Nothing wrong with your decision to go with MTH. I have had very good service from them. By far, my preferred method of contact is by phone, that has worked every time for me. That is true with both MTH and Lionel.
I have emailed MTH about their MTHRRC and gotten a reply. If I remember correctly the reply didn't take too long, but I can't say for sure how long it actually took as it has been a few years. I don't normally use email to contact them.
I have items from MTH, Lionel and Atlas and I think they all provide good products and service. I have contacted them all more than once by phone with very pleasing results every time. I am very happy with the service that all of these folks have provided me.
As a side note, I got back in the hobby a few years ago, also with an MTH starter set and it has grown from there. And grown quite a bit.
Thank you very much, rtr12, for your reply. It is well written and addresses exactly what I was asking about. So often replies are both minimal and address only a small portion of what the post is about.
Sounds like we have similar experience. Perhaps I over reacted and should just hang in there with MTH -- I do like the trains I bought!
I'm currently building 3 tables to support my new layout (6.5 ' x 10 '). It uses 6 RH & 6 LH switches, which I'm in the process of acquiring. I'm also planning a new wiring arrangement. I buy my wire, spade lug terminals and barrier strip terminal blocks from DigiKey in Thief River Falls, MN.
I currently use an MTH DCS Commander and thinking about going with the remote approach (TIU Remote Handheld Set and 1 AIU).
I must have stripped the screw on the output connection of the Commander and am trying to find out from MTH if I can buy the terminal block that houses the 2 screw-down compression connections on the connector board inside the Commander. This is what caused me to wonder about my decision to stick with MTH and prompted my post on this forum.
I have a feeling that MTH only knows how to sell something that has a part number and appears on an exploded drawing of parts. So far, I've failed to find such a drawing or list of parts.
Maybe, they'll sell the connector board which provides a home for all connectors on the back of the Commander? We'll see how it goes in the next few days.
Do you have any DCS Remote experience?
I'm also wondering about the wisdom of updating PS2 to PS3 in the engines I have (about $175/engine). Any thoughts?
Again, thanks for the excellent reply.
You are welcome, glad it helped. MTH can sell you parts without the part numbers, you just have to call Midge in parts, if she does not answer, leave her a message and she will call you back. If you talk to her you don't need a part number, you can just describe the part and she will find it for you. As for engine manuals they are mostly online now. For the terminal you are looking for, I would try gunrunnerjohn's suggestions first, and yes Digi-Key is a very good outfit to order from, I use them often and have been very happy with them. Large selection of parts, very fast delivery and very reasonable shipping costs.
Not every engine has a manual listed and you have to find them under similar engines. Like if you have a BNSF SD70ACE and it does not have a manual, look at their same models in say a NS or CSX or UP SD70ACE and you may find it there. It will be available under one of the same models somewhere. Maybe others can suggest a better way to find the manuals, but that has worked for me in the past.
I also have a layout of similar size to yours (6'x16') and I am wanting to expand it, but can't figure out what I want to do with it? I have both the full DCS system (TIU and Remote) and a Lionel Legacy 990 system. They work very well together. I wired for DCS as it seems to be the most particular. I later added Legacy by just connecting the one signal wire to the commons on my TIU outputs. I followed the recommended wiring practices described in Barry's book, The DCS Companion. I would recommend it to anyone, lots of good info there.
If you have PS2 I personally don't see a need to upgrade to PS3 unless you have a board failure and it can not be repaired. Then a PS3 upgrade would be in order. Although there some very good advantages to PS3, I don't think it's worth it just to be upgrading. You can replace your PS2 battery with a BCR if you have problems with a battery, much cheaper than upgrading to PS3.
I run all command control and never wait for anything with my PS3 engines, just start them up and run them. If I remember correctly the wait only applies to conventional operation (I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong here). My LHS runs a conventional layout in their store and their PS3 engines take a 10-20 seconds or so to even start up after power is applied. They won't do anything until they are ready.
The DCS Commander you have is really for HO. I think you will be much happier with the full DCS system of TIU and remote. I like walking around with my trains while running them which you can easily do with the remote. I also started out with the idea of controlling everything with an AIU, but I didn't have one at the time so I wired all my switches to their included control switches. I have been happy with operating all my switches that way so far and still have not purchased an AIU. I probably will add one when I expand so I can use it to set up routes and things, but I will probably also leave the other switch controls in place as well.
Good luck with your parts ordering and layout construction. This is a great place for help should you need more. Lots of very knowledgeable folks around here and all are willing to help if they can.