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@G3750 posted:

WRT 1:  You are correct.  One person's problems aren't enough.  But that's not the case with DCS.  Many, many modelers (some very well known) have had trouble getting it to work consistently or work at all.  Five TIU versions and dozens of software upgrades in 20 years - doesn't look like a reliable system to me (and I built reliable systems for a living).  Over on the DCS sub-forum you have a legitimate rocket scientist (PhD EE from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory) who's had to diagnose and fix a number of DCS issues.  Doesn't sound like a case of simple user error or reliability, does it?



What's the basis for a reliable system? I'd say good hardware and following correct wiring. Every time I've personally seen issues with DCS on layouts it's caused by nightmare wiring or not wiring according to the instructions that came with the system. There is  A LOT of issues cause by end users. In the same breath DCS isn't engineered to idiot proof status, which in all honesty most things should be to be considered super reliable. Design it for the lowest common denominator so it just works all the time. Updates are just that, things to correct issues and update the software. Happens all the time with PCs or any other device. Heck I have to update the operating system on my phone more often than DCS .

DCS is like DCC, in the way that the end user has control of sounds and other modifications to locomotives. The customer can't even accomplish those basic things with Legacy, because it's all proprietary. Want to change the whistle in you Legacy steam locomotive? You can't. Lionel has locked the end user out of any modifications. DCS and DCC are more user friendly for the operators who want to get the most out of their systems. Legacy is take what you get and be happy, because Lionel gave the end user no means to update or change things in Legacy locomotives.

If the number of software upgrades is indicative of quality, what about the frequent upgrades to my computer software?  As to the number of versions of TIUs, my computer hardware differs somewhat from my 1990 computer.

My wife has frequent software issues.  She won't be reading this post, so I'll dare to say it's most often operator error.

Bottom line really is that people have differing preferences.  Some people like to drive Fords or GMs; others prefer to push Yugos or Fiats

@Lou1985 posted:

Ding, ding, winner. With PS3 Atlas can reduce production costs. Now there will be one wiring harness and board set for both 3 rail and 2 rail that will operate with a major 3 rail control system (DCS) and a 2 rail control system (DCC).

Lou,

I agree with you, continuing DCS is a beautiful thing. I have owned and operated DCS, TMCC, and Legacy for 10 years, and I find both systems have their pros and cons, and I don’t find one to be superior than the other.

DCS certainly has some quirks and is more sensitive to signal interference such as dirty track. With that said I find DCS to be reliable for the most part. MTH has come a long way with its PS 3.0 locomotive hardware and I have had yet to have a board fail. I find DCS to be easier to set up, the two way communication system is great, and the ability to piggyback DCS onto Legacy is an excellent feature.

Bottom line is TMCC and DCS are both great systems, and it would be a enormous loss on the hobby to lose one

@Oman posted:

It's ironic that the DCC purists and the TMCC lovers are showing their disdain for Atlas planning to put DCS into newly acquired MTH tooled locomotives. For those that do not like DCS, you lose nothing. Where's the beef?

I’ve never understood the beef, or the argument at all. I have had them all. DCC is the way forward for me if for no other reason than the MTH and Lionel remotes are usability design disasters.

The thing that’s drawing me from 3-rail to 2-rail for my next O layout is that I am all-in on DCC and the extensibility it brings.

I am not judging and not arguing. We all have our preferences and I respect that.

Rob

@rdunniii posted:

They own it,  they just cannot remove it from China.  If they did not own it they would not be able to make multiple runs because the Chinese recycle tooling to make more money from the tooling once a run is complete and so it cannot be pirated.

Maybe what Atlas actually got is a working factory to actually make stuff for them.


Getting tooling out of China isn’t impossible, its just difficult. The company I work for has had several injection molding dies made in China and has successfully brought them to the US. It really depends on who you partner with in China and you have to run production parts there for a while. Once they get a sufficient return on the investment, it becomes possible to get the tooling released.

Model train tooling really has no reason to come back to the US though, too cost prohibitive to build trains here: especially highly detailed scale models.

@Lou1985 posted:

What's the basis for a reliable system? I'd say good hardware and following correct wiring. Every time I've personally seen issues with DCS on layouts it's caused by nightmare wiring or not wiring according to the instructions that came with the system. There is  A LOT of issues cause by end users.

You might have an opinion as to reliability, but I know.  I built reliable systems (99.999%) for a living.  Some are 20+ years old and still running reliably.

5 hardware revisions in 15 years is not an indicator of "good hardware".  It's a red flare.  Think of new h/w as a RECALL.  It indicates problems in search of an answer.  You can't compare software revisions to hardware replacements (or recalls, if you will).  DCS was advertised as needing only the initial set of hardware and that all new features would come in software.

