Skip to main content

@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

I think you need a person with a huge drive to make a O scale train line work in todays market.

You need a guy who is a maven in industry, a person with a vision of what needs to be done, a person who is not afraid to throw large sums of money into a project.

This person has to have great knowledge of electronics.

He also has to have a mechanical mind.

You need...Elon Musk.

Last edited by John Pignatelli JR.
@Cogen1981 posted:

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

I find the biggest issue with DCS to be when using a remote the software doesn't always give you an accurate message to the situation.

Many times it will say "Out of Range" when actually the handheld remote isn't out of range at all, rather that the TIU and Engine have lost touch with each other. Seems when they went to the Wifi and app work on the remotes software stopped.

One of the coolest features of DCS is the fully automatic forward, reverse, or crossing horn/whistle sequences. Yet when you place two engines in a consist, you lose the crossing sequence capability. That has got to be the  "Worst Feature Ever"

Hopefully this will be a great move for Atlas and help all the current MTH operators as well.

Last edited by BobbyD

You need a guy who is a maven in industry, a person with a vision of what needs to be done, a person who is not afraid to throw large sums of money into a project.



You need...Elon Musk.

With with the best case scenario being zero return on the investment with the more likely a loss on the investment. That's why there is so little new tooling made these days; there is no return on the investment with little prospect on getting return on the investment.

Elon gets return on his investments and everything he does is for eventual massive returns on his investment be it Tesla, SpaceX or Bitcoin. BTW, his investment in Bitcoin is already worth billions more than he exchanged for it.

@WBC posted:

With with the best case scenario being zero return on the investment with the more likely a loss on the investment. That's why there is so little new tooling made these days; there is no return on the investment with little prospect on getting return on the investment.

Elon gets return on his investments and everything he does is for eventual massive returns on his investment be it Tesla, SpaceX or Bitcoin. BTW, his investment in Bitcoin is already worth billions more than he exchanged for it.

And y’all wonder why threads get deleted,....🙄...lemme give ya a little hint,....nonsense like this,...

Pat

I'm glad to see a number of MTH models will now be made by Atlas. I'm especially hopeful this development, and apparently Atlas' access to MTH's former factory, will allow Atlas to resume making it's own designs. As between an Atlas design and MTH, I choose Atlas first. I think some folks, especially those who've come into the hobby in the last ten years or so, think of Atlas as a marginal and sporadic supplier. But in the ten or so years after Atlas entered the O market in 1998, it regularly announced and regularly delivered innovative new models. I found Atlas typically came closest to its announced delivery dates, usually having the model to dealers within a month or two of the announced arrival date.

I do wonder how some models made it "in" to the sale but not others. Presumably Atlas has no interest in tooling that duplicates its own models. But why Atlas would want, for example, the SD40-2 tooling is beyond me. That one's just not a terribly accurate rendition of the prototype and not up to Atlas standards. Other late MTH designs, like the SD45-2T, SD50, or AC4400, among others are better detailed and more accurate but aren't on the list. So I wonder if other tooling was spoken for, or if the tooling was sold in lots or something else. At any rate, this all is great news, especially if Atlas resumes regular production.

RM

@WBC posted:

With with the best case scenario being zero return on the investment with the more likely a loss on the investment. That's why there is so little new tooling made these days; there is no return on the investment with little prospect on getting return on the investment.

How does that explain 3rd Rail's offerings which are all new tooling with just a few exceptions?

I do wonder how some models made it "in" to the sale but not others. Presumably Atlas has no interest in tooling that duplicates its own models. But why Atlas would want, for example, the SD40-2 tooling is beyond me. That one's just not a terribly accurate rendition of the prototype and not up to Atlas standards.

The main problems with the MTH (as well as Lionel) SD40-2 are the undersized fuel tank and wheel base.  These should be easy fixes as they are separate from the body.

Other late MTH designs, like the SD45-2T, SD50, or AC4400, among others are better detailed and more accurate but aren't on the list. So I wonder if other tooling was spoken for, or if the tooling was sold in lots or something else. At any rate, this all is great news, especially if Atlas resumes regular production.

If I had to venture a guess, based on a comparison to imported toy lines, I’d wager a sum that certain molds are tied to a particular company/factory over there in the Pacific.

In the world of Transformers (the toy not the electrical component) Hasbro imported various models from different Japanese toy companies, and rolled them into one product line for the US market.  Some of the transforming robot toys were made by Takara (two separate toy lines in fact), while others were made by Bandai/Takatoku.  

@GG1 4877 posted:

How does that explain 3rd Rail's offerings which are all new tooling with just a few exceptions?

