And frankly, I was underwhelmed by its performance. The problem is the Burro’s short, stiff wheelbase, which makes it unreliable when picking up power.
I thought I had adequately addressed the issue when I worked on the crane back in September, 2012. Originally, I installed a Lenz Gold decoder with Power-1 module. But it has proven less than satisfactory, because it just doesn’t hold enough power in reserve to deal with things like grass-covered track or the long (but powered) frogs in my turnouts.
Since doing the initial Burro project, DCC manufacturers have introduced better power storage devices. My favourite these days is the KA-2 – a storage module from Train Control Systems that will hold up to 15 seconds of reserve power.
Would it fit?
Turns out, the answer is “you bet”:
I disassembled the Burro and replaced the Lenz decoder and power storage module with a TCS decoder and KA-2. The KA-2 is held in place with a strip of double-sided tape. The new decoder (not shown) is the M1-KA. It’s tiny, and I ended up taping it to the inside of the back wall of the cab with some more double-sided tape.
The retrofit took less than an hour – from collecting the tools and materials… to disassembly, replacement and reassembly… to reprogramming. And the performance is a lot better. There’s no more stalling – even through the four-turnout yard throat in Port Rowan.
As a bonus, the decoder is better concealed within the cab, so it’s not visible through that rear window.
I’m really glad I did the upgrade.