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This might not be the best answer but it has tested ok so far. Maybe someone with a better skill set can improve on it. I have three PS3 engines with the wireless tether. Two have been very reliable to date but the third is a headache. After a few laps at speed with a decent consist it will stop dead, in need of a connector reseat and restart.


My beef with the PS3 steam tether has always been that the connector is part of the load path from the engine to the tender. It's a good concept except that the plastic plug connection isn't quite reliable enough to keep the connector from unseating. Once it comes loose even a little it will eventually walk down the post until the connection fails. So, any simple device that prevents the tether plug from sliding down the post should work. One good approach is the zip tie but I wanted to try something else.


In the first photo below you can see that the post on the scrap tender has an "I" shaped cross section. So I was thinking that something could be pressed into that forward slot that would stay put and help keep the connection secure. The other ingredients for the fix are machine screw and the tiny rat tail file. Hard to see but the rat tail file is used to create a very small notch in the tether opening opposite the forward slot in the post. Just like with the zip tie carefully lay the tender and engine on their sides. Seat the tether plug. Insert  the machine screw into the opening. It should be easy to torque but still tight. Once in place (second photo), the screw threads grip the tether and bite into the soft metal on the post. Pretty sure that's not going to come loose. On my problem engine I actually used a much smaller #0 x 1/4 and I didn't have to file the notch. Worked great but I actually like the look of the bigger machine screw in the photos.


You can take it apart of course but not with the train on the track. Like the zip tie, the tender and engine have to be handled as a unit after the fix is made. If MTH were to modify the post with a wire spring in the tender post slot that would be even better.





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Originally Posted by GGG:

Good idea Scott.  I guess you could also groove the post and allow a clip to engage and keep the draw bar in place, for folks that are ok with a more permanent method to keep the draw bar engaged.  G

That's what I was thinking as a more elegant solution. The drawbar would compress the spring sliding upward. Once the connector is engaged the spring would pop forward just enough to act as detent and keep the connection secure. Then you could disconnect while the engine is on the track.

Thanks for rescuing my post. Was afraid it was gonna get bumped into oblivion.

Originally Posted by Ralph4014:

I agree that MTH should do something about it. I like your solution Scott. Here's antoher idea. I used silicone fuel tubing from RC planes and cars. With the small diameter and the silicone's ability to stretch it makes a pretty good colar and it's non conductive.





Dang, Ralph that IS a good solution. I had thought about something similar but was stumped. Using a tygon type tubing never occurred to me. Well done.

Originally Posted by Ralph4014:
GGG, they might. At the moment I'm not recalling we had had in black. I know we have a bunch  of other colors.

The stuff I have is 1/8" inside diameter. But the silicone can stretch pretty far.


It stretches and it's pretty tacky. Just the right combination. In fact, once it's on the post I don't imagine it will come off very easily. So that's what you would need to look for in a black fuel line hose. I'm also wondering about nuts with the inner nylon ring feature. The diameter would have to be just right.

If you could find the tubing in black, it'll be invisible and certainly shouldn't come off.  I though of the O-ring because I have a large assortment of all sizes from Harbor Freight.  I tried one on the drawbar and it works pretty well, at least it appears that it would.  My one locomotive with the drawbar doesn't come disconnected, so I don't really need it.


Bibb washers. Found these at the hardware store looking for an o-ring type fix. These are hard elastomer with a good thickness. The inner diameter (looks like about 1/8 inch) is about right. The outer diameter is big enough so that you can get your fingers under it to pull it up the post to seat the connector with the train on the track. Color is black. Test results with my problem PS3 engine have so far been great.





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  • BibbWasher
Last edited by Former Member

MTH now makes retainers for the drawbar that slip over the end and keep it from disconnecting, but the part number is escaping me right now.  It's suspiciously similar to the tubing solution presented previously.

Thanks, Gunnrunnerjohn. My new Proto3 Imperial Pacific Steamer came with that retainer, but when I click the drawbar into the socket and put the retainer on, the drawbar still sometimes  loosens ever so slightly when running the engine, and the engine stops. When running it on DCS, it's been a nuisance when it stops.

The tubing may work better. Arnold

Just to make sure the fix for the draw bar staying plugged in is a short (3/8" long) small section of vinyl or plastic tubing (clear) 3/16" ID and 5/16" OD.  I got my tubing at Home Depot comes in a small roll.  About $5 for the roll.  Or you can order the FB0000037 from MTH parts $2 each.  I ordered 4 for the locomotives that have this draw bar and plug situation.  Using My tubing so far the drawbar as stayed tight running my GS4 SP "4449" perhaps 5 to 6 hours on and off every five to eight minutes around our layout.  Very happy with this fix!

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