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Anyone have any status/info on MTH R&D in Michigan? I've searched the web/OGR and haven't found much.

I ask because both the iOS and Android app versions (3.2.1) are 4+ years old which in software time is the Jurassic era. I'm wondering about:

  • Support for newer iOS/Android features
  • Functionality improvements:
    • Use the phone Bluetooth to control Lionchief+ stuff
    • Usability improvements (takes me 5 tries to click the upper left/right refresh icons)
    • Other capabilities, e.g. link to new parts website; social features; lots more I can think of
  • What happens when (inevitably) iOS or Android breaks the current version

I'm a long time software engineer with iOS, Android, big data, web and Raspberry Pi experience. If you are out there MTH R&D, I have availability having just finished a Pi project.

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Interesting you would mention this. App updates were just mentioned in a Legacy thread. Those updates will important as we go along with less physical remotes and rely more on smart devices.

I hope they'll move the 120MPH speed selection away from the direction selector haha I had some exciting times with that back in the day.

It was my understanding that DCS was going to spinoff into its own thing and keep going.

@Tim B posted:

Anyone have any status/info on MTH R&D in Michigan? I've searched the web/OGR and haven't found much.

I ask because both the iOS and Android app versions (3.2.1) are 4+ years old which in software time is the Jurassic era. I'm wondering about:

  • Functionality improvements:
    • Use the phone Bluetooth to control Lionchief+ stuff
    • Usability improvements (takes me 5 tries to click the upper left/right refresh icons)
    • Other capabilities, e.g. link to new parts website; social features; lots more I can think of
  • What happens when (inevitably) iOS or Android breaks the current version

I'm a long time software engineer with iOS, Android, big data, web and Raspberry Pi experience. If you are out there MTH R&D, I have availability having just finished a Pi project.

I ask because both the iOS and Android app versions (3.2.1) are 4+ years old which in software time is the Jurassic era.
The latest update was 11/6/2018 so 4+ years is actually less than 3.5 years. The Lionel iCab app is even older, should MTH release a new fluff version with no updates just so that the version and release date are newer? My dad still uses a DOS based spreadsheet program, because it work reliably and does exactly what he needs it to do, if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Support for newer iOS/Android features
What features? Maybe some form of voice control...

Use the phone Bluetooth to control Lionchief+ stuff
This would need licensing from Lionel, good luck getting that...

Usability improvements (takes me 5 tries to click the upper left/right refresh icons)
I don't have this problem, maybe an issue with your phone/touch sensitivity? Anyway, I usually go to the engine list screen and swipe down to refresh the engine list.

Other capabilities, e.g. link to new parts website; social features; lots more I can think of
My preference would be to remove the links to online content as those who use the WIU in MTH Mode will not have internet access anyway. I would like to see an API added to the app to allow interfacing a Bluetooth gaming controller to control app functions.

What happens when (inevitably) iOS or Android breaks the current version
Cross that bridge when we get to it, right now the current app still supports Android going back to version 4 and a fair number of older iOS version as well and the app also supports the latest versions of both Android and iOS. The bigger issue here is making sure that MTH remains in compliance with the licensing agreements set forth by Apple and Google so the app remains active on the stores. The Lionel camera app on the Google Play store is still MIA and Lionel won't respond as to why this happened or when it will return.

Last edited by H1000
@BillYo414 posted:

Interesting you would mention this. App updates were just mentioned in a Legacy thread. Those updates will important as we go along with less physical remotes and rely more on smart devices.

I hope they'll move the 120MPH speed selection away from the direction selector haha I had some exciting times with that back in the day.

It was my understanding that DCS was going to spinoff into its own thing and keep going.

Change the maximum speed to something 100. It will grey out the speedometer near the + icon and you won't be able to set it to "rocket" speed.

I designed my layout wiring to work both in analogue mode using the MTH hand held controllers, and computer wifi mode using Ipads and Iphones. I did this just in case I ran into technology issues, which I seem to do from time to time. I updated my computer that controls everything, and now cannot use the computer wifi system. This is solvable, however I have yet to figure it out. Will get things going again eventually with some help from others.

Then there is the issue of updating software (on any device) and running into unexpected compatibility problems. Or does this only happen to me? I believe I need to update my MTH DCS version, which I will do in the spring. This is easy and works well, the problem is I only do it every few years and keep forgetting the little details in the steps. I have all the chords in a separate labelled bag, so I don't get frustrated using the wrong connectors.

My biggest concerns are "if the app stops functioning" either due to iOS/Android API or legal changes and exactly what Landsteiner said. So both concern and disappointment. As for removing links/content from the app, there's no reason an update couldn't provide access to this while "offline" from the WIU/MTH-mode; I was just thinking that making the app more "fun" (sharing videos, pics, viewing schematics, buying stuff, ordering parts and lots of other ideas) would help grow the hobby (kids and their Tik-grams and such...) now excuse me I have to fire up Word Perfect to finish my in person account of the Hungarian Independence

What motivated me to post was I'm beginning Trainwreck V2 work (cleanup of V1) and planning V3 (expansion).

As for removing links/content from the app, there's no reason an update couldn't provide access to this while "offline" from the WIU/MTH-mode;
I don't know if I would try to make that much information available offline, the data storage requirement for it would be pretty massive especially if you are to include Parts diagrams, item descriptions. I scrapped the MTH website about a year ago and there is a lot of data on it.

I like the idea of integrating some of the online social media elements to help entice a younger generation but also I'm also weary of bloating an app with too much stuff that can cause other problems or unexplained crashes.  The KISS method has always been a good approach.

No don't be ripping on Wordperfect! I think dad has mastered the 1989 DOS version 5.1and now I'm thinking he's ready for a jump to a Windows version!

"the data storage requirement for it would be pretty massive" Here's how I'd do it (I agree that it is debatable what new/social/etc. features should go into an enhanced app) but if you did go this route, some ideas:

  • Add REST/JSON api to existing parts website (requires cooperation between Parts/R&D) and the app would use that data (no local storage)
  • Take a video using existing camera on phone => upload to cloud; MTH R&D could use S3, self-hosted or other storage provider; limit uploads to one/two videos or a handful of pictures and charge $ for anything beyond that
  • Make any video uploads "transient" and they get deleted after a day or a week or...
  • Integrate to existing social platforms, i.e. upload to The Facebork/Instagram/TikTok/etc so no storage on the MTH app back-end

It might actually be a whole new app. There really isn't anything extant that provides app-level train socialization (well, other than this mighty forum, but it's not an app unless I missed something).

In any event, here's hoping that MTH R&D has the ability to produce updates, if and when required; or back to the (no longer available?) handheld remote.

@Tim B posted:
It might actually be a whole new app. There really isn't anything extant that provides app-level train socialization (well, other than this mighty forum, but it's not an app unless I missed something).

In any event, here's hoping that MTH R&D has the ability to produce updates, if and when required; or back to the (no longer available?) handheld remote.

I was thinking they should also make the visual interface of APP customizable to the end user. If you don't like the big speedometer, change it to a simple + & - symbol with a digital speed readout or if you change the locations of buttons and functions on the home screen. I'd even add the ability to move sound & function shortcuts from other screens to the engine home screen per engine.

Whenever the app stops working on a given mobile OS I’m sure the answer will be “run it conventionally.”  The same thing will happen to Lionel’s new Base3.  All of these Bluetooth/Wi-Fi iThingies will be useless bricks in 20 years, as will the WIU, WTIU, and Base3.  It gives me no pleasure to state this fact, but such is technology.  

Since these are closed systems, the best we can hope for is that an open source project will get started to reverse engineer all this garbage.  Or commodity DCC electronics that work well with larger O sized motors.

Last edited by rplst8
@rplst8 posted:

Whenever the app stops working on a given mobile OS I’m sure the answer will be “run it conventionally.”  The same thing will happen to Lionel’s new Base3.  All of these Bluetooth/Wi-Fi iThingies will be useless bricks in 20 years, as will the WIU, WTIU, and Base3.  It gives me no pleasure to state this fact, but such is technology.  

Since these are closed systems, the best we can hope for is that an open source project will get started to reverse engineer all this garbage.  Or commodity DCC electronics that work well with larger O sized motors.

I certainly don’t share your pessimism about Lionel’s  Legacy control system. You say everything will be useless bricks in twenty years, yet I am running my new Lionel Legacy locomotives with a CAB-1 remote and base that are physically 25 years old. I’m not talking about the technology, I am talking about the actual remote and command base themselves. There is no basis to say that the CAB3 base you buy this year will not be operating 20 years from now.

The same thing for the CAB3 app, if you have it on your device, it will work, apps don’t just stop working. And even if for some strange reason it doesn’t, then use your CAB-1L hand held remote since Lionel will still have remotes.

I am very optimistic and excited about the future of the hobby and the technology is the key to that optimism. Especially after listening to Dave and Ryan at Lionel introduce the CAB-3. Lionel legacy is a thriving and growing system that is backward compatible as well. The best part is that even with all the technological innovations I still only need one wire to hook up. It is the future and it is what will bring new people into the hobby. DCC is a non factor for three rail, DCS has reached a dead end technology wise. New people will gravitate towards the CAB3, not DCS, because Legacy is evolving and thriving.

This is a great time to be excited about the hobby! The only reason why I would feel pessimistic would be if I had a room full of DCS locomotives. I would be asking myself: “now what do I do?”

After watching the CAB3 presentation, I think the best course of action for Atlas and the MTH DCS remnant company would be to try to work with Lionel to get their locomotives compatible so they can be run by the CAB3. There is no longer a real business case to have  a separate control system in the face of the CAB3. Atlas and MTH should also do it for the good of the hobby as well for their long term survival in the O gauge three rail market.

There is no doubt that both Atlas and MTH remnant would sell more locomotives if they could be run by the CAB3.

Last edited by Madockawando

And some of us just won't be reasoned with. I received a brand new MTH Premier sd70 yesterday and placed an order for a Cab3 and two Cab1L's. I'll try to recover from having more choices than just one vendor.

You are not alone. From reading the “What  are you a ordering?” thread lots of people are willing to spend $$ on the CAB3. I think it speaks well on how bullish people are on the long term viability of Legacy, Lionel the company and the hobby as a whole. Congratulations!

