RAILWAY AGE at RAILWAY INTERCHANGE 2019: Hotstart’s new BCU (Battery Charging Unit) provides float charging to batteries, allowing them to maintain their available voltage. It’s designed for use in locomotives, heavy equipment, mobile applications and other battery installations.
The BCU, says Hotstart, is “built for locomotives” and “designed for railroads.” Since space in a locomotive carbody is often limited, the BCU charger, transformer, circuit protection and all necessary components are packaged in a compact, foot-mounted configuration. The BCU also “optimizes battery charging in extreme temperatures.”
BCU models are also configured to convert a variety of common standard on-site AC power sources to DC outputs (typically 72 VDC) suited for most locomotive battery voltages. To meet increased demand, multiple units may be installed in parallel as a single battery maintenance system.
For shore power applications, the BCU may be installed on-board to operate in tandem with a HOTSTART idle reduction electric heating system. During layovers, the locomotive will remain charged and ready to start immediately. In this respect, the BCU is “a complete readiness solution.”
The BCU also features “easy operation and integration,” as its LED indicator displays status for more-than 80% charge, a full charge, and system faults. Charging is automatically controlled and circuit-protected, so no switches, timers or adjustments are required.
Hotstart said the BCU system, which has undergone extensive testing with Class I railroads, retails at $3,000-$4,000.
International Railway Journal Managing Editor Kevin Smith contributed to this story.