DCC Battery Powered DCC

David Hall

Western Thunderer
Hi Richard.

Finally had time this morning to check into your thread (hooray for Saturday, boo to that pesky thing called work!). Thanks very much for linking from my question the other day.

This is absolutely fascinating stuff and you're obviously doing some fantastic work. I must admit I think I need to read through 3 or 4 more times, as I'm struggling with some of the technical details to be honest.

Whilst I'm a fan of DCC sound, I think I would sacrifice that for a reliable R/C system. At least for the time being. With using such small locos - industrial types - space is somewhat at a premium... There's more room in a class 37 after all! However, what you're doing with the Dapol 08 does provide home.

I'm thinking that a first step for myself would be acquiring the most basic R/C system for one loco and forgetting about the sound element at the moment. I think the work required and the technical detail and knowledge necessary is beyond me to be frank. I'm hoping to acquire a Dapol Sentinel next year; whilst tiny, it is obviously 'boxy' and may offer opportunity as a guinea pig (that's based on a wild presumption, having not seen the model to check whether there is much room).

There are a lot of links and recommendations to follow up here. I need to do my homework, but I think the most basic battery powered R/C system is the first port of call to test it out (and my own ability or otherwise).

Other 'modelling hobbies', thinking cars, planes etc, make so much use of R/C, so there must be an avenue for us lot. Surely it needs exploited further. Pioneers like yourself are laying the groundwork for bodgers like me. So a big thank you for sharing all of this, and your knowledge.

Take care.

David Hall

Western Thunderer
Hi Richie

The main advantage of battery power is that you don't need to power the track, so I have always regarded charging from the track as a bit pointless.

D206 has a charging point under the fuel tanks, I will take it off the track to charge it and use croc clips to connect a radio control car charger and charge from there. These are very good chargers and you can adjust the charging rate to fast or trickle charge as you please, all for £50.

You could charge through the buffers and I have an Ivatt 4MT that does this, but I still prefer to apply croc clips to the buffers to do this but you could buffer up against a buffer stop and charge through that, and if you must charge through the track have a dedicated charging siding or 2 and connect some normal pickups into the charging circuit. I'm not sure what batteries you plan to use, in 7mm there is generally plenty of space for AAA or AA, these easily last several hours of running with a sound decoder.


If a couple of AAA batteries are all that are needed to power a small O gauge loco for an hour or so on a single charge, then it opens up lots of potential opportunities.

This is a ridiculously stupid question but I'll ask nonetheless (I'm the master of these in WT)...... I'm presuming a bigger, heavier loco needs more (larger?) batteries to power it than a smaller one? And simultaneously, the heavier the load, the more power needs to be drawn on? So your class 37 hauling 30 odd coal hoppers would need a lot more oomph than my Sentinel pootling around shunting a couple of wagons?


richard carr

Western Thunderer

Yes your assumption is correct larger locos hauling heavier trains need more battery power. The type of motor used also effects the amount of power required. A good quality coreless motor requires far less power than the more traditional iron core motors. So I haven't converted any heljan diesels as their twin iron core motors just gobble power.
For your sentinel loco a 9 volt pp3 battery would be adequate.
I'm sure you could add a small sugar cube speaker for the sound.



Western Thunderer
This is my write up on fitting battery powered radio control to my Dapol 08.

The power side of things came from Micron, the R/C from Tam Valley and the DCC is a Zimo 645 from YouChoos. I elected to use a single cell LiP0 battery. As you can see from the label it is capable of 3.7V from 750mAh and comes with the Molex 2mm plug. It is half the size of a PP3 battery. I tried a variety of PP3 batteries and found them all useless for this purpose. The power supply is controlled by a switch/charge module from Micron. Next time I will fit the fused version to provide some protection of the delicate electronics. The Molex socket on the module allows charging to take place in the loco.

Power then flows to a voltage regulator as I hadn't received the Micron voltage upconverter when I built the instalation. The regulator should supply 12V . Top right is the Tam Valley receiver, a Mk4 version. This gives a DCC signal to the chip at the bottom right via a bit of pcb on which there is a two pin plug. This will mate with a similar socket on a cable from the DCC controller to allow programing of the chip when the battery is off. The 80thou plastic board is held by two 12BA screws that are imbedded in the plastic cage that holds the motor in place; this board has to go into the body through the open panel. The loud speaker is behind the radiator panel under the electronics board. I have been using the loco for running trials on the new layout and so far it has done two 1 hour sessions with no need to charge. I'll let you know how long I get out of the one charge.

The next conversion will be a steam engine - probably a 56XX - and will follow this recipe.