An illuminating discussion

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An illuminating discussion

Post by DaveLathrop57 on Sun May 12, 2013 2:01 pm

110 has a largely intact Sunbeam steam dynamo which has not yet been torn down for inspection. Sunbeam dynamos aren't supported as well as the Pyle National K2 and MO6 dynamos and all the spares we have are for K2s. Unless the Sunbeam is in fairly good condition, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to out much into it. Steam turbine dynamos are also pretty inefficient in general, so perhaps there's another way to make power and use it better for headlight and cab lighting purposes. I'm thinking about using some of the heat wasted in radiating from the boiler into the atmosphere.......what if we could use Peltier Junctions through the lagging to make power, a storage battery to collect and distribute it, and replace incandescent lamps with LEDs? Are there other possibilities to consider?

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Re: An illuminating discussion

Post by Overmod on Sun May 19, 2013 8:07 am

I would agree with the LED approach to the lighting, and with battery storage (perhaps marine deep-cycle if no diesel-style 8V-multiple batteries are not 'available' cheap). Be sure to clamp the LEDs against overvoltage and spikes.

Have you priced PJs and found a cheap source?

Alternative for this is to charge the battery at stops, using a normal high-rate battery charger, and just keep one of those little gas generators on board for emergency charge -- run it long enough to get the charge up. Otherwise use axle drive to generators -- I'd do a caboose-style connection to tender axles, as these trucks are getting 'nonprorotypical' mods already, and are outside-frame.

Something else to consider in designing the electrics is other systems that might use electrical power. I easily see the value to having inverted 125V power on the locomotive for outlets in the cab and elsewhere, to facilitate using power tools in the field. Something for positive ignition/reignition of the burner without having to rely on flameholding or rich torches. Radio?

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Re: An illuminating discussion

Post by DaveLathrop57 on Sun May 19, 2013 11:22 am

I traded a 110 volt DC Moon dynamo to Jack Anderson at Mount Rainier many years ago.......he wanted to have a place to plug in his tools on his shay. Interesting idea.

Haven't even considered a source for PJs. Interested in the idea of making use of otherwise wasted heat. Sources are somewhere.......if we decide it's worth doing that way rather than another better way.

IF in the future some sort of power on the train is required.......it probably won't come from the locomotive. Underframe car mounted commercial generators, probably the answer. Running a 110 volt AC line to the locomotive in that case will not be difficult, probably in the form of a drop cord for specific purposes.

Our radios are hand held with integral rechargeable batteries.

Dave

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Re: An illuminating discussion

Post by Overmod on Sun May 19, 2013 6:22 pm

I am starting to get irritated at how this touch-your-nose-with-your-elbow forum software keeps losing posts and requiring multiple screens of confirmation before actually posting. And what is up with the French on the buttons? Is it some strange thing I did when registering?

The generation aspect is Seebeck, not Peltier. It may be possible to find large numbers of 'Peltier coolers' from old computer processor heatsinks or consumer drink coolers, but those may not be the best solution -- you'll need a lot of them.

An article with useful information about the idea is in the sensorsmag archive -- I cannot post the URL here for a few more days, due to Forum policies, but it is easily found on the Web -- PM me if you can't find it.

In my opinion, a better line of research and possible sources is with respect to 'automotive thermoelectric generators' (which Wikipedia strangely acronymizes as 'ATEG's). These use optimized semiconductors to produce reasonable voltages, at about 5% thermal flux (from a hot source like automobile exhaust).

This immediately suggests use of the smokebox volume, as well as the boiler wrapper, for heat sourcing. An advantage is that the combustion heat is better than 'free' (you increase draft via cooling the gas, and also take the mass of a given ejected volume up, etc.) with imho comparatively few downside problems. On the other hand, heat transfer is much more involved with gas and not water as the effective heat source.

Has anyone looked into developments in thermoacoustics (which have IIRC a higher inherent voltage and may not need a DC-DC converter)?


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