Yeah, I agree.  I’m not even sure why tooling costs go up in price.  Look all all the different things made out of plastic available for peanuts on Amazon.  The wheels, gears, and truck side frames are probably a bit more costly I guess.  Anyway, all of that requires injection molds to be made, and manufacturers change the cases on products on a whim to suit aesthetics.  I’ve seen many products with the exact same internal guts, just with an updated case.

I'm glad to see a number of MTH models will now be made by Atlas. I'm especially hopeful this development, and apparently Atlas' access to MTH's former factory, will allow Atlas to resume making it's own designs. As between an Atlas design and MTH, I choose Atlas first. I think some folks, especially those who've come into the hobby in the last ten years or so, think of Atlas as a marginal and sporadic supplier. But in the ten or so years after Atlas entered the O market in 1998, it regularly announced and regularly delivered innovative new models. I found Atlas typically came closest to its announced delivery dates, usually having the model to dealers within a month or two of the announced arrival date.



This was my experience as well with the locomotives I ordered from Atlas during those days. I call it the “Jim Weaver” era. Post Jim Weaver era was a different story. I hope Atlas has someone in mind who will manage the O scale side of things for them like Jim did. I think it’s great that they have the MTH factory to start making models but they also need someone at the helm to make sure things go right.





Last edited by Hudson J1e

I believe it was in the mr.muffin email. I know I heard it somewhere.

In the email I got from Mr. Muffin, there were two sentences after Atlas's press release and the second one read, "Atlas also announced they have licensed MTH's DCS technology and will be using it in their future products."  It could be interpreted to mean DCS only (which I agree is likely) but it also could mean that it will be available in addition to TMCC.   The situation would have been clarified by writing either that they "will be using it exclusively in their future products" or by saying it would be an additional option in future products.

Last edited by PGentieu

I doubt that Atlas will produce both TMCC and DCS locomotives. I also think that Atlas will consider the DCC capability of PS3 as their DCC offering. One version of command control can serve xx% of the market. Or they can offer

DCS

TMCC

DCC plug in

AC (let's not forget the traditional 3 rail guy)

That's 4 versions vs one. I know what I would do if it was my company.

@PGentieu posted:

In the email I got from Mr. Muffin, there were two sentences after Atlas's press release and the second one read, "Atlas also announced they have licensed MTH's DCS technology and will be using it in their future products."  It could be interpreted to mean DCS only (which I agree is likely) but it also could mean that it will be available in addition to TMCC.   The situation would have been clarified by writing either that they "will be using it exclusively in their future products" or by saying it would be an additional option in future products.

IMO, it's a bit early to expect Atlas to make a final decision on how the control systems will play out.

@Keith L posted:

Tooling costs for a diecast model are extremely high--much more than for a brass model--and require many more units to be produced and sold before those costs can be recouped.



3rd Rail's brass offerings are limited and have been for going on 10 years.  The main business model is plastic shelled diesels with road specific detailing and to the floor plan accurate aluminum car sets.  This year there is only one scheduled brass model to go forward, while at three to four newly tooled diesels will be arriving depending on production schedules including the Krauss Maffei, the GP7/GP9s, and the SD40-2s.  There may be another one, but I suspect it will push into early next year.  Typical run is about 500 units and not all of them have been rerun in the 10 years that 3rd Rail started in the injection molded diesel market.

To the topic I just hope that Atlas can get their act together and deliver.  Preferably Atlas designs for me like the SWs and the AEM7/ALP44 which is still most accurate one on the market.  The MTH tooling Atlas acquired is it a lot tools that go back to the 90's.  However, I'd like to see the F40 produced with the front pilot corrected and the P42 to go with my Viewliners.

Pure speculation, but it seems that Atlas bought the tooling to simply get access to a better factory which they have had issues with for sometime.  DCS is the real prize in the deal. 

@Keith L posted:

Since you would like to learn more, you can research this easily. Share with us what you learn...

Clearly you know a lot about the subject, so why not share with the rest of the class??.....your first reply was as if you have first hand knowledge,.....so do you?...or is this internet speculation??...because if it’s on the internet, it has to be true,....right??..

Pat

@GG1 4877 posted:

To the topic I just hope that Atlas can get their act together and deliver.  Preferably Atlas designs for me like the SWs and the AEM7/ALP44 which is still most accurate one on the market.  The MTH tooling Atlas acquired is it a lot tools that go back to the 90's.  However, I'd like to see the F40 produced with the front pilot corrected and the P42 to go with my Viewliners.

Pure speculation, but it seems that Atlas bought the tooling to simply get access to a better factory which they have had issues with for sometime.  DCS is the real prize in the deal.

