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@Jeff Green posted:
So PS2's will start any length or weight of train unless they actually can spin their wheels from the weight. PS3 will not start a long heavy train no matter how many PS3 engines you have on the headend because they all will "stall".

I'm not sure where you get your information, but it's certainly not correct.  There is nothing about the PS/3 electronics or operation that precludes it from starting and pulling just as well as a PS/2 locomotive.

I just performed a little test.  I have the MTH 20-20385-1 UP AC4400CW diesel sitting in my yard, so I pulled it out and put my scale on the coupler.  It was able to immediately start pulling from a dead stop and apply 35oz of drawbar force, a respectable amount. 

I then tried the same test with the PS/2 MTH 20-20141-1 SD70ACe diesel and got a drawbar force of 32oz, pretty similar.

@Gorgeman posted:

Ive been reading these posts... I have a brand new out of the box restoration Big Boy ... remote will not find it ...  very frustrating ... I would heave it ..but it's so dang heavy ...

Sorry if in advance this troublehooting was stated, I'm trying to catch up in this topic as this is a new request I saw.

#1 ensure the drawbar tether connector is FULLY seated at both ends. Yes, I said both ends, at the engine I've seen the wire harness zip tied up with no slack suck that there was tension and the 6 pin connector becomes unplugged into the drawbar. At the tender side, it's the whole articulating coupler design that has the harness plug mechanically attached, but again,that drawbar has to be fully seated up against to ensure the electrical connections are made. By far, this is the most common error.

#2 Yes, 2 Rail/ 3 Rail switch comes into play and must be set to 3 Rail. That said, never hurts to move it back and forth a few times.

#3 We don't know what track and what conditions we are dealing with for signal and power specific to your layout. Example, if running Atlas or Gargraves track which is delivered without bonding the 2 outside rails to each other, did your feeders or wiring make that bond? In other words, other than the wheels and hopefully a 3 rail switch in the tender trying to bond all this, do we have redundancy?

#4 Have you attempted to run conventionally by disconnecting DCS or running on a test track with just an conventional transformer?

Last edited by Vernon Barry

FWIW, I've personally only seen one of these recent new MTH Big Boys. All I can state is my sample size is one, it ran fine out of the box on our club track which is tubular and thus common both outside rails. We saw no signal problems or any other detail out of place. It simply worked well but that is not to say we tested under similar conditions with isolated rails for an entire layout or track. We do have one section for a level grade crossing with insulated rail sensing for the flashers (MTH) but again, no issues noted.

@Jeff Green posted:

On the issue of it not pulling good at low speed, this is not a problem with the engine as that's how it is made to work.

Few may know, unless you pull long heavy trains, that all PS3's stall when too much load is applied at low speeds. The old PS2's were stump pullers and would keep appling more amps to the motors until the speed was reached. Because of this PS2's would throw traction tires if you ran them in lash-ups as they would fight each other some. PS3's don't do this, because they stall, and you will not see the traction tire issue on them.

So PS2's will start any length or weight of train unless they actually can spin their wheels from the weight. PS3 will not start a long heavy train no matter how many PS3 engines you have on the headend because they all will "stall".

The good about this is PS3's are great to run in the middle or rear of a train, like they do in PSR or rear helpers in real railroading, because they will not wreck the train by pushing in the slack. PS2's would wreck a long train if you ran them at the end or middle because they were not a perfect speed to each other and if the head engine had just a blip, the rear engine would push the train in past the slack.

For diesel lash-ups, putting one PS2 in the headend with other PS3's helps to start the train by pushing the PS3's past their stall point.

So depending on what you want to do can make a difference rather a PS2 or PS3 is the best engine to use.

Whaaaa?

I think you may be experiencing a certain model's issues?

Posting that PS3 boards are weaker doesn't jive with my experience. Maybe a cheaper Railking's steam boiler board or tender board is coming into your post?

I don't like your authoritative post that states some finding of yours that is not true for me. Just my opinion.

Whaaaa?

I think you may be experiencing a certain model's issues?

Posting that PS3 boards are weaker doesn't jive with my experience. Maybe a cheaper Railking's steam boiler board or tender board is coming into your post?

I don't like your authoritative post that states some finding of yours that is not true for me. Just my opinion.

Well, the RailKing boards are exactly the same as the Premier boards so that shouldn't be a factor.  The Railking models tend to be lighter, so that would likely be a much more significant factor I suspect.

Also, I have never seen this effect with PS/3, and it's truthfully never been brought up before.  I know my Premier Big Boy from the 2017 catalog has pulled 70 freight cars, and yes from a dead stop.  My many other PS/3 locomotives have never exhibited any pulling power issues from dead stop as well.  Finally, as per my previous post, I did a little impromptu test and also did not see anything to validate this opinion.  I believe this is either a one-off issue with a specific locomotive or an old wives' tale.

I can assure everyone I'm not here to cause any problems and why I rarely post anything. I am just sharing what I have seen but I do run very long trains on grades. What I have said is correct in how a PS3 performers vs a PS2 in those conditions.