@MichRR714 posted:

DCS isn't dead...actually it's now being installed in Atlas engines instead of TMCC. I get so tired of the fanboys that feel it necessary to push their narrative!  It wouldn't surprise me if they went door to door with this tripe.

As for MTH DCS, I too would love to hear the latest from the west Michigan group.

DCS isn’t dead. But it has reached the end of the track as far as development is concerned.

But now it’s a great time for the hobby. Lionel and the hobby are doing great and the latest Lionel Catalog reflects that time of optimism. Be happy!!

You completely disregarded my purchase of MTH, as if you're on a mission.

You purchased MTH. Enjoy. But whether you and anyone else purchases MTH at this point is irrelevant as a bellwether to measure the health of the hobby. The ground the hobby is standing on shifted with yesterday’s Lionel catalog.

The new Vision Class A, the CAB3 remote, the incredible UP rocket booster train set are fantastic and would only be released by a healthy company and that is bullish on the train market. The release of the CAB3 in particular means that the future is bright for Command Control. That matters! Be happy! The hobby is doing well!

@MichRR714 posted:

DCS isn't dead...actually it's now being installed in Atlas engines instead of TMCC. I get so tired of the fanboys that feel it necessary to push their narrative!  It wouldn't surprise me if they went door to door with this tripe.

Atlas is thankfully keeping ERR TMCC in their engines and only installing DCS into the purchased MTH designed engines which came with it.

@MichRR714 posted:

DCS isn't dead...actually it's now being installed in Atlas engines instead of TMCC. I get so tired of the fanboys that feel it necessary to push their narrative!  It wouldn't surprise me if they went door to door with this tripe.

As for MTH DCS, I too would love to hear the latest from the west Michigan group.

Atlas will continue to offer TMCC (ERR) in their Trainman and Master models in addition to PS3 in their Premier models. I have to give credit to Atlas for appealing to everyone, including me who runs 2-rail DCC.

DCS will carry on and will remain a player for years to come. I don't think Atlas would've considered acquiring the DCS license if it was otherwise.

Yea, I've been waiting for the software upgrade for my ZW and 1033's for decades.  I am pretty much a Luddite to everything being run by computer or cell phone,  still using a flip phone as all I ever need to do is make and receive phone calls.   I also spent a career in electronics that spanned the tube era, to solid state to LSI and uProc run everything, and today, things that used to be simple and work well have been made overly complex.  The whole idea is to have fun with this hobby no matter if it is a ZW handle or a touch screen, and every persons RR is their own.

DCS isn’t dead. But it has reached the end of the track as far as development is concerned.

How so?  Be specific.

The ground the hobby is standing on shifted with yesterday’s Lionel catalog.

The new Vision Class A, the CAB3 remote, the incredible UP rocket booster train set are fantastic and would only be released by a healthy company and that is bullish on the train market.

I truly appreciate your enthusiasm for the hobby, and positivity about its future, but ...

@Madockawando, who's feeding you the kool-aid?  How much have you had?  (It's probably best to consume it in moderation.)

None of your statements above are verifiable.

Mike

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

The new Vision Class A, the CAB3 remote, the incredible UP rocket booster train set are fantastic and would only be released by a healthy company and that is bullish on the train market.

I wish that Lionel would actually make some new stuff besides the Cab3. Adding Legacy to something doesn't make it ground breaking when someone else has already made it.

https://mthtrains.com/20-20013-1

https://mthtrains.com/premier/spotlight/09_2015/a

@CALNNC posted:

Yea, I've been waiting for the software upgrade for my ZW and 1033's for decades.  I am pretty much a Luddite to everything being run by computer or cell phone,  still using a flip phone as all I ever need to do is make and receive phone calls.   I also spent a career in electronics that spanned the tube era, to solid state to LSI and uProc run everything, and today, things that used to be simple and work well have been made overly complex.  The whole idea is to have fun with this hobby no matter if it is a ZW handle or a touch screen, and every persons RR is their own.

I'm a hopeless case, still spinning vinyl through tube amplification. Talk about lack of remotes, I have to get up every 15 - 20 minutes and flip the music.

@catnap posted:

Atlas will continue to offer TMCC (ERR) in their Trainman and Master models in addition to PS3 in their Premier models. I have to give credit to Atlas for appealing to everyone, including me who runs 2-rail DCC.

DCS will carry on and will remain a player for years to come. I don't think Atlas would've considered acquiring the DCS license if it was otherwise.

DCS will continue, virtually unchanged, for a while. Not because the hobby needs it but rather because some are emotionally invested in it to let it go. But my point it is that the release of of the CAB3 by Lionel may cause Atlas to reconsider how the Command and Control landscape has change and how they may have to change with it.

@rplst8 posted:

Whenever the app stops working on a given mobile OS I’m sure the answer will be “run it conventionally.”  The same thing will happen to Lionel’s new Base3.  All of these Bluetooth/Wi-Fi iThingies will be useless bricks in 20 years, as will the WIU, WTIU, and Base3.  It gives me no pleasure to state this fact, but such is technology.  



Not necessarily. Look at DCC. It is considered old technology being developed in the early 90's and it is still going strong. Technology in model trains doesn't work in the same manner like it does in other parts of life. It could be that in 20 years all O gauge trains will have a small board in them that can be run in DCS mode, Legacy mode, DCC mode, or battery power mode and it will be half the size it is today. The user will be able to choose what system they prefer. My only hope-Is that I am here to see what happens!

DCS will continue, virtually unchanged, for a while. Not because the hobby needs it but rather because some are emotionally invested in it to let it go. But my point it is that the release of of the CAB3 by Lionel may cause Atlas to reconsider how the Command and Control landscape has change and how they may have to change with it.

Seems to me that you should give consideration to your own emotional investments.  I'm in this hobby for fun and there is more than one company, control system or way to enjoy the hobby.

@Lou1985 posted:

I wish that Lionel would actually make some new stuff besides the Cab3. Adding Legacy to something doesn't make it ground breaking when someone else has already made it.

https://mthtrains.com/20-20013-1

https://mthtrains.com/premier/spotlight/09_2015/a

Legacy makes it better! And with this catalog hobbyists could run eight different Class A locomotives as the same time with their CAB-3. Choices! Lot's of choices!

@Hudson J1e posted:

Not necessarily. Look at DCC. It is considered old technology being developed in the early 90's and it is still going strong. Technology in model trains doesn't work in the same manner like it does in other parts of life. It could be that in 20 years all O gauge trains will have a small board in them that can be run in DCS mode, Legacy mode, DCC mode, or battery power mode and it will be half the size it is today. The user will be able to choose what system they prefer. My only hope-Is that I am here to see what happens!

Is it going strong?? Or is it just going...

How so?  Be specific.

I truly appreciate your enthusiasm for the hobby, and positivity about its future, but ...

@Madockawando, who's feeding you the kool-aid?  How much have you had?  (It's probably best to consume it in moderation.)

Neither of your statements in the latter post above is verifiable.

Mike

Who wouldn't be excited about the latest Lionel catalog. It speaks volumes about how strong Lionel is at the moment and Lionel's confidence in the health of the hobby as a whole. This isn't catalog of a timid, cautious company. We should all be happy about that.

As for DCS: Can you name any recent technological upgrades to DCS?  Be specific as you say  

Legacy makes it better! And with this catalog hobbyists could run eight different Class A locomotives as the same time with their CAB-3. Choices! Lot's of choices!

Control system or not fact is Lionel is making models of things in O that already have models of them, not anything new. Plus I can run 8 different locomotives with TMCC or DCS at the same time, so nothing new there either.

I don't buy locomotives because of a specific control system or because they are a specific brand. I have locomotives with TMCC, Legacy, and DCS. I buy something because it fits with my modeling.

I certainly don’t share your pessimism about Lionel’s  Legacy control system. You say everything will be useless bricks in twenty years, yet I am running my new Lionel Legacy locomotives with a CAB-1 remote and base that are physically 25 years old.

I'm not talking about the remotes, I'm talking about the iDevices (i.e. tablets, smartphones) Base3 and WTIU. 

I’m not talking about the technology, I am talking about the actual remote and command base themselves. There is no basis to say that the CAB3 base you buy this year will not be operating 20 years from now.

If folks that are new to the hobby don't have a remote, they'll be missing out on the Legacy features once app development ceases or some new app renders the Base3 useless because WiFi standards change or something.  Keeping apps up to date isn't easy while Google and Apple continue to push their APIs and OSes forward.

Your Cab-1 works but many others have reached the end of their useful lives.  As electronics and technology advances it will be more and more difficult to repair these things as well.  It's already becoming difficult to source certain microcontrollers and even certain LEDs and things.  That said in 20 years, I'd rather be trying to repair a Cab-1 or Cab-2 than a smartphone.

The same thing for the CAB3 app, if you have it on your device, it will work, apps don’t just stop working.

Oh yes they do.  All the time.  Many apps phone home to a server to periodically check in and authorize it for use.  Others fail to work after upgrading the phone to a new version of the OS.  I have an iPad that is about nine years old and it is totally useless.  It's stuck on an older iOS version and most apps have ceased to work on it.

And even if for some strange reason it doesn’t, then use your CAB-1L hand held remote since Lionel will still have remotes.

Lionel will sell 1Ls until they don't.  I imagine that is soon reaching the end of it's manufacturing lifetime.  For all we know this could be the last run.

I am very optimistic and excited about the future of the hobby and the technology is the key to that optimism. Especially after listening to Dave and Ryan at Lionel introduce the CAB-3. Lionel legacy is a thriving and growing system that is backward compatible as well. The best part is that even with all the technological innovations I still only need one wire to hook up. It is the future and it is what will bring new people into the hobby. DCC is a non factor for three rail, DCS has reached a dead end technology wise. New people will gravitate towards the CAB3, not DCS, because Legacy is evolving and thriving.

The technologies are equivalent.  They'll last just as long as they're supported.

This is a great time to be excited about the hobby! The only reason why I would feel pessimistic would be if I had a room full of DCS locomotives. I would be asking myself: “now what do I do?”

Keep trolling.

