25.1.09

CAN THE TECHNOLOGY BE SCALED DOWN? A model railroader these days has a wide range of choices for power and train control, including conventional hardwired direct current with a power pack (requires lots of power blocks if the pike is to have more than one train running at a time) or several versions of digital command control (requires a fiddly module to be retrofitted to older locomotives and a large supply of sheep in the appropriate scale when the system gets fiddly) or a battery version of digital command control (which adds battery life to the technical problems, although trackside wiring is less challenging).

Now comes a variation of the inductive power transfer technology contemporary electric toothbrushes use (I now understand why there are neither metal power points on my charger nor a step-down transformer) for electric streetcars. The Transport Politic explains the advantages.
When passing overhead, streetcars convert the field to electricity used to power the train; in other words, the trains receive their power without contact through inductive power. This is major achievement. The charge is only activated when the circuit is completed covered by the vehicle, which ensures that pedestrians can never come into contact with electricity.
Unlike my electric toothbrush, the system is capable of regenerative braking, returning power inductively to the grid. Now if those tramcars would have some of the grace of a Niles interurban or a bipolar ...

I've wondered about powering the model trains with something out of Nikola Tesla. This technology appears to do that at full scale, without the high-frequency transients the Tesla wireless power systems had.

(Via The Overhead Wire: The Overhead Wire is Done).

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