Just wondering, what is the best command control and sound upgrade kit for Older Sunset 3rd Rail Engines?

I've really been looking at the MTH ps3 steam locomotive upgrade kits, with an MTH Smoke Unit, for each of the older 3rd Rail locos that I own.

Didn't see that lionel sells Legacy steam upgrades, and have read a few forum members old posts regarding a lack of Lionel Legacy upgrade kits? This is most unfortunate... and it also, makes me more inclined to do MTH PS3 upgrade in my old 3rd Rail... pretty pleased with my 3rd Rail Q2 with PS2 in it... way more interesting than generic railsounds...  Yet, some members mentioned you can get Legacy parts from Lionel now? 

Any suggestions? Appreciate it...

VintageClassics

Original Post

Really the only advantage of Legacy vs Electric RR Cruise with Railsounds is the ability to add more smoke effects. Slow speed is 100 steps vs 200 for Legacy. Hardly noticable. 

PS3 offers the advantage of not having to deal with making an antenna but you should add pickup rollers to the tender as many early 3rd Rail did not have them there. Both ERR kits and in particular PS3 kits come with most of what you need. If you tried to install Legacy you would have make your own harnesses to connect the components.

Pete

Only thing I’ll add to Pete’s comments which are correct, is you will need a smoke unit that is compatible with the PS3 kit (if that is the route you wish to go) .....if you don’t have one, or you can’t put your hands on one, let me know and I can hook you up....as far as which kit to go with, cost is my driving factor, and PS3 is the way to go for me, again, like Pete said, most everything is in the box, harnesses and all............Pat

The Water Level Route.......You Can Sleep

Thank you Both to Pete and Pat for both of your recommendations. 

100 speed steps vs 200 is not a big deal for me. I think the PS3 upgrade will be easier, and very rewarding. 

I'm leaning on the PS3 upgrade, seems really straightforward, and def,. want to do the MTH protosmoke unit upgrade too... would be great to get the hookup with the smoke units, thanks pat

Smoke units for 3rd rail are pretty easy.  I JB-Weld a spring to the bottom, and solder a brass extension to the screw-in funnel for a standard MTH steam smoke unit.  I remove the resistors and put in a single 20 ohm resistor closest to the stack exhaust.

This scheme allows you to remove the smoke unit easily for maintenance, and you know that will be needed in the future.  I reach down the stack and unscrew the brass extension first, then just compress the spring and drag the smoke unit out.

For the tether, I either try to line up some holes in the MTH 10-pin connector PCB with the original 2mm holes, or drill and tap my own holes if theirs aren't in the right place.  A stack of Styrene on either to support the PCB and I'm all set.  You will normally have to enlarge the hole in the boiler shell for the MTH connector.

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gunrunnerjohn posted:

Smoke units for 3rd rail are pretty easy.  I JB-Weld a spring to the bottom, and solder a brass extension to the screw-in funnel for a standard MTH steam smoke unit.  I remove the resistors and put in a single 20 ohm resistor closest to the stack exhaust.

This scheme allows you to remove the smoke unit easily for maintenance, and you know that will be needed in the future.  I reach down the stack and unscrew the brass extension first, then just compress the spring and drag the smoke unit out.

For the tether, I either try to line up some holes in the MTH 10-pin connector PCB with the original 2mm holes, or drill and tap my own holes if theirs aren't in the right place.  A stack of Styrene on either to support the PCB and I'm all set.  You will normally have to enlarge the hole in the boiler shell for the MTH connector.

Thanks Gunrunnerjohn and David for this Great advice

@Gunrunnerjohn,  I appreciate the step by step advice on how to go about the smoke unit and tether installation. with the correct ohm resistor, thanks Mate! 

Just curious, but can I install an MTH wireless drawbar also for the 3rd Rail locomotives? I really like how close they get the loco and tender with this cool MTH feature...

Also, I want to do DCS controlled whistle steam effect, using one of those MTH smoke units from the newer Big boy? is that part possible to obtain from MTH?

Thanks A LOT

David

One detail regarding MTH smoke units. If you use a PS3 kit you won't have to replace the resistors. You may have to modify the smoke unit board but that will be made clear in the instructions.

If you use an MTH smoke unit with Electric RR TMCC then you will have to change the resistors.

Pete

@Norton Thanks Pete, that's very good to know. It's amazing how smooth a PS3 upgrade can be... 

