Author Topic: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.  (Read 602 times)

William Brillinger

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I am expecting my first shipment of Ring Engineering's PBM-2 this week. It's Rings own version of the KeepAlive.

It has some neat features that no other such product has, like an onboard controller to keep the power level constant instead of slowly dropping the voltage as the SuperCaps drain.

They are available on PDC.CA for order now:
https://pdc.ca/rr/catalog/product/railpro-products-by-ring-engineering/51

MSRP is $39.99 US, The price from PDC.CA is $29.99
Yes, they are a fair bit more pricey than the TCS KA products, but they are fully supported by Ring.

I don't have all the official details or pictures for the final version yet but I will post them as soon as I have them.

Beta testers have had these for awhile now. If you're a tester, please chime on in your experience with the new PBM!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 10:09:18 AM by William Brillinger »
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Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


G8B4Life

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2020, 03:41:51 PM »
I know you don't have final info yet but how big were the beta versions? If they were pretty compact it might give a rough idea of the final size before you receive them. Mind you, this week is almost over so it shouldn't be long before you have them and can give the final size  ;)

- Tim

William Brillinger

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2020, 03:51:05 PM »
I'll share the full details of the product once ring gives the go ahead. It will be soon!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 03:54:49 PM by William Brillinger »
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Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


TwinStar

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2020, 09:04:53 PM »
Bill:

Can you discuss how, or if, these work with the LM-2?
Jacob Damron
Modeling late 1950's Dallas Union Terminal in Proto-Rail modules

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William Brillinger

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 09:12:39 PM »
Just the same as any other keep-alive - they LM1 or 2 will need an adapter such as we did with the full bridge rectifier.
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Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


darryl.trains

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2020, 11:21:43 PM »
Wait wait !  A lot of HO diesel engines barely have room for a LM 1 or 2 version let alone adding KA plus a Rectifer ! Looks like steam engines do have an advantage tho, the tender just might be the only way to accommodate all of this technology. Since I am into On30 for the most part, there are not very many diesels out there thankfully. Let er rip and enjoy.. Cheers ### The old fardt in Yuma

CPRail

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2020, 08:59:26 AM »
I can't fathom having a whole tender's worth of space! I've done installs on both a P2K S3 and a Rapido SW1200RS - RailPro modules and Keep-Alives. It's tight, but it can be done.

Ian Lisakowski
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Blueleader

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2020, 09:14:40 AM »
Eager to give this keep alive a try. No more stutters at micro engineering ladder turnouts.

KPack

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2020, 10:13:50 AM »
Official information and sizing can be found here: https://www.ringengineering.com/PBM.htm

Size is 1.27" x 0.66" x 0.32".  They are larger than the KA-4 because of the added electronics.  This may not be the easiest thing to see, but I have the beta PBM-2 installed to the left of the LM-3S module here:


Size is actually comparable to the LM-3S.  This will make it difficult for tighter spaces, so for the time being tough installs may still require something like the KA-1 or KA-2.  Perhaps RE will design another, smaller capacity PBM to better work with tight spaces.  We'll see.

So why the extra circuitry and electronics?  Traditional KA's are pretty much just capacitors that have no regulation on the output.  As soon as power is lost, the power from the super caps drains rapidly and logrithmatically.  This means that as soon as power is dropped from track power (say 14 V) the voltage provided by the KA drops rapidly as well from 12V down to almost nothing.  The locomotives will stop moving under 9-10 volts, so you will get at most a couple seconds of movement (albeit greatly decreased speed) before the train stops.  The lights and sound will stay on, but no movement.

Here are some initial testing notes I sent to Tim after I first installed it:

" I ran some side-by-side tests with another locomotive that has a TCS KA-4 installed in it.  Both tested on Railpro power (PWR-56).  Both locomotives have LED lights with the same resistors.  The speakers on the KA-4 equipped locomotive are at 8 ohms, and the speaker on the PBM-2 locomotive is 4 ohm.  All times tested were with track power completely shut off.  Movement measurements were made with 50% load and throttle at 50%.  Here are the results.

