Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Resurrection and Staying Alive

CPH 16 back at Mount Windeatt
Don't worry, this post has nothing to do with religion or music!

In February 2012, I mentioned that the CPH had been withdrawn from service. It had never run well and I was not satisfied with the electrical pick up arrangements.  At the time, I contemplated the purchase a new chassis and motor but other priorities intervened, as they do, and so the CPH just sat in the staging area.

Over the intervening 15 months, I have read a number of blog posts and articles about 'Stay Alive' or 'Keep Alive' capacitors being used as a way to overcome short term losses of power. From what I read, this seemed like a solution for my 30 Class tank locomotive and, to a lesser extent, my 50 Class. Despite having some additional pick-ups fitted, both still stall in particular locations on the Atlas points that I purchased back in the late 1990s.Yes, I could replace the points but that will be a major task probably causing a significant amount of damage to finished scenery. Hence attention has turned to the concept of the uninterrupted power supply.

Not having any experience with these and having no feel for the extra space that the Stay Alive would take, I decided to use the CPH as a trial. After a bit of investigation, I purchased a DCC Concepts decoder and 'stay alive' capacitor. However, I compromised the trial somewhat by also upgrading the electrical contact wipers on the unpowered bogie using the same Hollywood Foundry product that I had used for the 36 Class.( http://philipscreek.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/power-to-36.html)

The 'Stay Alive' is the blue object on the left
The upgrade of the wipers worked well and improved the performance of the CPH to some extent, but I'm not sure about the new decoder and stay alive. I did try to test the stay alive by running it over an unpowered section of track but The CPH  stopped dead. When I asked the manufacturer about this, he politely told me that I would need a capacitor about ten times larger than the one I purchased to get the result I sought! So in one respect, the trial delivered an answer and the CPH is back in service  but I need to keep searching for a solution.

Clearly when it comes to 'stay alives', size does matter!


  1. Hi Phil

    Have you considered or tried the TCS range of stay alive decoders? From all reports they are supposed to work very well but not cheap.

    I am looking forward to the new TCS sound decoders that are almost here, they have stay alive as part of the decoder, also one has resistors built in for LED lighting. So far only steam is available in the initial stages.

    I was given some Atlas points some time back, & they gave me huge headaches on the old layout, while I thought the were built ok, & in some ways better than Peco, that huge black blob of plastic frog gave headaches big time, if it was not stalling, or stopping loco's dead, it was causing derailments with many items of R/S, was an easy decision to not use them again. I felt the gap for flanges were too big.

    If yours are the same or similar, I don't know if its possible or not to somehow removed the plastic frog, or somehow reduce in size & replace with actual rail, could work, but gee its not a task I would contemplate.

    I would personally do a replacement with one of the troublesome points that has the least likely amount of scenery damage & see how that goes, Another problem I found with them when trying a simple replacement was not really possible as the turnout rail was shorter than the main rail meaning a need to be cutting into the other track, or sometimes the large radius points worked with a reduction in the rail leading into the points themselves.



  2. Colin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I have tried the TCS range of decoders and have been impressed. My next step in this process will be to try one of their KAM range.as the next step in this trial but i'll probably focus on the 30 class.

    I use code 83 track and the points have been ok except for the nonpowerd frog, as you mentioned. However, the frog is metal and can be powered. However, I didn't realise this until most of the track had been laid. I have powered one or two frogs but the bulk of the points remain as installed.

    I have purchased two Peco code 83 points to replace the points in one specific location and I have also found that I will have to add so extra track to replace the whole footprint of the Atlas points

  3. Phil
    Sorry I did not respond earlier to your question on MRNSW blog but I have been away.
    The forms are now available on the blog and you can register as soon as you like.
    Click on one of the forms to open them, then "save pic as" to your computer and print off what you need.