I too think factory access and DCS are the keys. Some of the models need updating / better trucks, lowering model etc. Let’s hope access to the MTH factory can resurrect some of the great Atlas models with superb details we’ve loved in the past. Be interesting to have them now with DCS 😜

@trainbob posted:

It would surprise me if Atlas dropped TMCC for the simple reason that it would keep a lot of people who only use Lionel’s command control from buying their locomotives. Why would I pay for a command control system that I will never use. To this day I have never bought a MTH locomotive.

Well, they can bring in buyers that prefer DCS. I have both Legacy and DCS. However, until now, Atlas only has TMCC, not Legacy. I'll take DCS.

I am not familiar with TMCC.  I wonder if it's possible to design a loco that all function wires terminate in a socket, into which either TMCC or PS3 could be plugged.  The TMCC or PS3 need not utilize every terminal on the socket.  This could save Atlas considerable money on inventory.  Buy an ATlas loco, and have the dealer plug in a PS3, TMCC, or conventional reversing unit.

@RJR posted:

I am not familiar with TMCC.  I wonder if it's possible to design a loco that all function wires terminate in a socket, into which either TMCC or PS3 could be plugged.  The TMCC or PS3 need not utilize every terminal on the socket.  This could save Atlas considerable money on inventory.  Buy an ATlas loco, and have the dealer plug in a PS3, TMCC, or conventional reversing unit.

Unlikely. The only common item is LED lighting. Couplers, speaker impedance, and motor tach are different.

Pete

Last edited by Norton

Atlas builds models. They have always used 3rd party electronics. Best hope for TMCC only users is they continue to offer it as an option. Maybe they will offer engines with no electronics and let the buyer install whatever they want. DCC, PS3, and ERR are not that difficult to install especially if you start out with an empty space.

Pete

I don’t think Atlas is licensing DCS not to use it. The new DCS entity will be making the product. I don’t believe the DCS entity is interested or cares about TMCC.

It’ll be up to Atlas what command control system they desire to put inside their locomotive. And again, they wouldn’t license DCS if they didn’t plan to install it.

Since everything is BTO now, maybe they can offer both plus conventional control.

Last edited by Traindiesel
@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.

Although I do think it’s unreliable, I believe it’s more likely to be unreliable on larger layouts. How big is your layout?  

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.

That’s if you don’t get engine error, engine not found and out of rf range  first  



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.

Interesting that you would tout operating your trains in a prototypical manner yet you're running  3 rail 😂

A couple of observations about DCS.

If you like updating sounds files, software and electrical engineering than DCS is for you.

That DCS remote feels like it’s gonna fall apart in your hands. The remote could use a serious upgrade.

I have both Legacy and DCS. I love my MTH locos but I want reliability in operations, everything else is secondary to trains running reliably.
Depending on the future support/service of DCS will determine whether or not my current roster of MTH engine get retro fitted with TMCC. I’ve been at my wits end more than once with DCS and it’s unreliability. Depending on it’s future will determine  whether I send a pile of MTH engines to Alex Maliae for TMCC conversions. Let’s wait and see

One item not considered with this licensing is if it there is an exclusivity clause in the agreement that prohibits the use of TMCC.  I don't have a speculation either way, but it is entirely possible.  However from a manufacturer's standpoint it is logical to use a single command system in general to minimize complexity.  I will continue to watch and see what happens.  Personally the only command system that matters to me is DCC in 2 rail.  I don't see much benefit between DCS or TMCC in 3 rail as long as the system is reliable as mentioned above. 

A couple of observations about DCS.

If you like updating sounds files, software and electrical engineering than DCS is for you.

That DCS remote feels like it’s gonna fall apart in your hands. The remote could use a serious upgrade.

I have both Legacy and DCS. I love my MTH locos but I want reliability in operations, everything else is secondary to trains running reliably.
Depending on the future support/service of DCS will determine whether or not my current roster of MTH engine get retro fitted with TMCC. I’ve been at my wits end more than once with DCS and it’s unreliability. Depending on it’s future will determine  whether I send a pile of MTH engines to Alex Maliae for TMCC conversions. Let’s wait and see

"Although I do think it’s unreliable, I believe it’s more likely to be unreliable on larger layouts. How big is your layout?"

16'X17'. Two interconnected loops, 7 sidings, a turntable, and 9 whisker tracks. Got 10s for DCS signal strength everywhere.

"That’s if you don’t get engine error, engine not found and out of rf range first"

I've never had that issue. I have 15 DCS locomotives and they all run without issue, and I've modified or changed the sound file on each one.

"Interesting that you would tout operating your trains in a prototypical manner yet you're running 3 rail 😂"

I run 3 rail because I can turn a scale AC6 Cab Forward on a 36" radius curve. Can't do that in 2 rail O. DCS has pre-programmed whistle sequences, so you can hit the SXS key and your locomotive will play the correct whistle sequence as it approaches a crossing on your layout at a set scale speed. Pretty prototypical to me 😉.



DCS has been plenty reliable for me. I read the instructions that came with the TIU, followed them, and it’s been perfectly fine for me. Never bothered with any add on materials. It's not hard to use at all. I run TMCC and DCS on my layout without any issues at all. In fact I run my TMCC locomotives with the DCS remote 90% of the time.

I will agree the thumb wheel on the remote sucks. I'd prefer a knob like on a Cab-1.

Before we moved I had very good reliability with DCS on my former 54’ X 32’ layout with six loops on three levels. My 17 year old DCS system and remote still works as good as new.  Initially I had some of the error messages, but then I just simplified the wiring to bus wires and I haven’t had a problem since. Only time I get error messages is if the remote batteries are low.

I like being able to get software updates via my computer. I remember having to send my whole Legacy system back to Lionel with specific mailing instructions for the first Legacy update.

I love my MTH locomotives, but I always wondered and hoped that someday Atlas O and their high quality locomotives would have DCS installed.  Seems like that day is coming to fruition!

Steve, you must have strong hands.  My grandkids often tried to crack the concrete floor with the remotes, and were unsuccessful in damaging either.

My 35'x16' layour is, and has been, quite reliable.  DCS only with capability of operating many trains conventionally simultaneously.

"If you like updating sounds files, software and electrical engineering than DCS is for you."

Hardly the case in my experience. I've had dcs for almost 17 years and  never updated a sound file for an engine (they sound great to me), I hate electrical engineering (i just know how to wire a layout in a star wiring pattern) and have only updated the TIU three times to utilize new and improved software features. I get all 9s and 10s on my four levels, 10 loops, over 20 sidetracks and isolated blocks.  I have no doubt people here are sincere in their difficulties. It just hasn't been that way for me. Not even close. Love my dcs command and conventional control.

"One item not considered with this licensing is if it there is an exclusivity clause in the agreement that prohibits the use of TMCC. "

This would potentially be illegal under anti-trust law , as an anti-competitive practice, should anyone want to litigate it.  MTH could probably incorporate a legally defensible clause requiring Atlas use of PS3 in formerly MTH locos, but could not legally specify that a competitor's product could not be used at all.  Atlas would be very foolish indeed to agree to restricting their use of other products down the road, of course, but we don't know and probably may never know the details of the contract.

I'm not a lawyer, of course .

Sounds as if Atlas bought just full scale MTH diesels and cars, no semi-scale tooling (sorry I have not had time read these previous five pages of comments ).  Too bad, as its getting harder to find "small" cars to run on small layout sharper curves without looking out of place (trucks jutting out, car body hanging way over the curves).  The few full size cars I have are parked on sidings in far corner of layout to diminish the out of proportion look. I can run those "huge" cars for myself but never when there is open house.

But that just me and my layout .

@Landsteiner posted:

"One item not considered with this licensing is if it there is an exclusivity clause in the agreement that prohibits the use of TMCC. "

This would potentially be illegal under anti-trust law , as an anti-competitive practice, should anyone want to litigate it.  MTH could probably incorporate a legally defensible clause requiring Atlas use of PS3 in formerly MTH locos, but could not legally specify that a competitor's product could not be used at all.  Atlas would be very foolish indeed to agree to restricting their use of other products down the road, of course, but we don't know and probably may never know the details of the contract.

I'm not a lawyer, of course .

That makes sense. I would think that Atlas would want the flexibility to use what ever command control system it wants. While it certainly makes sense for Atlas to use the tooling, I am a bit skeptical of the value of using MTH packaging and MTH control system for these locomotives. Given the historical slowness of Atlas getting locomotives to market, are Atlas customers really going to care a couple of years from now that these Atlas locomotives come in "MTH" boxes?  Also, given the success of Lionel's Legacy and TMCC systems, is anyone a couple of years from now really going to want locomotives with command system technology from a defunct company?

My point is that time works against any value of tying these upcoming Atlas locomotives too closely to their old MTH roots.  It seems more logical to equip these locomotives with what ever version of TMCC is current and slap them in Atlas boxes. The people that are going to purchase these locomotives are operators, not collectors.  All they will care about is how it looks and how it runs. The color box will make no difference to them. Don't think 2021, think ahead to 2023 or 2024.

@RJR posted:

I am not familiar with TMCC.  I wonder if it's possible to design a loco that all function wires terminate in a socket, into which either TMCC or PS3 could be plugged.  The TMCC or PS3 need not utilize every terminal on the socket.  This could save Atlas considerable money on inventory.  Buy an ATlas loco, and have the dealer plug in a PS3, TMCC, or conventional reversing unit.

Oh now that would be too simple, easy and convenient like plugging a DCC board into HO engine socket.  Don't you enjoy wading your way through a maze of wire bundles wondering where that yellow wire goes or does, why is this white wire spliced into the green and blue soldered to the motor??? etc, etc ,etc

There are Lionel and MTH software “camps”. Atlas will probably try to accommodate both (read not alienate) As Long As it Makes ECONOMIC SENSE !!! And to do this, everything would be BTO and probably require a non-refundable deposit. Juggling the two systems will add complexity to the manufacturing chain.
Which system is scaleable ? That is, which has the best ability to be easily changed/modified/upgraded ?  That might be the winner.  Remember.  They want to make money. To make money - simple always wins.
I Sure Don’t Know where the software situation will go. Time will tell. Help them decide and step up and buy some of your favorite products as this unfolds. In a way - you get to vote with your $ spent.
All - IMO 😬  
Cheers !!!    

PS The Real Key here is the FACTORY !!!  Think about it !!!!

Last edited by TrainBub

"My point is that time works against any value of tying these upcoming Atlas locomotives too closely to their old MTH roots.  It seems more logical to equip these locomotives with what ever version of TMCC is current and slap them in Atlas boxes. The people that are going to purchase these locomotives are operators, not collectors.  All they will care about is how it looks and how it runs. The color box will make no difference to them. Don't think 2021, think ahead to 2023 or 2024."

Excellent comment.

IMO, it would be foolish for Atlas to tie itself to the old and defunct MTH company.  Why do that?  Atlas has an established O gauge rep (for better generally, and for worse occasionally).  The new "Atlas" locs will be that:  Atlas locs with whatever remote system Atlas installs.  In my case, if it's DCS, then I won't buy.  If it's TMCC -- or a newly licensed Legacy-driven loc (nobody has mentioned the possibility that Lionel might license Legacy given the changing hobby), then I may just buy. 

Atlas will be thinking ahead to 2024 ... and beyond ... and establishing a market for their new locs probably in the current Atlas box-color scheme.

There are NCE and Digitrax camps as well. Luckily most boards will work with both.

Wish we could make TMCC / Legacy / DCS play nice and work with everyone's systems as well.

My club's modular layout is wired for both TMCC / Legacy & DCS. For the most part we don't have much trouble running both together these days. In the past DCS did not like our layout though.

Interesting that the manual says avoid common bus wiring. Also says to clean off the blackening on top of the center rail. I wonder how many people have done that.

Steve, you're right.  I followed the manual on my first attempt to install DCS.  As I mentioned, I had six loops, but decided to try the set up on the first loop I installed and make sure it worked before I proceeded with the others.  My layout was around the room perimeter.  On a 140' loop I had 16 sets of feeder wires (every 10th track joint) around the loop from the track with a center rail plastic insulating track joiner in between.  Trying the 'star' or 'home run' wiring was daunting, getting wire from the other side of the room, around the perimeter to a terminal strip was a mess of wires.  And I'd have five more to do like that.  No way!!  When I tried operating I had bad signal problems. I eventually put light bulbs at every wire feed at it made it worse!

I ripped it all out and tried running bus wires around the layout.  My first mistake was connecting the ends of the bus wire together.  The signal problem was no better.  So I just went simple.  I unconnected the ends of the bus wire, attached one end of the bus directly to the TIU output, connected the feeder wires to the bus and added one bulb to the other end of the bus.  BOOM!!  Perfect 10 signal all around the loop!  That's all I did other than make sure the track was clean, PS 2 batteries fully charged and fresh remote batteries.

I did clean off the blackened center rail on my Atlas O track, but I didn't notice any difference.  The rest of the loops I left the center rail alone and still had good results. I've also been told it's not necessary to insulate the center rail around a loop.  I'm going to test this out on the current layout I'm building.

@rrman posted:

Sounds as if Atlas bought just full scale MTH diesels and cars, no semi-scale tooling (sorry I have not had time read these previous five pages of comments ).  Too bad, as its getting harder to find "small" cars to run on small layout sharper curves without looking out of place (trucks jutting out, car body hanging way over the curves).  The few full size cars I have are parked on sidings in far corner of layout to diminish the out of proportion look. I can run those "huge" cars for myself but never when there is open house.

But that just me and my layout .

Word on the street (and this forum) is that there will be an announcement on the future of the RailKing line next month.  Stay tuned!!

There are NCE and Digitrax camps as well. Luckily most boards will work with both.

Wish we could make TMCC / Legacy / DCS play nice and work with everyone's systems as well.

My club's modular layout is wired for both TMCC / Legacy & DCS. For the most part we don't have much trouble running both together these days. In the past DCS did not like our layout though.

Am running both Atlas and MTH 2-rail locomotives using the MRC Prodigy system.

Works great and no special wiring techniques. Actually I have experimented with great success using silver epoxy in the nickel-silver rail joiners. The nickel-silver rail bonds tightly with the joiners. The gap between rails fills with the epoxy so no click-clack. Welded rail effect. No need for multiple feeders.

Chuck

@Traindiesel posted:

Steve, you're right.  I followed the manual on my first attempt to install DCS.  As I mentioned, I had six loops, but decided to try the set up on the first loop I installed and make sure it worked before I proceeded with the others.  My layout was around the room perimeter.  On a 140' loop I had 16 sets of feeder wires (every 10th track joint) around the loop from the track with a center rail plastic insulating track joiner in between.  Trying the 'star' or 'home run' wiring was daunting, getting wire from the other side of the room, around the perimeter to a terminal strip was a mess of wires.  And I'd have five more to do like that.  No way!!  When I tried operating I had bad signal problems. I eventually put light bulbs at every wire feed at it made it worse!

I ripped it all out and tried running bus wires around the layout.  My first mistake was connecting the ends of the bus wire together.  The signal problem was no better.  So I just went simple.  I unconnected the ends of the bus wire, attached one end of the bus directly to the TIU output, connected the feeder wires to the bus and added one bulb to the other end of the bus.  BOOM!!  Perfect 10 signal all around the loop!  That's all I did other than make sure the track was clean, PS 2 batteries fully charged and fresh remote batteries.

. . .

What I found in testing was that DCS works well with a buss (as does DCC) IF you have only one feed per block, you don't join the buss ends into a loop and you use some type of terminator at the end of the buss to prevent the signal from bouncing back -- either a DCC Snubber/Deats Filter or a light bulb.

One thing I'm going to test when I build my new layout is what I call "anti-attenuation" wiring where the hot is at one end of the block and the common is at the other to compensate for the track resistance. It makes a difference in a DC operation and I'm curious if it will improve a digital signal.

@Landsteiner posted:

"One item not considered with this licensing is if it there is an exclusivity clause in the agreement that prohibits the use of TMCC. "

This would potentially be illegal under anti-trust law , as an anti-competitive practice, should anyone want to litigate it.  MTH could probably incorporate a legally defensible clause requiring Atlas use of PS3 in formerly MTH locos, but could not legally specify that a competitor's product could not be used at all.  Atlas would be very foolish indeed to agree to restricting their use of other products down the road, of course, but we don't know and probably may never know the details of the contract.

I'm not a lawyer, of course .

That makes sense. I would think that Atlas would want the flexibility to use what ever command control system it wants. While it certainly makes sense for Atlas to use the tooling, I am a bit skeptical of the value of using MTH packaging and MTH control system for these locomotives. Given the historical slowness of Atlas getting locomotives to market, are Atlas customers really going to care a couple of years from now that these Atlas locomotives come in "MTH" boxes?  Also, given the success of Lionel's Legacy and TMCC systems, is anyone a couple of years from now really going to want locomotives with command system technology from a defunct company?

My point is that time works against any value of tying these upcoming Atlas locomotives too closely to their old MTH roots.  It seems more logical to equip these locomotives with what ever version of TMCC is current and slap them in Atlas boxes. The people that are going to purchase these locomotives are operators, not collectors.  All they will care about is how it looks and how it runs. The color box will make no difference to them. Don't think 2021, think ahead to 2023 or 2024.

Atlas acquired a license to use DCS if they choose to use it.  What they will do is anyone's guess, but I doubt they are paying for a license and not use the licensed product.  They won't control the production or development of DCS.  The yet unannounced DCS entity will be doing that.  That company will be able to license DCS to any other model train company (such as the possible entity that will manufacturer the still available former MTH diesel, electrics and steam locomotives and rolling stock, maybe a MTH 2.0?)

The video on the Atlas website specifically says the items acquired will be marketed in Atlas O packaging, not MTH packaging.

