Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How does a maglev train get on-board power?

  1. Aug 23, 2004 #1
    Greetings, I'm a physics newbie with a simple (?) question. If it's free-floating, where does the energy come from to power the lights, controls, etc. inside a moving maglev train?

    Another related question, if data needs to be transmitted to a moving maglev train, can it be done through conventional wireless communications? I was thinking that a strong magnetic field might interfere with a wireless signal, but then I thought that only charged particles would be deflected by a magnetic field. Can anyone tell me if my thinking is on the right 'track'. :wink:
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 23, 2004 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Induction: a coil under the track near a coil on the train induces a current flow just like in a transformer.

    For radio comms, the magnets wouldn't affect it unless the coils generate their own radio signal (of course, if they do, you could modulate that signal to carry data).

    Welcome aboard!
  4. Aug 23, 2004 #3

    Russ Thanks! and it's great to be here!!
  5. Sep 18, 2004 #4
    I'm telling you my understandings from Maglev system Transrapid (TR07):
    first question: the linear generators intergrated into the support magnets supply power for the train, so no wiring is required.
    second question: The magnetic field produced by the train is about 100 µTesla (just double stronger than earth's magnetic field), therefore its impact on passengers as well as radio comm system is extremely small.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2004
  6. Sep 19, 2004 #5
    Hi Russ_watter,
    I appreciate your explaination.
    The term "windings" is rather vague to me, so could you help me to get the right understanding of it.
    Thank so much!
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2004
  7. Sep 19, 2004 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    An inductor is a coil of wire that can become an electromagnet when electrical current flows through the wire. In effect it stores magnetic energy like a capacitor stores electrical energy.

    To increase its magnetic strength, you could pass more electrical current (which creates more heat) or you could make it a bigger coil where the wire is going to wrap around a few more times.

    To get the wire in a nice coil, typically a winding machine is used to arrange the wire so it is placed nice and neatly to maximize the amount of wire in a given space (to make it even more effective). Hence the term winding, its the number of times the wire is wrapped around inside the coil. So adding more windings is a way to increase the strength of the magnet (all other things being equal).

  8. Sep 22, 2004 #7
    Thank you Cliff for your explantion!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook