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As Alan Posted, and Atlas' e-mail announced, Atlas has acquired the MTH diesel and rolling stock tooling. This means that we'll be seeing future releases of the locomotive models offered in the Premier line. Hopefully this also means that Atlas will continue offering 2-rail versions. I'm hoping that the 2/3 feature is carried over into the product line. Comments? (Please be nice)

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Last edited by AGHRMatt
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@RJR posted:

There is a BIG question.  MTH says Atlas will produce PS3 locos.  Who will produce the PS3 hardware?

I'm guessing they will figure it out since the components of PS 3 and DCS system is part of the license Atlas acquired.

"

Atlas has also acquired a license for the MTH Proto-Sound 3 Sound & Control Electronics Boards, which adds realistic sounds to locomotives and also allows control via DCS (Digital Command System). Part of the license will give Atlas the option to sell DCS components as well."

David, we don't know if the license gives the power to produce, or only to use, DCS.  If the former, Atlas probably doesn;t have an in-house electronics department and thus will need to team up with both an electronics engineering firm and a production company.  Hopefully, they'll keep this in USA.  If the latter, the future of DCS is still up in the air.  Certainly, if Atlas becomes the source for DCS components and parts, I'll become a customer

as info atlas has purchased many other companies in the past in the HO world and has been very slow to produce them and some have never appeared. not trying to jinx things but I have watched this before. I was hopping more for the steam and electric locos as I am not a diesel fan . but the DCS licensing will be a big help for all the MTH fans out there.

@MartyE posted:

I wish we could just get 1 thread going. So hard to pick one to post to.

Good luck to Atlas. Glad to see the tooling get used!

Even though they licensed PS3 that still leaves one to wonder who will get DCS. Without DCS PS3 isn’t a big deal. I would assume since they are licensing PS3 then DCS components have a future.

Marty,

Just after the first announcement of Mike’s retirement there was a press release that said MTH created a new venture to keep DCS,  and maintain and improve on it.

What it didn’t say was the this new venture would also to license DCS out.

https://mthtrains.com/news/659

DCS/Proto-Sound Lives On



June 9, 2020 - With the scheduled closing of M.T.H. Electric Trains next year, support for the DCS Digital Command System and the Proto-Sound 3.0 onboard locomotive systems will continue through a new independent company headed up by current M.T.H. staff once direct M.T.H. support for the systems concludes on June 1, 2021.

The new tech company will continue to manufacture and provide support including any necessary software updates to the DCS hardware or DCS WiFi App. In fact, new and exciting product ideas are currently under development.

The DCS System controls any Proto-Sound 2.0 and later equipped locomotives and first debuted 18 years ago. It has been an integral part of the M.T.H. product line family since its inception and its continuation beyond the closing of M.T.H. is an important part of the transition envisioned by retiring M.T.H. president Mike Wolf.

As the retirement transition process moves forward, more details about the new company's creation and ongoing development of M.T.H.'s technology packages will be announced. Stay tuned.

Last edited by Craignor
@Craignor posted:

Marty,

In the first announcement of Mike’s retirement the release said MTH employees created a new venture to keep DCS and maintain and improve on it.

What it didn’t say was also to license DCS out.

https://mthtrains.com/news/659

DCS/Proto-Sound Lives On



June 9, 2020 - With the scheduled closing of M.T.H. Electric Trains next year, support for the DCS Digital Command System and the Proto-Sound 3.0 onboard locomotive systems will continue through a new independent company headed up by current M.T.H. staff once direct M.T.H. support for the systems concludes on June 1, 2021.

The new tech company will continue to manufacture and provide support including any necessary software updates to the DCS hardware or DCS WiFi App. In fact, new and exciting product ideas are currently under development.

The DCS System controls any Proto-Sound 2.0 and later equipped locomotives and first debuted 18 years ago. It has been an integral part of the M.T.H. product line family since its inception and its continuation beyond the closing of M.T.H. is an important part of the transition envisioned by retiring M.T.H. president Mike Wolf.

As the retirement transition process moves forward, more details about the new company's creation and ongoing development of M.T.H.'s technology packages will be announced. Stay tuned.

But we really haven't heard much since.  It would be good for Atlas and all those wanting new PS3s if another mention of the progress of this new tech company.

