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Hello.  I'm a "newbie" and this is just my 3rd post.  I just purchased a new old stock MTH Protosound 2 Railking Hiawatha 4-6-4 Hudson.  This is MTH Item No. 30-1348-1 and dates to around 2006 or so.  It's my first Protosound 2 loco, and from all appearances, the loco is indeed new - not a trace of wear on it and it is as clean as the wind driven snow, as was the box and packaging it came in.  I'm running purely conventional control with an MTH Z-1000 transformer and I have no intention of running this loco (or any of my locos) with DCS or any other digital system.

The first thing I did when I got the loco was to remove the battery and install a BCR2 capacitor.  On testing, it runs as it should forward and reverse, the sound works, the smoke works, the fire box light works - too many gizmos as far I'm concerned!  Truth be told, if the PS1 Hiawatha Railking Hudsons weren't so infamous for terrible zinc pest in their drivers, I'd have preferred to have bought the PS1 version like most my other locos (so far) are.  All my locos are MTH, and are either PS1, "Whistle" only, or "Locosound," and honestly, I really like the simplicity of them.  I like things simple and I really just want to operate trains on a nicely scenicked layout, not have them talk to me.

OK...here's my problem - the instructions say that to fire the PS2 Protocoupler, quickly press the Bell button followed by 3 quick presses of the Horn button, approximately 1/2 second apart.  And I'm doing exactly that, but...  I press the Bell button quickly, and no bell, so so-far-so-good, but no matter how quickly I press the Horn button, the Horn sounds each time I press it and the coupler will not fire.  Am I the problem?  Is the Z-1000 the problem (it works fine with all my PS1 locos, but the PS1 Protocoupler firing process is totally different from PS2)?  Or is the loco the problem?

I could return this loco to the seller, but I don't want to.  It looks great, it runs and smokes well, and to be honest, with all the PS1 versions of this loco I've seen suffering from zinc pest, keeping this loco now that I've found one is kind of the default option.  I've looked at the coupler and I think I could replace it (I'm pretty handy) with a standard, MTH manual operated tender coupler from an MTH loco I bought purely for parts, and I've got plenty of old-fashioned operating track sections going into the layout I'm building, so a manual coupler would be fine for me....

...But I'd really like to get this PS2 Protocoupler to work, since that would be the easiest solution and would require the least work.  Where is the problem?  Thanks!

Last edited by M. Tyler
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Hi the engine is a 30-1348-1 it is a PS 2 3- volt board which were very good boards I would suggest you do a feature and factory reset and then add engine to DCS again that generally will reset the feature and factory reset and restore the coupler and all lighting and smoke features as long as the board is good!

Alan

Last edited by Alan Mancus

Nothing wrong with the engine. This is simply not sending the correct timing or sequence to fire the coupler. Running in conventional has challenges.

@M. Tyler posted:


OK...here's my problem - the instructions say that to fire the PS2 Protocoupler, quickly press the Bell button followed by 3 quick presses of the Horn button, approximately 1/2 second apart.  And I'm doing exactly that, but...  I press the Bell button quickly, and no bell, so so-far-so-good, but no matter how quickly I press the Horn button, the Horn sounds each time I press it and the coupler will not fire. Am I the problem?  Is the Z-1000 the problem (it works fine with all my PS1 locos, but the PS1 Protocoupler firing process is totally different from PS2)?  Or is the loco the problem?

Again, you are not getting the timing right on the second portion of that, thus it's NEVER detecting it as a command vs normal horn button presses. You must not get the sound in order for this to work. Keep trying!!! You have to rapidly tap the buttons- not hold them for too long.

The MTH Z1000 is a capable transformer and should be possible to send the correct sequence using this transformer.

Just one simple check- you do have the red post to of the Z1000 to center rail and black to outside right? Otherwise that would reverse bell and whistle buttons. Just making sure since you are new.

Thanks for the replies.  To repeat - I am NOT running DCS and have no plans to ever run DCS; I have no DCS equipment.  I am only running conventional with a Z-1000.  While answers that reference DCS might be useful to others, they don't apply to my situation.

