Hello All,

I read some threads this AM on "Stuck in Neutral" and tried some of the prescribed remedies to no avail.  I was hoping for some additional thoughts.

The Details

  • MTH SD70ACe PS3 20-20271
  • MTH DCS 5.0
  • Z4000 Transformer

The Problem

The engine starts in DCS mode.  All the bells and whistles (pun intended) work.  After waiting a minute to get the BCR charged we try to move the engine forward.  The headline dims (rule 17) but the engine does not move.  The sounds do not change and stay in the neutral setting.  Hit the DIR button, the headlight switches, roll the thumb wheel and the engine will not go in reverse either.   When the thumb wheel is applied to over 25 SMPH the red light on the Z4000 comes on.

Conventional Mode

The engine will sometimes start conventionally and sit in idle.  When pulling the Z4000 handle down and then back up slowly at about 10 volts the headlights go on and off (about every 3-5 seconds).  Then at 11 volts the red light on the Z4000 starts to blink.  I shut it down after that.  To prove I don't have a track problem, I was able to duplicate this issue on my layout and a separate test track directly connected to the Z4000.

Sometimes when attempting to start in conventional when power is applied it just clicks... Click Click... Click Click... Click Click  etc.

What have I done so far?

I have performed a Feature Reset and a Factory Reset.  Neither of those worked.  I disconnected and reconnected all of the wires on the Z4000 and TIU to ensure tight connections.  No improvement.  I tried the manual reset of 1 whistle and 5 bells on the Z4000, but nothing happens.

I removed the shell and re-seated the plugs going to the PS3 board.  I inspected the engine carefully looking for an exposed wire that might cause a short.  Nothing found.  None of the boards or components appear to be burned or have a burning smell.  I put the engine back on the track with out the shell.  Same results in both DCS and conventional modes.  I can see the flywheel with tack tape move a little bit, but not enough to actually move the engine before it stops.

This engine is brand new (Opened on Christmas) and was purchased from a very reputable forum member.  But I'm guessing I do not have a warranty.   ODO 104, Chronometer 9 hours.  We have really been running this quite a bit since Christmas.

Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

Ron

 

 

 

 

Original Post

Try turning both fly-wheels by hand, There should be no binding anywhere.... Could be an iron filing  in a gear??

Guess I forgot that detail.  When I saw the flywheel move a tiny bit, I did try to help it along.  I just rechecked both motors and there is zero binding.  Both motors move freely and are moving the wheels when manually spun.

Sounds like a board failure with motor drive.  So it worked fine for a good several days, than started acting this was on the next session?  If this is less than year old I do think MTH would honor warranty.  I would call for Warranty RA.   G

Ron,

The headline dims (rule 17) but the engine does not move

That's nor Rule 17 lighting. Rule17 has the headlight get brighter when the engine goes forward, not dimmer. Going dimmer is an indication of a power drain.

When the thumb wheel is applied to over 25 SMPH the red light on the Z4000 comes on.

This is another symptom of a power drain. Obviously, there's something electrically wrong, or there's binding that you're just not finding.

Barry Broskowitz posted:

Ron,

The headline dims (rule 17) but the engine does not move

That's nor Rule 17 lighting. Rule17 has the headlight get brighter when the engine goes forward, not dimmer. Going dimmer is an indication of a power drain.

When the thumb wheel is applied to over 25 SMPH the red light on the Z4000 comes on.

This is another symptom of a power drain. Obviously, there's something electrically wrong, or there's binding that you're just not finding.

Barry,

You are right... My mistake.  The light does get brighter not dimmer.  I set up a Z1000 and a TIU on a bench and tried some more this evening.  The brick on the Z1000 pops the breaker when I try to advance the engine forward or reverse.  I reexamined the trucks and motors again and things appear to move freely when I move the flywheels by hand.

Looks like I'll be calling MTH Monday.

Is this a normal PS3 board?  If it is not warranted, could I buy an inexpensive PS3 donor and swap out the  board?  I've done that with PS-2's in the past with the exception of a GG-1 which had a special board.  GGG ended up repairing that one for me.

