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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. On the USA Trains web site, the description of the heavyweight passenger cars says "LED Interior Lighting (stays lit for a short period of time after train stops)" implying that these cars have a capacitor (or similar) to temporarily hold a charge when power is cut. I assume this would also help avoid light flickering while cars are running over dirty areas of track.

Their description of the modern corrugated extruded aluminum passenger cars just says "Interior lighting" and does not say "LED" nor "stays lit for a short time after train stops".

I tried contacting USA Trains but have not heard back. Has anyone somewhat recently bought their modern corrugated extruded aluminum passenger cars and could tell me if they have LED lights that resist flickering and stay on briefly when the power is cut?

Thank you.

Kent
 

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Yes, I have five of those cars, and yes they have LED lighting and what is called a
super capacitor or ultra capacitor installed to prevent flicker when rolling down the track.

These capacitors charge almost instantly and hold a charge almost like a battery, thus they keep the lights on for about 10 to 15 seconds after power is removed. They have about
a 10-15 year life, a little better than a lithium battery.

I have also purchased these capacitors separately and installed them in my older aristo-craft and Bachmann type cars to eliminate flicker. So all my lighted cars stay bright regardless of
the track condition or wheel brush condition.

These capacitors are low voltage rated so one has to make that circuitry run in the 5 VDC
range to work. You just can’t apply them across the track voltage or in parallel with a light bulb to make it work.

I give USA trains a lot of credit for incorporating them into their lighting circuitry to eliminate
the light flicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Greg and John. RLD Hobbies also confirmed it. I look forward to trying them out. I remember my old Tyco HO passenger cars in the 70s flickering on my 4x8' layout. Good to see the hobby has made some technological progress in the past 50 years :)

Kent
 

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The 10-15 year life I noted on the super capacitors was from the manufacturer’s data sheet.
Your mileage as they say depends upon how many full discharge cycles the capacitor
is subject to. The more the cycles, the shorter the life.

With respect to the comment on Charles Ro and USA Trains, yes, it would be nice if they
offered DCC with sound or the proper interface to do so. I smile as I have voided the warranty on every USA engine I have purchased as the moment it hits my doorstep, I tear the unit apart and install DCC in it before I had ever put it on the track.

The power wires from the wheels and to the motors are a simple connection to any decoder.
For the lighting and the rest, I simply reverse the dc from my decoder going to their circuit card for forward and reverse and everything runs and works as it’s suppose to.

Very simple to do, and if one wanted to go back to analog, takes but a second to re-configure.
 

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Luckily, the regulators used to drop voltage are simple linear regulators. You have not lived until you put the decoder outputs into an Aristo "mother board", they often use a PIC microprocessor as a voltage regulator, and it usually goes nuts at some point.

I call that DCC installation on USAT the "quick and dirty" and I actually have jumpers made up for it, so it is really plug and play re-routing the track pickups to the decoder and the decoder output to the "mother board". I often do this and then go back later and replace incandescent lamps with LEDs and then wire up to the decoder.

As you say, simple.


Greg
 
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