TCS KA-4 (Installed with a bridge rectifier to a LM-3S, v 2.12)
  • Voltage at the LM-3S = 12.5V (due to bridge rectifier)
  • Time with lights only = 24.64 seconds
  • Time with sound only = 18.20 seconds
  • Time with light and sound = 15.82 seconds
  • Time with lights, sounds, and movement = 11.29 (though the locomotive completely stopped moving at 5 seconds)

PBM-2 (installed on LM-3S, v2.12)
  • Voltage at the LM-3S = 13.9 V
  • Time with lights only = 18.30 seconds
  • Time with sound only = 17.51 seconds
  • Time with lights and sounds = 14.78 seconds
  • Time with lights, sounds, and movement = 7.79 seconds (locomotive was moving the entire time until power totally quit)

The biggest difference between the two is that the PBM-2 keeps the locomotive moving at nearly the same speed.  Once the power quits the locomotive experiences a slight drop in speed, but after that it stays constant and the lights are constant as well.  On the KA-4, the speed drops dramatically when power is lost, and the lights dim slightly.  The locomotive stops moving within a few seconds after power loss due to insufficient voltage to keep the motor running."

In all the running and testing I've done the PBM-2 has kept the train moving through power drops, whereas the KA has a noticeable drop in speed.  I haven't seen any issues so far in performance or compatibility.  The only downside is the size, which will make installations more difficult in some cases.  Connecting the two wires on the LM-3S is as simple as connecting one to the common blue, and the other to the yellow input on the rear of the LM-3S.  For the LM-2S it requires a bridge rectifier due to the differing circuitry on the LM-2S.

-Kevin
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 10:16:18 AM by KPack »

William Brillinger

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2020, 10:14:16 AM »
Ring Engineering has posted their PBM-2 information now: https://www.ringengineering.com/PBM.htm

Kevins comments above mirror my own experience.
One other positive about this product that should be considered is that the PBM is "warranty approved."
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 10:18:35 AM by William Brillinger »
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Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.


TwinStar

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2020, 04:37:01 PM »
And boom! HO Yard Sale was full of Keep Alives!
Jacob Damron
Modeling late 1950's Dallas Union Terminal in Proto-Rail modules

Texas Railway Modeling and Historical Society trmhs.org
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KPack

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2020, 06:08:48 PM »
And boom! HO Yard Sale was full of Keep Alives!
Haha, definitely.

I will be using the PBM-2 as much as possible going forward.  I have a couple of installs where I will need to use the KA-1 or KA-2 just due to space constraints, but I'd prefer the constant voltage of the PBM.

The size will make installs a bit more tricky, but I'm not shy about cutting up the weight inside the shell.  I remove all the factory electronics anyways, so it's simple matter to remove the weight, clamp it in a vice, and cut off what you need with an angle grinder and cut-off disk.  10 minutes of work and you're good to go.

-Kevin

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2020, 07:35:57 PM »
Just read the webpage and manual.

For those looking to use the PBM-2 with the LM-2(S) or LM-1 it appears according to the manual that Ring will be making an adapter board of some sort for this purpose. It looks like it is not done yet as it's not mentioned anywhere else other than the PBM-2 manual.

Reading the FAQ's, I get the distinct impression that if a DCC users reads them the product will be a sell fail. My impression of the FAQ's gives me the take away that Ring is not in any way aiming this product at the larger market of DCC where the PBM-2 is needed and wanted and is plying it as a RailPro use device only. I don't know how the max voltage of 16v will play out when trying to use it on DCC.

- Tim

Alan

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2020, 07:33:49 AM »
6 farads of capacitance + buck converter + regulator. Constant output voltage plus over-current protection so as to allow connecting down stream of internal protection.

Hmm, on what forum did I read about this idea a few years back?, he said smugly.
Alan

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When I was a kid... no wait, I still do that. HO, 28x32, double deck, 1969, RailPro

William Brillinger

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Re: NEW PRODUCT; PBM-2 coming this week, a replacement for TCS's KeepAlives.
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2020, 08:11:20 AM »
Quote
he said smugly

And rightly so!
- Bill Brillinger, RPUG Admin

Modeling the BNML in HO Scale, owner of Precision Design Co., and RailPro Dealer.