2016-05.1: S-Cab wireless battery power system

06 May 2016

Average: 4.6 (12 votes)
25:50 - May 2016 Act I - S-Cab wireless battery power (2016)

The Stanton S-Cab is one option for modelers who want to break away from traditional methods of powering locomotives and try wireless battery power.  Miles Hale shows how he installed the system in his engines and discusses some ways in which he deviated from the manufacturer’s recommendations to make it work for his particular situation.

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Also in the May show:
- Air hoses for freight cars on Notch 8
- Rick Norris’ On30 Rio Grande Southern layout
- New projects on DCC Decoded

... and more!

Act II: Installing brake hoses on Notch 8

Go to Act II



I like the idea of having independant power supplies for locomotives and I especially like the 'keep alive' decoders. The positives far outweigh the negatives however the one thing I really like about powering the loco through the track is the loco will stop the second it runs of the rail.

I have a friend who has a swing gate and if a train approaches the gate when it's open the track power is dead so the train stops before falling to the floor, additionally if a train goes against a switch and derails it will just stop however if it has on board power it may jump the rail and continue plowing into whatever is in its way.... which may be the edge of the layout.

It would be good to incorporate some type of sensor (i'm no electronics expert so forgive my ignorance) that will detect when the train has left the rails and automatically stop the motor?

Just a thought?

tpmarshall's picture

And a good one, too! I wonder what that would look like? It would certainly require more electronics inside the model. It might be easier to design the swing gate so that the track on either side of the opening is physically blocked when the gate is not aligned...

This isn't just an issue with dead rail systems such as S-Cab. A locomotive with a keep alive module on its DCC decoder could also wander across unpowered rails and into the abyss...


- Trevor

I really enjoyed this presentation. I have been using the S-CAB system since late 2012, and absolutely love it. I have converted three of my S-scale engines to be battery-powered. I "downgraded" from Digitrax DCC to S-CAB, because I wanted a simpler system to run and enjoy my trains. At home my layout is completely dead-rail. I also run my equipment on our club's Digitrax-powered layout. Running times vary from 1.5 hours (smallest battery on dead-rail) to over 8-hours (double-battery on club layout). The only slight clarification that I would like to make to Miles' otherwise wonderful presentation was when he mentioned that S-CAB only does a few functions. I may be completely wrong, but I think he may have been referring to the programming of the decoder's CVs. The S-CAB throttle allows you to control all of the decoder's functionality. However, it limits the ability to program only these CVs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 29, and 65. If you want to program the other CVs, either have Neil Stanton program them before he sends you the decoder, or use his RAPA board and an NCE throttle (see www.s-cab.com for more info). The CVP Products' T5000 throttle is fully compatible with the S-CAB receiver and will allow you to fully program all CVs without an external board. I love battery power, and I am never going back to track-powered layouts. For more info, see my personal web site: http://pmrr.org/Articles/index39.htm

 - Peter Vanvliet (Houston, Texas)

Another excelent presentation by Miles and Trevor. I really like the idea of dead rail but I'm not too clear on a couple of varables with either S cab or Tam Vally. What effects steep grades have on battery power and smoke generators? Seems that smoke generators will draw alot of power from the battery. As to date I've not received a good answer to rather smoke is a viable option with dead rail. Any examples of dead rail layouts with steep grades you could point me too? I work in O scale but all my equipment has high end Fallhaber or Cannon motors so one amp decoders with sound are a viable option.

Leonard Lee Davis