Thumbwheel assemblies for the DCS handheld remote are NOT currently available from MTH and may not ever be available again. NOT GOOD! I’ve tried to repair my broken thumbwheel frames with super glue and 2-part epoxy. Neither worked. Does anyone have a reliable fix?

I’m really not interested in going to the WIFI setup. I installed the Lionel WIFI a couple of years ago and I used it twice—— prefer the handheld remote by a mile.

Original Post

When they first announced this topic a year ago, MTH said they would continue using the remote and parts, even had another production run, when I went to my local MTH repair place to buy a couple of thumb wheels  he told me the same thing, so I didn't buy  any of his, after all he does need them. and I do have one extra. Guess ill look for more used remotes.

A bit off topic, but I have drilled a hole and inserted a button for the select function.  This takes away a lot of the stress on the thin thumbwheel bracket parts.   Currently I have a piece of shrink tube as the buttin until I figure out something better.

20181105_115051

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I prefer the remote too. I can't see to get the knack of using the wifi app while watching the trains. I end up staring at the phone. Just like driving and texting, I am going to end up wrecking my trains. The remote has those tactile buttons and thumb wheel, so you don't need to look at it except to change menu options.

George

pennsy484 posted:

A bit off topic, but I have drilled a hole and inserted a button for the select function.  This takes away a lot of the stress on the thin thumbwheel bracket parts.   Currently I have a piece of shrink tube as the buttin until I figure out something better.

 

I have super glued my thumbwheel three times.  Each time last around a year.  I have often wished that the MTH had a separate SELECT button so that the thumbwheel is just a thumbwheel.  Great to see that someone has done it.  Thanks for posting Jeff.  I will add the SELECT button to mine next time the thumbwheel fails.

Bob

I recall when thumbwheel issues first appeared on the 1st generation remotes some forum members where able to use the similar components from a computer mouse to make a repair.  Plenty of old mice around and likely for the cheap.

You can have a steam train ...If you'd just lay down your tracks.

Lehigh74 posted:

 

 I have often wished that the MTH had a separate SELECT button so that the thumbwheel is just a thumbwheel.  Great to see that someone has done it.  Thanks for posting Jeff.  I will add the SELECT button to mine next time the thumbwheel fails.

I've always felt that was the weak link in the remote design, having the thumbwheel do two functions rather than having a select button.

GREAT solution Jeff!

BobbyD posted:
Lehigh74 posted:

 

 I have often wished that the MTH had a separate SELECT button so that the thumbwheel is just a thumbwheel.  Great to see that someone has done it.  Thanks for posting Jeff.  I will add the SELECT button to mine next time the thumbwheel fails.

I've always felt that was the weak link in the remote design, having the thumbwheel do two functions rather than having a select button.

GREAT solution Jeff!

I agree, while I haven't broke the thumbwheel on either of my remotes yet, I do have an extra thumbwheel waiting in the parts drawer.

I like the idea of a separate select button and always wondered why MTH (and Lionel also) didn't look at modern game controllers from Nintendo and PlayStation to better design the button layout. 

I'd like to integrate the SELECT button in the bottom of the DCS remote similar to how the Z Button worked on an N64 controller. I'll never take the time to do it anymore since the app is now my preferred method of control. It now falls into my "what if" category.

 

 

H1000

pennsy484 posted:

A bit off topic, but I have drilled a hole and inserted a button for the select function.  This takes away a lot of the stress on the thin thumbwheel bracket parts.   Currently I have a piece of shrink tube as the buttin until I figure out something better.

20181105_115051

Very nice..

If it ain't broke,break it and make it better

It's been a few years now, but I was able to repair a thumbwheel by gluing it and then wedging some small pieces of wood under the frame to help support it when pressing the thumbwheel. I applied hot glue to hold the shims in place.

I then ordered a new thumbwheel, but the fix worked well so I just left it. It lasted over a year until I dropped the remote and knocked the shims loose from the hot glue. Had to take it apart again so I replaced the thumbwheel with the one I had ordered at that time. 

Without taking the remote apart again, I can't remember exactly where I put the shims? It was somewhere to support the frame to prevent it from flexing when the wheel was pressed. I think you will see the spot when you get inside the remote and see how it flexes.

I was also hoping to order some more of the thumbwheels when they got them, sure hope the come up with something! I much prefer the remote as well!

The added side button shown above is a really good idea, I like that. May look into that myself, thanks for posting! 

pennsy484 posted:

A bit off topic, but I have drilled a hole and inserted a button for the select function.  This takes away a lot of the stress on the thin thumbwheel bracket parts.   Currently I have a piece of shrink tube as the buttin until I figure out something better.

