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OGR Admin...Please forgive me if this isn't allowed.

A few days ago I posted a topic about the future of DCS hoping to get some answers.  Last night, I got DIRECTLY from the MTH Website and MTH Representatives an answer I didn't want.

There will be a future TIU unit.  It has been "combined" with the current wireless unit: and shall be called the WTIU.  This yet to be delivered WTIU may possibly arrive late Summer.  Covid has caused supply chain issues because of lack of Microchips.

HERE IS THE BAD NEWS:  The WTIU will NOT NOT NOT work with your Remote(s) or in my case Batch of Remotes.  I am dismayed.  MTH did NOT include in this WTIU the 900 M. frequency which would allow a Remote to "connect" with it.  Why you ask?  I don't know.  But ultimately, the answer, as it is with everything else, is MONEY.

I personally prefer the Remote(s).  Phones are too small and slip out of my hand and tablets are too large to carry around during operating sessions.  Remotes are ideal!

Here is the part that I don't know if this is allowed or not on this Forum:

HOW MANY OF YOU WOULD PURCHASE A DCS SET (or two) COMPLETE THAT HAS THE CAPABILITY OF CONNECTING WITH THE REMOTE(S) YOU CURRENTLY HAVE OR WANT? One with 900 megahertz.

IF there are a large enough number of us, maybe, maybe, just maybe, the "new" DCS company may do a special run to include the capability for Remotes to connect???

I can't believe that they are discontinuing the Remotes because the upgraded ones last released sold out immediately!  And, Ebay prices are ridiculous.  There has just got to be enough of a demand to justify a future run of TIU / Remote the old fashioned way. People are fighting over these and paying outlandish prices.

Please respond acknowledge advising how many TIUs and Remotes you would purchase if a special run was made.

I would buy 1 TIU and 2 Remotes.

Original Post

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There is not a whole lot of new information here that we all don't already  know. The new WTIU will still have a "remote" port on it to tether a DCS remote with a curly phone cord... not ideal but it does retain some compatibility.  With this in mind, I wonder why they couldn't continue to add the little 900MHz receiver board inside the WTIU. Also, perhaps (but unlikely) the new WTIU may retain the pin header to simply pull the 900 MHz receiver board from a TIU and install it in the WTIU.

Then there is also the app which has more flexibility than most will give it credit for. I developed a way to run the app without using the touch screen by a game controller that I bought from amazon. This controller is one of thousands that would work:





The app provides the most flexibility and offers way more future feature enhancements vs a static button remote that requires an entire redesign to include newer features. All the while, designed with little to no customization support on a "one size fits all" package.

Last edited by H1000

As a new empty nester, I have been bequeathed another empty room to build a second layout.  Although I love my TIU and remote, I figured I'd pick up the new WTIU for this new layout.  Like H1000 said, I can still tether a remote to it, which for me works just fine, since i usually operate my bedroom sized layouts while sitting in front of a control panel (I don't ever walk around). I can see the benefits of each form of control (app or handheld) and am willing to give the app a try. Who knows, I may like it better. Surprisingly, a couple of die hard DCS guys i know now tell me they love the app and now rarely use the handheld (their grand kids love it and they don't care if the grandkids drop the phone like they did with the handhelds). If those old geezers can get with the times, I figured maybe it will be ok for me.

I'm also planning on buying one extra handheld to tether with the WTIU if I ultimately don't like the app.

Last edited by Strap Hanger

Sadly I think the ship has sailed on the remote.  Why the OLD/NEW MTH stubbornly holds on to the belief everyone is just happy using their phone to run trains is beyond me.  I hate the app and only keep the WIU around in case my remote dies.  With that said if there is a USB port or telephone port to plug in your old remote.  Maybe just maybe, Someone can come up with a plug in module that will talk to the remote.  That way if our TIU dies we can upgrade and still use the remote.

Last edited by superwarp1
@H1000 posted:

There is not a whole lot of new information here that we all don't already  know. The new WTIU will still have a "remote" port on it to tether a DCS remote with a curly phone cord... not ideal but it does retain some compatibility.  With this in mind, I wonder why they couldn't continue to add the little 900MHz receiver board inside the WTIU. Also, perhaps (but unlikely) the new WTIU may retain the pin header to simply pull the 900 MHz receiver board from a TIU and install it in the WTIU.

Then there is also the app which has more flexibility than most will give it credit for. I developed a way to run the app without using the touch screen by a game controller that I bought from amazon. This controller is one of thousands that would work:





The app provides the most flexibility and offers way more future feature enhancements vs a static button remote that requires an entire redesign to include newer features. All the while, designed with little to no customization support on a "one size fits all" package.

