MTH 20-3638-1 Russian Decapod Issues PS 3.0

So  I pulled the trigger an picked up a new MTH 20-3638-1 Russian Decapod just before Christmas. (first major new purchase in many years).

Other that starting it up and running  few times around the test track the day a brought it home, it has been dormant .  It had what i would call gremlins right out of the box, but I figured I would wait until I had some time to investigate. 

Ran it today and problems remain.  The issues I am having are:

No chuff (worked for a few laps, then did not after I shut everything down and power back up) A few occasional clicks in concert with smoke puffs.

Whistle is only a blast.

Full on sound chaos with several sounds occurring simultaneously.

Top speed is about 20 MPH.

Powered on and off a few times, including track power, TIU and DCS remote.  I removed the engine from the tracks, checked and reset the drawbar connection, and did a factory reset with no change.

As some background, I am relatively new to MTH engines and DCS.   I am using a "new" Rev. L TIU, powered by a PW KW (fused and TVS for protection) on the test loop.  18V to track.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Jim

Original Post

The three rail Russian Decapod is a 3/2 design with insulated/isolated drivers and wheel set.  You may want to check the power pickup, and outside rail pickup, which are on the tender front truck.  The three/two design limits common pickup (outside rail) relative to standard three rail design.  The idea is that a 3 rail model can be field modified to two rail. There should be instructions related to 3/2 conversion, which allows for an over all understanding of the design.   There is also a 3/2 switch, underside of the tender.  IMO.   Mike CT.

Jim Harrington posted:

Thanks Mike. I had previously questioned the pickup design. However, I’m not sure how this would relate to the issues I am having.  Can you please expand?

Not only are you concerned about center rail pick-up on switches/crosses and the like. Limited common pick-up can also cause power loss, where on normal common pickup every wheel contributes to the continuity.

So I  re-seated the drawbar connection to the tender, checked and exercised the DCS and 3-Rail switches on the tender.  There does not seem to be any roller/pickup related issues.  Runs fine on the test loop.

Unfortunately no improvement.  I have throttle response, smoke, background engine sounds.  No chuff, no coupler clank, "chopped" whistle blast.

The fact that it is a new $1k locomotive, I am not inclined to open anything up...

Any last thought before I contact MTH?

 

What is the test loop that it runs fine on?  Is that conventional or DCS?  There is a DCS/DCC switch on the locomotive.  Make sure in DCS position. G

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Jim,

First I want to commend you on listing the description and product number first thing in your post.  Too many people waste a lot of our time by not doing so.  One thing that MIGHT cause your problem is the drawbar connector beneath the engine cab.  I have seen several steam engines where the pins in the connector are pushed up, away from the plug on the drawbar and cause sporadic connections.  This is caused by the retainer clip not properly installed to hold the pins in the connector.  Since this is a new engine, you should get warranty repairs on it.  Go to the MTH web site, under service, 'find a service center', click on it and enter your zip code.  There is a service center 13.x miles from you.  Click on that service center name and it gives contact info plus address and a small Google map.

Keep us informed.  It is unfortunate, but these things do happen.

bruce

Excuse me?  Not 8 months unless a critical part is not stock and waiting for production.  Also warranty is typically faster than billable. 

SO try it in DCC position.  Occasionally a switch was installed backwards.  You also could visually inspect to see if pin pushed out of connector.  G

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Virginia Train Collectors Member

Most folks who sell these locomotives have a return policy. If it were mine, back to the dealer it would go.

When you return the engine to MTH, you pay the shipping charges. Then you have to hope it is properly repaired,

I will never send an engine that does not work right out of the box back to the manufacturer. Back to the dealer for money back or an engine that works as it should.

 

Ed

Ed Mullan posted:

Most folks who sell these locomotives have a return policy. If it were mine, back to the dealer it would go.

When you return the engine to MTH, you pay the shipping charges. Then you have to hope it is properly repaired,

I will never send an engine that does not work right out of the box back to the manufacturer. Back to the dealer for money back or an engine that works as it should.

 

Ed

This was a "special order only"; however, I am considering doing this...  Need to contact the vendor, whom is a forum sponsor.

I checked the drawbar connector on the tender side and it appears to have all female pins seated in the connector.  No visible issues on the drawbar.  Inspecting the engine side of the drawbar will require taking things apart, which again, I do not want to do as it is brand new....

No the switch position will not damage anything.  Sure you can't see the connector that plugs into the drawbar without removing anything?

I am also confused that it works on your test track.  I am not following that part of this.  IF it runs on a small test track, but not your layout, I start to think you have a DCS signal issue on your main layout.  G

MTH Authorized Service Center

Authorized ERR Dealer

Lionel Independent Repair Tech

Virginia Train Collectors Member

I have two of the new Proto 3.0 Russian Decapods and had the same issue with one, although I think the problem (at least in my case) actually comes from the layout it was operating on at the time.

 

The engine experienced the issue after passing onto a block of track where power was abruptly cut off and returned after the engines shut down. The Decapod and my friend's E8s on that block both experienced that issue after the sudden loss and return of power. Both engines returned to normal operation after being shut down and left off power until we were satisfied the capacitors had drained. I have seen the same issue on other Proto 3 engines after similar issues with power loss and gain occurred, as well as when operating on a layout with bad wiring. I'm not an expert so I could be wrong, perhaps it was just a coincidence, but after everything I saw the most logical conclusion to me seems to be that the cause was bad/inconsistent power to the engine.

GGG posted:

No the switch position will not damage anything.  Sure you can't see the connector that plugs into the drawbar without removing anything?

I am also confused that it works on your test track.  I am not following that part of this.  IF it runs on a small test track, but not your layout, I start to think you have a DCS signal issue on your main layout.  G

Tried the DCS/DCC switch in both positions. Didn't fix things.

Removed the drawbar so that I could check that the the female pins were seated in the conncector.  All looked fine.  Put things back together.  No change.

The test loop with a Rev. L TIU, powered by a PW KW (fused and TVS for protection) , 18V to Atlas track is the only place I have tried it (no permanent layout... yet).

So off to MTH it went for warranty repairs.  I was told 2 to 4 weeks.

Will keep you posted. 

Just closing this one out...

Sent it to MTH.  Got it back in a week! 

Unfortunately, it did not misbehave when it was there, operating "normally" and was returned as was. So of course, when I tried to run it at home, the sound system went haywire.  Shot a video and sent it to MTH Service.  They directed me to return it, and would be addressed as a priority repair.

3 Weeks later, it was returned.  They replaced the "AE-1000030 Tender Board".  All seems to be operating normally.  

Kirstin at MTH Customer service could not have been nicer!  

All in all, a good experience with MTH, and I am happy with the locomotive.

 

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