It will be interesting to see what happens with TMCC.  It's an aging technology (as is DCS and Legacy) that Lionel abandoned for the Legacy system.  The initial modernization for those systems has been to eliminate the hand held remotes and transfer the functions to already available smart phones.  Lionel has even mentioned eliminating the Cab 2 down the line as components become obsolete.  This will not likely be reversible.  Back in the mid 2000's when Atlas O was routinely delivering locomotives, they were having difficulty with sales, from a conversation I had with a well known supplier of Atlas O product.  It wasn't because their engines were not good.  They were and still are marvelously detailed engines.  But buyers were more attracted to the DCS and Legacy Command Control systems.  Buyers liked the better sounds and functionality of those newer systems than the Railsounds 4.0 in TMCC.  That, combined with Kader pulling all manufacturing of trains from all the train companies, including Lionel, and sidling up with Bachman, severely curtailed Atlas O production (and to a lesser extent, their HO & N scales too). Once K-Line went out of business, only Atlas and 3rd Rail were left to license TMCC to.

Other than some of the tooling, the real prize was the use of the MTH factory.  Time will tell if Atlas production and delivery gets better now that they'll have a dedicated manufacturer.

@Traindiesel posted:

Steve, you're right.  I followed the manual on my first attempt to install DCS.  As I mentioned, I had six loops, but decided to try the set up on the first loop I installed and make sure it worked before I proceeded with the others.  My layout was around the room perimeter.  On a 140' loop I had 16 sets of feeder wires (every 10th track joint) around the loop from the track with a center rail plastic insulating track joiner in between.  Trying the 'star' or 'home run' wiring was daunting, getting wire from the other side of the room, around the perimeter to a terminal strip was a mess of wires.  And I'd have five more to do like that.  No way!!  When I tried operating I had bad signal problems. I eventually put light bulbs at every wire feed at it made it worse!

I ripped it all out and tried running bus wires around the layout.  My first mistake was connecting the ends of the bus wire together.  The signal problem was no better.  So I just went simple.  I unconnected the ends of the bus wire, attached one end of the bus directly to the TIU output, connected the feeder wires to the bus and added one bulb to the other end of the bus.  BOOM!!  Perfect 10 signal all around the loop!  That's all I did other than make sure the track was clean, PS 2 batteries fully charged and fresh remote batteries.

I did clean off the blackened center rail on my Atlas O track, but I didn't notice any difference.  The rest of the loops I left the center rail alone and still had good results. I've also been told it's not necessary to insulate the center rail around a loop.  I'm going to test this out on the current layout I'm building.

Interesting. I had buss wiring, with a continuous loop(maybe that caused some of my problems) Things ran reasonably well and then suddenly one day, I began loosing control and nothing changed on the layout. We then did some back tracking and moved away from the buss wiring. My layout is 15x48, Inner, outer, yard and ladder tracks. Tried home runs from mid way of the 48’ side on around and had signal problems further away from the TIU.  Eventually I bought another TIU, each midway on the 48’ side. Halved each loop and ran back to each TIU. I don’t have 10’s everywhere but I have full control. The problem is I have 2 open channels per TIU now but I guess it gives me room to grow. I should also mention the tracks joints are all soldered and track is clean.

Last edited by Steve Harris
@Traindiesel posted:

Atlas acquired a license to use DCS if they choose to use it.  What they will do is anyone's guess, but I doubt they are paying for a license and not use the licensed product.  They won't control the production or development of DCS.  The yet unannounced DCS entity will be doing that.  That company will be able to license DCS to any other model train company (such as the possible entity that will manufacturer the still available former MTH diesel, electrics and steam locomotives and rolling stock, maybe a MTH 2.0?)

The video on the Atlas website specifically says the items acquired will be marketed in Atlas O packaging, not MTH packaging.

It will be interesting to see what happens with TMCC.  It's an aging technology (as is DCS and Legacy) that Lionel abandoned for the Legacy system.  The initial modernization for those systems has been to eliminate the hand held remotes and transfer the functions to already available smart phones.  Lionel has even mentioned eliminating the Cab 2 down the line as components become obsolete.  This will not likely be reversible.  Back in the mid 2000's when Atlas O was routinely delivering locomotives, they were having difficulty with sales, from a conversation I had with a well known supplier of Atlas O product.  It wasn't because their engines were not good.  They were and still are marvelously detailed engines.  But buyers were more attracted to the DCS and Legacy Command Control systems.  Buyers liked the better sounds and functionality of those newer systems than the Railsounds 4.0 in TMCC.  That, combined with Kader pulling all manufacturing of trains from all the train companies, including Lionel, and sidling up with Bachman, severely curtailed Atlas O production (and to a lesser extent, their HO & N scales too). Once K-Line went out of business, only Atlas and 3rd Rail were left to license TMCC to.

Other than some of the tooling, the real prize was the use of the MTH factory.  Time will tell if Atlas production and delivery gets better now that they'll have a dedicated manufacturer.