Really nice.  How does it work?   Is there a link?

Thanks,

John

@Craftech posted:

Really nice.  How does it work?   Is there a link?

Thanks,

John

I intend to shoot another video on how to set this up. It's easier to show you vs. type it all out in a long article. This may be while as planting has started this week and we are pretty much running 16 to 18 hours a day right now.

What I can tell you is that the cost to do this is nothing other than the purchase of a remote controller of your liking. The controller in the video is linked to my tablet via a Bluetooth connection. The controller I used in this video is made by ipega.

Currently I've only played around with this on the Android platform and haven't yet experimented at all with the iOS devices.

My ultimate goal is to have MTH/DCS to take notice and to adopt an API to allow easier integration of these controllers into their app.

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

I intend to shoot another video on how to set this up. It's easier to show you vs. type it all out in a long article. This may be while as planting has started this week and we are pretty much running 16 to 18 hours a day right now.

What I can tell you is that the cost to do this is nothing other than the purchase of a remote controller of your liking. The controller in the video is linked to my tablet via a Bluetooth connection. The controller I used in this video is made by ipega.

Currently I've only played around with this on the Android platform and haven't yet experimented at all with the iOS devices.

My ultimate goal is to have MTH/DCS to take notice and to adopt an API to allow easier integration of these controllers into their app.

Thanks,

That sounds great.  What is doing the receiving?

John

@clem k posted:

Looks like it takes two hands, and now my controller is 3 times larger.

Screen sizes on phones and tablets range from 4 to 12 inches, you can pick whatever size you want. This particular tablet in my video is 7 inches. See the difference in size of my 4.3 inch xt907 vs the DCS remote.

KIMG1445

There are one handed versions of these app remotes available also.

It's a far stretch to consider the current stock of DCS and CAB2 remotes fully one handed. The CAB1 is close but lacks ergonomic buttons with unique feel and differing tactile feedback responses. Even the newest lionchief remotes (with the fewest buttons) are not one handed.

You'll also notice that I am able to use more than just my thumb to operate functions on app remote where as it takes 4 fingers just cradle an hold the traditional remotes. The buttons are fully customizable to your liking on the app remote, and not set in stone like traditional remotes.

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Last edited by H1000
@superwarp1 posted:

  Maybe just maybe, Someone can come up with a plug in module that will talk to the remote.  That way if our TIU dies we can upgrade and still use the remote.

Good idea. Would it be that hard to come up with a circuit that converts the data from the 900MHz signal from the remote to something the WiFi receiver can understand? Like Gary said it would plug in to the TIU and converts the signal from to the other.

I agree with the others that the DCS TIU & Remote ship has sailed. I seriously doubt if those items will ever return, MTH is are app only now and I don't see that changing. But I'd possibly buy 1 TIU and a Remote or two if I am still using DCS if, and/or when these ever become available. Tried the WIU and app and I just don't care for it at all. Last I heard the app still doesn't do everything the remote does and as far as I know hasn't been updated in quite some time now?

Almost my entire fleet is PS3, I've been wanting to try DCC for a long time, I like the NCE system....

I agree with Gary and others that I think it is too late for whoever markets DCS to keep producing the traditional TIU and remote technology.  It costs companies money to keep producing older technology.  However, I will answer John's initial question; I would purchase one TIU and remote if offered.  I had been thinking of purchasing a spare TIU for my 11x11 layout room, but didn't do it before they were discontinued.  I did get a spare remote in this last batch that were produced.  I tried the WIU when it first came out, but didn't like using the phone touch screen.  After a couple years, I sold the WIU to a Forum member.

All that said, I certainly wouldn't have an issue plugging the remote into a WTIU in such a small room as I have.  That may be the route I take as long as I have remotes.  Push come to shove if I outlive my remotes, then I'll go back to a touch screen on a phone or tablet. 

One of each as a spare .

I have a lot of MTH One Gauge (no O gauge DCS ) and for me my Ipad and Iphone are very hard to see outside in the sunlight sometimes and that's why I prefer the remote. I currently have two TIU and two Remotes.  It's just a PP.

The whole thing is  still so disappointing MTH !!

