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After 15 or so years of not having a layout, I (re)built The Trainwreck (footnote 1) for the Colorado & Appalachia. Given the multiple house moves and time involved, as well as technical advances, I have several PS1 and non-functional engines that I'd like fixed or upgraded to PS3. They are:

  1. MTH N&W Y6b #2195 PS2. Seems dead, Jim. Tried new battery, opened it up, fiddled. Doesn't do a thing. Just sits there. Might be fixable, or perhaps a PS3 upgrade candidate.
  2. MTH N&W 0-8-0 scale switcher #244 PS1. Runs actually pretty great for PS1; but would love to upgrade this to PS3. I've attempted to find a source for the newer PS2/PS3 versions of this and have failed.
  3. MTH Reading Crusader PS1. Suffers from the "power pickups located too close together" issue (footnote 2). Would consider selling, but might want to upgrade to PS3, along with having pickups installed on tender.

My advice requested is:

  • Feasibility of upgrading each of the above?
  • Better off just buying new engines? Money IS an issue, of course. The Y6b is a favorite, would hate to retire it.
  • Should I try an upgrade myself? I'm a software architect, not an EE, and from previous experience I can generally build or fix anything, but the first time or two "there be dragons".
    • How long does an upgrade take for a newbie?
  • Reputable MTH certified repair shop recommendations? I'd prefer to ship off all three to be upgraded (Y6b: fixed if possible).

Thanks!

Footnotes:

  1. The 'wreck is a an 50 year old 8x12' shed, modified to be 12x20. It does triple duty: Trains, bar and plant nursery. See pic.
  2. I have several MTH engines that can't make it thru switches because MTH didn't put pickup rollers on the tender. I solved this by modifying a work car and aux tender to send power up to the engine/tenders. Works well and looks decent enough.

 

TrainwreckInterior

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Original Post

I'm guessing they are all Rail King locomotives? If so they can be upgraded. Each PS1 locomotive would need a PS3 upgrade kit,which is around $200 per locomotive. The PS2 locomotive would probably need a PS32 board with 5V connectors (assuming it's a 5V PS2 model), which is around $200 from a tech. So before labor it's about $200 per locomotive, then figure about $100 in labor to upgrade each locomotive. So it's about $300 per locomotive to upgrade. You might be money ahead finding PS3 versions, unless you can do the upgrades yourself. 

Buy a kit and try upgrading one yourself. The kits were originally designed to upgrade older MTH sngines specifically. The old engines likely have smoke units. You may have to drill some holes to mount switches but the directions are pretty explicit. For three engines it may be worth it to join the MTH club and then get a discount on the kits.  Of course this means waiting until everyone gets back to work.

Pete

Tim B posted:
I have several MTH engines that can't make it thru switches because MTH didn't put pickup rollers on the tender. I solved this by modifying a work car and aux tender to send power up to the engine/tenders. Works well and looks decent enough.

 

 

I have put pickups on a number of MTH tenders and just wired them through the tether to share the power.  I just add a PTC in series with the power lead to protect against a derailment cooking the wire in the tether.  I have also gotten some MTH switchers with pickups just on the tender and added a roller to the locomotive.

MTH Switcher Reliability Upgrade

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Where are you located?  Shipping back and forth for three locomotives will add significantly to the upgrade costs, so I'd consider trying to find someone close enough to drop them off.

Hunkered down in Boulder, CO. We (Colorado) lost all our good retailers and repair shops years ago - Mizell, Caboose. So def would have to ship. If there IS a close certified shop, love to know.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Tim B posted:
I have several MTH engines that can't make it thru switches because MTH didn't put pickup rollers on the tender. I solved this by modifying a work car and aux tender to send power up to the engine/tenders. Works well and looks decent enough.

 

 

I have put pickups on a number of MTH tenders and just wired them through the tether to share the power.  I just add a PTC in series with the power lead to protect against a derailment cooking the wire in the tether.  I have also gotten some MTH switchers with pickups just on the tender and added a roller to the locomotive.

MTH Switcher Reliability Upgrade

Link to suitable PTC please. Again, I build software but I had to google what a PTC might be. I'll assume put in series means splice it in the "hot" side.

I encourage you to try the upgrade on your own, if you're comfortable with soldering and have an anti static mat. You'll be removing all the wiring and replacing it with the kit wiring. Takes about 4 hours (mine take more as I go with all LED lighting). I've done 3 steam PS3 upgrades for myself and several steam and diesel PS3 upgrades for friends. Here's an example of one of mine, in a Premier Santa Fe Hudson. 

20200218_210220 - Copy20200222_181030

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