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Do DCS/WiFi gremlins exist?

I am having issues running WiFi/DCS with my iPad.   It has worked for several months in the past and I'm using the upgrade version as I run multiple engines in lash-up.    Had no problems at first and it’s worked fine for several months.   I now have a problem getting my iPad to pair with the WiFi/TIU.   I do not have a problem connecting to the MTH wifi signal.   The problem is my iPad is not able to find the WIU/TIU.    I can get it to work with my iPhone but it usually takes several attempts.   I have to keep recycling (refreshing) and eventually it connects.   So far, this is not been the case with the iPad.

This summer I visited my MTH tech as I had an issue with one of my engines and I brought my WiFi system for him to check out.  It worked fine with his iPhone but we could not get it to work with my iPad.  Remember, it had worked for several months with my iPad.   I was hoping he could solve the issue.   He was stumped!

I would appreciate any suggestions as to what I need to do next.   I do not understand what to do in order to: “Make sure the iOS device is connected to the same network your WIU is on”.   I assume that it’s referencing the MTH WiFi.    I am also interested in knowing if others have experienced similar issues.   

The two pictures show my iPad connected to the MTH WiFi signal and the response I get when trying to refresh.

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Help!

Thanks!  Dave

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Last edited by darlander
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Timely post as I've been seeing the same problem with my iphone as well as others. I don't normally use the app as I prefer the remote but for the most part it seems to connect OK on my home layout (may take a few tries).

A few weeks ago I went to a temporary Christmas display layout to help them set up their wifi and experienced connection problems. One fellow had the free app and connected with no problem. It took me several tries to connect. A third fellow took about six or seven tries. We all checked our iphone setting screen to make sure the MTH wifi was selected. Why we had so much trouble connecting I don't know.

A few days later our local club had a show. When I got there some of the club members were getting the NO WIU/TIU Found error message. The correct wifi network was selected but still kept getting the NO WIU/TIU Found message. Eventually we had to run one train with a remote. Later some additional members came in and had the same problem. I powered down the TIU and WIFI units, powered back up and then was able to get the app to connect and work properly. The next day I tried to run an MTH engine and couldn't get my phone to connect. Gave up and used a remote.

Over the course of less then a week I've seen many connection failures and NO WIU/TIU found issues involving different TIU's WIU's, iphones, and users. I don't see any pattern and its getting frustrating. I hate to recommend to so many people they need to delete and reload the app and then reload all their engines. If that's the only way that's what will need to be done but there seems there is a fundamental issue with the app and WIU that needs to be addressed. Since neither the app or WIU has been updated in some time I wonder if they are still compatible with all the iphone operating system updates that seem to come out every few months.

Anyhow, what's the difference between these two error messages. To me they are the same.

"Connection Failure"

"No TIU/WIUs Found"

Ken

Dave - afraid so.

Ken - First, the app is still compatible with all versions of IOS.  I am using beta 15.2.4 and it is still working.

In my limited experimenting with my own setup, it seems that the app only searches once for the TIU.  If something changes, it doesn't recognize the new, or reconfigured, TIU.  The only successful way I solved the problem was to delete the app and start over.  Download the app but switch to the MTH WiFi before completing the app setup.  If you do not the app will not see our TIU and you may return to square one.  If your MTH WiFi is connected to your home WiFi you do not need this step.

If people are using their iphones and ipads to run at your club, it is likely that, when they get home, they will see the no TIU message on their own layout.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday morning it took about 3 or 4 refreshing attempts to get my iPhone to connect and I was able to run trains on the layout I was never able to get my iPad to connect even though it was turned off and rebooted that morning. Experienced a new error message (at least to me) “Connection Failed” in addition to the all to familiar “No WIU/TIUs Found” message.    I assume both messages are addressing the same issue.

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I disconnected the layout and connected the TIU/wifi to a single track.   I use this track to load engines and build lash ups.   It took about three more attempts to get my phone to connect and find the 901.   I powered down and added the 196 to build a lash up.   When I turned the power back on it took 10 attempts for my phone find the WIU/TIU.   After I built the lash up I reconnected the power to my layout and placed the engines on the mainline.    I powered everything up, selected the MTH WiFi on my phone and this time it took 15 attempts to find the WIU/TIU.   I was finally able to operate the train.    Did not attempt to connect the iPad.     It has been a frustrating experience running trains the last few months.    

