Large Scale Central

The Aristo Elite, one year on

Last year I entered Large Scale, and after finding out that one amp starter packs cannot power LGB F7 A/B w sound units, much less their lighted passenger cars, I set out to by a substantial power pack. I love a bargain, and regretably, LGB high-power packs are not that. So I looked around, read the boards, and the trade publications, and decided on a newly introduced unit, the Aristo Elite switching power supply. It had some teething pains as a newly introduced product, so it felt like a gamble to buy one then. A year later I still own the Aristo-Elite power supply. Well, actually I now own three, having just bought my third and a third TE for a “remote” layout to run some enjuns i’ve bought while on extended duty in the states. And here is my experience with them.

I blew up one of the Aristo Elites. That happens when you have the selectable voltage set to 115v, and you plug it into a 220v outlet. Even after I blew it up the blown Elite did not shock me, it would turn on, the lights would work and the fan would operate, but no voltage was available at the output terminals. My bad, but Aristo fixed it for me for the $20 shipping/handling charge.

The other Aristo Elite developed a tempermental on/off switch. it is green transparent plastic and lighted, but sometimes you switch it on, and the contacts do not meet. Rather than pay $20 to get Aristo to fix it, (it has a long warranty) I just plug/unplug it from the wall when I want it to turn on/off.

Power to the track has been pleasantly uneventful. I have not had an Elite short out and deliver 170 volts to the track like one member of this forum reported. None of my four units ( inlcuding the 1 replaced after I blew it up) shocked me as did one reported by the tester in GR last year. Neither do these units (by design) send more than 22 regulated volts to the track at any amperage. Hence I am pleased to report that I have not toasted soundboards, melted sliders or Mogul motors during the year that I have used them. I also did not experience the “cold-start” problems of the first batch of Elites which Mr. Scrheyer reported on.

I measure 20.9 volts at full TE power from the Elite at the track. I understand this gap between rated power and actual power at the track is due to the fact that the TE sucks some power off the top to operate. Someone has suggested on MLS that you can “tune” the Elite to produce 24v, up from the 22v as spec’ed from the factory, but i haven’t tried it as I am not electrically literate to know which potentiometer to adjust. I’m lucky if I remember to check the voltages at the wall outlet!

Owing to the fact that I purchased a rather sizeable fleet of aging Magnus metal cars, and their little bitty rubber washers which insulate the metal wheels from the metal trucks/frames have gone south a long time ago, i have tortured my Elite/TE setups more than most users with numerous shorts on the tracks as I run the consists and watch for “herky/jerky-stop/start” when a metal wheel shorts a frame contact, and then trace the bad wheel and rewasher it. The worst that has happened is that I’ve blown the TE 10 amp fuse, but have never blown an Elite fuse.

Those with electrical expertise have advised that you can get the same type of regulated power pack out of a PC, and indeed this Elite power supply reminds me of a PC…you turn it on and forget about it, but nevertheless it is there constantly providing regulated flat-line 22v power which ensures that your expensive circuit boards do not release their magic blue smoke at the higher voltages/low amperages that some conventional transformers produce.

All told the Aristo Elite has been a safe, reliable power source which has treated my equipment better than i have treated it. Accordingly, after a year’s experience I can continue to highly recommend the Aristo Elite power supply for your consideration!

(And I still don’t own Aristo stock, work for Aristo, or receive any remuneration from Aristo for posting this. Two of my Elites came from St. Aubins, the replacement from Aristo, and one from San-Val - all paid for by moi.)

Kinda says something for Battery / Remote Control type Systems, don’t it? Personally from day one I decided to go remote and battery packs. Have 2 locos so fitted now and a 3rd on the shelf waiting to be done. Why would I do that from day one rather than go the old route of transformers and controllers and sundry other items like rail clamps, positive connections between joints, isolation points after every turnout + wires running all over the show? No thanks!!. Plus I can take any of these locos to some one else’s layout and regardless of what he (or she) is using, plunk the loco on the track and run it completely independently from everyone else. Run them on the floor if I want to. Hehehe
I may add at this point that at no time past present or in the future have I been approached, received any gratuities, nor free remote systems from any supplier, including RCS. All paid for by me.
Thank you.
Grant Kerr

Ah, Grant, you missed the best one.
If you take your BATTERY R/C loco to a mate’s place and put it on the track, NOT KNOWING the bloke has bought into the full AC voltage on the track for someone’s idea of a control system, you won’t fry a thing on your loco!
Oh, BTW, that Elite (NOT the RCS Elite, in production for 6 years, but the other NEWCOMER Elite) was, I am told, an early unit hurried out for the test.

How did I miss that one!! Speaking of manufacturers with propriety systems, where in tarnation is that Challenger. Might make a good thread in its own right. Probably like the rest, the people in question who also choose to ignore emails as well will not listen to it.
As for that other later Elite (not the early ORIGINAL RCS Elite) it just shows what I have been asking for over a year, or more. When are the buying public of a certain manufacturers product going to stand up and say “enough” to being paying test beds for product that is rushed through and not tested to a satisfactory conclusion? I make (or rather used to make) High power public address power amps. Not toy ones. BIG ONES. Those amps had 125-volt DC rails at 10 amps per leg. Fry ya good. They had to be right. I don’t enjoy tingles of cases and I am sure the fellow that was testing those power supplies did not either.
Grant Kerr

The only thing I’m going to get into is Theorums and Postulates.
You can have an almost infinite number of examples to prove something won’t happen, but all it takes is one to prove it can.
Been there.
Didja notice in the latest GR ad for a big outfit that continues to advertise stuff with out the “Fall 2010 Delivery” disclaimer that several items have dropped off the screen?


This might not be the right forum for this but I read your inquiry (re:Challenger) and thought you would be more apt to spot this here.

A couple of days ago I received a No.1 Gauge catalog from MTH in the mail. I know how delayed things are in getting to you down there. It lists the NYC Hudson in various roadnames, the Daylight in both SP amd Freedom train colors and 1:32 rolling stock, mostly the same as at their website. Conspicuous by its absense was the Challenger. No mention at all except for a small picture of persons holding the “cutouts” with which we are all familiar.

I can only assume by this that the Challenger is a ways into the future if it’s produced at all. You might want to consider redeeming any deposit(s) you might have placed on this engine until such time as it closer to actual fruition.

Relevent to this forum, there is quite a detailed explanation of the operating features (non-technical) of MTH’s DCS operating system on the back page. Just thought you’d be interested.

Richard Smith