8:48:46 PM EST
[#8]
Yes, those early era couplers are garbage. Kadee's work well and the conversion isn't difficult.
Sometimes they drop in, sometimes you slice off the old coupler mounting method, and replace with an (usually)included 2-piece Kadee coupler box.
You could just wrap a really thin wire (bread twist tie with paper removed - then paint it black) around the original couplers to keep them together.
Link Posted: 6/27/2023 8:53:14 PM EST
[#9]
here's a video of a guy replacing the couplers on the GP9M - starts at 46:00

Walthers Trainline GP9M rebuild and DCC ready

Link Posted: 6/28/2023 12:03:40 PM EST
[#10]
I've always wanted to get back into HO scale trains but don't need another money vacuum at the moment.

Link Posted: 6/28/2023 1:00:03 PM EST
[#11]
yes, once you get one, you always see something else you want. I found an MKT engine I want next.
Link Posted: 6/28/2023 6:22:59 PM EST
[#12]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I've always wanted to get back into HO scale trains but don't need another money vacuum at the moment.
View Quote
my collection of trains far, far exceeds my gun collection, and I have a good amount of those, too.
I needed a weeping willow tree for a diorama.  I spent about $200 on supplies coming up with a way to model it.
Link Posted: 7/2/2023 12:01:36 PM EST
[#13]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
my collection of trains far, far exceeds my gun collection, and I have a good amount of those, too.
I needed a weeping willow tree for a diorama.  I spent about $200 on supplies coming up with a way to model it.
View Quote
I am not far behind you with that except my trains are all n scale. I do have two Lionel o scale trains but don't mess with them too often.

No matter the scale, you don't want to use the max voltage allowed per scale unless you want the train to run too fast. The maximum voltage of most HO transformers is 14 volts so 12 volts would make the train run almost at top speed which is too fast for a display. I recommend using 6 volts if you have to run the train on batteries.
Link Posted: 7/2/2023 2:27:48 PM EST
[#14]
Kadee #5s are great. They've been the de facto standard since they were introduced. They're made of metal.
Link Posted: 7/11/2023 12:41:17 AM EST
[#15]
Attachment Attached File


Attachment Attached File


I ordered a $16 12v speed controller and picked up an 8ah SLA deer feeder battery from TSC. I haven’t charged it yet, so whatever it had on the shelf, that’s what we’re running right now.

Fluke says battery at 12.8 under no load. Hooked it up and put an engine on it at 50%. Fluke says 5.8v under load.

So it works. It needs a fuse, but I was thinking maybe a 5amp circuit breaker instead. That way it’s easily resettable.

So the other question is how long it will run. I’m not an EE, but my guess is over 8 hours. I guess it’s cheap insurance to buy a second battery just in case.

I’m still thinking about buying a Jackery instead. Just so it’s less “homemade” looking. But that’s a waste to produce 110v just to run it back down to 6v.
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