Just curious, but I've read old threads, and have been researching and am i correct in assuming, that so far, only way to get Legacy is cannibalizing a legacy engine, a doner engine for its electronics? Not like simply buying the PS3 kit, and bam, smooth upgrade? 

Appreciate your help.

David

As of a couple of years ago Lionel started selling Legacy components outright. Keep in mind there are three main forms of Legacy. Early Legacy starting around 2008 used what appears to be TMCC boards but programmed for 9 bit code. Later they introduced the RCMC with greater capabilties like multiple smoke units. In the past few years they used an updated form of the back EMF system first introduced by ERR. The advantage of the last system is it doesn't require an tach sensor on the motor. The bad news is they won't run in lock step with other Legacy engines.

RCMCs are able to be programmed for each engine's driver diameter and gear ratio. Thats what enables them to be run MU. The bad news if you order RCMCs with the intent to run with other Legacy it will be only luck that that engine will match the board you selected.

Pete

Norton posted:

One detail regarding MTH smoke units. If you use a PS3 kit you won't have to replace the resistors. You may have to modify the smoke unit board but that will be made clear in the instructions.

If you use an MTH smoke unit with Electric RR TMCC then you will have to change the resistors.

Pete

Of course, this is correct, I'm so used to doing TMCC upgrades that I assume everyone is doing them!

For MTH, no need to change anything about the smoke unit.

VintageClassics posted:

Thanks Gunrunnerjohn and David for this Great advice

@Gunrunnerjohn,  I appreciate the step by step advice on how to go about the smoke unit and tether installation. with the correct ohm resistor, thanks Mate! 

Just curious, but can I install an MTH wireless drawbar also for the 3rd Rail locomotives? I really like how close they get the loco and tender with this cool MTH feature...

Also, I want to do DCS controlled whistle steam effect, using one of those MTH smoke units from the newer Big boy? is that part possible to obtain from MTH?

Thanks A LOT

David

Well, for the PS/3 upgrade, forget about the resistor change, but the other stuff still applies.

No dice on the wireless drawbar, there's a lot of mechanical issues in doing that.  While I'm sure it could be done, it's certainly not going to be an easy project.

Whistle steam is the same answer, at least I don't know how to get at the signal to let me know when the whistle is working.

Norton posted:

As of a couple of years ago Lionel started selling Legacy components outright. Keep in mind there are three main forms of Legacy. Early Legacy starting around 2008 used what appears to be TMCC boards but programmed for 9 bit code. Later they introduced the RCMC with greater capabilties like multiple smoke units. In the past few years they used an updated form of the back EMF system first introduced by ERR. The advantage of the last system is it doesn't require an tach sensor on the motor. The bad news is they won't run in lock step with other Legacy engines.

RCMCs are able to be programmed for each engine's driver diameter and gear ratio. Thats what enables them to be run MU. The bad news if you order RCMCs with the intent to run with other Legacy it will be only luck that that engine will match the board you selected.

Pete

pete,

Thanks for this knowledge. I was unaware of this.  It's given me food for thought. I like both the MTH PS3 and legacy,especially the ERR - I din't know it was part of the Legacy...  And I like that the RCMC can be programmed for driver diameter, gear ratios too..

Do you think you can use the ERR, to install multiple smoke units, like pop off valve, dynamo, or whistle steam functions?

Thanks for the heads up Gunrunnerjohn on the resistor, and wireless drawbar. 

man, it would be so cool if you can one day figure out how to do the whistle steam function to work... I bet one day you'll crack it!

While the RCMC can be programmed for gear ratios, ONLY Lionel does that, and they only do it for their internal use.  If you wanted to use an RCMC and get it programmed for a specific gear ratio, you'd be out of luck.

If I ever get time, I do want to program up a little board that will work for TMCC/Legacy and allow you to have whistle steam, etc.  As far as the dynamo, you can do that today.  Since it runs all the time, just connect it to the same signal as the smoke unit, anytime you have smoke on, the dynamo runs.  You just need to do the mechanical work to fit a new smoke unit in and get it pumping out smoke realistically close to the dynamo.  Another cool feature would be the blowdown, that's also able to be done if you decode the serial data.

Ahhh.. of course... Can't program the boards...

I would definitely love to try out one of those boards once you get them made - count me in!

Also, thanks for the great ideas on getting the dynamo working... Would it be the same for the pop off valve smoke, with decoded serial data? That would also be a cool feature with the blow down, and whistle steam. 

