Cable thickness and amps!
One of the interesting aspects of rebuilding the Golden Arrow loco was the decision we took to replace the 40V DC system with a modern 24V DC electronic controller based one.
We used the highly successful Bosch 1000 watt motor, which gives almost 1 HP on full load, which is pretty good for a single 24 volt unit.
But what thickness of cable to use?
Well, current (ib) is related to voltage and power by the equation:
ib = 1 x watts/volts
So in our case this become..
ib = 1 x 1000/24 or about 43 amps.
That 43 amps is the maximum normal running current but let's play safe and double it to allow for both failure modes and also to reduce the voltage drop over the length of the wire. So we'll allow for about 80-90 amps absolute maximum.
So how thick does the cable need to be?
A good source of practical information is in the published works of marine and canal boat users, as well as the more formal IEEE and similar organisations.
These suggest the following information for a boiler room running at 60'C!
|Cable cross section (mm2)
For more normal temperatures - say 20'C - then we need to look at something like this.
|Cable cross section
So the answer to our problem would seem to be that if we use 25mm2 cable, which is about 8.4mm in diameter, we should be safe to draw the maximum stall current of the Bosch motor, that is, about 100 amps.
Out of interest, a test involving a single Bosch motor equipped Golden Arrow hauling a single Pullman coach up a 1 in 20 incline drew a maximum current of 55 amps. So 100 amp cable is probably 'over kill' and so maybe 16mm2 cross section would do for most normal use.