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I have decided not to stock batteries for powering locomotives. There are plenty of suppliers who stock them at prices which I cannot match and there are also difficulties with buying good quality batteries at reasonable prices. There is also the problem of sending them through the post.

However, if you are looking for good sources of supply, I can thoroughly recommend the following. I use them myself and, although not the cheapest sources of supply, these suppliers confirm the quality and the accuracy of the claims made about the capacity of the batteries they supply - which cannot be said for all the suppliers which trade through online auction sites.

Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh) batteries

These have now become the most common rechargable battery which can be bought off the shelf such as in your local supermarket. They come in the standard sizes (eg AAA, AA, etc). They are usually rated at 1.2v output and so you would need to divide that into supply voltage needed to calculate the number of batteries (or cells to be more accuate) you require - eg six NiMh would supply 6 x 1.2v = 7.2v)

I would recommend investing in Low Self Discharge (LSD) or Eneloop batteries as these lose their charge far more slowly stored when compared with normal NiMh batteries. The best value LSD NiMh batteries seem to be those supplied by HobbyKing -

However, if you prefer your batteries to be made up into packs for you, then you could consider suppliers such as Strikalite

Lithium-ion batteries

The majority of portable electronic devices are now powered by lithium-ion batteries. There are horror stories about these batteries exploding or catching fire - usually when they are being charged. They are quite volatile but, if handled carefully, they have many advantages over other types of battery (which is presumably why they are used so extensively). Their greatest advantages is that they provide a lot of power in a smaller space and so fewer cells are needed. Li-ion cells are rated at 3.7v and so just two cells would be needed to supply 7.4v.

If you search for Li-ion batteries on eBay, you will get hundreds of results. However, many of the batteries which seem excellent value are often of dubious qulaity. For example, I bought some li-ion batteries which were rated at 3200mAh (ie they would supposedly supply 1A of current for over three hours). When I tested them, their capacity was about half that which was claimed. I would also assume that the quality of construction is likely to be reflected in the price and, given their volatile nature I would be wary of exposing my model locomotive which has taken many hours to construct to the risk.