Larry

I don't know that I am into buy spares, but I am very disappointed in this development.   One of the best things about dcs has been that it has always been backwards compatible.   Moving to a combined interface unit always seemed like a logical step.   I simply have a hard time understanding why the new unit wasn't made to be able to communicate with the existing remotes.  Perhaps we will say a change, or a plug in module that will allow for use of the original remotes via the dcs plug, as mentioned above.   Software updates though would stall, so the remotes would still be on borrowed time.

I think the way forward is the box that plugs into the remote cord connection and communicates using the 900mhz band with the remote.  That would seem like a development that is quite possible.  If the existing DCS Remote works well with the port on the "new" TIU, I can't see why this isn't the way to keep using the existing remotes.

Seems very doable.  Part of me wonders if the ability to plug in a 900 MHz transceiver somewhere in the signal path might already exist.  I thought I read somewhere there is little difference to the signal that the remote sends to that of whats on the center rail, just modulated differently.

Back in the 70's we ran a club layout with a control system one of the members designed.  One of the features of this was phone plugs located around the layout where we would plug in remote controllers.  Sounds like this is now an option for the WTIU.  I would be ok with this based on my experience with that 70's HO layout.

Rolland

Last year I bought a new second remote and several cradle/wheel assembles.  Last week I bought a second TIU new from The Railyard in Ronaoke VA . I also have the stand alone WiFi but prefer the remotes but have used the app on both my phone and iPad. My granddaughter has the app on her iPad and loves it. So yes I would by another TIU and remote just to have them. I must say my current TIU and remote I bought shortly after MTH introduced the system and have had no issues during that 15 or so years I have been using the first 10 or so was with 2 PW ZW’s.  

I currently use 2 TIU's on my layout.  With a planned expansion, I will need to add a 3rd TIU.  I also have 2 Wi-Fi adapters  connected to the TIU's.  I have not been very happy with using a phone or ipad to control the trains, and I prefer to use the DCS remote.

I am concerned that even if something is developed to allow the new WTIU to accept commands from the DCS remote, will the WTIU be able to be added as a 3rd TIU.

I will continue to buy MTH rolling stock and accessories, but no more engines until the future of DCS hardware and software is better defined and communicated.

@H1000 posted:

Where is the "BOTH / EITHER" option for question 1?

The new WTIU does work with the DCS remote, just not wirelessly.

I think we want to know how many people are really attached to handheld operation. I don't think tethered connection is of much interest to those that love their handheld. Too many answer options makes the result ambiguous. You are welcome to create a better survey.

"I will continue to buy MTH rolling stock and accessories, but no more engines until the future of DCS hardware and software is better defined and communicated."

If a large enough group of people did this, I bet MTH would get the message and find a way to meet consumer demand for the wireless remote.

I would buy 2 more of each, but only if the TIU is modified so it will continue to work with the remote (not a phone or tablet) on a wireless basis. No tether.

Last edited by BlueComet400

Just curious but MTH has been saying the remote was going away for at least 4 or 5 years. Why didn’t you stock up on extras then?  

Another thing to consider, I’ve seen where people say if XYZ makes this engine or item I’ll buy it.  They make it and no one buys it.

I really think you guys are out of luck. MTH has given everyone more than enough warning.

I think the problem here is that it appears that MTH has not taken the time to ask its customers who support the company what they want. These surveys are great, but unless the leadership of the company is willing to listen to the people who ultimately pay their salaries, nothing will change. At one of the last York meets, I went to the MTH booth to talk to the guys about the remote and a few other things. They were all glued to a TV set watching a golf tournament and not one of them would break away to speak with me, so I left.

Last edited by BlueComet400

I think they know most people want the remote and maybe if they were still the MTH of the past you’d get one. Everyone on this forum has been voicing their opinion on the remote since MTH said it was going away. They listened but most likely realized the investment wasn’t worth it.

With the company winding down and components for the remote harder to get I don’t see the investing in a new or redesigned remote.

@MartyE posted:

Just curious but MTH has been saying the remote was going away for at least 4 or 5 years. Why didn’t you stock up on extras then?

That gave me a chuckle Marty, it's why I have five (or six) remotes now, and also a bunch of TIU's!

I also have a couple spare thumbwheels and I think I found a source for the display panel.  I plan on keeping the existing TIU/Remote configuration in operation for many years.

That gave me a chuckle Marty, it's why I have five (or six) remotes now, and also a bunch of TIU's!

I also have a couple spare thumbwheels and I think I found a source for the display panel.  I plan on keeping the existing TIU/Remote configuration in operation for many years.

My solution is to convert my few remaining PS2/3 engines to legacy.  Chances are I’ll only keep DCS for guests.

