Skip to main content


I'm having a rather frustrating bug with my Premier UP Challenger #3985 (20-3687-1) from 2017.  It has PS3, steaming whistle, and appears to be nearly identical to the latest run from this year.  I bought it new old stock a few years ago and have only put about 140 scale miles on it (partly due to this bug).

The bug is this: The engine runs flawlessly for the most part except it will randomly lose connection with the DCS system.  When this happens, the engine will keep doing whatever it was last commanded to do, so if it was moving at 20 smph, it will keep going that pace indefinitely.  If I was blowing the whistle, the whistle will keep blowing indefinitely.  When I've had this happen, which could be after two minutes of running the engine, or after half an hour - totally random - the engine does not respond to DCS remote commands.  Pressing the "read" button on the remote triggers the "engine not on track" warning.  The only way to stop the engine is to cut power to the track.  As soon as I do that and the sounds shut off, when powering back up the engine runs normal again until the problem returns.  Also of note, this is the only engine in my collection that has this issue, so I believe the problem not to be related to my layout or DCS system.

I saw an older thread about the same issue with the same run of engine, and the OP said the issue was fixed with a new drawbar.  I replaced mine with a brand new one but it still exhibits the same behavior.  I've also removed the engine and tender shells and checked the wire connections leading to the drawbar and can't spot any issues.

Any suggestions?

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I had this issue, not with this particular engine, but with a PS3 diesel. A forum search pulled up a post about the red power wire being too close to something on the board. I cut the zip tie holding all wires together and pulled the red power wire away from the board and out of the wire bundle. The darn engine has worked flawlessly since. The experts here will know more about the specific issue. Migh be worth a try??


Thanks for the replies.

@GGG I'll check the wiring around the coil.  That would be on the main board in the tender, correct?  Certainly hope it isn't the board...seems a pity to replace the board on such a new engine, especially since it works flawlessly most of the time.

@LT1Poncho Interesting, sounds like the same suggestion as GGG.  I'll give it a look over.

I suppose as a test, if you flip the DCS/DCC switch on a DCS engine while it is operating, then switch it back, should it require a power down and restart to get the engine to work properly and respond to DCS? If so, that would kind of point to something with the switch or its wiring since those are the symptoms I’m having.  If not, it would tend to point to something else.  I will look into it once I have the chance.

@GGG Will do.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Didn't know it could damage anything but I'll definitely avoid that.

@rustycoupler I already swapped out the drawbar with a known good one and it didn't help.

@Jon G I was actually doing a signal text once when it cut out.  Went straight from 8-9 strength to losing connection with the engine.  By saying you had a few, do you mean this run of Challengers?  With the older thread on this forum about this exact same issue with one of these 2017 Challengers, I'm thinking it may be an issue plaguing this run.

@Lou1985 Good suggestion, thanks.  I noticed the files are a lot newer than the engine, so they have presumably been updated since the engine was produced.  I'll give it a whirl.

Unrelated, but I've noticed the steaming whistle on this one only works when using the quillable whistle, unlike the newer MTH steam engines I have that do it when pressing the standard whistle button as well as the single, double, and triple toots and grade crossing whistle.  Any idea if the new chain files would fix that?

Update: I flashed the engine with the updated chain files last night.  After proceeding to run the engine for about an hour, the problem has not returned.  I will continue to monitor and post if the issue returns, but it appears the new chain files fixed the glitch completely.

As an added bonus, the updated files support activating the steaming whistle any time the whistle is blown like the latest MTH steamers, and not only when using the quillable whistle.  Killed two birds with one stone!

Thank you all for your help.

Add Reply

This forum is sponsored by MTH Electric Trains

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
800-980-OGRR (6477)

Link copied to your clipboard.