100% awesome news

Atlas has outstanding track record of bringing excellent O scale products to market. DCS is a great platform, very excited to see atlas continue using it

Hopefully Atlas O will be provide more competition to Lionel, this hobby needs better quality control

Special thanks to Jarrett Haedrich, COO of Atlas and the Atlas team for making this deal happen

The ATLAS O scale Evans Product plug door box cars have molded in doors.

The PREMIER O scale Evans Products double plug door box cars have operating doors.

Most of the real railroad paint schemes have been made.

The regular WISCONSIN & SOUTHERN scheme has not yet been produced.

The PREMIER version is more durable and that factory is up and running, so that box car would be made there instead.

Andrew

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

A longtime fan and customer of 3rd Rail, I'd be surprised to see Scott pick up MTH steam.  Scott's always been into brass, with few die-cast offerings.  Certainly within the realm of my interest, he's done in brass most of the locos that MTH has done in die-cast.  While there would be a significant opportunity in the second-tier market with the RailKing steam tooling, that's not the market that 3rd Rail concentrates on.  The opportunity for 3rd Rail is increased quantities on the items they do, not alternative product that could detract from the resale value of what they've sold and irritate customers.

@Landsteiner posted:

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

This isn't a licensing agreement.  The exact wording from the press release is:

"Hillside, NJ – Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc. is proud to announce the purchase of a variety of tooling in the M.T.H. Premier O Scale Locomotive and Rolling Stock lines from M.T.H. Electric Trains of Columbia, MD."



What Atlas did license is the Proto-3 electronics.

Rusty

Last edited by Rusty Traque

"This isn't a licensing agreement."

You're correct. What I should have written is that I'm guessing Atlas has"purchased" the exclusive rights to use the MTH tooling.  And that the purchase agreement isn't likely a straightforward capital acquisition but rather a royalty per use to avoid upfront expenditure of millions or tens of millions of dollars to literally purchase the tooling rather than the rights to use the tooling.  Licensing is not the correct term for what I'm guessing is happening.   At least  that's what I'd do to minimize risk in case the market isn't there for adequate volumes. 

There's a good bit of uncertainty which will only be clarified when Atlas announces its intentions. And those may change over time and experience.   One or two locos to begin with?  An actual catalog?  DCS, TMCC or both?  The devil is clearly in the details here.

I see steamers going 3rd Rail. As stated, Railking to bachman, the rest going to Lionel. The DCS components and controls will be owned by the mth employees who agreed to buy it as originally announced.

While 3rd Rail would be a good landing spot for some of the steam, I'm not sure that Scott would be all that interested in opening that can of worms.

@Landsteiner posted:

We won't ever know, but it would be interesting to know the terms of the agreement.  Seems unlikely to me a big capital expenditure was involved, given the state of the market. I'd guess this is a licensing agreement that allows Atlas to produce MTH products at the Chinese factory or factories currently producing these products.  Based upon production numbers, not outright purchase of tooling most likely.  Thus if the first production runs don't do well, we may not see much in future.  Just a consideration for those who want to see this succeed. Buy the first production runs if you want to see future production runs. Not rocket science .

I think the truly under-valued aspect of this deal is Atlas' acquisition or access to the MTH production facilities.  A few years ago, Atlas acquired a number of Weaver molds, tooling, and products - we've yet to see anything from that.  Maybe the access to MTH factories will actually result in shipping product (what a concept!  ).  So far, Atlas has only demonstrated their ineptness in this regard.

As for acquiring DCS, I've no idea why they would spend money on that. To my mind, it would be a much smarter move to offer the very pretty MTH locomotives as either conventional ("command ready") or TMCC equipped.

I doubt that Atlas' or anyone else's TMCC licensing agreements with Lionel expressly prohibit the licensee from acquiring a competitive train control system, but annoying Lionel in such a way doesn't strike me as particularly advantageous.

George

@c.sam posted:

Does MTH (or Lionel even) actually own their tooling in the Chinese factories? Seems I remember somewhere that once a tool is created over there, you lose ownership of it to the Chinese companies? Not certain if I'm correct here...

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.

