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Old 03-30-2010, 10:26 AM   #1
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Crazy Idea

Has anybody considered putting regenerative brakes on an AS? Last year GMC released the Sierra truck as a hybrid. The brakes for that vehicle might be able to fit an Airstream. I just think it might be interesting to charge your batteries every time you tap the brakes.

If I am just completely off my nut for thinking about this let me know.
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Old 03-30-2010, 10:41 AM   #2
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disc brakes are (were) on the horizon

Wow, that's a great idea! I was thinking about putting disc brakes on the AS instead of rebuilding-now I am thinking regen brakes, 'course the cost will probably kill the idea.
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Old 03-30-2010, 11:09 AM   #3
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Brakes

Ok so take it one more step.
If you pur regenerative brakes on the AS, why cant you also use them as dynamic brakes as on a Diesel Locomotive?
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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If you pur regenerative brakes on the AS, why cant you also use them as dynamic brakes as on a Diesel Locomotive?
Beginner
Regenerative brakes and Dynamic brakes rely on some of the same basic principles, where they will use the resistance of a “generator” to provide braking force instead of the friction of brake pads and shoes. What you do with the electricity generated by the braking force is where they are different. Regenerative brakes on a hybrid or electric car use that electricity to recharge the batteries. Dynamic brakes on the other hand, simply dump that electricity into honking big resistors to slow the train. They produce a fair amount of waste heat, but do not wear out like a friction pad would. Not used to recharge batteries much if at all. There are a few more significant differences, but those are the basic principles.

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Old 03-30-2010, 12:32 PM   #5
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Wow..so the idea has some merit. I thought you all were gonna run me off as a crazy. I wonder how you go about obtaining regen breaks.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:37 PM   #6
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Oh, every idea has merit! It's just a question of how much money you'll want to throw at it, let alone finding the parts to do it.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:40 PM   #7
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You're right Chris that's the hard part. At least hard for now but I suspect as hybrids become increasingly popular and mainstream that parts will get cheaper and more abundant.
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:08 PM   #8
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Start looking for wrecked Sierra's.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #9
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It's not the brakes that do the regeneration, it's the drive train and electric motor, which also acts as a generator.

Of course the vehicle needs to have conventional brakes too, since more braking can be needed then the regenerative process will produce.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:41 PM   #10
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Regenerative Brakes

I was unsure if the electricity produced was "burned off" by resistors or if reverse polarity Electricity was gradually fed to the drive/generator motor trying to reverse it.
However I'm not really sure if regenerative braking would be really pratical on a car as at some point you would be producing to much energy (voltage level goes to high for batteries) or heat becomes too great for the motor.
The long pole in the tent though is money.
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Old 03-30-2010, 02:53 PM   #11
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I think the more practical problem with diesel locomotives is economics. You would need a really big honking set of batteries to store all that energy that is now being thrown off in the resistors. And they would really only be useful on those long downhill runs out west. Otherwise they are like regenerative brakes on a car - pretty useless when you're cruising the interstate, only useful in stop and go city traffic.

Same reason they work so well on city buses, not so good on interstate trucks.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JFerguson View Post
Has anybody considered putting regenerative brakes on an AS? Last year GMC released the Sierra truck as a hybrid. The brakes for that vehicle might be able to fit an Airstream. I just think it might be interesting to charge your batteries every time you tap the brakes.

If I am just completely off my nut for thinking about this let me know.
The Sierra regenerative braking works using a motor-generator between the engine and the transmission.

It would work fine on an Airstream if you're willing to retrofit a suitable drive train less engine. For braking on both axles you'd want a twin screw setup, and a 4L60e transmission out of the Sierra, and the motor-generator. Then it's simply a matter of some controls and programming.

In general, traction motors are too heavy to be placed on the axle except for rail applications because the unsprung weight goes way too high, so the obvious solution of a planetary gear unit and a motor/generator on the axle won't work. That leaves the standard possibilities of either a solid axle (cheap but heavy) or a full-floating setup with independent shafts to a center diff or maybe to a planetary and m-g dedicated to each wheel.

As late as the 1990s some German passenger railcars used a generator driven by one wheel to charge batteries. The rest of the world uses head-end power (HEP), but the advantage of the old German system was that no electrical connection was required between cars.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:10 PM   #13
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It's not the brakes that do the regeneration, it's the drive train and electric motor, which also acts as a generator.

Of course the vehicle needs to have conventional brakes too, since more braking can be needed then the regenerative process will produce.
exactly! Then the issue becomes:

How does one connect all 4 wheels to some sort of generator. I'm not saying it's impossible, just an issue.
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Old 03-30-2010, 03:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
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It's not the brakes that do the regeneration, it's the drive train and electric motor, which also acts as a generator.

Of course the vehicle needs to have conventional brakes too, since more braking can be needed then the regenerative process will produce.
A good friend pointed that same point out to me. Ah well, at least I got folks thinking.
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