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 Keep Alive Capacitors for On30 Locos
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Author Previous Topic: Mara Harbor a 0n30 show layout part 2 Topic Next Topic: Along Fever Creek
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Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  4:16:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hello Everyone,

I am starting this thread to share my experiences adding Keep Alive devices to selected On30 locos (not all locos really need them). As this is being written, TCS makes the Keep Alives. Digiitrax has announced similar devices and they seem to be available. Soundtraxx has just announced the release of a device called a Cirrent Keeper, to be released this summer.

Marcus Ammann has a web site that provides lots of info (but not everything) concerning adding these devices to various decoder circuit boards. I was able to use his info to add Keep Alive to a Bachmann Shay with the old DSD (pre Tsunami) decoder. I plan to share photos intje future. My most recent install has been in the Bachmann Porter

Country: USA | Posts: 207

Just a fan
Engine Wiper



Posted - 04/17/2014 :  4:56:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll be interested to see what you do with the Porter. I've been thinking about putting a WOW Sound with a Keep Alive in one.

Jeff

Country: USA | Posts: 319 Go to Top of Page

Martin Welberg
Fireman



Posted - 04/17/2014 :  5:23:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit Martin Welberg's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Like to see where you hide this ting in a porter, got 2 over here and the are bad runners..


Country: Netherlands | Posts: 6706 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  5:43:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have found that the wiring was the biggest issue. Once that was solved, the rest was cosmetic. For the 0-4-0, I used a bit of double sided foam tape to glue a KA-1 to the inside of the cab roof. I painted the exposed portion to it black, also the wires. It is nearly invisible from normal (arms length) viewing distance on the layout. with the newest Porters, I found I had to sacrifice the runners for the moveable side windows, or the top of the steam dome stack (inside the stack) and the whistle cord. It depends on whether the KA is mounted length wise or cross wise. Either way, these small mods are hardly visible.




Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  6:04:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To continue, for the 0-4-2, I added a verticle extension to the fuel bunker, and hid a KA-2 inside. I made a false cover that simulates a wood load. I hope to post pics in the future.

In the Shay, I hollowed out the false log load in the fuel bunker extension, and hid a KA-2 inside.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out the correct wiring connections on the Bachmann OEM sound board. I ruined it the first time and had to substitute a shrink wrapped Tsunami micro 750. This was, of course, much easier to wire the KA to, but was expensive!! I had contacted Soundtraxx but was told there was no safe spot on the Bachmann board that the KA could be wired to. This is very true. how ever on my second try, calling Soundtraxx, I was told there are spots to solder to, they are just very tricky. I was sent drawings of the board with the correct wiring points. I will share them here as soon as I figure out how to move the attachment from my e-mail. I will also describe how I was able to solder to the board in a very restricted environment. The board is small and the components very tiny!!

On a positive note, I now have two Porters with sound that DO NOT STALL!! I just ran one around a 4 x 8 loop at speed step 1 of 128 without a single hitch. It took about 9 minutes to make the circuit.

So, I am now very happy with the results, but I must say that Soundtraxx was correct, there is the danger of ruining the board if one is not very very careful.



Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Arizona Dave
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 04/17/2014 :  8:21:59 PM  Show Profile  Visit Arizona Dave's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just ordered another Porter and plan to add a keep alive. I'll be following with great interest!

Dave

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible"
- Walt Disney

http://thundermesaminingco.blogspot.com

Country: USA | Posts: 1089 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/17/2014 :  9:44:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To fit a Wow with Keep Alive and hide the devices, I believe an enclosed cab and fuel bunker would be needed. Something like a Forney.


Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

NVNGRR
Engine Wiper

Premium Member


Posted - 04/18/2014 :  12:11:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit NVNGRR's Homepage  Reply with Quote
On my 0-4-2 Porter I used a Banta T-2083 "Summer Cab" wood cab that is not as open as the stock cab. I put the micro tsunami in the coal bunker, the TCS KA1 keep alive is on the left sidewall and the soundtraxx speaker is on the right sidewall. The KA1 is below the window level and will not be very visible once I paint the top of it black.
I had tried a larger capacitors up to 1000uF with mediocre to poor results. If you can cram it in, the KA1 is the way to go.

I put a TCS KAM4-LED in my Bachmann Gas Mechanical that has a Backwoods Miniatures Vertical Boiler conversion kit.

They both are great runners now without a bit of problem on frogs or dirty track.


Kevin Miller
Winlock, WA

Country: USA | Posts: 361 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/18/2014 :  2:54:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I hope to upload the PDF from Soundtraxx showing the wiring points for the Porter and a few photos of my installs before COB Monday.