Atlas in the past has done a lot of scale equipment for 2 rail.    This includes the Zephyr passenger  cars which were based on prototypes, and hence were models.     In reading the announcement, it looks like a lot of stuff that Atlas has purchased or gotten access to, are more in the toy train realm.    I am not familiar with MTH diesels as they have done nothing I want to buy in 2 rail, but there may be some more prototypical stuff there.    The passenger cars are based on real prototypes for the most part.     So they may expanding their 3 rail line considerably and dropping out of 2 rail.

@G3750 posted:

I think the truly under-valued aspect of this deal is Atlas' acquisition or access to the MTH production facilities.  A few years ago, Atlas acquired a number of Weaver molds, tooling, and products - we've yet to see anything from that.  Maybe the access to MTH factories will actually result in shipping product (what a concept!  ).  So far, Atlas has only demonstrated their ineptness in this regard.

As for acquiring DCS, I've no idea why they would spend money on that. To my mind, it would be a much smarter move to offer the very pretty MTH locomotives as either conventional ("command ready") or TMCC equipped.

I doubt that Atlas' or anyone else's TMCC licensing agreements with Lionel expressly prohibit the licensee from acquiring a competitive train control system, but annoying Lionel in such a way doesn't strike me as particularly advantageous.

George

Weaver wagon tops and troop cars have already rolled out in Atlas boxes. I'm sure there have been others. The Bradley coaches were offered up at one point too. Theyve done something with it. Maybe not all of it, but its not like they buried it all.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

Weaver wagon tops and troop cars have already rolled out in Atlas boxes. I'm sure there have been others. The Bradley coaches were offered up at one point too. Theyve done something with it. Maybe not all of it, but its not like they buried it all.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

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).

.

As for PS3, it would be stupid not to. ERR makes available like 5 generic sound files. By licensing PS3, they get access to hundreds of more accurate files, files with variation, and the potential for upgrades or improvements to the system done by whoever is taking over DCS.  Why would you not do that? They'd be smart to dump TMCC at this point, as the limited options are far outclassed and the system is essentially dead technology. A license to use the DCS environment is a first, and is a massive upgrade over a TMCC sound file that is basically "Generic GE" or "Generic Alco", etc... noise.

Not to mention, PS3 has DCC onboard. As much as I am not a fan of using PS3 as a DCC decoder, the factory can continue to deal with a single wiring harness, regardless of whether its 2 rail or 3, which probably means the continued ability to sell these things with a 2 rail option. I'm here for it.  Since the wheels are interchangable, they can continue to offer the 2 rail locomotives with PS3 so that the 3RS people who are buying them dont have to worry about the engine being DCC only, such as if they put ESU Loksound in it.

Atlas has managed to get a few items produced, but that's way less than the stuff they're sitting on.

As for TMCC, it has several overwhelming advantages over DCS:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.
  2. Open to 3rd Party innovation.  By putting the TMCC codes into the public domain, Lionel sparked innovation from 3rd party entrepreneurs such as IC Controls, Digital Dynamics, Electronic Railroad, TrainAmerica Studios, and Z-Stuff.  And licensing provided us with TMCC equipped locomotives from K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, and 3rd Rail.
  3. Upgrade path.  If you really need all of the sophisticated "bells and whistles", there's Legacy.  And the sound in those locomotives is superior to anything else around.

Have a nice day,

George

Last edited by G3750
@G3750 posted:

Atlas has managed to get a few items produced, but that's way less than the stuff they're sitting on.

As for TMCC, it has several overwhelming advantages over DCS:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.
  2. Open to 3rd Party innovation.  By putting the TMCC codes into the public domain, Lionel sparked innovation from 3rd party entrepreneurs such as IC Controls, Digital Dynamics, Electronic Railroad, TrainAmerica Studios, and Z-Stuff.  And licensing provided us with TMCC equipped locomotives from K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, and 3rd Rail.
  3. Upgrade path.  If you really need all of the sophisticated "bells and whistles", there's Legacy.  And the sound in those locomotives is superior to anything else around.

Have a nice day,

George

1. Just because DCS doesn't work for one person does not mean it's "unreliable". I've had 0 issues with DCS or TMCC. All I did in setup was read the instructions that came with my TIU, wired it how I was instructed to, and it has operated perfectly since day 1. Yes all you have to do with Legacy/TMCC is hook up one wire and you're good to go. Being that it uses radio signal there are people who have issues with the system getting interfered with by their house wiring or layout setup. So even Legacy/TMCC isn't a perfectly reliable system

2. The only reason DCS doesn't have the same things is because MTH never licensed it. They might now, and then there could be aftermarket products.

