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A while back I ask how can I run MTH trains and the consensus was MTH's DCS. I was thinking about using the DCS Explorer, however its very limited and hard to find. I am running to trains on a 9X6 layout and not sure if the 6amp limited would be an issue. So I am leaning towards buying MTH's TIU and WIU (here), but no one has had these in stock.

Is there anyway else to run MTH/Atlas trains?



Last edited by PhillyNJ
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Matt asks a good question.  If you join a club or operate with others on a regular basis, it makes sense to use the same control system everyone else is using.

I'm not sure about Atlas.  Some, or maybe all MTH locos with Protosound 3.0 (PS3) can be run under Digital Command Control (DCC).  This is the system 2-rail modelers in all scales, including O, have been using for over 20 years.  It's supported by multiple vendors.  In other words, unlike DCS or TMCC / Legacy, it's not proprietary to a loco manufacturer like MTH or Lionel.  I don't believe that DCC is much more expensive, or more difficult to install than DCS.  North Coast Engineering (NCE) is one popular DCC supplier that has a nice, fully featured hand-held remote.  The time to decide about DCC is NOW, before you acquire too many locos to convert over!

The last option, a "nuclear option", would be to strip out all of the OEM electronics and install one of the direct R/C systems.  A couple that have been mentioned on the Forum are AirWire, and especially Ring Engineering's RailPro.  These systems send a radio signal from a physical hand-held controller directly to the loco.  They don't need any kind of "command base."  They are typically designed to modulate power to the motor(s) from an on-board battery, which is sometimes known as "dead rail."  However, the radio receiver ("decoder") in the loco doesn't know nor care whether the input voltage comes from a battery or from the track.  (If there's AC on the track, it would have to be rectified and smoothed by a capacitor.)  If you go with one of the direct R/C systems, YOU will be able to control your loco at a local club or train show, no matter which system(s) the club is already using, but the other club members would have no way of taking control of it, for better or worse.

Obviously there are a lot of factors to consider and it's a personal decision.  Both OEM systems have suffered adverse developments in supply the last couple of years.  Neither one makes a physical hand held right now, and I don't personally like running trains with a cell phone.  If I had the ability to choose over again, I probably would have gone with DCC or direct R/C.  My $.02.

Last edited by Ted S

The answer hasn't changed.  Conventional for the time being.  The new version of the wi-fiTIU is due this year. I'd wait for that if you want command control of PS3 (or PS2) locos.  The other MTH options are, as you say, either unavailable, very expensive and out of production to boot.  No warranty or replacement parts likely to be available, so patience for the new version is I think the best option.  DCC is incompatible with your Lionel locos, so I think that's a non-starter if you want MTH and Lionel locos to work on the same layout.  LionChief and its variants, TMCC and Legacy locos will work just fine on a DCS equipped layout, in contrast.

Thanks everyone for your advice and knowledge. I need to digest what you all have advised.

It is very frustrating to say the least. The appeal to use LionChief remotes and Legacy trains (via your phone/iPad) is appealing and so simple, but I am limited to only buying from Lionel. If I want to run MTH/Atlas/Lionel trains at the same time, I'm out to luck. Lionel is currently having manufacturing delays to boot. I have a Lionel 2234210 Dash 8 on back order for a year.

Altas and MTH have some nice locos. I might just bite the bullet and buy them and run conventional in the interim.

Thanks again.

@PhillyNJ posted:

Or you can use the original TMCC base (only offers TMCC level of functionality) or the BASE2 (with a Lionel SER2 & Power PDI adaptor). The Base 3 will also need the SER 2 but has the power PDI ports built in. All three options will require an MTH 50-1032 cable to connect to the TIU.

Last edited by H1000

This is the path going forward using products that are not discontinued. A new MTH WTIU (due in late April-ish 🤞), the Lionel Base 3 (due in 3rd quarter this year 🤞), a SER2, a PDI cable (various lengths), and the MTH 50-1032 TMCC/Legacy cable. This setup will give you pretty much full control of all modern MTH & Lionel products made since the turn of the century. Using the MTH DCS app, you will be able to control both Lionel & MTH locomotives.

Last edited by H1000

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