Energy storage for ZIMO decoders

electrolytic capacitors - goldcaps - supercaps - tantals

ZIMO has energy storage solutions for all decoders, that means provisions for the substitute supply of the decoder and the vehicle equipment (drive, lighting, sound, ...) by capacitive components such as electrolytic capacitors, tantals or gold caps (supercaps) in all situations where the supply from the track is interrupted. The use of energy storage devices in vehicles brings numerous advantages with regard to

  • continuing to run in case of contact interruptions due to dirty tracks and de-energised switch frogs,
  • the avoidance of stopping on de-energised points in conjunction with a ZIMO special procedure
  • the interference-free sound reproduction in case of wheel-rail contact problems (often the most important point in practice)
  • the avoidance of energy losses due to HLU and RailCom gaps (which also exist without contact problems)
  • the reduction of engine noise associated with HLU and RailCom gaps
  • the improvement of the reception quality (readability) of the RailCom signal sent by the decoder
  • the minimisation of heating of the decoder, especially for motors with low ohmic resistance

The great variety of ZIMO decoders - between miniature types (for N and TT) and large scale types (for G and 1) - however requires different energy storage solutions: there are

3 categories (and also mixed versions):

  1. Decoders WITHOUT own provisions for energy storage (typical for miniature decoders):
    In such a case, though, an external capacitance (electrolytic capacitor or several tantals in parallel) can still be used. Either together with a small circuit of diodes and resistors via which the connection to "Common plus" and "Ground" of the decoder is made; or - the newer and more effective method - via a power control board, the ZIMO "StayAlive-Controller" (STACO1) (with a step-up regulator to 10V, via which connected gold caps supply power to the decoder).
  2. Decoders  WITH direct energy storage connection:
    There electrolytic capacitors or goldcap modules (these are series circuits of 6 or 7 goldcaps to achieve the necessary total voltage) can be connected to their own wires, pads or pins WITHOUT additional components or circuit boards (i.e. without additional costs, effort and space requirements). However, there are variants (depending on the decoder type, see below) that must be considered:
    15 V variant: the capacitance to be connected (electrolytic capacitor, ...) must have a dielectric strength of 15 V.
    25 V variant: the capacitance must correspond to the driving voltage, preferably the highest possible, i.e. 25 V.
    5 V special solution of the MS580N18: two mini gold caps connected in series can be connected in this case.
  3. Decoders WITH INTEGRATED energy storage (typical for large scale decoders), consisting of 3 gold caps:
    If required (which should be rather rare), external goldcap modules (with dielectric strength 15 V) can be connected externally.

The category 1 (according to the above classification) includes: 

  • many MX decoders (i.e. ALL EXCEPT MX633 ... 637 and MX644, MX645 and MX large scale decoders which are category 2),
  • among the MS decoders (currently only sound decoders) the subminiature sound decoder MS590N18 and in some sense also the miniature types MS480, 490, 500, which offer a direct connection according to category 2, but which is limited to 1000 µF*), which makes "category 1 - methods" more effective (see 1st and esp. 2nd picture top right).

The category 2 includes:

  • the larger MX decoders, i.e. the types MX633 ... 637 and MX644, MX645 and the MX large scale decoders MX696; however, the permissible connectable capacitance for direct connection is generally limited to 6800 µF
  • the PluX decoder MX645,  for this, electrolytic capacitors with a dielectric strength of 15 V or the SUPERCAP68 are sufficient, otherwise electrolytic capacitors from 25 V are permissible.
  • most MS decoders up to H0 gauge, and indeed unrestricted MS440 .... 450 (any size of connectable capacitance from electrolytic capacitors and goldcap modules), restricted MS480, 490, 500 ( capacities up to1000 µF *), see above), and MS580N18 with special solution (5 V double goldcap).
  • *) instead of 1000 µF, up to 3000 µF can also be connected, if service-mode programming and SW update and sound loading are waived (resp. meanwhile the condensers are disconnected).

The category 3 includes

  • the MX large scale decoders MX699 and all MS large scale decoders
StayAlive
ZIMO MS480 mit ELKOS an Dioden und Widerstand
Example of a low-cost solution for decoders WITHOUT or with limited provisions: MS480 with electrolytic capacitor, diodes and resistor from the ZIMO range. (typ. replacement supply time a few tenths of a second).

ZIMO MS490 mit STACO1 und 2 Goldcaps
Example of a particularly effective solution for decoders WITHOUT or with limited provisions: MS490N with external StayAlive controller STACO1 and 3 mini gold caps. (typ. replacement supply time 1 to several sec.)

ZIMO MS580N18 mit 2 ext. Mini-Goldcaps
The special solution of the Next decoder MS580N18: "Extension" of the internal tantals by two external mini gold caps, MGOGURT  (replace-ment supply at 5 V level for a few seconds).

ZIMO MS450 mit Mini-Goldmodul
Example of an effective solution for decoders WITH direct energy storage connection: MS450 with MGOBLOCK (WITHOUT external controller. Typ. replacement supply time: 1 to several seconds). If required 2 mini goldcap modules can be connected in parallel

ZIMO MS990K mit externem Goldmodul
Example of a large scale decoder WITH integrated energy storage: MS990K with additional, rarely necessary, GOLMRUND. (typ. replacement supply time several seconds).

SPEIKOSORT SPEIKOSORT fuer MX-Empfehlung
50 x       10 x    
(für MX) 
SPEIKOSORT

Assortment of components, for building low-cost energy storage circuits for about 20 "category 1" decoders (i.e. without own provisions); mixed according to the recommendations of the operating instructions for MX and MS decoders. See STACO1 (below) as a more effective alternative ! 

One bag contains (small variations in quantities possible):

50 x electrolytic capacitor 680µF/25 V, 10 x 22 mm (change to elkos with higher energy density possible),
50 x diode 1N4007 (or similar),
50 x resistor 100 Ohm,
10 x choke 100 µF (only needed for MX decoders),
10 x resistor 3K3 (only needed for MX decoders)

20 x
2200uF-16 V
ELKO16GURT

Elkos for "category 2" decoders (i.e. with direct energy storage connection), 15 V variant, usually several elkos are connected in parallel: at least 3 recommended, with MX decoders up to 10 - results in maximum capacity of 6800 µF, with MS decoders unlimited).

20 x electrolytic capacitor 2200 µF/16 V, 10 x 20 mm
(change to elkos with higher energy density possible if available)

50 x
680uF-25 V
ELKO25GURT

Elkos for "category 2" decoders (i.e. with direct energy storage connection),  25 V Variante (i.e. MX decoders with 21MTC interface) usually several Elkos are connected in parallel: at least 3 recommended, for MX decoders maximum 10 - for the total allowed capacitance of 6800 µF, for MS decoders unlimited number).

50 x Elko 680 µF/25 V, 10 x 20 mm (Change to Elkos with higher energy density possible if available)

10 x
680uF-25 V
TANT16GURT

Tantals for decoders of "category 2" (i.e. with direct energy storage connection), 15 V variant, usually a larger number of tantals are connected in parallel: at least 5 are recommended, with MX decoders up to 25; with MS decoders an unlimited number).

50 x tantalum 220 µF/16 V, 7.3 x 4.3 x 3 mm (change to elkos with higher energy density possible if available).

SUPERCAP68

"Supercap" (contains 6 gold caps in the metal housing), for decoder of "category 2" (i.e. with direct energy storage connection), 15 V variant (typical for MX645, MX644, MX633, MS450, MS440)

1 x Supercap 6800 µF/15 V, 20 x 15 x 5.8 mm

STACO01 upscaled

original size: STACO01

3 x
MINIGOLD
STACO1

StayAlive controller in miniature version, suitable (also in terms of dimensions) for MX- or MS-decoders (miniature decoders) of "category 1" (i.e. without provisions for energy storage connection) or of "restricted category 2" (e.g. only 1000 µF possible in direct connection, therefore need for better energy storage in the manner of "category 1"), for connecting (via wires) to the decoder pads or pins "comm. plus" and "GROUND" .

2 or 3 mini gold caps are connected to the StayAlive controller via wires; this provides spatially distributed accommodation for all parts (decoder, STACO, gold caps) - as opposed to a massive "power pack". The board transforms the voltage of the goldcaps (in total 5.4 or 8V - depending on whether 2 or 3 goldcaps; when fully charged, decreasing to approx. 2V over time) up to 10V, which is sufficient for the replacement supply of the decoder in case of wheel-track contact interruptions (for drive and sound without loss of volume) and does not cause any disturbances, e.g. in service mode.

