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Battery packs demystified

A list of links included in this article on building your own lithium-ion battery packs
William Canelos
In the December 2012 issue, William Canelos explains how to build lithium-ion battery packs for your large-scale trains. To save you time, we've included a list of links and resources he referred to in the article.
18650 size, lithium-ion batteries Simple smart chargers suitable for charging one to four cells from 3.7V to 14.8V are recommended. All-battery #01211 ( or, for faster charges on four cell, 14.8V packs, #01206-01 (

For 18.5V packs, use #01218 (

Battery holders or battery boxes for 18650-size batteries

Type "battery holder" in their search field. Holders for 1, 2, 3, or 4 cells are available at low cost with free shipping.
Tools needed for making solderless battery packs

• Package of butt-type insulated crimp connectors are available at Harbor Freight (SKU 67684); includes tool, smaller quantities are also available.

• Wire stripper: Harbor Freight (SKU 92410)

• Crimping tool: see above

• Multimeter to measure voltage: or SKU 98025

The above items are available at Harbor Freight stores and automotive stores. Lowest cost is Harbor Freight.

• You Tube link to crimping instructions: or (toward the end)

• You Tube link on using a multimeter:

Update from the author

Having received a letter from a reader concerning my article on lithium-ion batteries, the price of batteries, and one of the website links that's not working, I too have noticed good deals are more difficult to find and the really good prices with free shipping are even harder to find.  This has occurred because the US Postal Service has recently announced they will no longer accept Lithium Ion batteries and other items with lithium in them for shipment in US  Mail. As a result, Ebay sellers have either raised prices and still offer free shipping, or raised both the price and the shipping since they are now forced to use higher cost shipping methods.  The only thing I can recommend is to keep shopping. U.S sellers and overseas sellers have all been affected.

You can still build a pack for a lot less than those for sale bybattery advertisers.

12 would cost $86.97 plus shipping

12 would be 37.09 with free shipping but may not have the PCB now offers the battery holder with the PCB built in. This will allow you to use any 18650 lithium Ion batteryavailable on the market without a PCB  They are $15.95.

You can still build a pack for $12.36 for the batteries $15.95 for the holder or $28.31 each using the above two sources. Or you can get the Tenergy batteries and use the cheap battery boxes without
the PCB and build the packs for about $32.50 each.

Bear in mind things can change pretty fast. The battery sources I used in the article were correct when I wrote it.

Sorry about the bad news!!

--Bill Canelos


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