20181105_115051

Great idea! I used a 1/4” wooden dowel to fabricate a button for the “select” switch. Works great and removes most of the stress and strain on the thumbwheel frame.

 



 

ctr posted:

This a great idea.

Please show us timid ones a bit more on how you did it. Dimensions. Possible problems to avoid.

Thank you.

Take the case apart and you will see that the thumbwheel assembly actually has an extension lobe that goes to the left. You can see it in my photo above through the shrink tubing "button", it's the grey you see. The extension lobe is over the actual select button and thus pushing the thumbwheel also is a push on this extension lobe and causes the button underneath to be pushed. But since the button is far from the wheel over doing it when pushing the wheel is possible and there are thin supports for the wheel that tend to break.  It really is a poor design.

Anyway, the idea is to just directly push down right over that lobe, so just eyeball where that lobe is under the cover and drill a hole the size of whatever your button is going to be and insert the button in.

Avoid any of the strengthening ribs molded on the back of the cover when drilling. 

I plan to epoxy a thin sheet of styrene on the back of my button, larger than the hole, to keep it from sliding out the front which happens occasionally.  Has to be thin enough to not activate the button though, which shouldn't be a problem to accomplish.  Again, there is probably a way better solution than the shrink tube which is all I could find at my fingertips at the time 😂, like some off the shelf plastic button or something, or piece of an old TV remote rubber button thingy, but I can find.  A dowel would work too as pointed out above. 

Another point I feel like I want to make is that I also bought a new remote and will put a button on at some point  but I have learned that you don't need to push the wheel hard at all to select (at least when new) .  Pushing lightly should save those thin support arms  There is a bit of a delay for the selection to show and I think that delay causes users to push hard thinking that the push didn't work.

 

 

Yes, as Pennsy484 says above, the 'light touch' when using the thumbwheel will improve it's life considerably. I learned this the hard way, but I press down much easier on the thumbwheel now after breaking the first one and having to install a new one. 

I said this earlier, but I think it's worth repeating... Even being more careful now, I really do like the 'drilled hole and inserted button' method Pennsy shows above, great idea there! 

Pennsy484 you are right on target with the separate selection button for the remote.  GREAT IDEA . 

Using your idea,  I installed a rubber foot from a defunct MTH controller.  The larger flange on the foot is under the remote top with the small end protruding through the hole. 

All the appropriate trimming on the piece and it's area inside being done of course and adding the smallest drop of plastic safe oil makes for a good job. 

The remote is now a pleasure to use . The addition of the " button " looks OEM.                A little getting used to it if you have used the stock remote for a long time

MANY  THANKS  Pennsy484

Dallas Joseph posted:

Pennsy484 you are right on target with the separate selection button for the remote.  GREAT IDEA . 

Using your idea,  I installed a rubber foot from a defunct MTH controller.  The larger flange on the foot is under the remote top with the small end protruding through the hole. 

All the appropriate trimming on the piece and it's area inside being done of course and adding the smallest drop of plastic safe oil makes for a good job. 

The remote is now a pleasure to use . The addition of the " button " looks OEM.                A little getting used to it if you have used the stock remote for a long time

MANY  THANKS  Pennsy484

Sounds great! Can you upload a picture or two?

H1000

HEY  H1000....

A rubber foot from defunct controller with a trimmed foot.

An L bracket corner trimmed out for clearance. 

White pastel marked button top to mark needed hole in the remote cover. 

Finished look on remote......maybe a Tamiya blue top would be good.     I could have been a little neater with the opening.

I hope i can get the photos here.....Never tried it before.

 

IMG_20191226_095414037IMG_20191226_103635430IMG_20191226_103425543IMG_20191226_104017806

 

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I was able to locate a replacement cradle for mine that broke. However, the circuit board that attaches to the thumb wheel seems to be on there pretty tight. Any suggestions how to best separate it from the thumb wheel without damaging it?

Jim B&O, Ma & Pa., Canton, and WM

TCA '04, WB&A '05, MDOG '11

"Be happy. You never know how much time you have left"

you have to take the bottom cover where the batteries go, in the middle of the compartment is a small Philips screw which holds the remote together. after you have removed the screw you can separate the front and back covers by twisting the top n bottom cover at the same time in opposite directions, if your not careful you can break the circuit board or destroy the display and no other parts are available anymore! would be glad to assemble for you!

o gauge  trains ,music ,computer repair windows 7 and 10!

ASC Tech MTH school completed! 2019 !

Jim......

......when replacing the cradle inspect the two small plastic pins on the inside of the remote cover that are supposed to hold the cradle in position once the remote is reassembled. 

I think my problems with my remote started when the one pin broke and allowed the wheel cradle to have an excessive amount of movement.   It can be repaired if you are careful.

 

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