As the desire to implement more electronic devices such as measuring or tracking systems on freight cars grows, having a source of power to rely on becomes an issue. An innovative and practical solution to keep batteries charged is presented. Placed on the car axle, the system uses the rotation of the wheelset as input motion. Friction wheels roll on the outside of the car axle, transferring the power to a generator through a set of gears. Designed to be easily implemented, the system can be installed or removed conveniently and quickly.
The first laboratory tests showed that the system is capable of producing more than 100 Watts of power at a simulated 55 mph. A speed of only 20 mph is necessary to generate voltages high enough to charge a 12-Volt battery. A second series of tests proves that connecting the generator differently (in a “Y” configuration) improves the output voltages by about 70%, generating three times more power and requiring only 10mph to reach the voltage necessary for charging a common lead-acid battery.