After watching the CAB3 presentation, I think the best course of action for Atlas and the MTH DCS remnant company would be to try to work with Lionel to get their locomotives compatible so they can be run by the CAB3. There is no longer a real business case to have  a separate control system in the face of the CAB3. Atlas and MTH should also do it for the good of the hobby as well for their long term survival in the O gauge three rail market.

There is no doubt that both Atlas and MTH remnant would sell more locomotives if they could be run by the CAB3.

The industry should have adopted DCC long ago but the bullheaded, pretentious p***ing match continues to rear it's ugly head.

DCS will continue, virtually unchanged, for a while. Not because the hobby needs it but rather because some are emotionally invested in it to let it go. But my point it is that the release of of the CAB3 by Lionel may cause Atlas to reconsider how the Command and Control landscape has change and how they may have to change with it.

Pure speculation. You know nothing of what is going on at Atlas or even Lionel or anyone else for that matter yet you keep saying stuff as if it were fact. Troll.

As for DCS: Can you name any recent technological upgrades to DCS?  Be specific as you say

There are exactly zero technological upgrades in this new Lionel catalog.  Only band-aids.

The Cab-3 is simply a collection of existing technologies.  Some of them are tweaked a little, but nothing new.  4 Digit addressing in the N&W 'A' is hardly earth shattering.  The new CAB-3 app might be one, but we neither seen, nor more importantly played with, its features yet.

Mike

@Lou1985 posted:

Also the OP asked a DCS question in the MTH forum, so how is telling him all about Legacy Cab3 and Lionel's latest offerings helping?

Let's get back to the actual topic.

Sure, but in fairness to myself, I was not the first one to bring Legacy into this thread and I was giving an optimistic counterpoint to what I thought was a rather pessimistic assessment to it's future. Behold:

Whenever the app stops working on a given mobile OS I’m sure the answer will be “run it conventionally.”  The same thing will happen to Lionel’s new Base3.  All of these Bluetooth/Wi-Fi iThingies will be useless bricks in 20 years, as will the WIU, WTIU, and Base3.  It gives me no pleasure to state this fact, but such is technology.  

Since these are closed systems, the best we can hope for is that an open source project will get started to reverse engineer all this garbage.  Or commodity DCC electronics that work well with larger O sized motors.

There are exactly zero technological upgrades in this new Lionel catalog.  Only band-aids.

The Cab-3 is simply a collection of existing technologies.  Some of them are tweaked a little, but nothing new.  4 Digit addressing in the N&W 'A' is hardly earth shattering.  The new CAB-3 app might be one, but we neither seen, nor more importantly played with, its features yet.

Mike

Are you saying there was no engineering work that went into the CAB-3?

Are you saying there was no engineering work that went into the CAB-3?

Little.  Not much hardware design (off-the-shelf pieces appear to be plugged together and existing hardware modified), and some software design (to glue everything together) inside.  Nice industrial design outside though.

The app is a different story.  It may have been completely redesigned -- or not.

Mike

I remember the early days of the DCS APP I would video flaws in the app that I discovered and send them to MTH.  I’d get a thank you and we’ll look into it but I don’t think they ever fixed anything.  Well it’s been years since I’ve used the app.  Still on my phone and no plans to open it anytime soon.  So good luck, another part of MTH that’s in a black hole somewhere.

@Hudson J1e posted:

Not necessarily. Look at DCC. It is considered old technology being developed in the early 90's and it is still going strong. Technology in model trains doesn't work in the same manner like it does in other parts of life. It could be that in 20 years all O gauge trains will have a small board in them that can be run in DCS mode, Legacy mode, DCC mode, or battery power mode and it will be half the size it is today. The user will be able to choose what system they prefer. My only hope-Is that I am here to see what happens!

Lumping DCC in with DCS and TMCC is a fools errand.  DCC is an open system.  External parties can bring their stuff to the party and nicely with others.  Bluetooth and WiFi, should be this way, but are only over the short term because of evolving standards and security issues.

The app stores are a whole other ball of wax. They are a closed system that Lionel and MTH don't control.

@Hudson J1e posted:

Not necessarily. Look at DCC. It is considered old technology being developed in the early 90's and it is still going strong. Technology in model trains doesn't work in the same manner like it does in other parts of life. It could be that in 20 years all O gauge trains will have a small board in them that can be run in DCS mode, Legacy mode, DCC mode, or battery power mode and it will be half the size it is today. The user will be able to choose what system they prefer. My only hope-Is that I am here to see what happens!

Is it going strong?? Or is it just going...

        page 1

@CALNNC posted:

Yea, I've been waiting for the software upgrade for my ZW and 1033's for decades.  I am pretty much a Luddite to everything being run by computer or cell phone,  still using a flip phone as all I ever need to do is make and receive phone calls.   I also spent a career in electronics that spanned the tube era, to solid state to LSI and uProc run everything, and today, things that used to be simple and work well have been made overly complex.  The whole idea is to have fun with this hobby no matter if it is a ZW handle or a touch screen, and every persons RR is their own.

Yep! Running trains is always fun, either conventionally or command control. 👍

@Lou1985 posted:

Control system or not fact is Lionel is making models of things in O that already have models of them, not anything new. Plus I can run 8 different locomotives with TMCC or DCS at the same time, so nothing new there either.

I don't buy locomotives because of a specific control system or because they are a specific brand. I have locomotives with TMCC, Legacy, and DCS. I buy something because it fits with my modeling.

Buying locomotives all with the same control system is part of me keeping it simple for my layout. If it isn’t in Legacy now it will be probably happen later so I can wait.
However, if MTH would do a limited run of the  Central Maine and Quebec #1006 I would buy it in a heartbeat, no matter what the control system it has. So even I would make an exception for a road name that I really want. Any dealers willing to sponsor it?

https://www.pinterest.com/amp/pin/576883033497363711/

https://www.google.com/search?...vid:LsUNoZORc_c,st:0

@BobbyD posted:

Yep! Running trains is always fun, either conventionally or command control. 👍

OP here... agree with this. I run DCS, TMCC and (rarely) conventional. I just want to know what's up with MTH R&D and having lots of experience building phone apps and more want to see things kept current. I am independent (trains, phone OS and politics) and believe competition and choice are good things to have. I don't mind the Lionel talk in this topic though... it motivated me to dive into the latest Lionel catalog, and... uh-oh... I primarily model N&W and I don't have an A class. Looks like a pre-order for that (and CAB-3) needs to be discussed with the wife. Serendipity strikes though: She's currently on an all expenses paid vacation in the Mayan Riviera with girlfriends, so I have serious spouse points for (the other) objects of my desire.

@Tim B posted:

OP here... agree with this. I run DCS, TMCC and (rarely) conventional. I just want to know what's up with MTH R&D and having lots of experience building phone apps and more want to see things kept current. I am independent (trains, phone OS and politics) and believe competition and choice are good things to have. I don't mind the Lionel talk in this topic though... it motivated me to dive into the latest Lionel catalog, and... uh-oh... I primarily model N&W and I don't have an A class. Looks like a pre-order for that (and CAB-3) needs to be discussed with the wife. Serendipity strikes though: She's currently on an all expenses paid vacation in the Mayan Riviera with girlfriends, so I have serious spouse points for (the other) objects of my desire.

There you go!! Just pre order it.. she will understand!😉

I have been watching this thread with some interest.  R & D "in the small" is always challenging.  And MTH's investment in DCS has never, IMO, been very large (or large enough).  Nonetheless, whether we are talking about DCS or Legacy or some future system, I remain somewhat concerned about the “technology for technology’s sake” mentality in the hobby.

But let me explain.  I’m not a Luddite, either.  I’ve spent 40+ years in software development, 16 of them in the toll industry where reliability and accuracy is the entire ballgame.  I know first-hand what over-complicating systems and feature bloat can lead to – catastrophic breakdown and serious maintenance issues.  I am a firm believer in the KISS principle.

As food for thought, consider the electric car movement.  Right now, automobiles contain (and this is only going to increase) hundreds of thousands of lines of code (all from different sources, all component specific).  A friend, Dr. Robert Charette, has written extensively in IEEE publications about the implications of this dependence on software.  He thinks, and I agree, that we are about to relive the software crisis in the context of the modern automobile.  During the 1970's, 1980's and even through the 2000's, software errors led to catastrophic results in manned and unmanned aircraft and missiles.

Complexity is its own "reward".  We're seeing this in a small way in our model trains.

Just something to think about,

George

     somewhere it was said that this hobby is a RICH  MAN'S  HOBBY.        Maybe all of this is what is really hurting getting many of the young into the hobby ?

I don't know who tipped you off but YEP. Attitudes hinder a lot of young people from entering or at least in participating in certain groups.

@G3750 posted:

Nonetheless, whether we are talking about DCS or Legacy or some future system, I remain somewhat concerned about the “technology for technology’s sake” mentality in the hobby.



Agreed.

As far as the original inquiry, I was thinking the other day about the guys here that did some work to make Legacy work with Alexa. While I don't know the details on DCS R&D, I think these reverse engineering efforts will eventually be necessary down the road and I think that more and more people with the know-how will join the hobby as we go. I think we'll be ok. Of course, if Lionel and DCS went open source, these concerns would be entirely irrelevant because a determined person could always make a controller to accomplish what they want.

@G3750 posted:

But let me explain.  I’m not a Luddite, either.  I’ve spent 40+ years in software development, 16 of them in the toll industry where reliability and accuracy is the entire ballgame.

No offense, but the consequences of a screwup in development in the toll industry is a traffic jam.  The consequences of a screwup in my working career in avionics developing flight critical electronics is being featured in a headline about an airplane crash where a couple hundred people died!

No offense, but the consequences of a screwup in development in the toll industry is a traffic jam.  The consequences of a screwup in my working career in avionics developing flight critical electronics is being featured in a headline about an airplane crash where a couple hundred people died!

John, I'm not offended, but you are being a bit selective in your response.  I also mentioned electric cars.  Some of those are self-driving.  A screw-up there could cost lives.  And from the 1980's to present day, software screw-ups have occurred in various life-ending or financially painful scenarios from X-ray machines to FB-111 to Arianne rockets to Patriot missile batteries.

