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Motors for 5 inch gauge loco

Design stage of building a 0-4-0 or 0-6-0 loco

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David Gosden06/10/2015 16:59:22
17 forum posts
4 photos

I am at the design stage of building a small loco based on the frames of an 08 shunter for the 0-6-0 or a FC Hibberd 'Planet' for an 0-4-0. The final build will probably be a 'scratch build'.

I do not envisage needing power enough to pull more than 2 people and am considering 24v and 12v motors. The preference is for 12v which is what Maxitrack use but their description is confusing noting they use 2 x 12 v 60w motors on each axle.

Golf trolley motors are 12v and about 120 watts, also readily available from scrap trolleys or even cheapies on Ebay.

The question therefore is will 120 watts be sufficient?

Has anyone tried using one or more of these motors?

Ta Muchly - David G

Neil Wyatt06/10/2015 20:07:41
16066 forum posts
675 photos
73 articles

I used a 12V 80W motor in my 3 1/2" gauge shunter. This happily pulls one adult around an ordinary track (Burton, Sutton Coldfield) using a fire alarm battery but needs low gear (therefore low top speed) for steeper tracks (Derby!)

One problem is the weight of driving trucks, I've made my own light-weight driving truck.

For 5" gauge I would want more power, but the 80W rating of my motor may be a bit of an exaggeration and the real power may be limited by the small battery.


HomeUse07/10/2015 09:01:03
168 forum posts
12 photos

I am using 4no 12V 100W (ex kids scooters) on a 5inch gauge Scratch built (American looking loco) - One fitted to each axle and driven by toothed belt geared to give top speed of 10MPH - Each motor is protected by a 10amp fuse and speed control is by a scratch built system. The power source is my caravan leisure battery - its on the heavy side but that helps to keep it on the track .

The loco pulls well and has ample power - although the next one will have 6 axles with 6no 12V 130W motors.


David Gosden07/10/2015 16:14:48
17 forum posts
4 photos

Two good and interesting replies... thanks!

More research reveals a Hillbilly golf trolley 12v motor power rating is 180 or 204 watts depending on which one you go for. Considering Neil notes that his loco has just one 80w motor and runs ok gives hope that anything twice the wattage should perform ok.

I have put out a search for one on the local Freecycle website and hopeful a scrap trolley with ok electrics will appear so I can run some tests.

The real idea is to build a ground level track about 60 feet long for a family celebration next year to celebrate our 720th year. The kids will hopefully remember the event and the old guy who let them drive his train ..That's me!

Any further info will be more than welcome..update and progress reports will follow.

Once again....ta muchly

David G

Steve F07/10/2015 18:55:48
54 forum posts
22 photos


Blackgates sell plans and castings etc for an 08 class loco called "Charlatan" for 5" gauge if thats any help. There is also an online information site here **LINK**



Kerrin Galvin08/10/2015 00:42:28
39 forum posts
9 photos

Hi David,

I built an electric Toby Tram about 12 years ago, he's an 0-4-0. Yep not as he should be but he's run many km's with very few issues. The guy that designed him used an air conditioning motor from a car running 12 volts. My version has a 24 volt X mobility scooter motor in him. The gear box was stuffed, I've mounted the motor vertically in the middle and fitted a 4" angle grinder head to take the drive below the "floor" with chain drive to 1 axel & then another to the other. The biggest issue was finding batteries to fit the available space! I went for marine ones, the added bonus is that they have handles on them which makes lifting them in & out easier. The motor does 5000 rpm unloaded the gear box has a 4 to 1 reduction with another 2 to 1 to the axel, I sized the wheels so flat out with a tail wind down hill he max's out at 12 km's per hour. With the 0-4-0 wheel arrangement you have to watch out for "bobbing" about, I spaced the wheels about 50mm from memory further apart than design so they are pretty much under the center of the batteries & have no issues. The only other suggestion I would have is buy the best controller you can afford, I've just up graded mine, get one with regen braking, save whoops if the kids are driving. Toby will quite happily pull 3 adults, the limit comes on up grades when he looses traction if you have to stop! As to trollies don't make them light! They run much better with some weight in them, also as big a wheels as you can, at the risk of being shot down 100 mm min! You only need about 1% of the weight of the trolley to move it.

Cheers Kerrin

Redsetter08/10/2015 11:47:33
79 forum posts

PM sent

Bazyle08/10/2015 17:49:42
4579 forum posts
185 photos

The classic 040 design is the one by Rex Nicholls in ME about 25 years ago of the LNER Toby tram engine. It used a 3:1 reduction from a hand drill but the idea above of an angle grinder is a good upgrade. Also see the thread a few days ago about 2 1/2 gauge shunter for sources of drive chain.

When you come to the battery wiring invent a method that makes it totally impossible to put the battery in the wrong way round - you will encounter a helpful colour blind adult or over enthusiastic teenager who will put it in the wrong way round if the wires can reach.

Neil Wyatt08/10/2015 21:28:29
16066 forum posts
675 photos
73 articles

> As to trollies don't make them light!

Mine isn't that light - but some of the ones I have come across probably weight rather more than I do!


Kerrin Galvin09/10/2015 07:44:31
39 forum posts
9 photos

Hi Neil, ok not that heavy! I had the "fun" of driving on a 5" ground track on a lite trolley, made the mistake of leaning the wrong way approaching a corner, had the 8 wheel trolley on the outer 4.... Provided the entertainment for the following driver! Declared then & there to build a multi gauge ground elevated trolley, just about there!

Cheers Kerrin

David Gosden09/10/2015 12:44:51
17 forum posts
4 photos

Thanks fellas....This is rapidly turning into a Traction Motor thread...which cannot be all bad

I'm following all the ideas up and with info from others the idea of a motor and control from a Hillbilly golf trolley plus a few calculations this looks like the route to go down. As a retired electronics engineer the tech stuff is ok.. but it helps to have input and experiences added by others. Thank God for ME and the Internet..magic!

I have a trolley possibility..why are they always at the other end of the country? More to come soon.

David G

David Gosden06/05/2016 12:36:35
17 forum posts
4 photos

Traction Motor Update

I obtained via Ebay an old golf trolley - it works - new battery and electronics ok but an iffy armature bearing. 12v brush type motor about 150watts which should do all I need. Bearing fault sorted and motor now good.

£20 can't be bad so progress is being made. 6 driving wheels, turned horn blocks c/w bearings done and frames underway so should have and rolling chassis in a month or so.

Another update IDC

David G

Edited By David Gosden on 06/05/2016 12:37:36

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