Meanwhile another caution. During my installs I broke a few solder joints where the wires meet the circuit the board and the speaker. This was caused by simple handling of the wires and board. So, extra care is in order. Resoldering was not a big problem, but it was another stone in the road.

Reg Barron



Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/20/2014 :  5:30:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is a drawing of one side of the Porter sound board showing the negative inputs that we are concerned with. They are marked as GND for ground. The black and white wire from the KA Capacitor pack should be soldered to either one of these negative connections for sound and motor Keep Alive. The 14+ positive connections will NOT work for motor keep alive.




Reg Barron



Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/20/2014 :  5:53:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This drawing shows the other side of the Porter Sound board. Anything inside the hand drawn line marked "VRAW" is a Positive connection for the TCS Keep alive device. The Blue, wire will need to be soldered to one of the four pads inside this S shaped circle. The pads are very tiny!

Again, soldering the Blue wire to a 14+ connections will only provide sound keep alive and NOT motor keep alive.




regards,

Reg Barron



Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/20/2014 :  7:12:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Included here are two photos of the Porter soundboard with wires soldered.






Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/20/2014 :  7:26:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The first photo shows the locations for the blue (positive) and black/white wire (negative) connections in the old (pre Tusunami) sound board for the Bachmann Shay (also works for the Climax).

Second photo shoes a rear cab view of the Porter showing how the KA-1 is just visible in the Porter 0-4-0 cab.

The next two photos show bunker extensions in Porter cabs where the KA-2 can be hidden.

regards,

Reg Barron










Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

MinerFortyNiner
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 04/20/2014 :  10:06:54 PM  Show Profile  Visit MinerFortyNiner's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Reg, great looking Porter. The enclosed cab is a great solution.

It's interesting how you decided to solder to the boards, thanks for the information. In my conversions for these locos, I chose to simply isolate the small factory capacitor (in the sand dome) and connect to those leads, which avoided any soldering next to board components. It would be great if Soundtraxx could provide pads for extra connections - left and right rail (to add pickup from a tender), and capacitor (to add Keep Alive).



Country: USA | Posts: 2793 Go to Top of Page

Reg Barron
Engine Wiper

Posted - 04/22/2014 :  8:34:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I solder to the boards, only when I must. I tried many configurations in unsuccessful attempts to get the Keep Alives working with the Bachmann board. I was able to get sound only keep alive by connecting to the original capacitor terminals. My final config. Is the one specified by Soundtraxx. When using the shrink wrapped Tsunamis, I do solder to the wires away from the boards.

To return to my method of soldering to the boards:

- first I pre-tin the wire and bend the end to an L shape. If the bent end is longer than the solder pad of the component, I trim it to fit. It is a good idea to practice applying the wire to the pad and touching it with a COLD iron. I use a small iron of about 25 watts. When ready to solder, the iron should be tinned, with only a tiny
Bit of extra solder on the tip. I put a dot of rosin flux on the wire and another tiny dot on the solder pad of the component. I then apply the wire to the pad, and the hot iron to the wire on the pad. The hot iron touches for one to two seconds at most, and the connection is made.

I consider the Keep Alives as a 99 percent + solution.

Before the keep Alives I achieved about a 90 percent + solution by using CRC on the track, wheel treads, and the pick ups on the back of the wheels. I also adds a small washer between the frame and the cover plate near the driving axle without the gear. This allows the wheels to move up and down a little over slightly uneven track, allowing for somewhat improved electrical pick up.

Regards,

Reg Barron



Country: USA | Posts: 207 Go to Top of Page

HWCRR
Engine Wiper



Posted - 04/23/2014 :  10:44:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok, I have to admit to my confusion (ignorance) here:

I am trying to figure out exactly what everyone is talking about concerning this topic.
I have one of the older models of the Bachmann T boiler shay, and one of the 2-8-0's. I bought them both on the same day. Both came with DCC with sound.
I run them on handlaid N/S rail and use Micro Engineering turnouts.
I have run these locomotives so slow, you have to watch for movement. One notch up, it takes about 12 minutes to go 4'! Even through turnouts at the slowest crawl.
They have never stalled and both run very smoothly all the way through the throttle, from slowest to fastest.

So, is this because they have "keep alive" capacitors on board, the assembler was having a good day, or am I just lucky?

I do know however, the function of a capacitor is as a storage device and are used to 'smooth' things over!

Dave HWCRR




Edited by - HWCRR on 04/23/2014 10:50:08 AM

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