Lionel abandoned TMCC?  You can run TMCC locomotives with the CAB-2 so there is backward compatibility. LionChief’s job is to get an easy to use, simple remote into the hands of those new to the hobby. From LionChief it’s an inevitable that Legacy will find  its way to their layouts.

im not surprised to learn that the locomotives made with the old MTH tooling will come in Atlas boxes.  (It was mentioned on the forum though that they would be in MTH boxes)

As for the option to use the DCS license, it could be included with the MTH tooling at no additional cost to Atlas. In any case, I would find it hard to believe that Atlas would market O gauge trains that could come with either TMCC or DCS. It would be a complicated approach to the market.  That’s why I believe that Atlas will only offer one command control system for its locomotives. If you’re Atlas and you have to choose one system, which one do you choose? Think ahead to 2023 or 2024 when these locomotives finally show up.

Lionel abandoned TMCC?  You can run TMCC locomotives with the CAB-2 so there is backward compatibility......

......As for the option to use the DCS license, it could be included with the MTH tooling at no additional cost to Atlas. In any case, I would find it hard to believe that Atlas would market O gauge trains that could come with either TMCC or DCS. It would be a complicated approach to the market.  That’s why I believe that Atlas will only offer one command control system for its locomotives. If you’re Atlas and you have to choose one system, which one do you choose? Think ahead to 2023 or 2024 when these locomotives finally show up.

As in, they don't manufacture TMCC anymore.

We'll never know what the terms are of the DCS license.  But you are probably right that Atlas will offer only one command system.  Either the antiquated TMCC that limited their sales, or the newly licensed command system.  During the infancy of TMCC Lionel offered command and conventional versions of their scale locomotives.  That didn't last long.

@Traindiesel posted:

As in, they don't manufacture TMCC anymore.

We'll never know what the terms are of the DCS license.  But you are probably right that Atlas will offer only one command system.  Either the antiquated TMCC that limited their sales, or the newly licensed command system.  During the infancy of TMCC Lionel offered command and conventional versions of their scale locomotives.  That didn't last long.

Wow. Traindiesel, when you put it that way (and after reading your other post) my guess would be that Atlas will go with DCS if under the license agreement that Atlas would get access to any new or improved sound files from the yet unnamed DCS entity. It will be an interesting year for O gauge.

@rdj92807 posted:

I have both DCS and Legacy on my pretty large layout, and run both Lionel and MTH trains.  99% of the time I use DCS.....IMO it's a much better system.  So Atlas and DCS will be a great combination.

I assume that you have a Lionel Legacy Command and Control set... In what ways do you find DCS superior? Ease of set up? Reliability? features? Are there features that DCS has that Legacy doesn't have? I'm not trying to play "stump the chump" here. I have not used DCS.

I would say that going through the MTH ScaleTrax catalog I was startled to read the following in the FAQ section of the MTH catalog:

"Question: Does the blackening of the center rail need to be removed for DCS operation?

ANSWER: Yes, I found that if you don't remove the blackening on the very top of the rail you get sparking from pick up rollers in conventional or DCS operation."

Now, I could see a disclaimer from MTH that says: "If you use DCS and use BRAND X's track you will need to do this to BRAND X's track before you use DCS."  Instead, MTH is saying that "before you use our operating system on our track, you have to make a significant modification to our track before you use our command system on it." I would think that your company's premier track system should be ready to support your premier command system right out of the box. I can't imagine removing the blackening from the top of the central rail of all the track of a large layout. Are there other modifications that need to be made to a layout in order to run DCS?

I would say that going through the MTH ScaleTrax catalog I was startled to read the following in the FAQ section of the MTH catalog:

"Question: Does the blackening of the center rail need to be removed for DCS operation?

ANSWER: Yes, I found that if you don't remove the blackening on the very top of the rail you get sparking from pick up rollers in conventional or DCS operation."

Now, I could see a disclaimer from MTH that says: "If you use DCS and use BRAND X's track you will need to do this to BRAND X's track before you use DCS."  Instead, MTH is saying that "before you use our operating system on our track, you have to make a significant modification to our track before you use our command system on it." I would think that your company's premier track system should be ready to support your premier command system right out of the box. I can't imagine removing the blackening from the top of the central rail of all the track of a large layout. Are there other modifications that need to be made to a layout in order to run DCS?

I think that's a quote from Rich Bautista in an interview on his use of ScaleTrax. I have found this not to be the case.

Sparking is dependent on lots of variables such as humidity, the material of the pickup roller and any dirt, grime or grease on the contacting surfaces.

Personally I've had no issues with it sparking or affecting the DCS signal on any brand of track.

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×