1 x STACO1, for charging and controlled discharging of 2 or 3 Mini-Goldcaps, 10 x 7.3 x 1,7 mm
3 x Mini-Goldcap 0.3 F/2.7 V, 4 x 12 mm (diameter x length)

10 x
MINIGOLD
MGOGURT

Miniature gold caps (0.3F) for decoder MS580N18 as extension of the internal energy storage to 150,000 µF on 5 V basis, or for self-building of mini gold modules, or with StayAlive controllers, e.g. STACO1.

20 x Mini-Goldcap 0,3 F/2,7 V, 4 x 12 mm (diameter x length)

5 x
MGOBLOCK Ready Module
MGOBLOCK

Ready-made module formed of 6 mini gold caps connected in series in block form (2 rows of three on top of each other) for MS-decoders of "category 2" (i.e. with direct energy storage connection), 15 V variant, e.g.. e.g. MS450, MS440.

NOT permitted for MX decoder because charging transistor is not powerful enough.

packaging unit: 5 x MGOBLOCK mini goldcap module 50,000 µF/16 V, 14,6 x 7,8 x 14 mm

5 x
MGOLANG Fertigmodul
MGOLANG

Ready-made module consisting of 6 series-connected mini gold caps in long form (row of six) for MS detectors of "category 2" (i.e. with direct energy storage connection), e.g. MS450, MS440.

NOT permitted for MX decoder because charging transistor not powerful enough.

packaging unit: 5 x MGOLANG Mini Goldcap Module 50,000 µF/16 V, 26,5 x 4,2 x 14 mm

GOLDSORG Fertigmodul . . . GOLDSORG


Goldcaps (1F) for self-assembly of goldcap modules, consisting of 6 or 7 goldcaps connected in series as energy storage (stronger than with mini goldcaps) for MS decoders of "category 2".

20 x Goldcap 1 F/2,7 V, 8 x 12 mm (diameter x length)

GOLMRUND Fertigmodul    GOLMRUND

 

Ready-made module formed by 7 gold caps connected in series in round-shape for decoders of "category 2" (for MS decoders like MS450 or MS440 as larger alternative to MGOBLOCK;for MX or MS large scale decoders - all types - as additional energy storage).

NOT permitted for MX decoders (except large scale) because charging transistor not powerful enough.

1 x GOLMRUND Goldcap module 140,000 µF/16 V, 25 x 14,5 mm (diameter x height).

GOLMLANG Fertigmodul GOLMLANG

 

Ready-made module formed by 7 gold caps in series in long form for decoders of "category 2" (for MS decoders like MS450 or MS440 as larger alternative to MGOLANG; for MX or MS large scale decoders - all types - as additional energy storage).

NOT permitted for MX decoders (except large scale) because charging transistor not powerful enough.

1 x GOLMLANG Goldcap module 140.000 µF/16 V, 59 x 14 x 8,2 mm

Energy storage solution Arrangement Total voltage Total energy Usable energy Constant output voltage Discharge time Ladestrom Charging time Charging current Volume
STACO with
2 mini Goldcaps
2 x 0,3 F (Mini) 5,2 V 2,028 Ws 1,728 Ws 10 V 1,728 s 0,05 A 15,6 s 12 x 8 x 5,6 mm 537 mm3
STACO with 3
mini Goldcaps
3 x 0,3 F (Mini) 8,1 V 3,28 Ws 3,08 Ws 10 V 3,162 s 0,09 A 9,1 s 12 x 12 x 5,6 mm 806 mm3
                     
GOLMRUND/LANG 7x 1 F 15 V 16,071 Ws 14,286 Ws unregulated
(for decoders
with step-up)
  0,07 A  30,6 s 59 x 14,5 x 8,2 mm 7015 mm3
MGOBLOCK/LANG 6x 0,3 F 15 V 4,821 Ws 4,286 Ws unregulated
(for decoders
with step-up)
  0,07 A 9,2 26,5x14x4,2 mm 1558 mm3
                     
Onboard MS990 3x 3 F 8,8 V 38,72 Ws 34 Ws 10 V 5,661 s 1 A 8,1 s    

Last update: 14.07.2022