Bay Area Garden Railway Society

Weekend set-up in Pleasant Hill

10/30/2010 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
October 9 and 10 we put the battery to a test while running the pump and the mine train for over 15 hours on one charge. We backed onto the sidewalk in Pleasant Hill for their annual Art, Jazz and Wine Fest. Many viewers had never seen anything like this, maybe because it is unique! Kids were running around it while parents asked questions of our docents, Terry Hurley, Joe Winkle, Bill Swindell (here running his battery-powered red railtruck on the upper loop) and Nancy Norris. We handed out over a hundred BAGRS cards. Three other BAGRS members came and answered questions, too: Kermit, Moe and Frank Lucas. The trailer was locked overnight, but the town provided security people all night, too.

This is a kid's-eye view of the point-to-point silver-mine line. The HLW mine train runs into an 8’-long acrylic box under the mountain featuring Dave Hartwig's detailed facades. The track was wired to the 12-volt battery that is housed on the trailer tongue. We had to allow the wire to be disconnected when not in use, in order to pull out the 8’ “drawer” to access the stored mine facades and mine trains.  To step down the voltage on both the water pump and the point-to-point reversing unit, a DC dimmer switch was installed in each electrical circuit, and then we dialed in the correct "speed" to slow down the water flow and train speed. The intention is that this type of resistor will not just reduce the electric flow but also prevent wasting the battery so that we can set up the trailer for more than one day (as we did at this event) without recharging the 12-volt battery. Our resident electrician, Eric Moe, figured we could run our equipment for 24 hours, while the battery is relatively fresh/new. Our other electrical guru, Kermit Paul assured us that resisting power to the pump would not reduce its life expectancy, provided that it has enough power to push the water uphill.

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