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Lenz Gold Maxi Digital Command Control decoder

RELATED TOPICS: CONTROL AND ELECTRICAL
Gold Maxi Digital Command Control decoder
Gold Maxi Digital Command Control decoder
If you're looking for all the same great control features that Digital Command Control (DCC) has to offer in smaller scales for your O scale or large scale trains, then take a look at the Gold Maxi decoder and Power 3 energy storage module from Lenz. The combination of decoder and power module components makes for some outstanding motor control characteristics that you can't get with other decoders.

The Lenz Gold Maxi is made for O scale and larger locomotives. It has a 3-amp continuous motor operation rating, a 5-amp maximum, and a 10-amp stall limit. The decoder can easily handle dual-motored locomotives.

The Lenz decoder measures .47" x 1.14" x 2.76", and the Power 3 module is .42" x .98" x 1.3". To test the decoder, I installed the Gold Maxi and a Lenz Power 3 energy storage module in a Bachmann 1:20-proportion two-truck shay. Both the decoder and the Bachmann shay use screw terminals to make wiring connections, so the installation process took me all of 10 minutes.

The Power 3 module is made with Super Caps capacitors, which charge rapidly and have a long service life. Essentially it's the capacitors that allow the engine to operate for periods of time over very dirty track where the wheels have no electrical contact with the rails. It also works great for running through turnouts with insulated frogs.
With the decoder and power module, our test engine negotiated track covered with masking tape
With the decoder and power module, our test engine negotiated track covered with masking tape
Dirty test track. I set up a rugged test track in our workshop to try the decoder in the shay. The track started with three feet of clean rail. The rest of the 24-foot run was made up of track that had been neglected outdoors for several years. In fact, the track was so dirty that nothing, including the shay, would run on one eight-foot stretch of it using a DC power pack. That proved not to be the case with the Lenz Gold Maxi and Power 3 module. The locomotive moved effortlessly from the clean track to the dirty track and back again. Though the headlight would flicker, I was able to control the motor at all times.

Deciding to up the ante a bit, I covered a three-foot section of the rails with masking tape. The shay, with all eight wheels on the tape, kept running, and I still had DCC motor control throughout the tests.

In all these cases, the Power 3 module kept the motor turning. If I ran the locomotive on top of the masking tape for more than 15 seconds, the capacitors would finally drain completely and the locomotive would stop. The proprietary technology Lenz uses in the decoder allows it to continue receiving DCC signals, even with the tape between the rails and the wheels - the feat seems as close to magic in model railroading as you can get.

Among the Gold Maxi decoder's other standard features are eight function outputs, back-electro-motive-force (BEMF) control, Uninterruptible Signal Processing (USP), Rail COM bidirectional communications, and a Serial User Standard Interface (SUSI) for use with outboard sound modules. We reviewed these features when we looked at the Lenz HO Gold decoder in the January 2006 issue of Model Railroader, so for more information, look for that article
in our product review database at ModelRailroader.com.

The fine motor control, uninterrupted DCC signal, and smooth operation over an assortment of track contact problems make the Gold Maxi a good option for O scale or larger trains. And, without a doubt, the Lenz Gold Maxi decoder and Power 3 module make it possible to operate an outdoor garden railroad reliably with DCC.
Gold Maxi DCC decoder
Price: $89.95 Gold Maxi;
$59.95 Power 3 module

Manufacturer
Lenz Agency of North America
P.O. Box 143
Chelmsford, MA 01824
www.lenz.com

Decoder features:
3-amp continuous motor rating
10-amp stall limit
8 function outputs
7 programmable lighting effects
RailCom bi-directional communication allows for CVs to be read back while in OPS mode (programming on the main)
Uninterruptible Signal Processing (USP)
Decoder may be used with Lenz Power modules or with batteries to provide extended operation over dirty track

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