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Today, Wednesday: Everything worked! Had no problem connecting to the WIU/TIU using my iPhone. Even built another lash up.    I do not know what I did to make it all happen. Will try again later today and will again try my iPad.    I do not really want to reinstall the App since I bought the premium version and I do not want to buy it again unless I have too. Since my devices are linked, the premium version shows up on all my devices, 2 iPhones and 2 iPads.    Currently, my iPhone is the only device that contains the engine roster. For some reason, my iPad no longer shows the roster.    My wife’s iPhone and iPad has the App but I have never tried it with either of her devices.   

This afternoon it took me about 3 cycle attempts to connect my iPhone.  Everything work well after I got connected.   Still no luck with my iPad.    

My conclusion:  I guess the connectivity problem is the nature of the beast!    The report from others on this post suggest this is not an uncommon problem.    Would appreciate input from certified MTH service techs or others regarding the issue of connectivity and what can be done to improve its reliability.     I’m sure it was designed to work better!

Hopeful & Thankful,

Cheers, Dave

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Dan, my home router (Orbi11) is on the main floor of our home directly above the layout room.   I also have a Orbi PET satellite booster in our lower level about 25 feet from the MTH Wi-Fi system.    This Orbi system has been in place long before the connectivity issues began.   I operate in the MAC world.   Unfortunately, MTH never provided download access from a Mac.  

This morning it took 6 refresher cycles to connect using my phone.   At least I can eventually get it to work.   I have to learn to become more patient.

Thanks for your continued help.

Cheers, Dave

I was having a similar experience with the DCS Explorer.  I have a dedicated iPad that I only use for running trains and I wound up removing my home WIFI network from the device.  Now it only connects to the MTH WIFI once the DCS explorer is powered up.  I power the DCS Explorer and wait until it fully boots.  I then open the MTH app and it connects every time (occasionally takes a refresh or two of the app).

I realize this may not be ideal for some people but worth a try to temporarily remove your home WIFI network from you iPad and see if it works.

Last edited by drelo
@darlander posted:

Dan, my home router (Orbi11) is on the main floor of our home directly above the layout room.   I also have a Orbi PET satellite booster in our lower level about 25 feet from the MTH Wi-Fi system.    This Orbi system has been in place long before the connectivity issues began.   I operate in the MAC world.   Unfortunately, MTH never provided download access from a Mac.  

This morning it took 6 refresher cycles to connect using my phone.   At least I can eventually get it to work.   I have to learn to become more patient.

Thanks for your continued help.

Cheers, Dave

So as an experiment, can you move the Orbi Satellite into the train room next to the WIU and connect those two devices with an Ethernet wire. Make sure you put the WIU into MTH mode.

Given that that WIU is receiving a nice strong signals between both the Orbi Router & Satellite, it may be a problem with how the WIU has to choose which one to connect to on the mesh network.

The change channel suggestion sounds like a good one.  Make sure home and MTH wi-fi signals connect on different channels.

The real solution, however, lies with interaction from the fellow living near Detroit, MI, who designed this system.  I think his name is Dave.  When Mike Wolf quit, I do believe I saw several notices he was the guy for DCS support.  Apparently he does not read the forum.  There is also supposed to be a group that took over DCS as a business.  I am surprised they have not chimed in on this problem.  If it was my business, you can bet I would be attentive to user issues, especially when frustrating so many users.  This scares new users away.

Does anyone have the same issue if they use Lionel's wireless app?  Trying to look for any common problem areas, as the solution may be the same for all.  It really sounds like a software bug to me.

@donhradio posted:

The change channel suggestion sounds like a good one.  Make sure home and MTH wi-fi signals connect on different channels.

The real solution, however, lies with interaction from the fellow living near Detroit, MI, who designed this system.  I think his name is Dave.  When Mike Wolf quit, I do believe I saw several notices he was the guy for DCS support.  Apparently he does not read the forum.  There is also supposed to be a group that took over DCS as a business.  I am surprised they have not chimed in on this problem.  If it was my business, you can bet I would be attentive to user issues, especially when frustrating so many users.  This scares new users away.

Does anyone have the same issue if they use Lionel's wireless app?  Trying to look for any common problem areas, as the solution may be the same for all.  It really sounds like a software bug to me.