Last edited by superwarp1

I think the problem here is that it appears that MTH has not taken the time to ask its customers who support the company what they want. These surveys are great, but unless the leadership of the company is willing to listen to the people who ultimately pay their salaries, nothing will change. At one of the last York meets, I went to the MTH booth to talk to the guys about the remote and a few other things. They were all glued to a TV set watching a golf tournament and not one of them would break away to speak with me, so I left.

From talking to both Mike and Andy at various meets, the impression I got was that the main problem with continuing production of the hand held was the difficulty in getting obsolete parts.

I think I would find a tether annoying and in the way. I’m no technophobe and I have and use lots of apps on my phone and tablet. I have used Lionel’s LionChief app and it’s Okay, but nothing impressive. A remote is far easier to use and feels natural in my hand. Let’s be honest here, the end of the hand held remote is not about what the customer wants. It’s about what’s best for a company that has lost the capacity to manufacture and support these devices.

I hope Lionel is paying attention to this fiasco. PLEASE continue to manufacture and support the CAB-1L and CAB-2!

Let’s be honest here, the end of the hand held remote is not about what the customer wants. It’s about what’s best for a company that has lost the capacity to manufacture and support these devices.

Exactly.  Imagine if TV, stereo, etc. manufacturers told you "just use your phone".  My 15 year old daughter asked me to get her an Amazon FireStick because it comes with a remote.  This is not an age issue, luddite issue, or however they want to frame it.

Let’s be honest here, the end of the hand held remote is not about what the customer wants. It’s about what’s best for a company that has lost the capacity to manufacture and support these devices.

This is certainly true IMO.  It's pretty clear that a significant number of customers are not enamored with the idea of using their phone to control their trains, me being numbered among them.

OTOH, I can't be too hard on MTH for this decision.  They do have to weigh the expense of redesigning the remote to use new parts against any potential lost sales based on discontinuing the remote.  For many years in aerospace I faced similar issues of parts obsolescence, and the solution was to buy thousands of parts that guaranteed that we could continue to build a specific product for many years into the future.  However, the price for this practice was high, and I suspect the profit margins on model train products just don't allow for such extravagant expenditures.  This is likely the reason for the limited lifetime of stuff like the remotes.

@superwarp1 posted:

Yeah it ain’t cheap.  MTH just never made engines I wanted other than the few I have

Amazing, considering the diversity of engines MTH made over the 15 year period from about 2001 to 2016 compared to Lionel. Anyone have a count, and I'm not just talking about different road names. I mean different engines.

Anyone remember how many different engines Lionel made before MTH came on the scene? IMO, we lived thru the Golden Age.

Having said that, I too like the remote.

Gerry

Last edited by gmorlitz
@gmorlitz posted:

Amazing, considering the diversity of engines MTH made over the 15 year period from about 2001 to 2016 compared to Lionel. Anyone have a count, and I'm not just talking about different road names. I mean different engines.

Anyone remember how many different engines Lionel made before MTH came on the scene? IMO, we lived thru the Golden Age.

Having said that, I too like the remote.

Gerry

Well since I limit myself to steam, NYC, and New England roads you can see why.  For the most part what’s on My layout MTH has never made, except for the three I have.  Check out my YouTube video for my inventory

Last edited by superwarp1
@superwarp1 posted:

Well I’m going to be hard on MTH.  Yes it’s a cost savings canceling the remote but they redesigned it for the production run last winter.  Why not keep making it.  Theirs still demand.

You assume facts not in evidence Gary.  I believe they went out and procured enough parts to produce the existing remote, I don't think anything significant, other than maybe a capacitor or IC footprint changed.

For several years, as most of us know, MTH sets have not come with a remote.  They expect even the new consumer to operate their trains using a smartphone or tablet purchased separately.  I thought that was an exceptionally bad idea. Cannot imagine that contributed to their set sales, but perhaps that's just me.  Being charitable, they have done the math and they do not think they can recover the redesign and production costs of a remote with the likely size of the market.  Being a little less kind, someone at MTH made this decision and stubbornly isn't going to be dissuaded by a bunch of amateurs .  That said, it doesn't, to my mind, seem a favorable prognostic sign for the future of DCS production and PS3 equipped locomotives to limit consumers in this way.  More like the road to ever smaller market share.

