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Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Electronics | Battery Power
CVP T5000 Throttle


Well, it took me a good number of years, but I finally bought one of the CVP T5000 throttles. On this page I want to share what I have learned. The photo shows the size differences between the CVP T5000 on the left and the Stanton S-CAB on the right. What are some of the differences?

  1. the S-CAB throttle uses a rechargeable battery, while the T5000 uses two AAA batteries.
  2. the S-CAB throttle uses an LED display, while the T5000 uses an LCD multi-line display.
  3. the S-CAB throttle uses a slider to control the speed, while the T5000 uses a rotary knob (no-stops, so you have to look at the display to confirm that the speed is zero).
  4. the S-CAB throttle uses a toggle switch to change locomotive direction (state of switch indicates current direction), while the T5000 requires pressing down on the speed button (the triangle/arrow on the screen indicates current direction).
  5. the S-CAB throttle has a short antenna sticking out of it, while the T5000 has the antenna hidden inside (near the top of the case).
  6. the S-CAB throttle is limited to a handful of CVs that can be programmed, while the T5000 is a full decoder programmer (neither read the decoder's current settings).
  7. the S-CAB throttle is limited to 28 speed steps, while the T5000 can go to 128 steps (if supported by the decoder).
  8. the S-CAB throttle is limited to two-digit addresses, while the T5000 can handle 2- and 4-digit addresses.
  9. the S-CAB throttle can be turned off by flipping the side-mounted switch, while the T5000 requires pressing a button to show the menu, then select the power-off option from the menu. Powering on requires only one step for each throttle.
  10. the S-CAB throttle can be programmed to always default to a particular locomotive address when it is turned on, while the T5000 remembers the last locomotive that you had previously selected.
  11. while a bit of an unfair comparison since I bought the non-backlit version of the T5000, but beyond basic operation, it is impossible to operate in a darkened room, while the S-CAB throttle can easily be operated in the dark (if this is an issue for you, buy the backlit version of the T5000; I don't operate in the dark, so I saved a few dollars).
  12. the S-CAB throttle requires charging from a USB port, while the T5000 can have its batteries swapped out (neither is a problem, but carrying a spare set of batteries with you to a train show may be easier than bringing a laptop with a USB port).
  13. when you press the "HALT" button on the S-CAB throttle, the engine stops instantly; when you press and hold the "STOP" button on the T5000, it simply resets the speed to zero, meaning that any momentum that the engine may have been programmed with, will be applied (they do this by design, but if you are in an emergency situation, then this won't help).

My subjective opinion is as follows. I consider the S-CAB throttle one that you can easily give to a guest operator to run a specific engine, with limited training. I consider the CVP throttle to be more of an advanced throttle that requires a bit of training if it is to be used by a guest operator, but it is a full-blown decoder programmer. Because of the S-CAB's design principles, it makes it a simpler throttle to use, while the CVP one is more capable.

While the S-CAB's throttle slide potentiometer (for setting the engine's speed) is mechanical, it does provide positive stops for zero and maximum speed reached. The CVP throttle has an infinitely-rotating knob, so you have no choice but to look at the display to see if you have reached a speed of zero. I found that to be a bit distracting when doing precise switching work. The knob is easier to rotate than sliding the slider.

The S-CAB throttle is quite large, which is OK for me as I have large hands, but I can see where people with smaller hands might prefer the CVP throttle.

The S-CAB throttle is easy to turn off, while the CVP one requires pressing a button to show the menu, then select the power-off option from the menu.

While I prefer using rechargable batteries as much as possible, I can see a possible scenario of the S-CAB's throttle running out of juice and you then have to plug it into some sort of USB port to re-charge it. Swapping out batteries on the CVP throttle is quicker. However, in practical terms it makes no difference, and I always charge the throttle when I charge my engines, before and after a train show, and/or every three months.

I do like the S-CAB's "HALT" button to instantly stop the engine, and the ability to press two buttons to instantly stop ALL engines that the throttle is aware of. There are situations where that is important, such as switching, or operating on a club layout where the club's main system has shut down due to a short.

So, my conclusion is that I am glad I have both throttles. I primarily bought the CVP T5000 for two reasons: to verify that it is indeed compatible with S-CAB, and to have a full-blown decoder programmer. If I want to quickly run a train, I prefer the S-CAB throttle, just because it is so simple to use. If I have more time and want to do some switching work, I grab the CVP throttle.

By the way, the CVP's throttle setting for frequency needs to be "16 (na)", or 916.37MHz, for it to be able to communicate with the S-CAB receiver in the locomotive. I have it marked in the instructions booklet in the photo above.