 

david

 

 

The way the VL Niagara does it is a timing thing at startup, then if you hold the AUX3 key it'll do it manually.  The automatic operation is when you're stopped and then it stops after you get moving.  The automatic operation would have to be handled by whatever module you build to do the other functions, the AUX3 is yet another key decode.

Very, very cool... I really like the Visionline Niagara, and it looks really cool how the blowdown effects work... 

Just curious, but how do you think JTS LTD would do the DCS steam effects , like whistle steam, blow, down, and pop off valve, and cylinder steam? Were they modules he constructed with boards? I always wanted to try them out, and I haven't seen anythink like it sicne they went out of business...

Thanks for all your insight!

 

I honestly have no idea how JDS did the DCS steam effects.  Too bad the information apparently went when them going out of business.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I honestly have no idea how JDS did the DCS steam effects.  Too bad the information apparently went when them going out of business.

Ideally someone who has one of their modified engines will confirm or deny but I thought it was posted here that engines with added steam effects lost electro coupler operation. 

My interest is more about animation vs smoke. I plan to use front coupler signals to trigger some motion. A steam locomotive with a front dummy coupler would give up nothing in this case.

Pete

Hi Gunrunnerjohn andPete,

I understand... and I agree, it's a shame that this information was lost when they went out of business - it could have been useful to continue the dcs mods, and inspire further modding

Makes sense Norton, loss of the front coupler would not be helping the animation much at all... not too good...

You guys are the best... Thanks

I'm assuming they've found wherever the effects are triggered and patched the code.  That's certainly possible, we have the information of how to change sounds.  One way to avoid further mods to the DCS code would be to code a unique tone for an effect and then capture it with a notch filter.  If the tone was ultrasonic, it wouldn't be heard, but our electronics could sense it.  I hasten to say, I don't know if this is even practical, I have no idea what limitations are on the sound outputs.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

I'm assuming they've found wherever the effects are triggered and patched the code.  That's certainly possible, we have the information of how to change sounds.  One way to avoid further mods to the DCS code would be to code a unique tone for an effect and then capture it with a notch filter.  If the tone was ultrasonic, it wouldn't be heard, but our electronics could sense it.  I hasten to say, I don't know if this is even practical, I have no idea what limitations are on the sound outputs.

Interesting...makes sense... Just curious, but I was digging through old threads and came up to one where you mentiioned coming out with your own board, that does alot of cool things, including whistle steam and blow down...

Are you still working on this board, and bringing your product to the market? I want one for sure!

Great work btw... 

David

I have done some work, but it's a long way from finished.  I would be building on the code that was released for the ERR Sound Converter board, so my code would be available under the terms of the GNU General Public License.  If I use the same processor, I can modify the code and build a board that would have digital outputs to accomplish the functions.

Too many projects, too little time!

Hey that's cool... Good things take time... and nothing good ever comes easy... keep up the good work.

Question... being as you said the Lionel RCMC can only be programmed by Lionel for driver size, gear ratio etc... would it be a good option for lets say, using the RCMS from the ATSF 4-8-4 3751, and then using it in a 2900 class 3rd Rail Northern being as they had the same driver size? 

And with the same thing in Mind... being as Lionel never made a PRR Q2 Duplex 4-4-6-4... , the RCMC wouldn't work in that case, they don't have a board for 4-4-6-4?

Does that sound about right? In which case, PS3 would be the only logical choice here, orr DCC?

 

I have sound boards, signal boards, etc. all in various stages of development.  I just can never find the time to get to them.  Some silly person told me I'd be bored after I retired.  Well, it's been over ten years, I'm still waiting for the boredom!

It's certainly possible to re-task the RCMC for another locomotive, it doesn't know you're doing that.

An RCMC with work in any engine with a DC motor that it will fit in. It just won't necessarly run at the same speed as other Legacy engines. If you are not going to add additional smoke effects you would be better off with an RCDR (radio board) and BEMC (back emf motor driver) which don't require dealing with adding a tach sensor to the motor.

If wanted specific smoke effects like blow down you would want to order one for an engine that already has that features. Features are programed at the factory just like the speed curve.

Pete

HAHA! That'a boy Gunrunnerjohn! Forget a boring retirement... you've got all the cool Dr Frankenstein projects for trains, no time for boredom is right!

Good to know... so the RCMC is still an option then... interesting...  time for more research!

@Norton Good to know... so, does it matter if the board you use, just don't expect to lash it up with another Legacy engine... Thanks pete... good to know... man, you guys are the best...

 

Thank you both!

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