My Big Boy sample size is also one of one, so maybe I got the one made on a Friday before a holiday. I'm a big MTH fan/supporter and have had great success with their products for decades.

Last edited by Jeff Green
@Jeff Green posted:

I can assure everyone I'm not here to cause any problems and why I rarely post anything. I am just sharing what I have seen but I do run very long trains on grades. What I have said is correct in how a PS3 performers vs a PS2 in those conditions.

My Big Boy sample size is also one of one, so maybe I got the one made on a Friday before a holiday. I'm a big MTH fan/supporter and have had great success with their products for decades.

I'd do some more testing as I've never seen or heard of this kind of behavior unless there was an underlying issue with the specific locomotive.  I have about 40 PS/2 and PS/3 locomotives, spread pretty evenly between PS/2 and PS/3.  I've also done at least 100 or more PS/2 or PS/3 upgrades.  In all of those instances, properly running locomotives never exhibited any propensity to stall on starting with a load unless the load was truly more than the locomotive could reasonably handle.

Stalling with any significant load would indicate to me that most likely there is a poor connection somewhere and the high resistance joint could be causing a loss of power just when you need it the most.

However, when I'm testing engines on the bench, I can grab the flywheel and totally stall the locomotive upon starting.  The current to the motor(s) goes way up, and there is clearly plenty of torque available.  I can't apply enough pressure to the wheels in most cases to stop the motors unless I use something to prevent injury to my hand.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

Last post on this as don't want to get off topic.

John, send me an e-mail address I could send a video to you and you can see on the same track with the same train the difference in a 2 or 3. I think the difference in what we may see are the conditions the engines are used in, I know we both believe we are right and may be in different conditions why that could be. The number of cars are not created equal, it depends on what cars you are pulling. I have Atlas well cars for my stack train and while it's not the longest train being pulled, it is very heavy and has very little slack in the train, so it's harder to pull and start than trains 30 cars longer. It's not a power issue to the track or other factors or the PS2's would have the same power issue and both would do exactly the same thing as you suggest.

I only shared this opinion because I have seen the same issue as the author to this thread stated. I would also hope we can all share our experiences to help others.

Last edited by Jeff Green
@Jeff Green posted:

Last post on this as don't want to get off topic.

John, send me an e-mail address I could send a video to you and you can see on the same track with the same train the difference in a 2 or 3. I think the difference in what we may see are the conditions the engines are used in, I know we both believe we are right and may be in different conditions why that could be. The number of cars are not created equal, it depends on what cars you are pulling. I have Atlas well cars for my stack train and while it's not the longest train being pulled, it is very heavy and has very little slack in the train, so it's harder to pull and start than trains 30 cars longer. It's not a power issue to the track or other factors or the PS2's would have the same power issue and both would do exactly the same thing as you suggest.

Jeff, no offense, but one video isn't going to prove anything.  As I stated, since you have a sample of one, I'd first look for issues with that particular engine.  I know of no characteristic of the PS/3 boards, steam or diesel, that would account for what you describe.  I'm fairly certain that I've seen a lot more of these than most folks on the forum, hundreds have passed through my hands over the years, I've been an MTH ASC for nine years for Henning's Trains, not to mention my personal fleet.  I've compared the PS/2 and PS/3 in similar diesels, just to see if anything showed up, and my 2017 Premier Big Boy has successfully pulled a 70 car train around a very big layout with grades starting and stopping many times.  Perhaps @GGG or @Jon G could chime in as they both have extensive experience with both PS/2 and PS/3.  If there really is something to your contention, one or both of those guys would almost certainly know about it.  I personally believe you are wrong, but I'm willing to be convinced if there is something to the your belief.

@Jeff Green posted:
I only shared this opinion because I have seen the same issue as the author to this thread stated. I would also hope we can all share our experiences to help others.

The OP has a totally different issue based on the 3/2 rail switching, it has nothing to do with pulling power.  I'm pretty sure I share a lot of experiences and help in this and other forums.

@jini5 posted:

GGG yes it is ps3 the latest MTH restoration big boy in glossy paint. It wont run at all if the firemann/conductor side outer rail is not connected to ground via z4000/TIU.( DCS wont find the loco). I don't believe it is up to me to go into this loco and void the warranty. Rich at MTH reached out to me in an email but I have not heard back from him in a few days. Not sure where I am at with this. When I do get it to run it will not pull worth a s.....! I am comparing this new p3 loco to my p2 big boy. My p2 will walk up my grades at 5 SMPH  with 7 Lionel 21" cars and a heavy diecast tender. This new p3 will barely if at all make it up the grade at 5MPH with only the diecast tender. So there are more issues with this loco. Hopefully MTH gets back to me. Looking like it will go back to my dealer probably for a refund. Not happy I waited over a year and find myself out of luck. This is why I don't care for built to order.

