Author Topic: TCS Keep-Alives  (Read 960 times)

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dnhouston

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TCS Keep-Alives
« on: April 04, 2012, 06:03:52 PM »
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Got an Ad today from TCA, and was wondering if anybody had tried, or seen in action, the new TCS Keep-Alives?  They look like a small battery pack that provides power to the DCC chip when track power is not available (due to dirty track or an unpowered frog).  While they seem a little pricey, and would require me to replace my existing chips with their KA compatible chips, if they remove the stutter/stopping then they might be worth it.

http://www.tcsdcc.com/public_html/Customer_Content/Products/Keep-Alive/Keep-Alive.php
David

Ian MacMillan

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2012, 04:18:59 AM »
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It uses caps to store power for dirty track. Wait a few more months and you will start to see them built into the HO and larger decoders without the need for a separate KA-1
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RAILCAT

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2012, 06:46:04 AM »
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Not really a new idea.
Lenz have USP (uninterruptable signal processing) available for many years.
Only work with Lenz decoders.
http://www.lenzusa.com/1newsite1/Power1-3.html

conrail98

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2012, 06:58:43 AM »
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I'd rather wait for the Tam Valley Depot battery operated DCC decoder, http://youtu.be/6w0niIUqA6I. They'll probably never get it to N, but imagine little to no wiring for track power,

Phil
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sizemore

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2012, 11:52:21 AM »
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Since these are just capacitors, could they be used for Soundtrax Tsunamis? I would venture to say they could.

T

delamaize

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 04:07:23 PM »
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I'm probably, eventually going to use the KAs and utility lighting decoders to do the headlight and tail lights on my ICE 3, because it's powered from the bordbistro, leaving the 2 control cabs as dummies. Simmular to the Bachmann Acela.
Mike

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 08:22:12 AM »
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Since these are just capacitors, could they be used for Soundtrax Tsunamis? I would venture to say they could.

T

I think the Tsunamis already do. Granted I haven't installed a Tsunami in anything yet, so I'm not 100% sure what the capacitor is for.
Vincent

If N scale had good SD40-2s, C30-7s, U30Cs, SD45s, SD40s, and SW10s; I'd be in N scale.

sizemore

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 01:23:38 PM »
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I think the Tsunamis already do. Granted I haven't installed a Tsunami in anything yet, so I'm not 100% sure what the capacitor is for.

The Micro Tsunami's need to have the capacitor off the green (yellow striped) and blue leads (blue pos. input, green neg. output). I have one in the prototype "Super-Berk", but I dont think it has enough "ooomph". Looking for a better option without being ginormous.

This covers it pretty throughly:
http://www.mrdccu.com/curriculum/soundtraxx/tsunami.htm

The S.

peteski

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Re: TCS Keep-Alives
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 04:02:23 AM »
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Got an Ad today from TCA, and was wondering if anybody had tried, or seen in action, the new TCS Keep-Alives?  They look like a small battery pack that provides power to the DCC chip when track power is not available (due to dirty track or an unpowered frog).  While they seem a little pricey, and would require me to replace my existing chips with their KA compatible chips, if they remove the stutter/stopping then they might be worth it.

http://www.tcsdcc.com/public_html/Customer_Content/Products/Keep-Alive/Keep-Alive.php

I took one of those apart. That circuit consists of a super-capacitor (actually several super-caps in series to increase their working voltage - it works out to 20,000uF), a diode and a resistor (to limit the charging current while allowing higher discharging current) and a zener diode (to protect the capacitor from over voltage).  If you know how to reverse-engineer your DCC decoder you can incorporate that circuit in pretty much into any decoder.  It attaches at the output of the bridge rectifier. The positive lead hooks up to the positive output of the bridge rectifier (normally the blue wire). The negative lead needs to be attached to the negative output of the bridge rectifier (normally there is no lead for that). That's where the reverse engineering part comes in.

This super-cap supplies the voltage not only to the micro controller but also to the motor and functions. It keeps the entire decoder functioning for several seconds.

EDIT: I stated that this circuit can be adapted to pretty much any decoder. That assumes that the default behavior of those decoders when they can't see DCC data packets is to continue at the last received speed step. I don't know if all brands of DCC decoders behave this way.  I also suspect that the analog compatibility on a decoder has to be disabled for the decoder to work properly with the keep alive circuit.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 09:11:21 PM by peteski »
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