PS3 Steam Engine now sent to MTH

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November 12, 2012 5:13 PM

My 2 month old PS3 Rugged Rails Steam Engine was wotking fine. Stopped dead in its tracks and shut down. I tried to run in conventional, but still dead. I'm guessing something inside has become disconnected?  I've e mailed MTH service but no answer yet. Has this ever happened to any of you?

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 12, 2012 5:26 PM

Call MTH between 12 and 5pm and get an RA. Send it back and they'll fix it under warranty.

Electronics can be hit or miss. The "wireless" tether seems to be a problem spot, Its possible a solder joint has popped loose or something else fairly minor, and its also possible that something on the board gave out.

Have you tried it on a test track or other track circuit (i.e. not the same layout where it died?).

 

 

"Of course we know its O-gauge or no gauge." -- Sheldon Cooper

 
 
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November 12, 2012 5:41 PM

Boilermaker - Yes I tried it on a separate track. Same transformer not hooked to DCS and it still was completely dead in conventional.  My PS 2 engine runs fine on the main track in DCS.  I am awaiting word from MTH.  Thanks for your reply.

Larry in Calgary.  Just found out my shipping cost to MTH will be $ 42.00 thru post office.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 12, 2012 5:47 PM

Make sure the drawbar between engine and tender is properly connected and fully seated. It might be a good idea to disconnect it and then re-connect just to make sure it is properly fitted.  Worth trying if you haven't already done it.

 

 

Allan Miller, Editor-In-Chief O Gauge Railroading magazine

 
 
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November 12, 2012 7:42 PM

Thanks Allan. Yes, I tried that and I also slid the DCS-DCC switch back and forth also. Completely dead.  In conventional not even the headlight, no inside the shell sounds. I think a wire came unhooked somewhere in side.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 12, 2012 9:24 PM

If you can solder I would reflow the solder joints on the draw bar.  Especially the ones for center rail pick up and ground.  This could be the issue (common) and save you the shipping.  G

 

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November 12, 2012 9:50 PM

Before  you heat up the soldering gun why not swap drawbars - if you have one available from another unit?  (aka swaptronics )   Length doesn't matter - you just want to see if it starts up.

 

On a sadder note, I had a MTH SD70 with PS 3.0 behave just like yours and it went back to MTH for all new boards.   Only took 17 days turnaround via the LHS and warranty.

 

 

Utopia is often referred to as the “Perfect World” where there are perfect laws and people live in complete harmony without any problems.  This ain't it.

 
 
 
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November 13, 2012 1:12 AM

Well, my soldering is not good. And, my local train shop doesn't stock any thing new from MTH, so no drawbars.  I'll wait and see what MTH says. If they suggest I try the new drawbar, I'll order one from someone on the internat.

 

Thanks guys for your help and suggestions. They are all appreciated.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 13, 2012 8:40 AM

For a two month locomotive, why do you have to buy anything?  Send it back to MTH!

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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November 13, 2012 10:06 AM

PS-3 draw bars are 8 pin vice 10 pin for PS-2, so unless he has additional PS-3 steam engines swapping a draw bar isn't an option.  The whole point of the easy fix was saving on shipping, but I wouldn't buy a draw bar unless I knew that was the problem.  Sounds like your best bet is shipping to MTH if you don't have a LHS that can handle this for you.  G

 

 

 

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November 14, 2012 10:07 PM

I was having an issue with my PS 3.0 SD70 (headlight and ditch lights stopped working), and tried to run it on my conventional loop.  Placed the loco on the loop, cranked up the transformer and nothing.  No lights, sounds, nothing.  

 

Upon re-reading the manual, in order to run in conventional, you must turn on the transformer and let the loco sit in order to charge the capacitors.  Once charged, all lights and sound returned and I was able to run the locomotive with no problems.  I was then able to do a feature reset using my Z-1000 controller, and everything works perfectly again (both using the DCS remote commander, and conventional).

 

I too contacted MTH and was awaiting a response as I thought I got a faulty locomotive.  It might be worth a shot trying the steps above if you haven't done so already.

 
 
 
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November 14, 2012 11:22 PM

Thanks DRELO. I'll give that a try While I'm waiting for MTH tech to get back to me.

 

Larry

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 15, 2012 4:05 PM

Well, I tried conventional again. Still dead and nothing from MTH yet.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 15, 2012 5:38 PM

Larry,

 

If you want to talk to a tech, don't use E-mail. Call 410-381-2580 (between 1pm and 4:00 pm) and follow the prompts to tech support.

 

Barry

 

 

DCS Ambassador & author of "The DCS O Gauge Companion 2nd Edition"

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November 15, 2012 6:22 PM

Thanks for the info Barry. I'll call tomorrow or Monday.

PS  I bought your book a year or so ago. Thank you for doing it. It is priceless if you have DCS

 

Larry in Calgary

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 15, 2012 7:56 PM

Larry,

 

Thanks for purchasing The DCS O Gauge Companion and for the kind words. Both are very much appreciated!