3. The only real "upgrade" path to Legacy is to buy a new Lionel locomotive. Lionel doesn't make Legacy upgrade kits available to the consumer. Want Legacy in an older locomotive? You have to make your own kit by ordering boards from Lionel and building your own wire harness. You can get older TMCC kits but in diesels you only get 4 RPM sound levels, steam needs extra hardware for 4 chuffs and puffing fan smoke.  PS3 kits gets you all those features, plus remote couplers, out of the box without additional parts. Plus you get a locomotive that has the same features as a brand new PS3 locomotive out of the box. In addition there are hundreds of sound files that can be added to a PS3 locomotive, plus existing files can be modified and by the end user with programs like ADPCM. ERR upgrades give you limited files, nothing locomotive specific, and you can't change them. As far as Legacy Railsounds being the best around that's debatable. There are sounds in DCC that blow Railsounds out of the water.

I own PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives. Quite honestly for those who want to operate their trains in a prototypical manner with the correct sounds (whistles/horns/bells) or be able to change them when they want DCS is the better, more advanced system.

Last edited by Lou1985

George, I might agree with you if Lionel licensed the LEGACY sound and control package to the likes of Atlas.  But I absolutely disagree with your assessment if Atlas continues to use TMCC with the very dated and very generic RailSounds packages.  I don't know about you, but a lot of us here aren't very excited about purchasing $500, $600, or $700+ locomotives with outdated (and often incorrect) engine sounds...even if they do have TMCC control.  Certainly not with what's available with Legacy or PS3 today!

I own several Atlas locomotives, from some of their early stuff right up to their most-recent releases, and the sound packages are terrible when compared to current Legacy or PS3.  They were fine way back when Atlas first started using them, but they simply don't cut it today.

I don't know if you own any Atlas TMCC/RailSounds and MTH PS3 locomotives, but if you do, I urge you to run them one right after the other.  I'm confident you'll agree that PS3 blows the RailSounds away...without any doubt whatsoever.

Last edited by CNJ #1601
@G3750 posted:

  1. Reliability.  And reliability trumps all else.  What good are "cool" features when the train won't respond?  TMCC works and its small number of issues have proven solutions, unlike DCS with its 5 TIU hardware versions, countless software revisions, book of spells and incantations, and thousands of "Engine not found" posts.  The numbers don't lie.  Any objective comparison of problems between systems over the past 15 years prove TMCC's reliability over DCS without any doubt whatsoever.

George

And George wins the Internet today!  ("[B]ook of spells and incantations!"  Hah!  LOL, etc.)

I carry no candle for TMCC or Legacy--I have had my problems with both, more the engines themselves than the control system.  I have no desire to install a system as complex, as touchy, and as high maintenance as DCS.  I'm going in the other direction:  back to conventional.  Push the handle, the engine moves.  Pull it back, the engine stops.  Push a button, the whistle sounds.  Darned hard to mess up and relatively easily fixed if you do.

Interesting news.

I am most interested in the continuation of the Premier steam line with 2-rail option. I am glad that Atlas didn't acquire those products.

Why?

In HO, the product lines they purchased have taken years to get to market, and then only a small percentage of the models have seen the light of day.

And in N, which I dabble in, the Atlas quality has become hit and miss - with much more miss.  More than half of my last 10 Atlas N locos were dogs. Some went right back to Atlas. One they could never get right. For now, Atlas N locos are off limits for me. Not worth the risk.

Let's hope the MTH quality is maintained... and that we will get 2-rail models with pure DCC electronics.

Hopefully the MTH/Atlas transaction will be beneficial to Atlas and the modelers.

Rob

Good news I guess for some.

I.M.O. I see several undesirable items in the mix.

I would think someone will pick up the 50’ PS-1’s F3’s, FM’s, RS-1, RS-3, 44 ton, Subways, MU’s, SW1, NW2 or GP35’s. I know Atlas has offers some of these so they were probably avoiding conflict in the choice.