But since you selected "toll industry for $100", I'll inform you that the least significant consequence of a screw-up is a traffic jam.  A software screw-up is much more likely to cause one or more of the following to occur:

  • Thousands (or millions) of customers are improperly charged for their trips because vehicle classification (identification) is inaccurate or not working
  • Fares are incorrectly computed - either ticket or E-ZPass
  • Toll violations are attributed to the incorrect vehicles

Here's the impact:

  1. Thousands (or more) of angry customers flood the toll agency with demands for refunds.  That all costs time and money to straighten out.  Sometimes (e.g. WorldCom in New Jersey in 1997-8) that leads to lawsuits and calls from legislative bodies to disband the toll authority.
  2. Any credibility of the toll system gets shredded, affecting audits of toll takers and labor relations (if the toll collectors are unionized, for example).  You can't audit someone robbing the till because you'll lose in court.
  3. The toll authority gets an incredible amount of publicity - all bad.
  4. Depending upon the nature of the maintenance or warranty contract, the system provider could be liable for liquidated damages (typically an amount of $ / incident or period of time, e.g. $100 / hour / lane.  Toll highways typically have hundreds of lanes - you do the math).
  5. The toll authority might call the system provider down to a televised meeting and ask "Why are you such a ****-up?"

As my mentor told me years ago:  In the toll business, you are successful if no one knows your name.  I've been good and fortunate and I'm a ghost - not even a vapor trail. 

But John, you are right:  Nothing is so easy as the job you imagine someone else doing!  

George

@G3750 posted:
As my mentor told me years ago:  In the toll business, you are successful if no one knows your name.  I've been good and fortunate and I'm a ghost - not even a vapor trail. 

Well, I guess I was a successful ghost as well.  None of the equipment I designed ever showed up in any NTSB investigation of an airplane crash.   I'm not sure about the vapor trail, but I'm sure it's dissipated by now.

I have many MTH engines and will always stay with DCS.  I run both MTH Atlas and Lionel engines with DCS, which imo is the best system by far.  I have no interest in the bluetooth nonsense like Lion Chief or whatever.  My question is how will the new CAB3 base hook up with my DCS system.  Will it work like my Legacy base does with DCS?

@rdj92807 posted:

I have many MTH engines and will always stay with DCS.  I run both MTH Atlas and Lionel engines with DCS, which imo is the best system by far.  I have no interest in the bluetooth nonsense like Lion Chief or whatever.  My question is how will the new CAB3 base hook up with my DCS system.  Will it work like my Legacy base does with DCS?

Mostly yes, I assume you have a SER2 connected to your Legacy Base so if you connect that to the BASE3 and interface the TIU to the DB9 port on the SER2, it should work the same. I'd assume that this would also let you use your DCS system to control earlier Lionechief Bluetooth and RF engine through the BASE3.

@rdj92807 posted:

I have many MTH engines and will always stay with DCS.  I run both MTH Atlas and Lionel engines with DCS, which imo is the best system by far.  I have no interest in the bluetooth nonsense like Lion Chief or whatever.  My question is how will the new CAB3 base hook up with my DCS system.  Will it work like my Legacy base does with DCS?

Come to think of it, there is no mention by the catalog or in any of the podcasts or presentations by Lionel that the Base3 will be able to hook up with DCS. Maybe it won’t be able to? That will be interesting.

Come to think of it, there is no mention by the catalog or in any of the podcasts or presentations by Lionel that the Base3 will be able to hook up with DCS. Maybe it won’t be able to? That will be interesting.

Dave mentioned this in the catalog review with Ryan which is available on there youtube. I find it amazing all the misinformation and questions being answered by information they have already covered in videos they have produced.

Yes it will be able to connect but will require ser2 module plugged into the Base3.

Come to think of it, there is no mention by the catalog or in any of the podcasts or presentations by Lionel that the Base3 will be able to hook up with DCS. Maybe it won’t be able to? That will be interesting.

Dave mentioned that it will work but would require ser2 module he covered it in the catalog review with Ryan and should be on Youtube. I find it amazing how many people disregard the videos they produce that have valuable information in them.

Oh okay. Interesting. You are right there is a lot of information out there.

And, a lot of misinformation as well.  Rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated. 

Hi everyone.  MTH R&D here.  Jon Grasson, formerly with MTH, who posted earlier in this thread told me about this discussion.  I've been a little busy but, wanted to take this opportunity to reply to the OP and maybe clear up some things.

MTH R&D is alive and well in MI.  We're a little thinner on staffing given it's only a couple of us now.  I'm learning to really appreciate all the support we’ve had over all of these years.  So, please be patient as things are moving a little slower these days.  In addition, we had to wind down the previous version of MTH and that transition distracted some of us for a while.  Then there is this little thing called Covid.

In direct response to the OP regarding the app(s), they were recently fully updated for compatibility with current versions of both iOS and Android.  This review and update process was our first step in moving forward.  Stated plainly, we brought the apps up to speed with current mobile operating systems.  We will be releasing them within the next month or so.  We are in the testing and debugging phase at this point.

Looking forward, we, Mike Wolf and I, are indeed going forward with continued development and production of digital model train controls and supporting products.  As you are all likely aware, we've announced the WTIU or, Wi-Fi TIU.  This is a complete hardware redesign of the original TIU with integrated Wi-Fi.   

This redesign was necessary to bring the hardware up to date.  Many components were at or reaching obsolescence.  The hardware redesign is complete and we are testing and working on firmware.  With the firmware comes many new features.  Not the least of which are emulation of the Luci web interface for Wi-Fi configuration (custom network name, password, etc.) and firmware updates to the WTIU and WIU.  Also, you’ll be able to stream audio directly from whatever music service you have directly to the engines.  Further, file loading to the engines directly from our website.  So, updating sound files or engine firmware can be done directly from the app.

Other more practical features include variable DC track power, DCC pass through (think DCS Commander), Device Sync so all devices reflect the current state of operation, and a whole lot more.  But, first things first.  We want to get the new hardware and updated app that supports the new WTIU out first.

As you may have heard, we’re in a supply chain crisis.  Although, there are those in government that deny this, I can attest.  We are having difficulty getting parts to build engine boards.  Some components of the new WTIU are not available until late this fall.  We could have delivered this new product sooner but, it’s tough to make bread without flour.  We are doing everything we can to help ourselves but, there are a few small companies like Apple, Samsung, GM, Ford, etc., that seem to get priority over us.  The nerve.

In terms of other development, we have, at last count, about 18 new product ideas in the queue.  It seems obvious to add voice control.  This is a relatively simple one from where we are so, book it Danno.  A few that are not quite as easy are a new WZ4K.  Yes, you read that right, a Wi-Fi Z4K. How about an updated Wi-Fi DCS remote for those of you that prefer the dedicated tactile hand-held?  It will be compatible with the existing WIU, the new WTIU, and the WZ4K (way down the line).  There are more but, that’s enough for now.  Of course, these are substantial development efforts and are down the road a spell but, these are the kinds of things that are in the hopper.

There are a lot of other points in the thread that I could address but, alas, every minute I spend here is a minute I’m not spending getting these products developed and built.  So, please keep that in mind when you experience the deafening silence to new questions or posts.  I would really like to be readily available but, I just cannot be so, forgive me.  But, the fact is, we’re here and investing dollars.  On that note, I will respond to one poster who mused that MTH hasn’t invested enough in DCS and technology.  I think I can say with certainty that MTH has invested more in technology over the past 20 years than any other model train manufacturer.  I just think there is a general underestimation of what it takes to get this stuff done.  Our MIT engineers are expensive and in high demand.

Again, please be patient with us.  We’ll try to provide updates a little more often.

" add voice control.  This is a relatively simple one from where we are so,"

MTH R&D, good to hear from you again, esp[eciallym if you're the same guy.  But some day you may be sorry you said the above quote.  I have 2 cars that are supposed to be able to do certain navigation or communications via my voice command.  With all its assets the manufacturer hasn't been able to make good on this.  Even my car won't do as I say.

@RJR posted:

" add voice control.  This is a relatively simple one from where we are so,"

MTH R&D, good to hear from you again, esp[eciallym if you're the same guy.  But some day you may be sorry you said the above quote.  I have 2 cars that are supposed to be able to do certain navigation or communications via my voice command.  With all its assets the manufacturer hasn't been able to make good on this.  Even my car won't do as I say.

Hmmm….I’m not having that issue with my car, ……I stomp the pedal, and off we go!…😉

Pat

@MTH RD    DCS Watchdog signals request.

You guys already have a lot to do but it would be very helpful if there was a method to trigger sending watchdogs for some interval of time when a section of track is powered up, like whisker tracks around a turntable or parking sidings.  Or, could there be a separate small watchdog board that would supply this.

Thanks for your update! Maybe things will quiet down for a minute or two.

Last edited by turkey_hollow_rr

I'm a hopeless case, still spinning vinyl through tube amplification. Talk about lack of remotes, I have to get up every 15 - 20 minutes and flip the music.

Well, you're very up to date! What's old is new again. Tube amps are still being made, and among the newer ones there are many high dollar brands which are some of best amps there are. Many audiophyles prefer the smooth sound of tube amps over solid state. And vinyl has become very hot over recent years, with many companies designing and building extremely nice turntables to meet the demand. Many prefer the sound of vinyl. It's interesting to see the similarity, in that, there are many model railroaders who prefer trains - and their operating systems - from an earlier time.

Last edited by breezinup

Nice to hear that MTH is still moving ahead. Regardless of all the new technological whiz-bangs planned, though, it seems from the many posts which have been made for quite a while that a basic need folks want met is a new handheld control, in order to just run what they already have. That was mentioned - hope it's on the front burner. While these are exciting prospects talked about, it sounds like most of them won't be available anytime soon. Besides the many logistical issues, there's no getting around that it's a skeleton crew trying to do all these things.

More than technological advances, questions about far more basic operational matters like parts availability are a concern for those of us who have MTH engines and those who would consider purchasing more. Availability of adequate support for the MTH engines I already have is far more important to me at this point than some new feature that may be available in the  distant future.