 

 

Barry

 

 

DCS Ambassador & author of "The DCS O Gauge Companion 2nd Edition"

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November 20, 2012 1:40 PM

Well Barry. Kirsten said LAST week that a tech would call me but no one did. Now, I called MTH service on Monday and waited over 12 mins for a tech. No one answered. Today, I called again and hung on over 23 min for a tech to answer.  I'm at my wits end over this dead engine.  I tried it today again in DCS and conventional. Still dead but I noticed a sparking where the PS3 drawbar touches the bottom of the engine cab.  Perhaps this is what caused my proiblem?  There is NO local service for MTH anyome in Calgary. The fellow left the dealership 15 months ago. So I'm really syuck here. You know I;ve had MTH engines since I gotback into trains in 1996, but I guess thi8s will be my last one.   Sorry to vent but I'm really upset.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 20, 2012 1:55 PM

Larry, I had the exact same problem with my MTH Imperial Northern PS3 steam locomotive. My buddy found there's a piece of plastic that insulates the drawbar solder points from the rear truck assembly. If that plastic is not directly positioned over the drawbar solder points, they will short out and cause the problems you are experiencing. Good luck!

 
 
 
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November 20, 2012 2:01 PM

Makes you appreciate the fast Lionel service nowadays.

 

TCA, North Penn O-Gaugers, MTH ASC Certified Technician

 

Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing.

 
 
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November 20, 2012 2:04 PM

Well, this certainly makes me want to switch from MTH to Lionel, BUT, I can't afford to do that right now. My pension only goes so far.

Buy, I'm sure I wont buy another PS3 engine.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 20, 2012 2:19 PM

railroad nut -  Well this is a 4-6-0 , so no rear truck.  I noticed now the drawbar is sparking on the top of it against the main engine casting under the cab.

 

I still get get hold of an MTH tech person. 

 

 

 

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 20, 2012 3:00 PM

Larry, does your drawbar have a piece of clear plastic that rotates over where your sparking from? Mine has that insulator to keep it from shorting to the truck. Yours may have the insulator to keep it from shorting to the cab. You said you see sparking and that's what probably is happening!

 
 
 
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November 20, 2012 3:06 PM

railroad nut. No plastic.MTH just told me that's the problem and shorted oput a board somewhere in the engine/tender. I'm sending it to them tomorrow.

 

Thanks for all your help on this fellas

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 20, 2012 3:30 PM

Larry, I recently had a similar issue with a PS3 tinplate.  From what I can gather from my local MTH service tech and MTH corporate in Columbia, MD, the wireless drawbar was not making proper contact between the male and female ends on the engine and tender.  There is a small post on the tender that is supposed to hold weight of the train so it is not on the drawbar.   The post does not go far enough through the hole of the drawbar to hold it properly, so all of the weight of the train is on the drawbar itself and not on the post. In my case, my local tech believes the drawbar was defective as well.  It was also reported to me there is also a spring on the engine side of the drawbar that was not strong enough to hold it properly in place. 

 

MTH has informed my local service tech and my dealer that they do not currently have the drawbar in stock.  So my dealer is replacing the engine and tender at no cost to me.  I've asked the dealer to run it on his store layout for a couple days to ensure the drawbar holds in place before he ships it.

 

Ben at MTH has been most helpful.  If you can reach him or Jeff, they seem to have a good handle on things.  And a huge thank you to Jason's Train Shop in Johnstown, PA.

 

Best of Luck--

 

 

Todd Lopes

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November 20, 2012 3:53 PM

Lighthouse.  - I talked to a Ben today and he gave me an R A # for return to MTH.

 

I am hoping the postage to them is less than the $ 43.00 Marcer Trains charged me when I bought it. Mercer told me thay dont have their PS3 equipment yet so they suggested the factory. 

PS  I have alos dealt with Jasons Trains. They too are great people.

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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November 20, 2012 4:24 PM

Great News Larry.  Glad you got through to MTH.

 

If you don't mind, I'll be curious to know what will be the results of the repairs.  If you don't mind hitting back at this thread, that would be most helpful.

 

Thanks--

 

Todd Lopes

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November 21, 2012 8:09 AM

After having some wireless drawbar problems with my new MTH 4-8-4 Northern I managed to fix my problems before anything shorted out or completely broke. Essentially all I did was put a little more slack in the bundled wires going to the swiveling connector inside the tender and a little grease on the connector shaft.  No more derailing or connector disconnects.  

Mine has the clear plastic insulator at the cab end of the drawbar, but I am noticing that it is rotating 90 degrees after several runs around the layout and coming darn close to allowing the somewhat exposed connector to come real close to the rear truck.  I have O-31 curves so it is a tight turn.   Lots of continual movement (and overhang).  I am thinking I have the spring on the wrong side of the drawbar as I have it on TOP.   Before I switch it to under the drawbar I am wondering if it is positioned incorrectly or not?

 

@Larry -  I had to send a diesel SD 70ACe back to MTH a month or so ago for total board replacement and turn around time via my LHS was 17 days.   Not bad in my estimation.   Hope you fare as well.  

 

 

Utopia is often referred to as the “Perfect World” where there are perfect laws and people live in complete harmony without any problems.  This ain't it.

 
 
 
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February 7, 2013 2:33 PM

I just had the same problem with my 3 month old Santa Fe Northern. Last night, it started operating very erratically.....sudden stops, garbled chuffing etc. Then it wouldn't respond to commands. I suspected a drawbar problem, but as it turns out, it was on the engine side. The engine has the same kind of plug and it's hard to see. You have to remove the shell to properly access it. The plug was not seated all the way down. Squeezed it with small pliers and now it works. I hope. 

 

Roger

 
 
 
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February 7, 2013 5:20 PM

To Lighthouse  - Engine came back in January. An entirely different style drawbar is on it.

They replaced Drawbar Spring, Screw, wite, and drawbar PCB. Also PS3.0 Tender Board w/Supercaps.  It runs great now!

 

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

 
 
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