As a Fallen Flags operator, I see nothing in that list to buy. I have em all. New molds need to be made if anything.

@CNJ #1601 posted:

George, I might agree with you if Lionel licensed the LEGACY sound and control package to the likes of Atlas.  But I absolutely disagree with your assessment if Atlas continues to use TMCC with the very dated and very generic RailSounds packages.  I don't know about you, but a lot of us here aren't very excited about purchasing $500, $600, or $700+ locomotives with outdated (and often incorrect) engine sounds...even if they do have TMCC control.  Certainly not with what's available with Legacy or PS3 today!

I own several Atlas locomotives, from some of their early stuff right up to their most-recent releases, and the sound packages are terrible when compared to current Legacy or PS3.  They were fine way back when Atlas first started using them, but they simply don't cut it today.

I don't know if you own any Atlas TMCC/RailSounds and MTH PS3 locomotives, but if you do, I urge you to run them one right after the other.  I'm confident you'll agree that PS3 blows the RailSounds away...without any doubt whatsoever.

It's a fair comment.  I wish Lionel had licensed Legacy.  It's a bit short-sighted.  I was in the grandstand at York when Jerry Calabrese was introduced to the OGR meeting by Neil Young (how cool was that?).  Mr. Calabrese seemed to regret the licensing of TMCC to the other train makers.  He also (from what I could tell) did not comprehend or appreciate the absolute brilliance of that move.  At that point in time, in one fell swoop, Lionel guaranteed its dominance in control systems (K-Line, Weaver, Atlas, 3rd Rail accepted) and put MTH under pressure to deliver a competitive system.  As history has shown, Lionel retained Legacy as a closed system and focused all its efforts on features there.

Personally, I think not licensing Legacy was a mistake.  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

@palallin posted:

And George wins the Internet today!  ("[B]ook of spells and incantations!"  Hah!  LOL, etc.)

I carry no candle for TMCC or Legacy--I have had my problems with both, more the engines themselves than the control system.  I have no desire to install a system as complex, as touchy, and as high maintenance as DCS.  I'm going in the other direction:  back to conventional.  Push the handle, the engine moves.  Pull it back, the engine stops.  Push a button, the whistle sounds.  Darned hard to mess up and relatively easily fixed if you do.

Hmm.  The whole internet you say?  Wow, what should I do first with that?     

George

@Lou1985 posted:

1. Just because DCS doesn't work for one person does not mean it's "unreliable". I've had 0 issues with DCS or TMCC. All I did in setup was read the instructions that came with my TIU, wired it how I was instructed to, and it has operated perfectly since day 1. Yes all you have to do with Legacy/TMCC is hook up one wire and you're good to go. Being that it uses radio signal there are people who have issues with the system getting interfered with by their house wiring or layout setup. So even Legacy/TMCC isn't a perfectly reliable system

2. The only reason DCS doesn't have the same things is because MTH never licensed it. They might now, and then there could be aftermarket products.

3. The only real "upgrade" path to Legacy is to buy a new Lionel locomotive. Lionel doesn't make Legacy upgrade kits available to the consumer. Want Legacy in an older locomotive? You have to make your own kit by ordering boards from Lionel and building your own wire harness. You can get older TMCC kits but in diesels you only get 4 RPM sound levels, steam needs extra hardware for 4 chuffs and puffing fan smoke.  PS3 kits gets you all those features, plus remote couplers, out of the box without additional parts. Plus you get a locomotive that has the same features as a brand new PS3 locomotive out of the box. In addition there are hundreds of sound files that can be added to a PS3 locomotive, plus existing files can be modified and by the end user with programs like ADPCM. ERR upgrades give you limited files, nothing locomotive specific, and you can't change them. As far as Legacy Railsounds being the best around that's debatable. There are sounds in DCC that blow Railsounds out of the water.

I own PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives. Quite honestly for those who want to operate their trains in a prototypical manner with the correct sounds (whistles/horns/bells) or be able to change them when they want DCS is the better, more advanced system.

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?

2.  Yeah, but MTH didn't do that, did they?

3.  As I have said above, I wish Lionel did license Legacy and did offer easy upgrades.  They should, but that's not saying they will.  Who knows?  Maybe now they will.

George

@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
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