Changing the WiFi channel is most likely not going to solve your problem. If the OP isn't technical and left everything set to auto, then these devices will set the channel automatically based on what is nearby and the frequencies those devices are transmitting on.  If the WIU is in HOME mode, it must be on the same channel as the home router in order to communicate with that device on that network.  If the channel interference is so great on the narrow 2.4 GHz wifi spectrum that the WIU and app can't even get a few KBs of data back and forth, the OP would be noticing much bigger WiFi problems with other devices on his network.

The issue I see here is the MESH network setup from Orbi. A MESH network device like this one is great for extending wireless internet and providing the simplicity of have a single SSID (wireless network name) for all devices. Where they tend to fail is allowing devices on those networks to talk with each other as 99% of the time the folks who have these MESH networks just want internet access to the endpoints and to roam around without having to worry about which wireless network to be connected to.

The MESH extenders like the Orbi Satellite actually create a second SSID with the same name and what may be happening is the WIU is connected to the Orbi Base upstairs and the phone is connecting to the Orbi Satellite downstairs and communication between devices on these two separate wireless networks is not allow or the IP scheme between the two is different and the communication is simply not possible.  I ran into this exact scenario with a MESH system from Cisco i was trying out at my house, this affected both DCS & iCab apps.

Another thing the OP could try is to simply unplug the Orbi Satellite to ensure the phone and the WIU have to connect to the Orbi base.

Last edited by H1000
@donhradio posted:

The change channel suggestion sounds like a good one.  Make sure home and MTH wi-fi signals connect on different channels.

The real solution, however, lies with interaction from the fellow living near Detroit, MI, who designed this system.  I think his name is Dave.  When Mike Wolf quit, I do believe I saw several notices he was the guy for DCS support.  Apparently he does not read the forum.  There is also supposed to be a group that took over DCS as a business.  I am surprised they have not chimed in on this problem.  If it was my business, you can bet I would be attentive to user issues, especially when frustrating so many users.  This scares new users away.

Does anyone have the same issue if they use Lionel's wireless app?  Trying to look for any common problem areas, as the solution may be the same for all.  It really sounds like a software bug to me.

Don,

A few questions, for which you apparently have answers, none of which I've ever seen before  Maybe I missed something, or several things, along the way:

Q1: Did Mike Wolf quit?  I thought he retired, and really hasn't fully done so yet since several things are apparently still up in the air.

Q2: How did DCS end up near Detroit?  I thought it was created in Southwest Michigan, but not supported from there afterward.

Q3: Where are these notices about someone named Dave?  I've never seen any, nor any communications with or about a 'Dave' related to DCS, at least not within this forum.

Q4: What is the group that supposedly "took over" DCS?  We've heard nothing since a non-detailed announcement or two that a change was coming.   Maybe you have?  If so can you share the details with us?

Q5: Why are you surprised?  In the five years I've been watching this forum closely, and participating, no one from MTH, or this new group, has ever jumped in to answer a DCS question.  Until we lost him I was quite happy to have Barry Broskowitz do so in their place.  Now Barry's gone to the big train room in the sky and we have no one to replace him.  We've been left to figure problems out on our own for a long time, and this situation is no different.

I'm just looking for facts.  It seems like you might have some answers we haven't heard yet.

Mike

Over the Thanksgiving weekend our club participated in a show at the Science Museum of Virginia. There were 4 layouts running the DCS WIFI app. I was there early in the three day show and at the time did not hear of any DCS issues (I was running only TMCC engines as I didn't want to hassle with possible DCS problems during the show), however I was later told there were DCS problems on all 4 layouts. Unfortunately I don't know the exact nature of the problems as I wasn't there when they happened. When I did get back there at the end of the show I tried connecting to one of the WIU's and couldn't. Also, it still takes me many tries to connect to my home WIU although eventually the app connects to it.

Over the next month I will have the opportunity to run on two Christmas display layouts in different locations that have WIU's. I will be trying the app on these and I hope to get some idea of how common the connection problem is and whether the location of the layout makes any difference.

I do wonder with the new DCS company where is DCS support. On the app there is a link to a web page where you can ask questions and I assume it sends an email to someone. However the mailing address is still Columbia, MD.

