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Power Pax Programming Booster and TCS Keep Alive Capacitor

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Tips DCC Components, Tony's Tips |

I purchased two PowerPax Boosters from you.  I understand the need to isolate the PowerPax Programming track from the running track.  We also have several TCS Keep Alive equipped Decoders.

If I quickly remove a TCS Keep Alive locomotive from the running track and start programming before the TCS capacitor discharges, will this damage the Power Pax ?……John B.

John: This should not hurt the PowerPax. The stay alive circuit is DC and is blocked from feeding back into the track by diodes. In fact, the stay alive circuit may draw enough current at start up to trip the PowerPax circuit protection, which is set at 250mA per the NMRA requirements. If you have a problem, you may need to actually use this technique to get the engine up and running on the program track. You can use a length of dead track that is longer than the engine between the DCC and the PowerPax track. Charge the engine up on DCC and then slide it across to the Program Track as you enable the Program Track. Unfortunately, the engine decoder technology at this point has surpassed the NMRA’s concept of the Program Track, so there are some mis-matches between the NMRA specs and today’s engines.