As a contrast, and I hope it continues, Lionel has actually shipped all of its previous LC and LC+ locos with an inexpensive but useful remote, and has made a $40 universal remote available that operates both Bluetooth and LC systems of all current Lionel locomotives. I hope they do this for the long haul, so that those of us who don't want to use a smart device do not have to do so.  It adds complexity (you mean you still use a flip phone?) by requiring additional purchase or reuse of some other device you have and forces one approach on everyone.

I don't want to use my iPhone to operate my cable box or television either.  I use it for voice (I'm on-call 24/7 for work) and personal/work email, texting, and some Internet browsing. Even reading newspapers and magazines while in line for this and that.  I occasionally take photos or scan stuff. I don't want to use it to operate my toy trains, and it sounds like there are many who feel the same way, and we are not necessarily technophobes.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@gmorlitz posted:

Amazing, considering the diversity of engines MTH made over the 15 year period from about 2001 to 2016 compared to Lionel. Anyone have a count, and I'm not just talking about different road names. I mean different engines.

Anyone remember how many different engines Lionel made before MTH came on the scene? IMO, we lived thru the Golden Age.

Yep, one of the things that got me looking at MTH was the diversity of stuff they were making.  There are a ton of cool engines, not to mention novelty stuff like the Coors Silver Bullet, the Doodlebug, the Galloping Goose, etc.  MTH made a bunch of PRR stuff that never came out of Lionel, and I'm sure they pushed Lionel to make stuff that might have languished on the cutting room floor had it not been for the competition.

@superwarp1 posted:

Well I’m going to be hard on MTH.  Yes it’s a cost savings canceling the remote but they redesigned it for the production run last winter.  Why not keep making it.  Theirs still demand.

For all we know, the remote is based around a PIC or microprocessor that is was discontinued a while ago (like 4-5 years ago when they started to warn customers) and there are no equivalents being produced.  Couple that with a software code base that is tied to that particular architecture and the programming tools that supported it, it could be a significant lift to both redesign the hardware AND software.  

The redesign they did last year was only for a different thumbwheel from what I remember. They were probably using the remaining stock on the other parts for the rest of the remote, or some leftovers they found somewhere.

Electronic parts supply chain logistics are extremely difficult.  I do repairs for vintage electronics I collect, and when it comes to anything semiconductor wise, I have to stay on my toes since a part can change without much warning.  Then I have to start researching a suitable replacement, which can take a while.  Mind you, I do it as a hobby - imagine trying to do it and slap a warrantee on it and continue to support it.  

Do you have any expensive audio electronics at home with one of those blue dot matrix or segmented displays?  Those are called vacuum fluorescent displays and after about 5-10 years there’s little to no chance you’ll find a replacement for them.  And while they’re very durable, they do fade/dim and wear out.  

I think Lionel Legacy owners will be in the same boat with their remotes eventually too if a key part is discontinued.  Why redesign the software AND hardware when you can just design the software and let the big tech companies worry about sourcing parts and all the vertical integration problems.  

Last edited by rplst8

I think the problem here is that it appears that MTH has not taken the time to ask its customers who support the company what they want. These surveys are great, but unless the leadership of the company is willing to listen to the people who ultimately pay their salaries, nothing will change. At one of the last York meets, I went to the MTH booth to talk to the guys about the remote and a few other things. They were all glued to a TV set watching a golf tournament and not one of them would break away to speak with me, so I left.

Interesting. Will not having a remote available negatively affect purchases of new DCS equipped engines?

@superwarp1 posted:

Well I’m going to be hard on MTH.  Yes it’s a cost savings canceling the remote but they redesigned it for the production run last winter.  Why not keep making it.  Theirs still demand.

The only thing that is likely to get MTH's attention is this: if we simply stop buying their products. We are essentially being forced to use a phone or tablet if we want to run DCS. If the orders start to dwindle and they start choking on their inventory, my guess is they would find a way to continue producing a designated remote. Someone once told me that men are just little boys with money; as long as that money keeps flowing to MTH, they have zero incentive to listen to what anyone says.

@rplst8 posted:

I think Lionel Legacy owners will be in the same boat with their remotes eventually too if a key part is discontinued.  Why redesign the software AND hardware when you can just design the software and let the big tech companies worry about sourcing parts and all the vertical integration problems.  

What he said. Eventually Lionel will be in the same boat. Whether they recreate a hardware remote or most likely go the way of the smart phone is yet to be seen. I agree, why deal with ever changing hardware that can take years to redevelop when you can push software updates regularly.

@MartyE posted:

What he said. Eventually Lionel will be in the same boat. Whether they recreate a hardware remote or most likely go the way of the smart phone is yet to be seen. I agree, why deal with ever changing hardware that can take years to redevelop when you can push software updates regularly.

