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I have a new MTH caboose with Operating Signal Man.  Until it arrived I was un-aware of the detail issues in it's operation with DCS.  I have a single loop layout powered by a single Lionel brick transformer (PH180) going to the DCS Variable channel 1.  My only controller for DCS is the WIU and my iPhone running the DCS app.  The only way I can figure out how to make the Signal Man to work is using the app on a Conventional Track.  That is not acceptable for my interests. 

Several on this forum have suggested one of the older "railsounds" buttons.  I have one (6-5906).  On the back of the button it says "designed for use with common ground wiring.  It is not to be used with a Lionel 6-4690 Type MW transformer".

I understand transformer phasing.  I'm not sure what the common ground comment is supposed to mean?  Especially with a single transformer?

1.  If I install this button between the PH180 transformer and the TIU channel 1 input can it harm the TIU when activated?

2.  Could it harm the PH180?

3.  Given I only have 1 transformer is this even relevant to my situation. 

I have spent several hours on the forum archives and Google and I can't fine the answer.  Help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



Images (2)
  • Railsounds controller front
  • Lable on the Back
Original Post

No, no, and no. 

I can imagine an oddball scenario where placing the 6-5906 BEFORE a TIU Variable input might be an issue due to the way a TIU variable channel chops the incoming AC signal.  It would be non-damaging but if this configuration doesn't work, just place the 6-5906 AFTER the TIU Variable output.

If you have an AIU, the 6-5906 is an on-off switch with a handful of diodes.  Wiring an AIU ACC Output to the switch would allow whistle control via the remote.


With your normal DCS setup, what happens when you follow the instructions in the Instruction Manual, "* DCS operation is only possible on DCS Variable Tracks. There are 2 ways to activate the caboose in DCS mode. 1. The first is using the TIU Variable Channel, make sure the DCS signal is turned ON, reduce the voltage to 21 volts and then press and hold the bell button down for 3-5 seconds to activate the caboose signal man."  Refer to your DCS operating manual for instruction. 

Your 18 volts to track will work.

Susan, the only way I can get the signal man to work with the DCS system to with my iPhone controller app is to operate the DCS system in the Conventional mode by selecting a TRACK.  Then it will work, but I'm forced to operate the train in conventional mode.  If I leave the iPhone controller in full DCS when I hit the bell button the PS 3 engine starts the bell and the caboose does nothing.  The instructions also say you need a transformer with a bell button when operating in the DCS mode so I guess that the DC component from the transformer bell button will make it through the TIU and and activate the caboose.  But I have no bell button.  I do have the 6-5906 external bell button, but it comes with a warning (see original post) that I don't understand.  I guess I'll just hook it up and hope it doesn't screw anything up.

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