Ken

I recently had an issue with my DCS WI-FI unit. I used it successfully for several years and with my iPhone and iPad. Then a few months ago it wouldn’t connect to my home router. The router is 15’ away in the same room. It turns out that the radio board in the WIU went bad. I ordered a new one from MTH, swapped out the board, and it worked immediately. The downside is that I had to reload all of my engines, but it’s worth it.

Andy

@Steamfan77 posted:

I recently had an issue with my DCS WI-FI unit. I used it successfully for several years and with my iPhone and iPad. Then a few months ago it wouldn’t connect to my home router. The router is 15’ away in the same room. It turns out that the radio board in the WIU went bad. I ordered a new one from MTH, swapped out the board, and it worked immediately. The downside is that I had to reload all of my engines, but it’s worth it.

Andy

Why would you have to reload anything? The engines are stored in your device not in the TIU or WIU.

Scott Smith

@Steamfan77 posted:

I recently had an issue with my DCS WI-FI unit. I used it successfully for several years and with my iPhone and iPad. Then a few months ago it wouldn’t connect to my home router. The router is 15’ away in the same room. It turns out that the radio board in the WIU went bad. I ordered a new one from MTH, swapped out the board, and it worked immediately. The downside is that I had to reload all of my engines, but it’s worth it.

Andy

A bad radio board could be the culprit, but I've been seeing connection issues among multiple devices on multiple layouts. I don't think all those radio boards could be bad. I think the issue is more fundamental to the app.

Ken

I phone and I pad users, you don't need to feel bad about your devices not connecting as I am a Galaxy S9 user and am experiencing the same issues. As soon as I turn on my TIU through the trasnformer (Z4000) I also am unable to connect to the WIU getting the error message that the device cannot find the TIU. I have to unplug the WIU for 15 seconds and the Galaxy S9 will then refresh appropriately. I have noticed this issue is more prevalent since mid summer 2021. Be nice to hear something from MTH about this problem but regardless I am still a huge fan of MTH.

Another frustrating day!    I have been under the layout (NOT FUN) trying to take notes, document, and problem solve.   

I set up my test track on the floor near my power station.   When I powered up the system, it seemed to take a long time for the WiFi to detect the TIU, in fact I let it try for several minutes; it never did.   When turned off the track power (lever off on transformer), then added back the power to 16-17 volts, the TUI connection light (purple) stopped blinking and showed steady.    When I went to add the #1326 back to the list, the purple LED started blinking again (would not find the TIU).  This happened for several attempts.  Between each attempt, I  power down the track and powered back up to 16-17 volts to get the constant purple LED .  Final I got the purple light to hold so I was finally able to add and run the #1326.   Must be a weak signal connection???  Any thoughts?

When I reconnected power to the layout, I had to track power cycle up/off several times to get a constant purple light.   Now when I tried to refresh, I immediately got the “Connection Failed” message which negated the ability to refresh.   I am taking a break watching the Viking/Lions game which is not helping my frustration.    In fact, NOT AT ALL!!  

Two glasses of wine helped a little so I just recently went back to the train room and rebooted the power.   After about three cycles, I am back in business - had a good run!   It has already been a long day!!!!

Cheers, Dave

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Update to my previous posts:

I've resolved one of my DCS WiFi connection issues. At home I was having problems with my phone connecting to the WIU. Turned out to be a quirk (or a feature maybe) of the iphone. My WIU is on my home network. The router is in one end of the house and the train room is in the other end upstairs. I was having slow or dropped internet connection in the train room so I added a WiFi extender creating two networks in the house. In the train room I had to use the extender network so the iphone needed to be connected to that network. When the iphone is connected to the extender network the connection to the WIU works fine. If I walked downstairs near the router the iphone would automatically switch to the router network and stay there. Going back to the trainroom and not realizing the phone was connected to the router network and not the extender network would result in a failed connection to the WIU. Now I just have to remember to manually connect the phone to the extender network first in order to use the WIU.

Over the holidays I had the opportunity to run trains on two different club layouts. On one I was the only person using the DCS/WIU when running and had no issues. On the other layout the only issue I had was when running two DCS engines at the same time. The app kept losing one of the engines and I had to keep re-adding it to get it back. Finally got fed up and took the offending engine off the track.

Has anyone else observed a problem running two engines simultaneously on the app and the app removing one of the engines from the active list while it was running?

Ken

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