Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Trackwork To Do

For a long time I have been ignoring a problem that now must be fixed. I am sure that the Ramblers have been being very polite in not mentioning it as well. The issue relates to repairs to ballast in Wollar at the front of the layout in the middle of the platform, right under everyones noses.

Here is the problem!

What happened was that when I moved the layout to its present location years ago I took out a section of track about 150mm long on each track crossing a baseboard join  so that it could be unbolted and moved. I replaced the track sections and re-ballasted the small sections of the tracks. I must have used the wrong water to PVA glue ratio, obviously too much water. The baseboard joint is of course below the two pieces of track and the watery glue got down the joint and then absorbed into the end of the pineboard (chipboard to some) and caused it to swell. Of course being watery the glue didn't hold the ballast too well so I repeated the process exacerbating the problem ( hadn't noticed it the first time).

So the next job is to rip out the track and replace it with some Micro Engineering Code 70.

What caused me to finally do something is that I had recently fitted a TCS KA2 Stay Alive into my Craftsman Models Z13 along with a Loksound v4 Micro sound decoder and a speaker (more than a little bit of 'shoe horning' there).

Anyway I took a video of 1307 traversing one of the tracks and got a real shock, talk about a roller coaster ride!

The good thing is that 1307 glided over the hump without a hiccup which it couldn't do before fitting the Stay Alive circuit.

I can't express how great these Stay Alives are in improving the running and keeping the sound alive when pickup is not so good.

The Stay Alive has to charge up for a few minutes when the layout is first turned on.

I have just fitted a second Stay Alive into 5139 a Tsunami equipped old Bergs D50 and it now runs nicely but I did find out one potential problem while running it tonight. I double headed it with a Trainorama C32 and the 32 doesn't have the best pickups which causes it to hesitate. The end result result was that 5139 kept pushing when the 32 stopped which then made it difficult for the 32 to start again with the 50 pushing it along the track. So the only answer is that any locos with Stay Alives in consists or double heading will all need Stay Alives.


Andrew Campbell said...

A future blog on how to fit the Stay Alives would be appreciated as I am a bit confused on how to fit these to other decoders such as the Loksounds.


Ray P said...


Information on fitting them to various Tsunamia can be found on Marcus Ammann's site at:

I fitted the TCS Stay Alive to the Loksound in the 13 class by following the instructions in the Loksound v4 manual on Page 26.
The manual can be found at: