Energy Storage Units (“Keep- Alives” it’s someone’s trade name but has become like “Kleenex”) are connected to DCC decoders to keep them powered while crossing dirty track, dead frogs etc. This is especially helpful with sound decoders as most sound decoders will stop and then go through a startup sequence if power is lost. Warning: There is a danger that the locomotive will not stop if it wanders into a “kill section” of dead track intended to stop the locomotive, say from fouling a yard ladder in hidden staging falling into an open bridge, so be careful what you wish for!
During a PCR Coast Division Zoom meeting in mid 2020, one of the members described a simple storage device published by Larry Puckett and explained how his club had hand built these by space-wiring the components. I offered to design a circuit board as a more solid and hopefully more reliable substrate. This is offered on the Model Railroad Control Systems web site as the “PCR Keep-Alive.” I was later approached by other modelers who are Electrical Engineers with a suggestion to make a similar device using a voltage divider to better protect the super caps and this “Voltage divider Storage Unit” is the result.
This version has a voltage divider across the Super-Capacitors, rather than a Zener Diode for protection of the whole string, uses .22 F caps, so it will run for 5-10 seconds rather than a minute, and uses 2.2 volt caps, rather than 2.7 volt, requiring a string of 6 rather than 5
The Voltage Divider Storage unit is offered as a panel of 10 (great for a fleet or a club project) or as a kit.