Why deal with it? Because that's what the consumers are demanding. If you own a business and you produce something for which there is no demand, you have no business. Like I said, until the money stops flowing, they're not likely to listen.

@MartyE posted:

What he said. Eventually Lionel will be in the same boat. Whether they recreate a hardware remote or most likely go the way of the smart phone is yet to be seen. I agree, why deal with ever changing hardware that can take years to redevelop when you can push software updates regularly.

One reason would be sufficient push-back from Lionel's customers.  Obviously, if they just whimper and take it, then Lionel would have little incentive to spend the extra money to keep a real remote.

"Lionel is NOT discontinuing the Legacy remotes. "

Not only that, but every single one of the hundreds of thousands of Lionel sets for sale, including Ready to Play sets for under $100, have a remote included.  Thus justifying MTH's decision making by stating "Lionel hit me first" or "Lionel will do dumb things in the future" isn't going to work with Mom and Dad .  And probably not with a lot of consumers.

I think it is a near certainty that Lionel keeps making a remote that operates all its locomotives made from here on in.  They would be deeply misguided not to.  Dave Olson is probably reading this thread and thinking "we'll find a way to make this work."   Lionel has the additional advantage that they are trying to remain in business as an ongoing full train line concern.  MTH and DCS are heading to stasis,  or the history books, depending on whose goat entrails you are reading.

Last edited by Landsteiner

Why deal with it? Because that's what the consumers are demanding. If you own a business and you produce something for which there is no demand, you have no business. Like I said, until the money stops flowing, they're not likely to listen.

O gauge consumers have short memories. How many times people on this forum have sworn off Lionel and a new catalog comes out and they’re running hand in hand with them down the beach.

Lionel and for now MTH will make trains, people will buy them whether they use a hardware remote or smart phone.

I recall adding my vote for keeping the remote to prior forum threads when this subject was first "news." I subsequently ordered two new DCS remotes last year - which was good timing as the power button on my older remote bit the dust during repeated attempts to hold the button down for that peculiar and rather ridiculous method of updating the remote's software.

In my assessment, MTH has been streamlining, a euphemism for cost-cutting, for years now. First, gutting instruction manuals to a one page "fits all" for steamers; then by not updating steamers with whistle steam (I think the Premier Big Boy has it), nor no attempt to match Lionel's various top-notch engine features. To me, this all translated that MTH was losing to Lionel. 

It's not that I won't use a Smart device to run trains, I literally cannot due to hand-eye impairment that makes swiping screens next very frustrating. If my remotes should die and I cannot obtain replacements, I'll either run my MTH conventionally or with TMCC (if possible) or just sell my MTH engines.

@MartyE posted:

What he said. Eventually Lionel will be in the same boat. Whether they recreate a hardware remote or most likely go the way of the smart phone is yet to be seen. I agree, why deal with ever changing hardware that can take years to redevelop when you can push software updates regularly.

This is an MTH problem, today. It is not a Lionel problem... now or in the future.

The only thing that is likely to get MTH's attention is this: if we simply stop buying their products. We are essentially being forced to use a phone or tablet if we want to run DCS. If the orders start to dwindle and they start choking on their inventory, my guess is they would find a way to continue producing a designated remote. Someone once told me that men are just little boys with money; as long as that money keeps flowing to MTH, they have zero incentive to listen to what anyone says.

Its an interesting idea but you are making an assumption that MTH (or what ever is left of MTH) can make a remote, they just don't want to. I think it is far more likely that this much reduced "MTH" can't make a remote because they no longer can make or support them.  So buying or not buying their locomotives will not sway them one way or another on the remotes.  You can't persuade them to do what they are incapable of doing.

@MartyE posted:

You sure about that?  Because I’m not.

You should be sure that Lionel will support it. There is absolutely NO evidence they won't support remotes. As Landsteiner noted, " Lionel has the additional advantage that they are trying to remain in business as an ongoing full train line concern."

Lionel and MTH are in two very different places now. Lionel is remaining a full line Train Company, with a real hand held remotes ( 3 of them), twice a year catalogs and a full line of trains from S-scale, HO, traditional O gauge, Scooby Doo and Disney, and then all the way to O-72 scale Vision Line locomotives. MTH has shrunk, sold off much of their tooling and building, they no longer offer a remote and will no longer offer any traditional catalogs. MTH and Lionel are no longer peers in the market place. So what happens to MTH does not mean it will also happen to Lionel.

