Massoth Powercap Maxi - 8151701



6 Jan 2010
Just a quick review of my recent experience with the Massoth Powercap Maxi product.

I have a "mature" HSB Ballerina which I bought second-hand and which had been updated to run with DCC at some stage. The update was a mix of an old LGB decoder and and an old Massoth eMotion S and, as it never really worked very well, I stripped out everything and replaced with an XLS decoder - a bit overkill for this loco but as I had one available it made sense to use it.

The loco performed much better with one exception - every so often it would stop dead and then jerk away again, usually whilst traversing points, crossovers, etc. It was clear there was an interruption in power getting to the loco so I went down the usual route of cleaning inside of wheels, changing brushes, changing skates, etc., etc. but the problem never really went away.

I then had a chance conversation with another G-scaler who had experienced similar problems with one of his locos and had overcome these using a power buffer. This seemed an idea worthy of investigation and, as the troublesome loco had an XLS decoder, I took a look at the Massoth Powercap Maxi. It seemed ideal for my purpose as it was a simple 3-wire install onto the XLS and I ordered one from GRO (Muns).

The install was as straightforward as I'd hoped, mainly due to the way the buffer is physically constructed - 2 packs connected by a thin wire with a 3-wire lead for connection to the decoder. This design gave me at least 3 options for where to install the device. Having settled on a location I attached the buffer components using insulation tape - mainly to stop any unwanted jiggling about - and connected up to the decoder as described and illustrated in the manual.

The Massoth instructions also explain how to connect the Powercap Maxi to non-Massoth decoders, and carry some advice if using analog mode. I can't testify to the accuracy or relevance of these as i am fully DCC and all my decoders are set to Digital Only.

I put the loco on my test track and used the Massoth Service Tool to confirm the XLS CVs relating to buffer usage were all set to the Massoth default values. I then ran the loco on my layout without cleaning the track and it performed flawlessly over points, crossovers and even a particularly grubby piece of track that doesn't get used very often. I then ran it most of yesterday afternoon with a rake of HSB coaches and, once again, no issues.

So I am pleased with the Massoth Powercap Maxi. I realise some folk will say that at £63 it is expensive, and that there are people skilled in electronics who are able to make their own for tuppence ha'penny, but I do not have these skills and would rather spend my time running my trains than acquiring them. For me, the ease of installation and the fact the device worked "out of the box" (and comes with a guarantee) is most important.

I hope this brief update is useful and apologies for no pictures - the Massoth photos are presumably copyright Massoth and the install was so quick I just forgot to take any photos whilst I was doing it!
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