The red and black wires are the correct way around because when I press the Bell button to sound the Bell, the Bell sounds, and when I press the Horn button, the Horn sounds.

I'm not even getting as far as "buzz" part when the coupler is supposed to open because the I can't get the Horn to stop sounding each time when I tap the Horn button.  And I've tried all types of variations on the tap - as quick and as light as I can be - and the Horn still sounds.  Is is possible to have a Z-1000 that has a Horn button with a "hair-trigger"?

Thanks again for the responses!

Last edited by M. Tyler
@M. Tyler posted:

The red and black wires are the correct way around because when I press the Bell button to sound the Bell, the Bell sounds, and when I press the Horn button, the Horn sounds. Good.

I'm not even getting as far as "buzz" part when the coupler is supposed to open because the I can't get the Horn to stop sounding each time when I tap the Horn button.  And I've tried all types of variations on the tap - as quick and as light as I can be - and the Horn still sounds.  Is is possible to have a Z-1000 that has a Horn button with a "hair-trigger"?

Thanks again for the responses!

You aren't going to get the buzz until you send the right sequence timing for the board to detect it as the command. When it detects that command, it then ALSO plays the uncouple sequence sound while firing the coupler. Not getting that sound? No need to diagnose the coupler- again it NEVER ATTEMPTED to fire it.

" I can't get the Horn to stop sounding each time when I tap the Horn button" Bingo- this indicates you are either pressing the horn button too long each momentary press, or so fast back to back, the board is registering that as one long horn press rather than the specific short timing required to indicate the command.

Yes, this is a skill- it's hard to explain it just typing in a forum.

"Is is possible to have a Z-1000 that has a Horn button with a "hair-trigger"?" Unlikely. If it works as a horn it works. The Z1000 is not microprocessor controlled, it is basically analog so the button presses are as near real time as possible.

Again, the MP3 sound below is what plays when the board acknowledges a proper coupler command sequence. Until you hear this sound- you still failed to send the command.

Edit, I was one clip off, now updated to correct MP3 clip from a sound file.

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Last edited by Vernon Barry

Yeh M. Tyler.......it is just like Mark and Vernon have said.....it's awful hard to do the sequence on the bell/horn buttons, and get the right result every time on the Z1000!!!

In the end I gave up and purchased the MTH "DCS Remote Commander" system for a couple of hundred dollars (Australian). It is not the full DCS system (with all of the problems and expense attached with it), but a simple infra-red control system using a small hand-held remote....I call it my "poverty pack DCS"

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I can run all of my PS2 and PS3 loco's with it, and can access most of the built-in features in these loco's. Uncoupling is such a breeze with the hand-held remote....it has a button for uncoupling, and you then decide if you want the front or the rear coupler to fire....push one button and it works every time.....and you can even uncouple on the run!!!

I keep my Z1000 to run my real finicky PS1 loco's, and everything is good in the "land down under"!!!

Peter.....Buco Australia.

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M. Tyler: when I first ran MTH Protosound 1 or 2 locomotives in 2000, I had the same problem because I was pushing the buttons on the transformer (a Z-1000) too quickly. Mark Spadaro's and Vernon Barry's videos are most helpful. I mastered the timing by saying to myself "Yellow, White, White, White." In fact, I used a similar chant for the other sequences to operate other functions.

Last edited by OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

Thanks for everyone's help.  It took me (more than) a few tries, but in the end I actually ended up using the the technique suggested by Ed Erdmann, and chanted to myself "Yellow, White, White, White" and that helped me nail it.  There is definitely a specific rhythm and pace that you have to follow, but once I got it, I was set, at least most of the time!  I really appreciate everyone's help with this.  I don't have the room to run full scale O, and this Railking F7 Hudson is such a lovely beast that I'm really glad I can get its Protocoupler to work now.  I am also very intrigued by Buco's MTH Remote Commander set up.  It seems simple enough that even I could use it, and I need to look into it more.

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