This is not to diminish the positivity of comments from MTH R&D, and the reassurance it provides that things are moving ahead. There's still a heartbeat! I guess I'm more reassured, though, by the employment of Mike Reagan to attend to the more basic needs and getting those up and running, like an operational parts department and - hopefully - sources for them. Literally, the "nuts and bolts" of adequate continued operation.

dear mth r@d, since you have stated here that you are pursuing a wifi remote for those of us that want a remote with tactile feel in our hands. albeit not on the front burner right now. if it is only in the discussion phase of things to produce at this time. could we start a seperate thread hear on the forum. to address some of things we may want designed into a new mth wifi remote? just for you and mike  to take into consideration when you go to the design phase of that product. just asking.

@MTH RD Hi Jon, I have a question. First good luck with your new company. Now my question.

When it comes to rolling stock, I will happily purchase, MTH, Atlas and Lionel and I enjoy seeing that the latest custom run newsletter to see what's new from MTH. Why am I comfortable buying rolling stock from three different companies? Because the rolling stock all play together nicely.

Locomotives are a different situation. For one, they represent a significant investment compared to rolling stock so I of course have to be more selective with my purchases. Right now all of my locomotives are Lionel legacy. I have ten of them with two more on order. Why do I stick to Lionel? Primarily because I like the simplicity of having one command control system. I know that many people have both and if it works for them fine. For me, having more than one system on my layout is a level of complexity that I am not interested in. It is a real barrier for me to use my limited locomotive budget on a $500 to $600 locomotive that I would have to run conventionally like it's 1950.

So my question is: As Lionel develops the Base 3 and CAB-3 app is there anyway to develop the technology so that I will be able to operate an MTH locomotive with the CAB-3 app without a full on DCS system?  If there is an obstacle to this is it technical? Or is it a proprietary issue in that neither Lionel nor MTH will not allow this capability? I would be far more open to purchasing an MTH locomotive if I could run it with the CAB-3 app right out of the box.

For everyone else reading this. This is sincere question. I'm not trying to play stump the chump or start an emotional argument. 

@MTH RD

So my question is: As Lionel develops the Base 3 and CAB-3 app is there anyway to develop the technology so that I will be able to operate an MTH locomotive with the CAB-3 app without a full on DCS system?  If there is an obstacle to this is it technical? Or is it a proprietary issue in that neither Lionel nor MTH will not allow this capability? I would be far more open to purchasing an MTH locomotive if I could run it with the CAB-3 app right out of the box.

For everyone else reading this. This is sincere question. I'm not trying to play stump the chump or start an emotional argument. 

This is a question for Lionel not MTH.

Are you saying that Lionel could develop the capability to use the CAB3 to control DCS locomotives but won’t do it? So MTH allows third party apps like Lionel the CAB3 running DCS locomotives but Lionel allow it?

Why would MTH be able to comment about what Lionel plans for their Base3 or it's capabilities?  Ask Lionel!  Lionel is the biggest and most exciting train company right?  They can figure out DCS integration in a jiffy! 😉

Last edited by MichRR714

Ryan and Dave gave a great presentation on the Lionel base 3 tonight. They were asked a similar question about MTH engine operation and said the new system still requires a dcs and the appropriate connector. Watch it here -

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...5#158674373632701665

He is wanting to be able to control the mth engines with the cab 3.

@Madockawando yes this is something lionel would need to develop and they could if they chose too the information to do so is readily available and others are doing it here on the forum with a cab 2.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ing-lionchief-trains

MTH DCS has given everyone the ability to run TMCC/Legacy already and now you want them to develop away for to use with the cab3 thats rich.

If you have such a modest engine budget seems to me you backed the wrong horse in the hobby.

Last edited by Shawn_Chronister

I think this thread has descended into a grouchfest.

I have reached an age where I'm happy that my 2001 DCS system (all software upgraded, thank you) can control every MTH DCS loco I have ever bought (over 2 dozen), plus my ancient Lionels (add another 6, including pre-WWII).  I like the old style remotes which, while older technology, make the trains (many at a time) go where I want them to go, without my have to flash through screens.

No, I am not a Luddite.  I was one of the first users of a 2 WIU system, providing test data.  But it has been several years since I ran trains using them.  They sit on the layout blinking at me plaintively, while I run my trains.

I disagree this guy has always said how great Big L is and we are just giving the information he should have already known.

Your not a luddite you chose a system that was all inclusive from the beginning without nickel and diming you to run conventional.

I was in DCS from the beginning but I like the Legacy steam as well so I do both.

Last edited by Shawn_Chronister

Short answer:

No Lionel's system can't control DCS locomotives without a TIU because the 2 systems communicate differently.

Long answer:

TMCC/Legacy use one way radio communication. If you tell locomotive #2 to blow its horn the TMCC/Legacy base sends out the command "locomotive #2 blow your horn". Locomotive #2 sees the command and blows its horn. If it misses the command the TMCC/Legacy base has no way of knowing.

DCS is two way communication through the positive and negative rails. When you tell locomotive #2 to blow its horn the TIU sends the command out through the rails, the locomotive receives the command, it responds back to the TIU it got the command, and blows its horn.

The two systems operate differently, so without MTH electronics inside the Lionel Base 3 there's no way it's controlling a DCS locomotive. MTH has no incentive to do this, as they wouldn't sell any TIUs themselves.

A TIU can control a TMCC/Legacy locomotive if you hook the TIU to a Lionel TMCC/Legacy base using the proper MTH cable. The serial port on the Lionel base is designed to let a computer or something else input commands to the base instead of a Cab1, Cab1L, Cab2, etc. So basically the TIU is just sending commands to the Lionel base instead of the Lionel remote. I have all my PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives programmed into my DCS remotes. I can run any of my locomotives from a DCS remote with my TIU connected to my TMCC base.

So long of the short is if you want to be able to operate a DCS locomotive from a Lionel Base3 Lionel and MTH would have to get together and develop a way for the Base3 to talk to a TIU and tell it what commands to issue to DCS locomotives.

@Lou1985 posted:

So long of the short is if you want to be able to operate a DCS locomotive from a Lionel Base3 Lionel and MTH would have to get together and develop a way for the Base3 to talk to a TIU and tell it what commands to issue to DCS locomotives.

And I don't see that happening anytime soon. Lionel would spend lots of time, money and R&D to add features to an app & base so that their customers can buy someone else's product.

Yep, it looks like a dumping match from where I sit. Kudos to MTH for their answer and  yes I am excited about it. I run Conventional, TMCC, Legacy and DCS all from the DCS Side via remote or app. Some people are die hard MTH and others are die hard Lionel and NOTHING is going to change the crying either side does. Nothing but a big DUMP FEST. Stop and enjoy the hobby. Be happy there is competition as it is great for the hobby. ENJOY your trains however you run them and be happy for ALL control systems whether you use them or not.

@Lou1985 posted:

Short answer:

No Lionel's system can't control DCS locomotives without a TIU because the 2 systems communicate differently.

Long answer:

TMCC/Legacy use one way radio communication. If you tell locomotive #2 to blow its horn the TMCC/Legacy base sends out the command "locomotive #2 blow your horn". Locomotive #2 sees the command and blows its horn. If it misses the command the TMCC/Legacy base has no way of knowing.

DCS is two way communication through the positive and negative rails. When you tell locomotive #2 to blow its horn the TIU sends the command out through the rails, the locomotive receives the command, it responds back to the TIU it got the command, and blows its horn.

The two systems operate differently, so without MTH electronics inside the Lionel Base 3 there's no way it's controlling a DCS locomotive. MTH has no incentive to do this, as they wouldn't sell any TIUs themselves.

A TIU can control a TMCC/Legacy locomotive if you hook the TIU to a Lionel TMCC/Legacy base using the proper MTH cable. The serial port on the Lionel base is designed to let a computer or something else input commands to the base instead of a Cab1, Cab1L, Cab2, etc. So basically the TIU is just sending commands to the Lionel base instead of the Lionel remote. I have all my PS2, PS3, TMCC, and Legacy locomotives programmed into my DCS remotes. I can run any of my locomotives from a DCS remote with my TIU connected to my TMCC base.

So long of the short is if you want to be able to operate a DCS locomotive from a Lionel Base3 Lionel and MTH would have to get together and develop a way for the Base3 to talk to a TIU and tell it what commands to issue to DCS locomotives.

Thank you for taking the time to write a well thought out explanation. It’s far more helpful then someone else who told me: “It’s Lionel’s problem.”

So it seems that the obstacle to being able to control a DCS locomotive with a CAB-3 is technological, not necessarily proprietary.

For me, although there is plenty of MTH premier rolling stock in my future, it doesn’t look like there will be many MTH locomotives.

The exception I will make is that I will definitely buy a Central Maine and Quebec AC4400 #1001 and or 1006 if MTH makes one first.

Again, thank you for taking the time to answer the question properly.

Last edited by Madockawando
@rplst8 posted:

The Legacy system can already control MTH locomotives by using the Legacy PowerMaster.  I even think there's a way to control some of the advanced features using the MTH horn/bell sequences programmed into the Legacy CAB-2.

Do you mean conventional control changing track voltage? That would make if difficult to operate more than one locomotive on a block as well as Legacy locomotives on the same track.

How did this thread get turned around from MTH R&D Status to Lionel R&D Status?

Can we get back on track (pun intended)?

Mike

I sure don’t know. @MTH RD invited me to join this thread so I asked a question. I wanted his perspective on  if it will become possible to operate DCS locomotives with the CAB-3 just like TMCC/ Legacy locomotives can be operated with a DCS remote. Lionel has already said that the Base-3 will allow Legacy control through DCS. My question is for MTH. A “yes” answer will make it easier for me to decide to purchase DCS locomotives in the future.

Unfortunately, a select few decided that instead of being helpful they told me to pound sand and say “it’s Lionel’s problem.”

The good news one person took the trouble to give me a detailed technical explanation of the obstacles involved.

Last edited by Madockawando

He is wanting to be able to control the mth engines with the cab 3.

@Madockawando yes this is something lionel would need to develop and they could if they chose too the information to do so is readily available and others are doing it here on the forum with a cab 2.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...ing-lionchief-trains

MTH DCS has given everyone the ability to run TMCC/Legacy already and now you want them to develop away for to use with the cab3 thats rich.

