MTH PCC trolley lost bell, horn and door sounds

I bought an MTH PCC trolley from a friend of mine to give to another friend for Christmas. The trolley hadn't been run for many years so I pulled the power truck off, cleaned and greased the gears and wheels, put it on the track with my reconditioned LW transformer and it ran like new.  I only know postwar Lionel and after fussing with the whistle and horn buttons got the door sounds, horn and bell working but after about a half hour these features stopped working so I replaced the battery with a conventional 9 volt unit but no luck even after I put the MTH battery back in and it registered 8+ volts.  The trolley changes directions and the lights go on and off depending on direction.  I don't see any burnt spots or other damage to the circuit board. Do these boards just give it up after many years on the shelf ? Thanks!  Bill Makel

Original Post

Ok first off, is your proto battery green or white, if white, DO NOT use it, as it will cause more harm. Ask me how I found out. Second, is the unit protosound, protosound 2, or protosound 3? The answer will make it easier for us to help you. Three, can you please post the part number.

Railfanning PA, New Jersey, and Delaware since 2010.

Bill,

How can I find which protosound it is.

First, if the battery is white, it's either a PS1 or early PS2.

Regardless, there are a few ways to make the determination exactly:

  • Look at the box.
  • Look at the instruction booklet.
  • Look for a sticker on the bottom of the PCC car.
  • Use the MTH item number, xx-xxxx-x, to look it up on MTH's web site (or post it here and someone will look it up for you)..

Barry

 

DCS Ambassador & author of The DCS Companion series of books

Train-Ca-Teers - All For O and O For All!

 

Ok, could you please post some pictures of the internals of the model? This might allow us to help you with the problem. Have you checked the lead wires going to the speaker(s) in the model? If not, check them for any possible loose connections or damage. Also, a very simple error could be the volume pot may be turned down, or the unit just needs to be reset. If you can, reset the trolley to reset #6. 

https://mthtrains.com/sites/de...shooting%20chart.pdf

Railfanning PA, New Jersey, and Delaware since 2010.

Bill:

That's a good suggestion to do a reset first that NS6770fan posted above but I believe reset #6 just restores the engine volume.  As I understand it you’re not hearing ANY sounds in addition to not hearing the engine sounds.  I remember doing reset #18 on my PS-1 motive power and I just checked the manual for my MTH PS-1 Pittsburgh PCC and it says that reset #18 will restore everything to factory defaults.  Therefore I would suggest you try a reset #18 first before disassembling again. 

And once you get it running for your friend, buy a BCR for it and your friend will never have any battery problems with their possible devastating consequences in the future.  He will also need some of the pages from the manual to trigger the station stop sounds.  I can scan mine and email the pages to you when the time comes.

Bill   

Quick question, is this what the trolley does? Just for clarification. Skip to 1:51 in the video

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3sG7KSLYkgM

If so, the guy that made this video put a new “top board” in the locomotive and it worked fine as it appeared. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W2tXFt1Ew6Q

 

Railfanning PA, New Jersey, and Delaware since 2010.

To reset the unit, most likely as the guy in the videos used the Z-4000. You might be able to take it to your LHS if they have a setup that works with ps1. They might be able to reprogram it. If you want buy more units like this in the future, it might just be worth it to purchase one. Could you post pictures of the top board in the unit and the speaker please? Also check the speaker to make sure nothing is stuck on the front of it due to it being magnetic.

Railfanning PA, New Jersey, and Delaware since 2010.

Bill Makel posted:

Makes no sound at any voltage setting. Do I need a programmable transformer to fix this..  Bill

Bill,

Your LW should be able to reset it as I use a postwar ZW.  Since you don't have a manual, I'll scan the relevant pages from mine and post it for you tomorrow. 

Bill

Bill:

I scanned and attached as a pdf file the entire manual for my 1998-era Pittsburgh PCC #30-2505 with Protosounds (aka PS-1).  Your Los Angeles PCC came out in 2000 and I believe it was the last PCC MTH made with PS-1 so this manual should be appropriate for yours.  Note that each scanned page is two pages from the book so in the directions below I’ll be referring to the page number printed on the bottom of each book page.