Thanks all or you inputs thus far.

Ron

 

When you ran it on the Z4000, did you notice the amp draw?

One nice thing about sending these to techs is that they can test the boards independently from the engine. That really helps troubleshoot stuff like this.

Yes you can swap PS-3, just need to load the Flash code and sound file for the engine.  Of course you want to try to find out if anything caused this failure such as wire damage.  G

Last edited by GGG

Morning Update...  I unscrewed the motors from the trucks to validate the question of stuck gears.  The trucks and the motors spin freely.  After reinstall I again manually turned the flywheel and the wheels turned ok.

With regard to Amp draw (Engineer Joe's question).  On the Z1000 now the breaker pops before I can get the dial more than half way turned.  Over at the Z4000 the amp draw is almost equal to that of the volts.  Nothing else is on the track or using that current.  5 volts 4.8 amps, 8 volts 7.9 amps.  I was afraid to move the handle further to even attempt to start the engine.

I decided to unplug the 2 connectors on the board to test the amps and my finger touched a black box on the board (is that the flash?)  It was VERY hot after only those few moments at 5 and 8 volts.

With the connectors unplugged from the board I lifted the Z4000 to 18 volts... the amps were minimal .1 or .2.

So I guess I have a bad PS3 board.  I will call MTH Monday to see if they will make a warranty repair.  I thought about buying an inexpensive PS3 diesel (I found one for $200) and cannibalizing the PS3 board and selling of the rest as a dummy unit.  But my fear is that there is something else going on with the engine that caused the board to go bad.   Unless I can figure out what that something is... my feeble skills won't be able to diagnose much.   I'm good at remove and replace and my skills end there.

Thanks all for your ideas thus far.  I'm still open to other thoughts?

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

Well... Bad news from MTH.  They said unless I purchased the engine from an authorized MTH dealer, they would not warrant the engine.  They quoted $200 for a new PS3 board and $45 / hour labor and I would have to pay all shipping.

I can buy a brand new RK PS3 diesel for $229, cannibalize the board and sell the RK engine as a dummy further minimizing my costs. 

But it's hard to say what caused the problem in the first place AND would that cause the next PS3 board to fail.  Some have suggested ballast in the gears, but the flywheels, gears and wheels spin freely.

As of now the engine does not work in DCS or Conventional.  As soon as I near 8 volts the red light comes on the Z4000.  That indicates a short... Correct? 

I'm not sure what to do next.

Ron

 

 

 

Ron, If you want to send the board to me I can test board and see if we can get lucky, maybe a motor fet issue.   George

I purchased a mth F59.  It is stuck in idle. (I am using a conventional throttle).

the sounds work.  Compressor sounds work but when cycled to full power the horn stays on.   When power reduced the horn blows three times and stops.  Loco will not move.  When cycled the flywheel makes a very brief attempt at turning but not enough to move the loco.  I moved the flywheels by hand, no binding. 

I tried to factory reset by cycling 18 times but no change.

any ideas?

Safety Tom

I purchased a mth F59.  It is stuck in idle. (I am using a conventional throttle).

the sounds work.  Compressor sounds work but when cycled to full power the horn stays on.   When power reduced the horn blows three times and stops.  Loco will not move.  When cycled the flywheel makes a very brief attempt at turning but not enough to move the loco.  I moved the flywheels by hand, no binding. 

I tried to factory reset by cycling 18 times but no change.

any ideas?

Safety Tom"

OK, first we need to know the exact product number. If you don't know it, any info will help us find out what you have. If there's a sticker on the bottom saying PS2 or PS3 for example. If you have the shell off, what color is the battery. Any info helps. Any pictures of it especially the inside also helps.

the proper reset that may just help here, is one horn and five bell presses.

First I would make sure to charge the battery. Then I would do a test of killing the power, and seeing how long the sounds last when the engine shuts down.

Why is the battery unplugged?

 

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

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