Voltage Boost Modules
Using A Lower Voltage Battery - Voltage Boost Modules
If the battery voltage is below 11.1V or if you want more than 11.1V, a voltage boost module is required.
These inexpensive modules take in a low voltage battery and output a higher voltage.
Modules are available with a fixed output voltage or a variable voltage.
But, there are downsides to using boost modules.
The low cost boost modules are not 100% efficient.
The battery drain goes up as the boost voltage goes up.
Thus, a higher voltage battery will perform better, and last longer than a lower voltage battery.
Boost modules create heat when boosting the input voltage to the desired output voltage.
Ventilation is necessary to prevent the boost module from becoming too hot and shutting down.
Normal operation resumes after it cools.
Another problem with boost modules is no short circuit protection.
If the boost module output is accidentally shorted, the module will have to be destroyed and must be replaced.
Typical Boost Module Hookup - Locomotives with 300mA Load Current or Less
This low cost, very small, fixed 12 Volt output boost module is made by Pololu.
It is readily available from online suppliers including Amazon.
It was hooked up with a C15 and was evaluated for performance with a 3.7 volt battery rated at 2000mAh.
This example also shows the hookup of a charging jack and an on/off/charge switch.
Performance Of the Pololu Boost Module - Locomotive Run Time
The graph below can be used to estimate the average run time of your locomotive with the above circuit.
You only need to know the average running current of the locomotive.
The small Pololu module must be limited to 300mA locomotive running current or less.
Exceeding this value will cause to Pololu module to overheat and shut down.
To use the graph, find your measured locomotive running current on the horizontal scale.
Then go up to where the loco current intersects the red run time curve.
Now go straight across to the left scale and read the run time in hours.
For example, if the locomotive current is 250mA, the runtime is about 1 hour.
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