TIPS & TECHNIQUES


Crest Power Supply


    
    The Aristo Crest CRE-55465 Switching Power Supply has been out for some time, but I have not had a chance to "play" with one until recently.  Power for our layouts has always been a critical issue.  Most of us have the old ART-5469 Ultima 10 Amp Power Supply which has done yeoman duty for many years.  This new power unit can power the Train Engineer or any other control system that needs 12 or 22 volts of DC power.  This unit can power any medium to large layout, and will make many LGB or Accucraft locomotive owners happy, since these brands often require higher voltage than the older Ultima can provide. The older Ultima uses a big iron transformer with a simple rectifier and filter to provide DC power.  This new unit provides a constant, regulated output at 22 volts, and is rated up to 13 amps.  What was nice is there is no loud hum coming from this unit, only the sound of the cooling fan can be heard.
    The front of the unit is well laid out with a power switch, output voltage selector switch, a 20 amp meter, and banana plug style output terminals.  Aristo includes a heavy duty DC power cable with lugs that fit under the terminals.  I would heavily recommend that you use this rather than banana plugs in the output terminals.  I found out in doing load testing, that the banana plugs will not handle the full amperage load that the unit can provide.  I learned later from a "techie" that banana plugs are only good up to 3 amps, and will definitely burn at 10 amps.   The rear of the unit contains the fan, the A/C power input connector, and a 115/230 volt selector switch.  Make sure you ALWAYS have this switch set on 115 Volts.  There is also an internal fuse, which is a standard 3 AG type.  Note that there is a ground screw below the A/C connector.  This is unnecessary since the plug is a standard 3 prong grounded US style plug.
    The unit puts out 22.1 volts at 10 amps with no load.  With a 10 amp load, the voltage dropped to 22.05 volts which is not an appreciateable voltage sag.  Basically, the unit can take on your "power hog" locomotives,  with no appreciable loss.  It would be perfect for a six motor A-B-A diesel set with heavy lighted passenger cars.  The maximum load that the unit can handle is a surprising 17 amps which is above it's rated capacity.  If the load goes higher than 17 amps, it goes into its "short circuit" mode and shuts down.  It comes back on and shuts down continuously until the overload is removed.  These tests were originally made by George Schreyer, and I found them easy to duplicate in my "testing lab".
     This supply will work with both the Aristo 10 amp controller and the Train Engineer.  It will provide more than adequate power for your layout, especially for those who run multiple locomotives, or locomotives that are happier in the 22 volt range.   For constant track power installations, a fuse should be placed on the output.  If you are moving up in your need for power for your layout, I would definitely recommend that you look at this unit.