First regarding resetting: the general reset instructions start on page 13.  Note that they refer to a chart of compatible transformers on page 28 and that your LW is listed as compatible.  The specific instructions for doing a #18 reset are on page 18 (coincidently).  Follow those instructions and once you have completed a reset hopefully your trolley will operate correctly. 

However, I won’t guarantee success as those PS-1 operating systems were very problematic in addition to being complicated to operate compared to traditional post-war Lionel.  If you’ve been on this Forum for awhile you’ve probably read many posts about members having problems with their PS-1 motive power and that many of their PS-1 locomotives are now “shelf queens”.  One common problem was scrambling of the main chip when trying to run it on a low battery due to inadequate charging of the original rechargeable battery.  Ask me how I know!  Which is why many PS-1 owners bought and installed BCR’s in their equipment.  Those are 3rd-party add-ons that aren’t covered in the manual.  Ever since I installed a BCR I haven’t had any problems.  So don’t waste your money on a new battery.

I believe that battery issue was one reason MTH came out with PS-2, a completely redesigned operating system.  I have several PS-2 trolleys and locomotives which operate well. 

If you do get it running the instructions for activating the station stop or Trolley Announcements (TAS) start on page 9.  But as shown in the book you will need a modern Lionel #6-5906 Sound Activation Button to trigger those announcements.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Bill

Attachments

Files (1)
Operating Instructions for MTH #30-2505 PCC Streetcar with Protosounds (PS-1)
Bill Makel posted:

Thanks Bill, that is information I need. One guy suggested replacing the installed white battery with a green one. Is this a good idea and where can I purchase one.  Bill Makel

You should not even power up any PS/1 or early PS/2 locomotive with the white battery!  Those are WAY past their useful life and can only cause you grief!  The "One guy" was correct, replace the battery!

The instructions on page 18 mention setting the transformer in RESET mode. An LW has no reset mode.  Turned the transformer on with the trolley in neutral, rotated the throttle lever between high and low voltage eighteen times, , heard the trolley click each time I changed the voltage, heard some clink and clank sounds  after rotating but still no luck on engine sounds. I'm giving this to a friend for Christmas who is not a train person and as long as the lights and directions work she will be happy with it.  Thanks for your good help.  I have several of these LW and TW transformers that I have overhauled including a diode conversation. If you know of anyone who needs one let me know.   Bill Makel

Bill Makel posted:

The instructions on page 18 mention setting the transformer in RESET mode. An LW has no reset mode. 

Actually the instructions on page 18 say to put the engine (i.e. TROLLEY) in “RESET” as you are not resetting the transformer, you are resetting the operating system in the trolley.  

Turned the transformer on with the trolley in neutral, rotated the throttle lever between high and low voltage eighteen times, , heard the trolley click each time I changed the voltage, heard some clink and clank sounds  after rotating but still no luck on engine sounds. 

You said the trolley was in NEUTRAL.  Are you sure it was in NEUTRAL and not in RESET.  On a PS-1 system there is a difference between RESET and NEUTRAL states of the reversing unit as explained on page 4 of the manual.  When you are doing a Protosounds Reset, the trolley’s reverse unit has to be in the RESET state, not in NEUTRAL.  Based on your results it sounds like it probably was in RESET and not in NEUTRAL.  But why not try it one more time making sure it is RESET and not in NEUTRAL.    

My comments are in italics above.  Like I said before the original Protosounds system was problematic and complicated to operate. 

While it may be too late in your case, the message to other readers which I’ve seen posted on this Forum often is stay away from PS-1 trolleys and locomotives.

Bill

The instructions said to put a conventional alkaline battery in as a temporary fix if the factory one is more than five years old. This trolley hadn't run for over ten years so I gave it the last gasp try.  After conventional battery installation it would only run in one direction so I put the original back in. Time to throw in the towel, got the lights and directional working and only paid $25 for it so around the tree it goes this holiday.  Thanks again for your encouragement.  Bill Makel

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