DCS is like DCC, ...

  No, it absolutely is not like DCC.

DCC was created to a publicized standard, rigorously tested, maintained and upheld.  DCS was rushed into production, is proprietary, and its primary problem resolution still depends on its own end-users, "beta-testers", and "champions".  A whole cottage industry has sprung up out of making DCS function properly.  And when all else fails, a favorite tactic is to blame the user.

I'm finished talking on this subject.

George

@G3750 posted:

I'm finished talking on this subject.

George

Read the whole of what I said about DCS and DCC:

"DCS is like DCC, in the way that the end user has control of sounds and other modifications to locomotives. The customer can't even accomplish those basic things with Legacy, because it's all proprietary. Want to change the whistle in you Legacy steam locomotive? You can't. Lionel has locked the end user out of any modifications. DCS and DCC are more user friendly for the operators who want to get the most out of their systems. Legacy is take what you get and be happy, because Lionel gave the end user no means to update or change things in Legacy locomotives."

Legacy sounds can not be modified by the end user. DCS and DCC sounds can be. Legacy is a closed system to the end user. Also in 20 years I'm sure there's been no revisions to any DCC hardware, only DCS 😉. Atlas going to PS3 saves them money, because the only need one board setup for 2 and 3 rail. With TMCC (which is NOT DCC compatible) they need two different setups.

Legacy/TMCC is best for the end user who doesn't want to modify anything about their locomotives . You like the new sound set in the latest Lionel Legacy Big Boy but have a 4 year old one? Cool. Sell it and buy the newest Big Boy. Like the newest sound set in latest PS3 Big Boy but have a 4 year old PS3 Big Boy? Cool download the newest sound file (for FREE) and load it into your 4 year old Big Boy. Seems an awful lot DCC like to me 😉.

And DCC is even better than DCS. When DCS eventually goes completely away I'll probably gut out all my PS2/PS3/TMCC/Legacy locomotives and go to that system.

@trainbob posted:

Thank you Atlas for stepping up in these trying times

Atlas got into the game.  Stepping up to the plate is yet to come.  I see this transition as a work in progress.  It can be long and somewhat painful.  As a user of mostly Lionel and MTH, I have shied away from Atlas.  Logistics and meeting delivery times seems to be a struggle.  I think of the Burlington F units I purchased last year.  These were pre-ordered a very long time.  Cencellations made some available.  That's where I cam in and swooped.

I think Atlas is up to it.  Wether or not they recognize the costs for this type of growth is up to them.  If they want to stretch out margin at the expense of "blocking and tackling", they will have a hard time.  Let's hope they put in the physical and human capital to take on this challenge.  You can't be the old stodgy company short on delivery and sitting on track and switch sales for this to succeed.  I for one, look forward to their first catalog offerings.  I will give them a try and see how they do.

@G3750 posted:

Maybe Lionel will counter the situation by licensing Legacy to the other remaining 3-rail train manufacturers - Williams, 3rd Rail, even Atlas.  That would be a huge game-changer.

George

I'd be just as happy having 3rd Rail have access to Legacy as much as I would DCS. I'll take either one. Perhaps Atlas adopting DCS will cause Lionel to change their stance. I doubt that WBB will use either.

@G3750 posted:
You might have an opinion as to reliability, but I know.  I built reliable systems (99.999%) for a living.  Some are 20+ years old and still running reliably.

This doesn't make sense... You build 99.999999999999% reliable systems but only some made it to the 20+ year mark and are still working...??



@G3750 posted:
DCS was advertised as needing only the initial set of hardware and that all new features would come in software.

I have an 18 year TIU that is still working perfectly, and through software updates, I  receive all operating features as newest TIU built today. it has never been serviced, and it's reliability is well... 100%.



@G3750 posted:
Think of new h/w as a RECALL.

Really??? so every time Ford came out with a new version of the F-150, they were really saying the old ones were bad and should be recalled??? Why didn't MTH "recall" the older TIU's to be repaired or destroyed?? How many different Hardware versions are there of the Postwar ZW, are you saying that every ZW before the type R were also terrible and should be recalled?

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

This doesn't make sense... You build 99.999999999999% reliable systems but only some made it to the 20+ year mark and are still working...??

Some have been in the field less time.  Given 'em a chance.  They'll get there.

I have an 18 year TIU that is still working perfectly, and through software updates, I  receive all operating features as newest TIU built today. it has never been serviced, and it's reliability is well... 100%.

You're a rarity.  Good for you.

Really??? so every time Ford came out with a new version of the F-150, they were really saying the old ones were bad and should be recalled??? Why didn't MTH "recall" the older TIU's to be repaired or destroyed?? How many different Hardware versions are there of the Postwar ZW, are you saying that every ZW before the type R were also terrible and should be recalled?