If you have such a modest engine budget seems to me you backed the wrong horse in the hobby.

LoL!!    Okay

So disappointing to hear from MTH above in this thread that they don’t expect to have parts for new WTIU until fall. At least that seems to dispel all the April estimates that have been out there.  I am upset with myself that I have purchased any MTH engines while being unable to buy anything to run them with.  Ya I know I can get a TIU on eBay if I’m willing to lend over 800 bucks.

In the meantime I’m stuck trying to run with a DCS explorer manipulating delete and add only three engines at a time but only being able to run one at a time if I have lighted passenger cars because I am limited to 5 amps  I would run conventionally with supposedly comparable Lionel transformers I have but I and too afraid of blowing boards

Oh Well what are you going to do?

@Lou1985 posted:

So long of the short is if you want to be able to operate a DCS locomotive from a Lionel Base3 Lionel and MTH would have to get together and develop a way for the Base3 to talk to a TIU and tell it what commands to issue to DCS locomotives.

And this gets back to software. TMCC commands are open to the public. MTH was able to write software to issue TMCC commands to a Legacy base and have it transmit commands to Lionel engines.

DCS software is proprietary and protected. Not possible to write software to talk to a TIU without that knowledge so a Legacy base has no way to communicate with a TIU.

DCS software is proprietary and protected. Not possible to write software to talk to a TIU without that knowledge so a Legacy base has no way to communicate with a TIU.

It can be licensed just as MTH had to buy a license to use Legacy coding (this one is NOT open source like TMCC, you pay to play) for the DCS App.  I believe Dave Hikel & Atlas have both have licenses to use, develop and sell products with DCS coding.

Last edited by H1000

And this gets back to software. TMCC commands are open to the public. MTH was able to write software to issue TMCC commands to a Legacy base and have it transmit commands to Lionel engines.

DCS software is proprietary and protected. Not possible to write software to talk to a TIU without that knowledge so a Legacy base has no way to communicate with a TIU.

Ah, so that changes things bit. On one hand Lionel would have to do the engineering work in order to enable its CAB-3 to run SCS locomotives, BUT, while TMCC commands are open to the public, DCS commands are not, so if Lionel wanted to do the engineering work to run DCS with the CAB-3, MTH will not allow it for proprietary reasons. 

IMO, while MTH has every right to keep their software proprietary. However, I think it it would be in their interest to make their DCS commands public. Just looking at the history of the software platforms: Open source rules the world, proprietary software withers on the vine. If would be a win for everyone if MTH would make their DCS commands open to the public like Lionel has with TMCC.

- The hobbyist wins because now they can run all brands of trains with either DCS or Legacy or both.

- MTH would win because they would sell more locomotives to people like me and DCS would likely come into wider use.

And this gets back to software. TMCC commands are open to the public. MTH was able to write software to issue TMCC commands to a Legacy base and have it transmit commands to Lionel engines.

DCS software is proprietary and protected. Not possible to write software to talk to a TIU without that knowledge so a Legacy base has no way to communicate with a TIU.

Indeed.  Not too long after introducing TMCC Lionel elected to open its communication protocol and a specific hardware connection for use by anyone, using any hardware and/or software, to control TMCC, and later Legacy using TMCC, locomotives.   There are few restrictions, if any.

MTH, on the other hand, has not done the same for DCS.  The DCS protocol and hardware interface is considered proprietary, and so a formal license to use it must be negotiated with MTH before any party that wants to create or market a product to control MTH locomotives can do so.

Not requiring a license, MTH was free to add TMCC/Legacy support to it's control system.

Requiring a license Lionel was not free to add DCS support to it's control system.

Did Lionel ever conduct negotiations with MTH to license it's protocol and interface?  Very few, if any, of us know the answer to that question.  Would big money be necessary to secure the license if they did?  Most probably.

Or, it's possible that MTH simply said "Never".

And of course, it's also possible that Lionel never tried.

Mike.

Last edited by Mellow Hudson Mike

Let's clear the air:

LEGACY Code is NOT free open source, you must get/pay for a license to use it in your own products. Lionel does have the code available online for anyone to look at but if you want to build your own products that use that code to control Legacy equipment through a Lionel BASE, you need get permission and pay for a license.

MTH DCS Code can be licensed to be used in your own products for a fee much like Legacy code, just ask Dave Hikel & Atlas.

Last edited by H1000

Ah, so that changes things bit. On one hand Lionel would have to do the engineering work in order to enable its CAB-3 to run SCS locomotives, BUT, while TMCC commands are open to the public, DCS commands are not, so if Lionel wanted to do the engineering work to run DCS with the CAB-3, MTH will not allow it for proprietary reasons.

While MTH may have had access to the TMCC commands they still incurred considerable cost developing software to wrap those commands in some logical way.

Even with purchasing a license from MTH there is/would be considerable work required to produce a software package that works. That is two major costs.

The situation with MTH licensing and TMCC open source proves the adage that in business it is not always best to be first.

EDIT: my apologies if I've confused Legacy and TMCC. MTH can only talk TMCC to Legacy base.

Last edited by turkey_hollow_rr

EDIT: my apologies if I've confused Legacy and TMCC. MTH can only talk TMCC to Legacy base.

That's not accurate. The DCS App can send Legacy specific commands to Legacy locomotives through a SER2 connected to a BASE2 or BASE3. Not all Legacy commands are available, but most are.

MTH had to purchase a license from Lionel to gain this functionality with the DCS APP.

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

That's not accurate. The DCS App can send Legacy specific commands to Legacy locomotives through a SER2 connected to a BASE2 or BASE3. Not all Legacy commands are available, but most are.

MTH had to purchase a license from Lionel to gain this functionality with the DCS APP.

Thank you for that correction. I have no knowledge of the app, my reference is the remote and TIU.

"Lets not forget that this is "Mikes" ( a train guy)s control system. Legacy is owned by investors who have no interest in the products they sell outside of the profit in their portfolio.

Mike makes trains, Guggenheim makes money."

As far as I know this is incorrect and unfair.  Legacy was developed by Neil Young, Lou Kovach and Jon Z, amongst others.  These guys have their own layouts in most cases. To my knowledge, no one has ever reported Mike Wolf having a layout in his own home .

Amongst the current key players, Ryan K and Dave O are clearly train guys.  Ryan is particularly knowlegeable about prototype, as you will have seen a huge library of train books in his office.  To my knowledge, there is no equivalent amongst the current various MTH principals, although I'm not certain.



The inability of Legacy to control DCS/PS2-PS3 locos in command mode is a legal obstacle, not a technical obstacle.  Prior to licensing DCS to Atlas, MTH had refused to license it to anyone else, and indeed had threatened legal action to anyone who wanted to develop emulation software/hardware.  Maybe things have changed.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@RickO posted:

Lets not forget that this is "Mikes" ( a train guy)s control system. Legacy is owned by investors who have no interest in the products they sell outside of the profit in their portfolio.

Mike makes trains, Guggenheim makes money.

LoL, I hope MTH DCS makes money as well!! Companies don't last long on pipe dreams and well wishes. In fairness, though Lionel has some great train folks working there. Just like I am sure , MTH Trains, MTH DCS and MTH parts has great train guys and gals as part of their team.

@Landsteiner posted:


As far as I know this is incorrect and unfair.  Legacy was developed by Neil Young, Lou Kovach and Jon Z, amongst others.  These guys have their own layouts in most cases. To my knowledge, no one has ever reported Mike Wolf having a layout in his own home .

LOL, Neil Young Lou Kovac, and JonZ have as much involvement in 2021Lionel as JLC does.

But o.k.. You win. I don't want to muddy up this Mth R&D thread. Have a great weekend!








@Landsteiner posted:


Amongst the current key players, Ryan K and Dave O are clearly train guys.  Ryan is particularly knowlegeable about prototype, as you will have seen a huge library of train books in his office.  To my knowledge, there is no equivalent amongst the current various MTH principals, although I'm not certain.

I've been to MTH's former HQ a few years ago, and saw his office (as well as the 'executive washroom' ). While he did not have a library in his office space, a large collection of train books was in the room behind his, where most of the staff worked during the company's heyday. Many of these no doubt showed up in the warehouse auctions, as there were a lot of books put up for sale in them.

---PCJ

Indeed.  Not too long after introducing TMCC Lionel elected to open its communication protocol and a specific hardware connection for use by anyone, using any hardware and/or software, to control TMCC, and later Legacy using TMCC, locomotives.   There are few restrictions, if any.

This is 100% patently false.  The TMCC communications protocol is NOT open to the public.  The connection/interface to the command-base however is.  You can write software and/or make hardware that comms with the base to your hearts desire, but you STILL need a TMCC or Legacy base to communicate with the Locomotives and TMCC accessories.

MTH, on the other hand, has not done the same for DCS.  The DCS protocol and hardware interface is considered proprietary, and so a formal license to use it must be negotiated with MTH before any party that wants to create or market a product to control MTH locomotives can do so.

Not requiring a license, MTH was free to add TMCC/Legacy support to it's control system.

While MTH did use the open TMCC base serial communications to communicate with the base, the Legacy system is IN NO WAY open and had to pay for a license to make it work.  It requires (in addition to a Legacy command base) the SER2 interface and PDI power cable.

Ah, so that changes things bit. On one hand Lionel would have to do the engineering work in order to enable its CAB-3 to run SCS locomotives, BUT, while TMCC commands are open to the public, DCS commands are not, so if Lionel wanted to do the engineering work to run DCS with the CAB-3, MTH will not allow it for proprietary reasons.

It wouldn't matter if MTH made a command interface similar to the TMCC base serial port and opened it to the public.  DCS is a two way protocol and Legacy isn't capable of that.

Last edited by rplst8

DCS will continue, virtually unchanged, for a while. Not because the hobby needs it but rather because some are emotionally invested in it to let it go. But my point it is that the release of of the CAB3 by Lionel may cause Atlas to reconsider how the Command and Control landscape has change and how they may have to change with it.

