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Model Railroading > DCC decoder upgrade feature


Date: 01/11/21 12:36
DCC decoder upgrade feature
Author: Jeff_Johnston

In the works: A project to upgrade a Sugar Pine Lumber Company #5 Minarets type loco with a Tsunami decoder, high-bass speaker and keep-alive module. The older Lenz non-sound decoder works but it's time to shift gears. I'm also shooting photos of this project as a feature story that details the process.

I'm late to the party with the DCC "keep-alive" devices so I cut out several foam mockups of various keep-alive brands and sizes to get a feel for what was going to fit the space. These keep-alive may be just the answer for my short-wheelbase tank locos that have minimum electrical pickup capability, even with my usual added wheel wipers where practical.

Stay tuned ...

Jeff Johnston
trainvideosandparts.com




Date: 01/11/21 16:20
Re: DCC decoder upgrade feature
Author: funnelfan

Keep alive circuits are really a must have for steam locomotives, and really for any sound equipped locomotive. I ran two consists yesterday, one with a sound unit that had a keep alive circuit and another without the keep alive. It gets really annoying when the sound cuts out and is constantly restarting.
 

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 01/12/21 07:17
Re: DCC decoder upgrade feature
Author: Arved

Please keep us posted. I'd appreciate as much detail as possible in your work. There are a lot of tutorials and advice on adding DCC and Sound to diesels, but very little on Steam. Many SP steam engines have Vanderbilt tenders that are impossible to get into, so even something like a C-9 2-8-0 will need everything crammed into the locomotive, as you'll do with your Minarette.

You may also want to look at the Zen Keep Alives from DCC Concepts. I'm tending toward ESU decoders, and the 3-wire Zen Keep Alives look to be much smaller than ESU's Power Packs. Hopefully these will be available from US dealers soon, but I ordered a 3-pack (of the three available sizes) of the 3 wire keep alives to see how they'd fit.

Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass




Date: 01/16/21 17:52
Re: DCC decoder upgrade feature
Author: Jeff_Johnston

Hi, thanks for the update suggestions about keep alive hardware. However, I'm not sure why I'd want to use a keep alive that also has a secondary circuit unit attached to it, which makes it even harder to fit in place, or a keep-alive with three attachment wires which makes it even more difficult to wire to a decoder that doesn't have a keep-alive plug attachment. The units I'm using, per my note, are two-wire models, without bulky secondary circuit boards attached, and in the Soundtraxx cases, have simple plug connections to the later model Tsunami decoders.

Maybe there's something I missed about these other brands you mentioned?

Jeff Johnsto



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