Since I'm  new to tinplate,  and loving it, I  only buy what MTH has been making, I  don't  want antiques.  MTH offers ps2 & ps3 to run with dcs.

  I prefer traditional transformer operation , I just wonder how the peanut gallery runs their DCS MTH or LIONEL  LLC trains of the last few years, traditional  only, DCS only , or either on at different times.  I have a DCS system I  bought in 2009 that I can dust off if it is beneficial. 

 I have 3 tracks I  can operate either way.


BTW. I'm hooked on tinplate, feel like I  should wear kid gloves when handling, but I  have 10 thumbs. LOL

Original Post

I love tinplate with DCS!  I run everything on DCS which makes running multiple trains on a loop of track very easy.  I have two standard gauge loops and one O gauge loop.  I often use the "all engines" feature to run seven trains at the same time.

I run everything with DCS. I have been a big fan and was an early adopter of the technology. I have DCS on my home layout, on my son's ceiling layout and at the club.

Scott Smith


I DON'T run DCS.  I spent a year trying to make it work and gave up on it.  I run TMCC exclusively.  TMCC does everything I need reliably and simply.


I run DCS all the time. All my tinplate has PS-2 or 3. I also run it on my phone and my tablet with Wi-Fi.  

First of all, I do often wear gloves when handling my MTH tinplate.  That way you don't have clean the fingerprints.  But yes, I use DCS to operate all my Standard Gauge tinplate, O Gauge tinplate, and modern O Gauge trains.

In fact, I even programmed my Legacy and 3rd Rail engines into the DCS Remote so I control them via DCS also.  I'm definitely not what you'd call an advanced user though.  I just control the throttle, smoke, horn, whistle, the occasional coupler, etc.  Otherwise, I watch them run!

As for controlling tinplate with DCS, I find it absolutely necessary because I like to turn the volume on/off or the turn the smoke on/off depending who walks in the room.  It's especially helpful at Christmas time.  Therefore, I never operate conventionally.

DCS will so expand your capabilities, I would highly recommend it.  You already have all the equipment, give it a try.  After all, you can always go back to conventional, right?

I run tinplate dcs.  Like you, I run mth tinplate for my primary motive power.  It responses beautifully and of course its shiny !!

The best thing is you can easily double head units, (lash-up in dcs terms)!

Being in the power generation field, I love long coal trains, so I have been amassing mth 2816 hoppers.  to run them all though takes some distributed power to avoid string line incidents or slipping.  A little bit of time making a custom front end for one of the loco's and wa-la!, dcs tinplate magic happens!


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I wired my layout for  both DCS and conventional using a Z4000. I mostly run MTH ps 2 and 3 engines. However I have two ps-1 locomotives and several Ives and American Flyer originals that run on AC.  I used double pole double throw switches to select power.  Depending on the loop, image the selections are DCS, AC-1 for the Z4000 left throttle and AC-2 for the right. I like the flexibility of running anything in the stable with the flip of a switch.


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Dust off your TIU because running DCS is indeed beneficial.  It adds another dimension to operating fun.  I’ve got 4 loops with each one powered from a ZW terminal through the four TIU channels.  I set my variable channels to fixed and generally have the ZW set at 18 volts for DCS operation.  I can run conventional if I want using the ZW throttles, but I only do that for conventional locos.

I have DCS and love it. It gives me the flexibility to walk around the layout and see trains running from many different vantage points that I was unable to while tethered to my ZW transformer

I run my Protosounds 2 and 3 equipped engines in my train-room via my DCS remote or my IPad or IPhone. Running under DCS unlocks features like start up shut down, smoke, sound volume, scale speed, lighting, freight or passenger sounds, and coupler slack sounds. 

When running in modular club displays, we mostly run conventionally: horn, bell, speed.

They run fine in either mode.

While I have both original tinplate and modern DCS equipped TT/LCT locomotives, I prefer running the latter, particularly at Christmas when I can sit back, turn down the lights, and watch the trains come alive from a comfy chair across the room. Their shiny tinplate bodies reflecting the lights from each other and the lights in the tree. 


It's also easier to surprise the cat that might be on/near the tracks.


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