Kit: MS590; STACO1 stay-alive kit
The Farish 08 was always a tough one to get DCC Sound into, and even harder to get any kind of stay-alive in, which being so
small a model would be a great benefit. However, with the re-release of the model as a Next18 DCC-ready version and the launch
of the Zimo MS range, we have some new options to make this much easier...
Here is one of the new models, the same 4 screws to take the body off, revealing the new tiny coreless motor and Next18 PCB on
top, but not only that, a MicroCube speaker already on board!
The model is designed to take a Zimo MX659 sound decoder, which fits perfectly, and is of course the simplest approach to
converting to DCC Sound, but this does not offer the option of stay-alive, so we look to the MS range instead. Shown here, the
MX659 being test-fitted...
Below is the MS590, which you can see is much shorter than the MX659 that it replaces, and the MS590 has a couple of tiny
solder pads for Common Positive and Ground, so a stay-alive circuit can be added.
Without any modifications to the model, we can squeeze in a LifeLink with a single 470uF Tall Tantalum as shown here. The wire
connections are made on the component-side of the LifeLink in order to keep the height of this PCB to a minimum (normally we
would use the large solder pads on the underside).
The Tantalum fits comfortably between the coils on the model's PCB and the MS590, and the LifeLink will sit on top of the
decoder. Some Kapton tape on both items to protect from any electrical shorting.
While the above approach is simple, and gives a small level of stay-alive, we look to something much better, and the latest
stay-alive kit from Zimo, the STACO1, gives another option. This is a small PCB charging circuit which connects to either 2 or
3 mini GoldCaps. Using all 3 GoldCaps can give a few seconds of backup time, albeit at a lower-than-track voltage - this is
quite sufficient to keep the model going reliably at very slow speeds.
The GoldCaps, though small, still need a bit of space, and the cab is the only option, so we slide the cab up and off the body
and mill down the control panel surface to maximise this space.
A hole is drilled through into the body so we can feed a pair of wires for the stay-alive.
We connect up the STACO1 PCB to the MS590, and assemble the 3 GoldCaps as a triangle, which we measured up and should be a
perfect fit fot the cab.
The GoldCaps are connected in series and covered in black electrical tape so they will be less visible through the cab windows.
With the cab slid back on with the GoldCaps inside, we connect the capacitor wires to the STACO1, cover that in Kapton, and
slot this little PCB under the MS590 decoder. This is a really neat fit, and really quite easy to do.
The results are stunning - after a few seconds the GoldCaps are fully charged and the motor continues to run for a number of
seconds after being lifted from the track! Not only that, but the factory MicroCube speaker sounds very impressive when coupled
with this MS decoder. Fantastic! We love the new design, and this kit transforms what can be achieved.