TCS Keep Alive Mother Board with loksound 21 pin installed

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NYC_George

Active Member
#1
Maybe someone here may know this? I have a consist with 3 TCS decoders installed in Atlas locos with TCS keep alive mother boards. I don't like any of the horns choices that TCS provides. If I buy a loksound 21 pin decoder, which you can change the whole engine if you choose to, will that mate up with the TCS mother board and will the keep alive still work?

George
 
#2
It should a 21 pin decoder is a 21 pin.As is you could add a TCS keep alive to a locksound decoder.One of the things I plan on doing with a couple of Atlas silver series is add the TCS WOW sound.
 

NYC_George

Active Member
#3
I mean I like the TCS mother board with the keep alive. Are you saying the keep alive will keep the loksound decoder charged if the power goes out for a few seconds? A Loksound brand keep alive has to be soldered to the decoder and takes up a lot of space. It would be so much easier if I could just plug the 21 loksound into the TCS. I guess I could call TCS but I'm sure they would tell me to use their decoder and I'm not sure if they would even know?

George
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
It should a 21 pin decoder is a 21 pin.
Unfortunately, that appears to not be so, if Scale Trains use of 21 pin decoders and Loksound V4 or now V5 is anything to go by, and using a different brand of 21 pin decoder (even their own Select) is concerned in their DCC ready model's motherboard.

I would seek confirmation from TCS. They may not like it, but it's a valid question.
 
#5
So your saying if I buy a dcc ready loco with a 21 pin connector I cant put any 21 pin decoder on it.So what is the point of the NMRA standard.
 

NYC_George

Active Member
#6
I'm thinking you can put any 21 pin decoder in a 21 pin DCC ready loco? I'm not sure if you can plug a loksound 21 pin decoder into a TCS keep alive mother board and have the keep alive power the loco if the power goes out? I don't think anybody really knows?
 
#7
So how does it work adding a TCS keep alive to a decoder or board.Don't see what the difference is.There is all makes of decoders on the market,none say "for only" a certain brand.
 

NYC_George

Active Member
#8
The problem is the keep alive part of the board. It has to intersect with the right components of the none TCS decoder. There's NMRA standard for keep alive. I just thought it may work but that could be wrong. If I showed a diagram of the TCS board to loksound I'm sure they could tell me if it would work.
George
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#9
So your saying if I buy a dcc ready loco with a 21 pin connector I cant put any 21 pin decoder on it.So what is the point of the NMRA standard.
That's the problem, Tom. The standard was written long before 21 pin boards came about, even though it was recognised that there were more functions that would be available than first conceived. Even among the dozen we normally associate with they can be configured differently among manufacturers. e.g. the buttons to start up/shut down. The problem that is now becoming apparent is that manufacturer specific boards could be the new "norm". Scale Trains, as I mentioned have actually gone as far as having ESU produce an exclusive motherboard for their trains with extra functions, as many as 10, I believe, that will only be fully available with the ESU V4 and now V5 decoders.
 
#10
The problem is the keep alive part of the board. It has to intersect with the right components of the none TCS decoder. There's NMRA standard for keep alive. I just thought it may work but that could be wrong. If I showed a diagram of the TCS board to loksound I'm sure they could tell me if it would work.
George
Well I can suggest talking with Streamlined Backshop,he does installs and videos on dcc stuff.Maybe he can answer your question,he's helped me in the past.http://www.sbs4dcc.com/home.html
 
#12
You can plug in the ESu 21 pin decoder, into the TCS mother board, with the keep alive, and the keep alive will keep the ESu decoder "alive". The problem is going to be programming the ESu decoder, as the TCS keep alive circuit will interfere with the programming, as the capacitor will absorb the programming "spikes", and attempt to smooth them out. This is why the ESu "keep alive", is soldered to the decoder, to prevent the capacitors from interfering with programming, as the capacitor is located after the signal has been stripped off. I think there is a procedure for programming with the keep alive, but the best way is to do the programming withe the decoder not installed, then after programming, install the ESu decoder. Or is the keep alive can be removed, then install it after programming.
 
#13
As I read my post I forgot to put in the word no in There's (no) NMRA standard for keep alive that I know of. Anyway thanks for your help NCRC5315. I guess I would have to buy another board just to program the loksound decoder and then plug it into the TCS board. I wouldn't have to do all this if TCS had a horn I liked. I really like the fact that loksound lets you swap out the whole engine sound but you have to buy their programmer, not something everyone can afford. I'll look at the sbs4dcc web site for 21 pin boards. When I make the change I'll post the results some time in the future.
 
#14
Can the TCS keep alive be removed for programming, then re-installed? Or buy a mother board with out the keep alive for programming, then when complete, put in the motherboard with the keep alive.
 
#16
Someone on another forum, is saying that as long as the capacitor is allowed to drain before trying to run, it will work to program, with the ESu decoder, and the TCS motherboard.
You mean like programming it with the ESU programmer. It would be drained then right?

George
 



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