I didn't say that.  You got that from what I wrote.    Somehow.

@G3750 posted:
I didn't say that.  You got that from what I wrote.    Somehow.

This is what you wrote:

@G3750 posted:
Think of new h/w as a RECALL.

New an improved designs are coming out all of the time by everyone. Look at how many h/w releases there have been of railsounds and how many more there will be. That doesn't mean that all the older ones are "recalls". I mean even the latest  Legacy Mogul was a new h/w release of the older tmcc version made years ago..... What an improvement that was...

When Ford builds a new h/w version of the F-150, they don't "recall" the older ones. There is nothing wrong them, they just took an existing design and improved on it.

Last edited by H1000
@GG1 4877 posted:

For me personally, I hope that Atlas continues to provide pure DCC for their 2 rail locomotives.  DCS in 2 rail is a compromise when using a DCC system.

It never entered my mind that they would. Man, I hope they don't drop DCC ... would be kind of a stab in the back to all their long time 2-rail customers ... having to buy a DCS system to run their engines going forward. I'm well invested in DCC components and knowledge ...from both O and HO.

I was kinda hoping their MTH Premier engines would be offered with a DCC option. Wishful thinking.

@G3750 posted:

....Five TIU versions and dozens of software upgrades in 20 years - doesn't look like a reliable system to me (and I built reliable systems for a living).  Over on the DCS sub-forum you have a legitimate rocket scientist (PhD EE from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory) who's had to diagnose and fix a number of DCS issues.  Doesn't sound like a case of simple user error or reliability, does it?

.....



George

So what did you say about the upgrades and the system?

Let me preface this by saying I am a huge MTH fan.

H1000, you are lucky. Back when I was a 3 Railer I pre-ordered the first gen DCS system. It cost $300 at the time. I also ordered the AIU. I forget how much that was. I had a small layout at the time and the system worked okay. Unfortunately, one day I had somewhat of a short. It must have been pulling about 7-9 amps (just guessing) and the circuit breaker never tripped on my transformer which was a postwar ZW. Well, that let the smoke out of the TIU. I guess it was my fault for not using a more modern transformer but I felt the TIU should have been designed with circuit protection from the get go. Looking back maybe the CB in the transformer was faulty. If it was I didn’t realize it was faulty so it may have just been bad luck that the TIU got fried. The original remote also broke and this was not my fault. The wire going to the antenna board broke. I tried to fix it but a couple of traces came off the circuit board. Years later I sold the set for $15 to fellow forum member who wanted to mount it on a display board for some kind of presentation. The remote still worked but only if tethered. I still got the AIU and it still works perfectly.

I did buy another DCS set years later when the added the USB port. I still have it and have used it sparingly over the years for both the occasional 3 rail train or a PS3 upgrade I did. Even after all of this I am still a huge MTH fan. Hey, no train company is perfect.

About 16 years ago I spent double what I spent on my first DCS system to buy the NCE DCC system (and eventually had to spend more money on a power supply—initially I used the same ZW) but it hasn’t been upgraded, hardware or software in all the years I have had it and it still works perfectly.

Since Atlas will be using PS3 it can be controlled by DCC as Matt mentioned. I am not sure about the diesel side but a lot of my MTH steam engines have the same exact whistle. I like the sounds but I hope that whoever does the sounds for PS3 in the future will continue to upgrade and create a higher variety of the whistles and horns.

I also hope that PS3 upgrade kits will continue to be produced. I haven’t seen anything mentioned about the upgrade kits.

Last edited by Hudson J1e
@AGHRMatt posted:

Actually, since Proto3 includes DCC, you still have a DCC locomotive.

While this is mostly correct, there is more flexibility and functionality to assign CVs to a true DCC decoder and there are more options for controllers.  Proto-3 also intentionally limited some of the DCS functions to DCC users as a way to sell more DCS systems.  Just an opinion on my part.  I prefer open architecture systems over proprietary ones.

@Hudson J1e

Well am I lucky or am I good?

I got my first REV G. TIU in 03 and I didn't just plop it on the layout right away. I did some studying on the internals and critical thinking about how my KW transformer could kill this thing.  Long before MTH issued a news flash about placing a fast blow fuse between the TIU and Transformer I decided to put a 7 Amp circuit breaker between my KW and TIU from the get go.  This old TIU has seen many shorts and derailments and while it is not on the main layout anymore it still sees regular use on one of the portable layouts.  The PSX-AC replaced the 7 amp circuit breaker for better protection as soon as I heard about it.

I'll fault MTH for lack documentation due to not putting the early model through some real world situations. But with proper Circuit & TVS protection, that TIU should last a very long time.

Last edited by H1000
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