They might if they were allowed to use Legacy level technology, but Lionel has not licensed that, thus Atlas is using TMCC level. Lionel never licensed legacy technology, if they did then this statement would have some truth to it. PS 3.0 is more modern than TMCC, for sure, and Atlas has the ability to use that. If they want the most recent technology, they would switch totally to PS 3.0 *shrug*. I don't have a dog in this fight, I am not a Lionel fan boy or an MTH one, just pointing out the reality of what Atlas has available. 

@Landsteiner posted:


The inability of Legacy to control DCS/PS2-PS3 locos in command mode is a legal obstacle, not a technical obstacle.  Prior to licensing DCS to Atlas, MTH had refused to license it to anyone else, and indeed had threatened legal action to anyone who wanted to develop emulation software/hardware.  Maybe things have changed.

I will not even address the parts of your post that are conjecture and potentially libelous in the company of model train enthusiasts.

That said, the inability is not merely legal.  It is also technical and financial.  Technically DCS is a TWO WAY communications protocol.  Which is why MU consists and other positive ack commands work so well on it.  Legacy is a one way protocol.  It would likely take a lot of engineering on the part of Lionel to update their CAB-2 software (for a remote that is discontinued) to even deal with this, or potentially a separate module to communicate with the TIU properly.  Also for Lionel, what is the financial benefit?  Zero.  If they would add this functionality, they would just have opened the door for all of their "Lionel Only" fans to start spending money elsewhere on engines.  For MTH, what financial benefit could MTH receive from investing in creating a way to even control the TIU externally?

Lionel chose to open their system with the ability to control it via the serial port.  This option, no matter what, still requires purchasing their command base.  They also REVERSED that decision when they released Legacy, requiring MTH (or anyone else) that wanted to play in their sandbox to pay for a license.

@bigkid posted:

They might if they were allowed to use Legacy level technology, but Lionel has not licensed that, thus Atlas is using TMCC level. Lionel never licensed legacy technology, if they did then this statement would have some truth to it. PS 3.0 is more modern than TMCC, for sure, and Atlas has the ability to use that. If they want the most recent technology, they would switch totally to PS 3.0 *shrug*. I don't have a dog in this fight, I am not a Lionel fan boy or an MTH one, just pointing out the reality of what Atlas has available.

Lionel (to my knowledge) never licensed the use of Legacy in for use in another manufacturer's locomotives. They did however license a subset of the interface communications to MTH, which allowed MTH to add Legacy functionally to their WiFi smartphone/tablet app which is enabled through the purchase of a Lionel Legacy command base, a Lionel SER2 device, and a Lionel LCS PDI power cable.

@rplst8 posted:

Wrong.  The "TMCC commands" are not "open to the public".  The control interface to the command base is.  That's all, and it doesn't support Legacy.

I could write code using this. But like it says, retired.

The Legacy Protocol Spec

I agree that MTH probably did pay a fee to develop a commercial product so for them it was available but for a fee. Still, you and I can write our own software with Lionel's blessing.

"Using this document and an SER2 module, anyone can write code and send both TMCC and LEGACY commands to their train layout. "

My point was we can't do that with DCS since it is license only, and probably steep enough we can't afford it.

I could write code using this. But like it says, retired.

The Legacy Protocol Spec

I agree that MTH probably did pay a fee to develop a commercial product so for them it was available but for a fee. Still, you and I can write our own software with Lionel's blessing.

"Using this document and an SER2 module, anyone can write code and send both TMCC and LEGACY commands to their train layout. "

My point was we can't do that with DCS since it is license only, and probably steep enough we can't afford it.

Anyone can write code and interact with the Lionel BASE unit as they please, but as soon as you develop a product to bring to market, you will be paying Lionel a big fee or royalties.

The MTH DCS code has been reverse engineered by someone on the forum. He has created and release software that will operate DCS engines using a TIU. No legal action has been brought against him because he is not selling anything and not making any money from MTH's proprietary work.  It's all free and available for anyone to download and use as long as you buy the needed off the shelf hardware that you need to build & program yourself.

Last edited by H1000
@rplst8 posted:

Lumping DCC in with DCS and TMCC is a fools errand.  DCC is an open system.  External parties can bring their stuff to the party and nicely with others.  Bluetooth and WiFi, should be this way, but are only over the short term because of evolving standards and security issues.

The app stores are a whole other ball of wax. They are a closed system that Lionel and MTH don't control.

Bluetooth and Wifi are constantly evolving standards, that is true, but the thing is that for example WiFi 6 maintains backwards support for all the prior wifi standards, like n, ac, etc . Bluetooth does the same thing, it extends but if you have a bluetooth device connecting to one with a more modern version of bluetooth, it should work and usually does.

Yes, you can have problems with Apps and IOS/Android OS upgrades. While like any OS they try and maintain backwards capability to allow older apps to work, there will come a time when an older app may fail.  The other issue is there as well, there does come a time when an older device won't be able to run a new version of the app because it has an older ops system and can't upgrade. I realize some people keep old hardware and such and are happy with it, but you also can't expect it to run newer applications forever, it is the nature of how things move on. So someday, yes, you might have to buy a new Ipad or Iphone or android device, expecting something from 10 years ago to run something from today is kind of ridiculous IMO.

So a couple of points:

1)If we get to the point that the Lionel or MTH apps no longer work with the latest generation of OS's, then basically that means they have stopped supporting the product, which would be big problem because most people end up updating their iphones and ipad and android systems, either the OS or to a new device. Hopefully if they ever did get to that point, they might make it open source so others can update it to work or add new features, otherwise it will basically end up a brick.

I doubt this, for a lot of reasons, it seems like if and when the app no longer works, they will issue updates.

2)You have the same problem with proprietary systems using controllers, you are even more at their mercy with that. Sure, your 1997 TMCC command base and controller might work great, but for example, you are limited only to the TMCC command set. If the controller breaks, good luck trying to fix it....the key thing here being you lost support for what you have, and if it has a problem, like an App if you upgrade your os, it means you can be out of luck.

The nice part about the software approach is that it is relatively easy to fix an app to run under a new OS , it is a lot cheaper and easier than maintaining a physical remote, that if a part is defective they have to recall the unit and fix it, if it is a manufacturing process issue, even a bigger headache. Also very costly, something like keeping their app compatible with newer os's can be farmed out pretty easily (new features they may want to keep in house). And if let's say MTH or lionel ever 'goes out', they likely would release the technology to the public domain or sell it to someone who will maintain it IMO.

@H1000 posted:

Anyone can write code and interact with the Lionel BASE unit as they please, but as soon as you develop a product to bring to market, you will be paying Lionel a big fee or royalties.

The MTH DCS code has been reverse engineered by someone on the forum. He has created and release software that will operate DCS engines using a TIU. No legal action has even been brought against him because he is not selling anything and not making any money from MTH proprietary work.  It's all free and available for anyone to download and use as long as you buy the needed off the shelf hardware that you need to build & program yourself.

Well, I think they've managed a few commands. I applaud their fortitude but personally I'm not looking for that kind of a project. I believe I mentioned developing a commercial product would probably require a license fee.

@bigkid posted:

Bluetooth does the same thing, it extends but if you have a bluetooth device connecting to one with a more modern version of bluetooth, it should work and usually does.

Bluetooth 1.0 thru 2.0 devices are rapidly falling out of support with newer devices that have Bluetooth 5.0 hardware and protocol stacks installed. My trusty old Bluetooth 2.1 Headset worked just fine with my old Android phone that had Bluetooth 4 but has frequent connection problems and very unreliable with any phone that has Bluetooth 5.

On another note, the current Lionchief app (at least for android) has serious problems with older phones that do not support Bluetooth 5. The app store claims it works on phones with Android versions as old as 4.4 but none of those phones have Bluetooth 5 support and the app crashes when trying to detect an engine.

Last edited by H1000

Well, I think they've managed a few commands. I applaud their fortitude but personally I'm not looking for that kind of a project. I believe I mentioned developing a commercial product would probably require a license fee.

If you are referring to the DCS control project, he has managed much more than just a few commands, you can pretty much run the whole system, modify sound files to your liking and customize the on-screen controls: http://www.silogic.com/trains/RTC_Running.html

Lionel is more than welcome to develop a commercial product to run DCS engines and pay licensing fees to do so but will they?

Last edited by H1000

No offense, but the consequences of a screwup in development in the toll industry is a traffic jam.  The consequences of a screwup in my working career in avionics developing flight critical electronics is being featured in a headline about an airplane crash where a couple hundred people died!

Not to mention that every software project has different criteria around it, or any kind of critical project. When the Challenger disaster happened, they talked to range safety officers and they mentioned that the fail rate on unmanned shots was like 5%, and on manned it was about 1. There are different standards when it comes to critical and relatively non critical systems, and GRJ is right. My dad worked for Bendix, they did work with Avionics with McDonnell Douglas and others, and the standards were much higher than for normal software development, always has been, it was a lot more rigorous.  I also will add that software development itself has changed a lot, the languages being used, the tools available, especially robust test suites and the procedures for building and testing are light years from back then...and even then, the number of catastrophic failures you mention were very small; they make big headlines.

The big problem often isn't reliance on software, it is bad management, the 737Max is the classic example, they rushed the project through, they had to redo the software involved because of a radical change to flight characteristics, it was tested, and both software engineers and test pilots flagged a major problem, that was basically ignored, and one feature that should have been a basic safety inclusion with the plane, was sold as an expensive add in by marketing geniuses.

Has technology made us vulnerable? It always does, if we have a burst of EMF we are all screwed. When we switched to cars we were dependent on gasoline being available, when we switched to electricity more and more of our daily lives are based on it, lose it, and it isn't pleasant.

"I will not even address the parts of your post that are conjecture and potentially libelous in the company of model train enthusiasts."

You've been on the forum since 2018 according to your profile.  The events I'm referring to go back 20 years .  And are in no way libelous in the least. Just statements of events discussed widely in the hobby.  Perhaps these individuals were making it up, but I recall people posting letters from MTH's lawyers telling them clearly not to consider interfering with their intellectual property.  Perhaps these letters were phoney, but given the litigious state of the hobby in the late 1990s and early 2000s, these reports seem credible as evidence that MTH did not, in the early 2000s at least,  want anyone messing with their DCS system, with or without licensing.