Adding to my post above........In regards to pulling power......I downsized my grades......I went from a 6 3/4 rise in 8' to a 5 1/2 rise in 8'.  This now allows the restoration BB to go up this grade smoothly in as little as 3 Scale MPH.  The steeper grade was making the wheels slip even with new traction tires. A few times I could even get it to stall. Keep in mind I am pulling 7 Lionel 21" cars and a heavy die cast AUX tender. I still have not pinned down my ground issue that I talked about in the first post of this thread. I still am not too certain about opening the tender due to warranty  being voided. MTH has not reached out to me yet. It has been a few weeks. I guess I could just return it for a refund per the warranty since my dealer does not do repairs. Heres a few pics

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So, the grade changed from  7% to 5%. In my world 3% is too much. For others its 1.5%  I am rather curious how long is the transition from  flat to 5% ?  Its a long engine so short transitions might have some of the wheels off the rails at various points. I cannot imagine trying to run my BB up a 5% grade let alone then wanting it to have any kind of pulling power.

Holy cow!  Small wonder it could be having pulling power issues!  My grades are 2.4% and 2.5%, and I really wanted to keep them to 2%, but I didn't have the space.  I'm with @ScoutingDad, 3% should really be your ceiling if you are pulling any significant sized consists.  Also, you have to remember the grade easement into and out of the grade, the steeper the grade, the longer the easement has to be!  I chinsed on my easements for my grades and used about three feet, they should have been a bit longer, but I had no problems.  However, for a 5% grade, I'm amazed you can make the transitions at the bottom and top without issues in that short a space!

Holy cow!  Small wonder it could be having pulling power issues!  My grades are 2.4% and 2.5%, and I really wanted to keep them to 2%, but I didn't have the space.  I'm with @ScoutingDad, 3% should really be your ceiling if you are pulling any significant sized consists.  Also, you have to remember the grade easement into and out of the grade, the steeper the grade, the longer the easement has to be!  I chinsed on my easements for my grades and used about three feet, they should have been a bit longer, but I had no problems.  However, for a 5% grade, I'm amazed you can make the transitions at the bottom and top without issues in that short a space!

So my grades are too steep. I get it. I knew all along it is not protypical. But I can't tell my P2 bigboy, challenger, daylight, and my p1 Big boy (upgraded to proto2) that the grade is too steep. They seem to laugh at the small task they have been asked to do. I expect the p3 to do the same. This is only a temporary layout and when I build my permanent layout I will be a little more realistic. My ramp is made from styrofoam and rises 5 1/4" in 8' and back down again. I have discovered just today (shortly before typing this) that the p3 restoration big boy seems to pull OK around the layout.....until......I turn on the smoke unit. Then it slows and doesn't want to pull anymore. Wheels spin going up a slight grade. Loco will still pull at slow speeds but get it above 9 or 10 then loco slows and wheels spin upgrade. Then turn on the smoking whistle and it will stall going up a slight grade. Techs,.....Whats causing this?

If turning the smoke unit on is the trigger, you need to be looking at wire connections and possibly a bad smoke unit fan motor.

I don't understand the "wheels spin upgrade", what does that mean.  That sounds like it's losing traction, not motive power.

I should have  said that wheels will start to spin while going up the grade. I agree it is losing traction. But this seems to be only when the smoke unit(s) are turned on. If I turn on the smoking whistle the loco usually stalls.

Well, it's not hard to understand losing traction on that grade, clearly in that distance with that rise, there can't be enough easement to properly transition to the grade.

However, the smoke units affecting things could be the locomotive, but it could also be the track continuity and power.  If this is only happening on the steep grades, before I spend any more diagnostic time, I'd see how it runs on a layout with more reasonable grades and proper grade easements.  It sounds like it's losing power, but I'm not sure that it's the locomotive's fault.

Well, it's not hard to understand losing traction on that grade, clearly in that distance with that rise, there can't be enough easement to properly transition to the grade.

However, the smoke units affecting things could be the locomotive, but it could also be the track continuity and power.  If this is only happening on the steep grades, before I spend any more diagnostic time, I'd see how it runs on a layout with more reasonable grades and proper grade easements.  It sounds like it's losing power, but I'm not sure that it's the locomotive's fault.

Well that grade you have seen pictures of is the steeper grade of the 2. The other grade rises 4 " in 16'. This less grade is the one that seems to slow the loco down with the smoke units on.  Going up this shallower grade with smoke units on will lower volts on z4000 and raise amps. throttling back up to 18 volts helps but is not a cure all. Volts and amps while going up the shallower grade with smoke units turned off remain normal. (compared to my p2 Big boy)

@Gorgeman posted:

Ive been reading these posts... I have a brand new out of the box restoration Big Boy ... remote will not find it ...  very frustrating ... I would heave it ..but it's so dang heavy ...

Just a heads up. I had the same problem till I realized that there is a bar between the lower steps on front of the tender. It is a shipping bar. Take it out and the plug will go all the way in otherwise it never will.

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