The hobby will be OK.

@H1000 posted:

Where is the "BOTH / EITHER" option for question 1?

The new WTIU does work with the DCS remote, just not wirelessly.

None of my friends want to be "plugged in" to run trains. Of our 2 rail friends most went with NCE and a few Digitrax, all but 1 avoided Lenz because they don't have a true wireless remote and he now regrets it.

IIRC being "Corded" to one TIU eliminates the ability to run in multiple TIU's "Super" mode correct?

In addition to the parts issue, I wonder if the DCS developers aren't hoping to attract a younger crowd to the hobby; they're more likely accustomed to blue tooth and iPhones than most of us are. But, if that's the case, I question the logic. If the papers are to be believed, most are saddled with debt, have little disposable income, and probably have little or no interest in model trains.

As for myself, I have both DCS and Legacy, but with only one PS 3 locomotive (my PS 2 bi-polar won't fit through the lift bridge), I think I will keep the DCS, but keep my eyes open for a Lionel replacement for the MTH SW-1.

You should be sure that Lionel will support it. There is absolutely NO evidence they won't support remotes. As Landsteiner noted, " Lionel has the additional advantage that they are trying to remain in business as an ongoing full train line concern."

Lionel and MTH are in two very different places now. Lionel is remaining a full line Train Company, with a real hand held remotes ( 3 of them), twice a year catalogs and a full line of trains from S-scale, HO, traditional O gauge, Scooby Doo and Disney, and then all the way to O-72 scale Vision Line locomotives. MTH has shrunk, sold off much of their tooling and building, they no longer offer a remote and will no longer offer any traditional catalogs. MTH and Lionel are no longer peers in the market place. So what happens to MTH does not mean it will also happen to Lionel.

The hobby will be OK.

No one is questioning the hobby, and no one is questioning the solvency (currently) of Lionel either.  The fact that Atlas and ScaleTrains.com bought up parts of MTH is promising for the industry overall IMHO.

The electronics market is changing though, in that things are consolidating and there is more vertical integration in tech products.  Look at Apple with their custom silicon in the iPhone and soon their Macs too.  What this means is there less “general purpose” processors to pick from.  

And it’s not that there are none, but if a small company like the former MTH or Lionel picks a platform to build out quite a technically complicated system like Legacy or DCS, and that platform loses industry support, well—it can be quite expensive to switch to something else lock stock and barrel.  One thing’s for certain, they aren’t going to roll their own silicon like Apple, Microsoft, or FANG.

There might even come a time when through-hole products are sort of a “well here’s what’s left” sort of situation, because let’s face it, we eat the table scraps of whatever is left over from the big tech players.  If they don’t need the parts, and no one is requesting them in large numbers, the manufacturers aren’t going to make them.  Take a look at a computer motherboard from the mid 80s, the late 90s, and then today’s and the differences are stark.

Last edited by rplst8

"One thing’s for certain, they aren’t going to roll their own silicon like Apple, Microsoft, or FANG."

I'm pretty certain Lionel didn't roll their own for LionChief, LionChief+, etc.  They likely used off the shelf technology from the radio control car/airplane/drone industry.  Drones aren't enormously different from trains and that's a robust pipeline of OEM remote control technology from what I can see.  What is interesting and revealing is that MTH developed essentially one system over the last quarter century and tweaked that system. Lionel has developed TMCC, Legacy, LC, LC+ and LC +2.0.  And they make remotes that cost $40, not $150, as well as the high priced spread.  If Lionel can do it and enclose a remote in every set, why couldn't MTH have done something similar? The answer is they chose not to, for whatever reasons, and perhaps now they do not have the resources/motivation to do so.

But predicting that what happened to MTH is going to happen to Lionel is taking ouija board reliance to an unwarranted level .  That's not the way things have turned out previously,  and there's no reason the future of Lionel has to recapitulate that of MTH.  One of the things some folks thought was a strength of MTH, the reliance on one passionate and committed leader has turned out to be a long term weakness. One of the things some folks thought was a weakness of Lionel, the corporate entity, turns out to be a long term strength.  They don't rely on a sole proprietor to keep the show going.

Way back during one of the OGR York show-and-tell gatherings, when MTH first raised the topic of having to hunt down supplies of discontinued electronic components necessary for DCS remotes, after the presentation broke up, I went over to the Lionel booth and asked one of the higher-ups present whether or not Legacy was staring at that same potential problem. The answer was "Yes". Owing to a different architecture, their chicken has yet to come to roost, but as has been pointed out by those with actual experience sourcing electronic parts, that day will come eventually. Nobody will know when that is, until the manufacturer of some necessary component announces it's EOL.

