Power Sources

Ask and answer questions, share tips and resources for installing lighting and other electronics in your models.

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Power Sources

Post by Sparky » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:36 pm

This is a thread to discuss power sources, like batteries, solar cells, wall-worts, lab power supplies, et.
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Post by Sparky » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:37 pm

First tip has to do with looking at 9 volt batteries and how much power they can deliver without getting hot:

http://www.powerstream.com/9V-Alkaline-tests.htm

BTW http://www.ifilm.com/video/2858146
a 9 volt is only a pack of AAAA (Quad A) batteries, isn't that an awesome clip?
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Post by Sparky » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:40 pm

Scott Hasty wrote: -snip-

Typical 9V batteries have a 500mA capacity with a typical drain of 15mA. Go much above that and the battery will start getting hot.

On the flip side, AA's have a capacity of 2000mA and a drain of 50mA. I've found that 4, wired in series (which most battery packs are wired to) gives me MORE than enough juice.

I ran 2 4060's with 5 LED's on each along with a 555 flasher with an LED and 10 static LED's for over a week until the 4060's started acting up due to lack of current.

Scottie
Good Info Scott. We can stamp this: Practical, Empirical Testing done by a Modeler for a Modeler.
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Post by macfrank » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:14 pm

I used a solar powered night light to charge up two NiMH batteries rated at 1600maH. I used a Max 1595 to regulate this to 3.3V and ran a small weather station out in the Mojave desert for 4 months - with temperatures reaching 160F inside the box.

Solar panels like this require direct sunlight (or nearly so) to recharge batteries properly, but they're rugged and make a great "eternal" source of power.

Frank

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Post by Sparky » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:27 pm

Have you been able to run a model off panels in a display room? Thats the dream I suppose.
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Post by Scott Hasty » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:41 pm

Sparky wrote:
Scott Hasty wrote: -snip-

Typical 9V batteries have a 500mA capacity with a typical drain of 15mA. Go much above that and the battery will start getting hot.

On the flip side, AA's have a capacity of 2000mA and a drain of 50mA. I've found that 4, wired in series (which most battery packs are wired to) gives me MORE than enough juice.

I ran 2 4060's with 5 LED's on each along with a 555 flasher with an LED and 10 static LED's for over a week until the 4060's started acting up due to lack of current.

Scottie
Good Info Scott. We can stamp this: Practical, Empirical Testing done by a Modeler for a Modeler.
Yeah, when transistor radios hit the market (BEFORE my time), those little rectangles of power were IDEAL! Those radios used very little current and power so the 9V battery was perfect. Truth be told, the only thing I have in my house powered by one is my smoke detector. Even most remote controls have been replaced with AA's or AAA's!

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Post by macfrank » Thu Jun 28, 2007 8:48 pm

Sparky wrote:Have you been able to run a model off panels in a display room? Thats the dream I suppose.
Unfortunately, solar panels don't deliver milliamps of current from the amount of light available in your average room, unless they're right under (within a couple of inches) a bright lamp, or they're a very big, high efficient panel. It would probably detract from the model.

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Post by Chas » Wed Jul 11, 2007 11:58 am

Anyone thought of using a car battery to power the lighting for multiple kits? I've got five Kits I want to add lighting to (AMT Refit, Reliant, E-D, Excelsior, and a R/M Voyager)and I also plan on displaying them all on the same shelf. I was wondering if it would be possible to have them all powered from the same source: namely a car battery. Anyone done this before? what problems might I be facing? I've managed to salvage a bunch of LED auto lights (basically just took off the outer, coloured ,plastic cases) so I've got these red, white, and orange LED's already attached to boards with wires that, when hooked-up to a car battery light-up bright and beautiful. ( I was thinking of removing some of the LED's and replacing them with different colours - namely blue and green) So does this sound absolutely nuts, or way to complicated for a lighting newbie? any ideas of how to get the nav lights to flash?
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Post by Sparky » Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:20 am

Car batteries are icky and sticky, go with a sealed lead acid gel and you will be happier as will your carpet and house. You can get a power supply that won't over charge it and leave it on to keep a trickle charge, which you will need for the car battery anyways. Ever leave a car unused for a few months, battery was dead wasn't it, and I mean dead as in won't hold a charge.
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Post by Chas » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:14 am

Well I was thinking of building a housing for the battery that would blend it in to the display. But the "sealed lead acid gel" that you speak of souds . . . intriguing. I'll have to check it out. Off to Google then!