"That said, the inability is not merely legal.  It is also technical and financial. "

There is no technical obstacle, because no one is suggesting making their own TIU, but simply mapping Legacy/TMCC/etc. commands to TIU inputs, which has been demonstrated as feasible by various people, at least according to them. The obstacle is also not wanting to spend millions on another lawsuit, so it is financial in that sense.

Personally, it's not a big deal.  If you look at the Lionel catalog and the Atlas catalog, one definitely has the impression that they own or are leasing more MTH tooling than MTH is using.  If MTH R&D or whatever they are going to call the DCS company doesn't want to allow anyone (Lionel included) to build a Legacy handheld or cab3 app to issue commands to the DCS WTIU, I doubt anyone is going to go to the mattresses with them about it.  It's clearly legal to do that, but who wants to spend time and money in potential court battles?  Been there, done that, Lionel has the T-shirt .

Allowing third parties to develop remotes, apps, etc. to talk to the WTIU will likely increase MTH and Atlas PS3  loco sales, not decrease them.  So by not allowing this all along, they likely have hurt no one but themselves, in my view.  This refusal to license DCS initially has discouraged individuals like myself  (who were invested in TMCC beginning in 1994-96) buying any significant number of PS2/3 locos and DCS when it  hit the market in 2000-2002 for simple reasons of convenience.  In case you are interested, Mike Wolf was publicly negative about command control when TMCC was initially marketed and said there was no need for MTH to develop such capabilities.  He soon changed his mind, which is a sign of adaptability and to his credit.  But in my opinion, they should open up access to the DCS system with minimal charge.  It will help their and Atlas's sales of PS3 locos and, of course, any TIU related products they make going forward.  Not exactly rocket science.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@H1000 posted:

If you are referring to the DCS control project, he has managed much more than just a few commands, you can pretty much run the whole system, modify sound files to your liking and customize the on-screen controls: http://www.silogic.com/trains/RTC_Running.html

Lionel is more than welcome to develop a commercial product to run DCS engines and pay licensing fees to do so but will they?

Can you say with certainty that MTH DCS would be happy to license DCS? I am asking because the one person who could have answered many questions about this @MTH RD has gone AWOL from the discussion. So to be clear, someone at MTH DCS told you that they would be willing to license DCS to Lionel?

@Landsteiner posted:

"I will not even address the parts of your post that are conjecture and potentially libelous in the company of model train enthusiasts."

Good thing since you've been on the forum since 2018 according to your profile.  The events I'm referring to go back 20 years .  And are in no way libelous in the least. Just statements of events discussed widely in the hobby.

That said, the inability is not merely legal.  It is also technical and financial. "

There is no technical obstacle, because no one is suggesting making their own TIU, but simply mapping Legacy/TMCC/etc. commands to TIU inputs, which has been demonstrated as feasible by various people, at least according to them. The obstacle is not wanting to spend millions on another lawsuit, so it is financial in that sense.  Personally, it's not a big deal.  If you look at the Lionel catalog and the Atlas catalog, one definitely has the impression that they own or are leasing more MTH tooling than MTH has left.  If MTH R&D or whatever they are going to call the DCS company doesn't want to allow anyone (Lionel included) to allow a Legacy handheld or cab3 app to issue commands to the WTIU, I doubt anyone is going to go to the mattresses with them about it.  It's clearly legal to do that, but who wants to spend time and money in potential court battles?  Been there, done that, everyone has the T-shirt .

Frankly, allowing third parties to develop remotes, apps, etc. to talk to the WTIU will increase MTH loco sales, not decrease them.  So by not allowing this all along, they have hurt no one but themselves, in my view.  It has stopped individuals like myself who were heavily invested in TMCC in 2002 when DCS hit the market from buying any significant number of PS2/3 locos for simple reasons of convenience.

I agree. It has shown time and time again in software that "Frankly, allowing third parties to develop remotes, apps, etc. to talk to the WTIU will increase MTH loco sales, not decrease them."

Can you say with certainty that MTH DCS would be happy to license DCS? I am asking because the one person who could have answered many questions about this @MTH RD has gone AWOL from the discussion. So to be clear, someone at MTH DCS told you that they would be willing to license DCS to Lionel?

They already have licensed it to other parties, like Dave Hikel & Atlas.

Why wouldn't MTH be willing to sell Lionel a license?? as you said earlier "MTH would win because they would sell more locomotives to people like me and DCS would likely come into wider use."

I don't see how it benefits Lionel much, They have to develop updated software for their remotes and apps, probable release a new LCS hardware module to handshake with the TIU and pay MTH a licensing fee just so that their customers can buy someone else's product.

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

Lionel is more than welcome to develop a commercial product to run DCS engines and pay licensing fees to do so but will they?

I don't see why they would at this point. MTH coming in as the unknown needed to be able to sell it as a bit more than just another proprietary system in an attempt to create market share. Lionel doesn't need to care about controlling MTH engines.

Anyway, I don't now any more that anyone else and I don't like mixing hobbies and business. I'm glad we have the choices we have to have some fun.

All of this kind of reminds me of the candy wars on the history channel.   Hershey was selling chocolate to Mars and after a few years turned onto Hershey's biggest competitor.

@H1000 posted:

They already have licensed it to other parties, like Dave Hikel & Atlas.

Why wouldn't MTH be willing to sell Lionel a license?? as you said earlier "MTH would win because they would sell more locomotives to people like me and DCS would likely come into wider use."

So you really don’t know for sure but are making an educated guess. But I do agree that licensing DCS to Lionel would be a win for everyone, to include MTH DCS. But are they willing to license DCS to Lionel so that the CAB-3 could control DCS? We need to hear from MTH DCS company to know for sure.

So you really don’t know for sure but are making an educated guess. But I do agree that licensing DCS to Lionel would be a win for everyone, to include MTH DCS. But are they willing to license DCS to Lionel so that the CAB-3 could control DCS? We need to hear from MTH DCS company to know for sure.

When these deals get made, the public is the last to know and much is hidden in NDA's that prevent prospective licensees and current licensees from discussing the details. Last year our firm wanted to get a license to use a popular auto steering system found in the automotive industry, unfortunately that's about all I can disclose because we had to sign NDA before negotiations even began and I can't even confirm or deny that we were granted a license from REDACTED.

MTH doesn't have to tell us anything. Why can't Lionel confirm or deny that they attempted to acquire a license from MTH and were denied?

Last edited by H1000
@H1000 posted:

When these deals get made, the public is the last to know and much is hidden in NDA's that prevent prospective licensees and current licensees from discussing the details. Last year our firm wanted to get a license to use a popular auto steering system found in the automotive industry, unfortunately that's about all I can disclose because we had to sign NDA before negations even began and I can't even confirm or deny that we were granted a license from REDACTED.

MTH doesn't have to tell us anything. Why can't Lionel confirm or deny that they attempted to acquire a license from MTH and were denied?

You right that "MTH doesn't have to tell us anything" But given the level of interest this question has generated why wouldn't they just tell us? As for Lionel, I am going to the Big E train show next week so I will ask Ryan if I get a chance.  I will post what Lionel has to say about it. However, wouldn't MTH want to get their story out first?

You right that "MTH doesn't have to tell us anything" But given the level of interest this question has generated why wouldn't they just tell us? As for Lionel, I am going to the Big E train show next week so I will ask Ryan if I get a chance.  I will post what Lionel has to say about it. However, wouldn't MTH want to get their story out first?

Please stop trolling.  Really just stop!

You right that "MTH doesn't have to tell us anything" But given the level of interest this question has generated why wouldn't they just tell us? As for Lionel, I am going to the Big E train show next week so I will ask Ryan if I get a chance.  I will post what Lionel has to say about it. However, wouldn't MTH want to get their story out first?

IDK, Maybe a NDA was signed that prevents either party from talking about it regardless of the outcome?

Last edited by H1000

You right that "MTH doesn't have to tell us anything" But given the level of interest this question has generated why wouldn't they just tell us? As for Lionel, I am going to the Big E train show next week so I will ask Ryan if I get a chance.  I will post what Lionel has to say about it. However, wouldn't MTH want to get their story out first?

Be sure to also ask Ryan is there anyway to develop the technology so that I will be able to operate Lionel engines with a DCS tiu without having to buy a lionel CAB1/2/3 base.  If there is an obstacle to this is it technical? Or is it a proprietary issue in that neither Lionel nor MTH will not allow this capability? I would be far more open to purchasing an Lionel locomotive if I could run it with the DCS TIU without the CAB-1/2/3 base right out of the box.

For everyone else reading this. This is sincere question. I'm not trying to play stump the chump or start an emotional argument.



Definitely report back to us what he says.  Thanks!

"I would be far more open to purchasing an Lionel locomotive if I could run it with the DCS TIU without the CAB-1/2/3 base right out of the box."

Ain't happening is my educated guess.  What possible motivation would Lionel have for doing this?  Not to mention the cost to MTH of developing the hardware and software to enable the TIU or WTIU to talk directly to TMCC/Legacy locos.  I suspect MTH could make it so that future generations of TIUs could talk to Bluetooth Lionel locos, since that is a non-Lionel protocol.

Lionel appears to be perfectly happy to allow the MTH TIU to talk to the command base for TMCC/Legacy locos. Contrarily,  that's what MTH has not allowed for the 20 years of existence of DCS.  I cannot buy a device that allows my command base for TMCC to talk to a TIU because MTH wanted it that way, presumably.  Unless they change their mind .

OP again... here's what I've learned asking about MTH R&D in Michigan:

  1. They live!
  2. App updates on the way
  3. Interesting product pipeline
  4. We can't have nice things immediately: Re-organization, staffing, Covid and supply chain melt-down
  5. Any simple question leads to a thousand other (sometimes unrelated) answers and more questions
  6. DCS app will be able to control some Legacy features (I did not know that)
  7. Pretty sure everybody want a universal remote controller of everything, and all the good/bad that goes with that
  8. We're all going to miss Midge in MTH parts - she hasn't been mentioned on this thread yet, but nearly everything else has, so I'll give her a shout out