---PCJ

Last edited by RailRide
@RailRide posted:

Way back during one of the OGR York show-and-tell gatherings, when MTH first raised the topic of having to hunt down supplies of discontinued electronic components necessary for DCS remotes, after the presentation broke up, I went over to the Lionel booth and asked one of the higher-ups present whether or not Legacy was staring at that same potential problem. The answer was "Yes". Owing to a different architecture, their chicken has yet to come to roost, but as has been pointed out by those with actual experience sourcing electronic parts, that day will come eventually. Nobody will know when that is, until the manufacturer of some necessary component announces it's EOL.

---PCJ

I think your first sentence says it all: “way back during one of the OGR York shows..”

“way back” does not equal “Lionel is going to give up remotes too”

As someone pointed out, every Lionel ready to run train set has a hand held remote. On top of that, Lionel has two additional hand held remotes. Remotes at Lionel are not going away.

This is a current MTH problem, not a Lionel problem.

@Landsteiner posted:

I'm pretty certain Lionel didn't roll their own for LionChief, LionChief+, etc.  They likely used off the shelf technology from the radio control car/airplane/drone industry.  Drones aren't enormously different from trains and that's a robust pipeline of OEM remote control technology from what I can see.  What is interesting and revealing is that MTH developed essentially one system over the last quarter century and tweaked that system. Lionel has developed TMCC, Legacy, LC, LC+ and LC +2.0.  And they make remotes that cost $40, not $150, as well as the high priced spread.  If Lionel can do it and enclose a remote in every set, why couldn't MTH have done something similar? The answer is they chose not to, for whatever reasons, and perhaps now they do not have the resources/motivation to do so.

I never said they made their own processor or radio control parts.  Your proving my point though, that companies at the Lionel and MTH level that get into tech will be forced to go where the tech industry goes.  

But predicting that what happened to MTH is going to happen to Lionel is taking ouija board reliance to an unwarranted level .  That's not the way things have turned out previously,  and there's no reason the future of Lionel has to recapitulate that of MTH.  One of the things some folks thought was a strength of MTH, the reliance on one passionate and committed leader has turned out to be a long term weakness. One of the things some folks thought was a weakness of Lionel, the corporate entity, turns out to be a long term strength.  They don't rely on a sole proprietor to keep the show going.

It’s not just Lionel that I’m predicting for, but rather anyone who doesn’t have the market heft of the tech giants.  I’m not saying I like the way it’s going, or that I like the phone/tablet app more than the remote.  I’m saying that non-tech companies have no choice but to use commodity hardware—and the industry is moving on.

I want to thank those who stayed on topic or directed others to do the same.

I am keeping a running count.  I am in contact with someone (Who I shall NOT identify--who can make it happen)  who says another run is a possibility.  However, issues unrelated to production, business matters, etc., must pass.

This person added that: "I too believe the demand is there."  BUT, It would be valuable to know precisely the number of product.  This person requested I report the figures gathered.  Please do NOT NOT NOT launch into a treatise that I must read to figure out if the answer is "hidden" in a mass of text.  Just answer number of remotes and TIUs PLEASE

I respectfully request PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE that we stay on topic.  If another run would be made in the future,  How many TIU's and Remotes would you order?

Highly Respectfully,

This is a current MTH problem, not a Lionel problem.

It is a past MTH problem, they’ve already moved past the remote, it’s a future Lionel problem because they either need to redesign, retool, and produce another hardware remote or use software and the phone manufacturers to do it for them.

Don’t get me wrong I prefer the remote to a smart device any day but I personally see a day without a Legacy hardware remote. If Lionel goes in that direction people will still buy their trains just like they’re scooping up the “last” runs of MTH products.

As everyone pointed out, none of us have a crystal ball so at this point it’s wait and see. Maybe you’re right. ICab certainly wasn’t a big hit but then again Lionel was and is still selling Legacy.

I'd be in for 1 TIU and 2 remotes.

Trying to stay on topic here. I'm 56, so technically among the youngest of the baby boom generation, and would love to be able to squeeze at least 15 and, ideally, 20-25 good years out of my investment in 6 DCS engines.  These are all recent purchases as I have more TMCC, some upgrades with ERR, and even an LC+ engine on my roster. No issue moving back to LC+2 if for new purchases in the future, but I'm happy to contribute to the cause of keeping DCS viable.

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