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Hey There

Are you frustrated by intermittent locomotive performance whenever you run trains? Spending hours troubleshooting tricky frogs and subpar electrical pickups? You don't have to pull your hair out anymore! Power problems are a thing of the past for Keep Alive® users. Check it out!

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All About TCS Keep Alive®

Though not the first company to attempt the idea, TCS was the first to bring an uninteruptable power supply to the North American DCC market that was both powerful and affordable in the form of the "Keep Alive®" device. Ever since its unveiling in late 2012, "Keep Alive®" has become a household name. Often imitated, but never equaled!

 

Keep Alive® technology eliminates issues which arise from poor track conditions and/or poor electrical pickups. For sound decoders specifically, Keep Alive® prevents sound interruptions and engine stalling that can occur from hiccups in power delivery.  When power to your locomotive is interrupted, Keep Alive® delivers up to several seconds of additional power to keep your locomotive running through dead spots on the track. When used with a TCS decoder, all of the functions will continues to run - motor, lights, and sounds. Cutting power to your layout will also activate the Keep Alive® device, so don't be surprised if you still hear the locomotive making sounds for several seconds even after shutting down your layou. Nothing's wrong - that's Keep Alive® doing its job!


You can now find Keep Alive® devices included in factory-direct models, including the latest SC44 "Charger", ACS-64, and K4 releases from Bachmann! Don't miss your chance to own these fantastic models filled with awesome TCS features like WOWSound, Audio Assist® and Keep Alive® right out of the box! Keep your eyes open for more models with WOWSound and Keep Alive®, coming soon!

 

Remember, Keep Alive® can be purchased individually and installed in your locomotive, but it is also available with certain WOWSound decoders and every WOWKit. Head to our shop or your local hobby source and grab a Keep Alive® to experience the power for yourself. 

 

All TCS decoders are also defaulted to support Keep Alive® without any programming. Just plug and play! This is not true for all manufacturers and decoders! If you are unsure if your decoder supports Keep Alive® you should contact your decoder manufacturer. However, not all decoders include connection points or wires to solder your add-on Keep Alive® device!

 

Keep Alive® supporting code for TCS decoders was implemented fully by November 2012. If the date code in your decoder is before this date, Keep Alive® may never enable. Other decoder manufacturers have since followed with their own support for the device. You may need to consult your decoder manufacturer regarding their own support for Keep Alive® on specific devices. CV's 250, 251, and 252 read as the month, day, and year of manufacturing in a TCS decoder. Note that not all decoder manufacturers include date codes in their products, and may use different CV's.

 

If you would like to attach a Keep Alive® unit to a non-TCS decoder, you need to connect the wires across the output of the bridge rectifier on the decoder. You will need to consult your decoder manufacturer for a schematic or wiring diagram to locate these two points on your decoder. Keep Alive® is a DC voltage device. Do not connect the wires from your Keep Alive® device to track power! Attaching the unit to track power will do nothing if not destroy the unit.

 

All Keep Alive® devices operate in the same way and are equally compatible with any decoder. KA1 and KA2 devices have equal capacities to each other, and are approximately 1/3 the capacity of the KA3 and KA4 devices while at the same time being roughly half the size of their counterparts. Physical dimensions are the only considerable differences between Keep Alive® devices. These dimensions must be taken into account prior to installation, as choosing the wrong device may interfere with the installation.

 

You can also watch our video below on Keep Alive® to learn more!

 

Almost perfect for our N-scale faithful, the redesigned KA1 and KA2 Keep-Alive® modules are smaller than our existing KA3 and KA4, but still hold a powerful charge - enough to keep your HO and N scale locomotives running across dirty and faulty trackwork. 

Judge Me By My Size, Do You?

Almost perfect for our N-scale faithful, the redesigned KA1 and KA2 Keep-Alive® modules are smaller than our existing KA3 and KA4, but still hold a powerful charge - enough to keep your HO and N scale locomotives running across dirty and faulty trackwork. 

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The new Keep Alive® devices are considerably smaller than the KA3/4. Considering the overall cubic volume of the devices, the KA1 is 55% smaller than the KA3, and the KA2 is 49% smaller than the KA4. At roughly half of the original size, these miniaturized devices will enable modelers to fit Keep Alive® in smaller spaces and use them for a wider variety of installations - especially in N scale!

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Though the new KA devices are smaller, they still pack a powerful punch! Both the KA1 and KA2 sport roughly one third of the power of the KA3/4, which is enough to keep even HO-scale sound decoders cruising across dirt, dust, gaps, and anything else your rough rails send its way. Remember: the number of lighting functions in use and motor activity will drain the Keep Alive® at different rates. 

These new Keep Alive® devices are available now! Check out our video below detailing the full installation process from start to finish of a KA1 into a SD70ACe from Kato in N-scale!