P.S. thanks for the advice.
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Post by en'til Zog » Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:49 pm

Um, Chas? You might check out "Wall Warts" in another sticky in this forum for "how to's" using power supplies that plug into the wall.

http://www.starshipmodeler.net/talk/vie ... hp?t=38441

That way you can eliminate the storage battery entirely. You just use the Wall Wart to power all the models at 12 volts. Remember to use a REGULATED DC Wall Wart.

Substituting LEDs can work - if they all have the same voltage needs. RED and YELLOW LEDs typically need around 2 volts to light up well. BLUE and WHITE LEDs need more like 3.6 volts to be happy. Replacing RED LEDs with BLUE ones will probably result in a lot less light from the BLUE LEDs than they could give out if they had 'enough' voltage. Work? Yes. Bright? Maybe not. That's something you might try and see how you like the results.

Model ON! :D
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Post by Chas » Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:04 am

Thanks a-lot, I really try not to shop at Wall-Mart if at all possible but I think in this case I might just have to pay them a visit. And yeah, about the whole LED voltage thing --- Man I've just got soooooooo much to learn about this stuff It's pretty intimidating actually. Anyone know of a step by step (or even a commercially available 'kit' for building a simple flasher unit?)
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Post by DLMatthys » Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:44 am

Chas wrote:Thanks a-lot, I really try not to shop at Wall-Mart if at all possible
OK...Not Walmart eh...Wall Wort. A lazy American name expression for a wall socket plug power supply or comonly also refered to as AC Adaptors. You can find them less expensive ones at a WalMart. A place which I never do darken thier doors as well for my hobby needs.
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Post by dsl40083 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:09 am

Hello there

A question for your learned fellow modelers.
I have recently pulled down a halogen wire light system and it was powered by an 12V transformer.

I'm thinking of using it to power the lights on a E-D. Would that be a bad idea?

So far my plans involve 7 10cm cold cathode tubes and assorted numbers of individual LED's and I think a sissy transformer from an household (IT)device won't deliver enough power.
On the other hand, I don't want my power surply to blow things up when I connect it to the wall outlet.

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Post by Sparky » Tue Jun 03, 2008 10:00 am

The transformer should have a rated current and voltage. You need to know the current it can produce (safely). To estimate if it can power the lighting rig.

You will need some margin for the startup voltage on the CCFLs. Those should have some ratings as well.

Now chances are, that transformer is not well regulated. They don't need to be for halogen bulbs so they won't spend the cost on parts to add good regulation to the transformer. If that's the case you will need to use resistors on your LEDs (either on the whole chain or on individual ones depending on how you wire them). Or go with another power supply.
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Post by Glorfindel » Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:51 am

What's the method used for splitting the power source so one can light up saucer, secondary hull, and engines. I purchased a small terminal block for inside the secondary hull and was going to hook all up to it but this method seems to be too much for the hull. I'd like to solder everything to one source like a breadboard but can't seem to find the right board. I'd prefer something with simple pos/neg buses. Any suggestions?

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Post by Sparky » Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:41 am

you probably want a prototyping board similar to this:
http://www.kc6sye.com/images/images_11_ ... oltreg.jpg
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Post by Glorfindel » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:57 pm

Are the buses created by soldering several holes together? One series for positive, another for negative? That looks like whats going on. If that's it then I don't have a problem and I'll just create my own. I just thought it would be easier if there was a board out there similar to a solderless breadboards that I could solder to instead.

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Post by Sparky » Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:13 pm

no there are two buss that run the length of the board, the holes are there for you to insert a wire (from the other side this is the solder side) and then you have to solder the wire down.

In any buss system you still need a mechanism to electrically and mechanically tie the wires into the buss. With the prototype board the mechanism is solder.
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Post by Glorfindel » Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:36 pm

Besides soldering to the prototype board, are there other mechanisms I may need? I see some guys mentioning heat sinks and transistors. For simple lighting would I need these items. I'm thinking no. (hoping is more the thought)

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Post by No_6 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:28 pm

For anyone who's interested I found a source in FLA that sells 12v 500mA and 1000mA DC regulated wall warts for cheap ($5 for 500mA, $7 for 1000mA). Just got them today, and they work! PM, and I'll kick you the info.
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Post by Sparky » Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:31 pm

source of regulated 'wall worts'

http://powerstream.com/ac-2809.htm

For use with the trekman 1/350 Enterprise lighting system.
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Post by severedblue » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:57 pm

For compact / mobile applications, there are a new generation of Lithium Ion batteries. You need a charger, however, to recharge them.

There are also smaller. non re-chargable versions.

http://www.protogear.com.au/product_inf ... _id=100165
http://www.protogear.com.au/product_inf ... _id=100166

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Post by tetsujin » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:07 pm

severedblue wrote:For compact / mobile applications, there are a new generation of Lithium Ion batteries. You need a charger, however, to recharge them.
And the point can't be stressed enough. If you charge these batteries incorrectly they act as very effective incendiary devices...

US modelers interested in LiPO cells might want to check out Sparkfun (the charger board is actually a Sparkfun product...
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Post by Sparky » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:51 pm

Here's some ideas for 12 volt battery based packs:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2062242
or the version which is configured as a long pack
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index ... Id=2062251
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Post by rayra » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:02 pm

DLMatthys wrote:
Chas wrote:Thanks a-lot, I really try not to shop at Wall-Mart if at all possible
OK...Not Walmart eh...Wall Wort. A lazy American name expression for a wall socket plug power supply or comonly also refered to as AC Adaptors. You can find them less expensive ones at a WalMart. A place which I never do darken thier doors as well for my hobby needs.
Pardon, but to be correct - 'Wort' is an intermediate product in the art of brewing / distillation of alcohol.
Wall wart, as in unsightly bump on the wall.
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Post by torgg » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:23 pm

I found both of these articles to be very helpful. They are simple to follow and understand and can get you through the leaning curve very quickly.

http://www.terragenesis.co.uk/infopages/page446.html
http://www.terragenesis.co.uk/infopages/page450.html

I keep printed versions with my wiring so I can reference them frequently.

good luck,
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Post by Madman Lighting » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:47 pm

Madman Lighting now has Power Supply Kits available.

We have a USA and International variety. Both come with a "Hydra adapter" to connect the wall power supply to up to 3 Delux-24 controller cards.

See it here:
http://home.comcast.net/~johndavidcook/ourproducts.html

And here for a YouTube video:

http://youtu.be/akRdT2WOzVo

Thanks.
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Source for cheap wall warts (regulated AC power supplies)

Post by jfleisher » Sun Feb 16, 2014 2:32 pm

I was in a local thrift store the other day and noticed a huge (100's) rack of AC adapters for cell phones, cordless phones, etc. they usually don't want more than a dollar or two for them, and you can just cut the plug off the end of the cord.
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Post by Modelling_by_GP » Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:32 am

Hello modellars :) I have a question, I am planing to build a TOS Enterprise from Revell, 1/600 scale. I will install home made lighting from LED strip and flickering LED's. I was aiming to use 12V power supply, with laptop power supply adapter and its conector. Is that ok, or you have some better solution ?

P.S. Sorry on my English :)

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