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Hi all,

I just got a used MTH Pioneer Zephyr and discovered that it has a Protosound board.  I don't know what version it is as the train came without a manual.  The train will light up and make sound but there is no movement.  I opened it up and there is what looks like a 9 volt battery.  I pulled it out and there was some green gunk around one of the terminals. I tested the battery and it reads 6 volts.  I assume that means it's dead?

I do not have DCC remote control, just TMCC or conventional control.  If I leave the ProtoSound board in for the meantime, what does it take to make the train run in conventional mode?  I'm not getting clear answers using Google.  I will eventually convert to TMCC.

Any help would be appreciated.

Roger Elliott

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+You should discard the old battery and replace it with a new MTH green colored battery or even better a BCR capacitor replacement. The MTH battery part number is 50-1008. The BCR can be purchased from J&W Electronics. Go to their website for an education on why the BCR is better than a battery. I have the same Zephyr and after putting in a BCR it has run fine for years. Good Luck.

Be aware that it may already be too late. Once the power is cycled with a dead battery, the proto one system can get its brain scrambled.

You can usually fix that with a special repair chip that MTH makes and sells to anyone.

If the loco is proto two, usually no harm is done, but you still need a battery or a BCR to make the train run.

You can use any 9 volt battery to test the system, but only leave the correct rechargeable, or a BCR in the loco.

Last edited by RoyBoy

The only MTH Premier engines that were vulnerable to the "scrambled chip" problem were the Shay, Big Boy, and the Santa Fe and L&N F3 units. When you replace the dead or dying battery be sure and stay below 10 volts when you try to cycle out of neutral to forward or reverse. The Zephyr did NOT have the chip problem.

OK, So I got the Pioneer Zephyr to move but only with the head unit, the coach and the observation car connected.  After fiddling with the wiring I have continuity from the head unit all the way to the observation car with the coach in it.  Put the whole thing on the rails and it will make sound and have lights but no motion.  Take out the coach and it runs.... weird.  Anyone else have any similar issues?


I don't know if this helps, but I recently got an M1000 set. Now here's the kicker, the wiring was backwards somewhere in the system of cars. It's 4 pin connector, the center two wire are 3rd rail and ground, the outer two powered the rear motor. Somehow somebody replaced a cable and it was wired such a way the keyed plugs were soldered backwards wiring thus shorting the rear pickup and frame and reversing the motor direction thus fighting the engine. Just wondering if somehow you too have a mismatched system with a railcar and the motor is fighting the engine up front.

A check is to plug the tail car directly into the engine, Caution, check for shorting or current draw on track power up. If that passes, lift the rear truck and try to get the engine to spin and see if this reversed motor syndrome is hitting you too? Wondering how many of these are miswired and or get mismatched sets.

if the 2 motors were fighting each other with the other cars connected that would tend to indicate you might have the motor wires between the cars rolled or reversed so front motor is trying to run forward while rear motor is trying to run in reverse ! I would check or ohm out the harness's and   disconnect the boards and ohm out from motor to yellow n white wires in engine all the way threw to the last car and see it stays the same, I would suspect something is rolled or open between the from engine to the last coach with the rear motor wiring!


OK, so I finally found the problem.  One of the plugs had a wire connection that was not gripping the pin well enough so there was faulty connection that would come and go.  Hence, the reason why I would get continuity when I had the train upside down but then it wouldn't run on the track indicating no continuity.  So I puled the wires out of the plug and crimped the connectors and put them back in and now it runs with all four sections.

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