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Good evening all,

I recently encountered an issue when performing a sound file change over on a PS2 locomotive I own. I'm going to explain every step I made so you all can try and see where something went wrong, and please advise of any advise. Note before posting: I have changed out about 7-10 sound files prior to this and never experienced an issue, PS2 or PS3, so this issue is new to me.

I have a PS2 CNJ 0-6-0 USRA Steam switcher with a hooter whistle, and simply can't stand the sound of it. To remedy this, I downloaded a Mohawk sound file (Same Voltage, PS2) to my computer and loaded up the original 0-6-0 sound file into ADPCM, a software developed by a gentleman here on OGR designed for playing sound files. I took the Mohawk whistle and copied the entire sequence (152-159 on ADPCM) into the original 0-6-0's file, as I didn't want to lose any other sounds, just simply change the whistle. I played it back a few times and everything checked out. Plugged in the engine, loaded up the file, and about 15 minutes later my computer indicated the operation was complete; no issues. I then unplugged my computer from the track, powered down the locomotive, and proceeded to power up my track to test the file (As I normally would). On this attempt, I did not hear the 2 soft *click click* that you would typically hear with PS2, indicating something went wrong. I tried starting up the locomotive, no response. No smoke, no headlight, no sounds, BUT it WILL move in forward & reverse, responding to speed commands, and also fire both couplers. I attempted to power the track on and off numerous times, and did not receive the 2 soft clicks any of those times, however the engine continues to be responsive to my remote, I even deleted it and re-added it.

Following this, I figured something went wrong with the sound file. I proceeded to download a clean version of the original sound file from MTH's website, loaded it into the locomotive, and still no resolution. Same problem as before, no clicks, no smoke, lights, or sounds, but responds to remote commands. I decided to try the new sound file download one more time, just to try and recover what was left of the situation. To my avail, I managed to get the 2 clicks BACK, but still no sound, smoke, or lights. Engine still responds to speed and coupler commands.

Typically I would think this is a board issue, but I'm inclined to believe it isn't, as it worked flawlessly a minute before I did the sound file changeover. Before this is asked, I've already tried a feature reset, factory reset, and turned the volume up in all the settings. I do NOT receive a response in conventional either.

PLEASE let me know if I'm missing something, or if there's a way to completely wipe the engine and start clean. I thought I did that but could be missing something. 

-Joe

Original Post

Everything turned on on the remote, tether plugged in fully. Unplugged it, tried moving it around while it was plugged in to check if contact was bad or tether was having issues but both check out. I can grab it with DCS and control forward/backward, couplers, but cannot do anything else. Leading me to think it is the tether but I doubt it, it was running fine up to that point 

I would not guarantee that.  That is a flash board for small smoke I believe.  MTH has seen issues with boards when folks use the editor to modify a sound file.  I had a repair just like that.  The edit sf (and this was on a Trolley) corrupted the Processor board.  So even with a reload  of original file it would not work.  So.....???  G

John and I are on the same page here.  If the the file loaded OK, there is a hardware issue (tether/socket)

Does your tender have a roller on it?

 

Dave ,  does the roller on the tender really help ? 🤔       I haven't tried to install one yet.

I've had a hard time trying to change out different size roller assemblies  on the engines to facilitate smooth operation of a couple of steamers moving through back to back turnouts in the staging yards.    Only partial success .

@GGG posted:

I would not guarantee that.  That is a flash board for small smoke I believe.  MTH has seen issues with boards when folks use the editor to modify a sound file.  I had a repair just like that.  The edit sf (and this was on a Trolley) corrupted the Processor board.  So even with a reload  of original file it would not work.  So.....???  G

It is possible to corrupt the board, even with a file right from MTH!  I just ran across that, another MTH tech came down with an issue and we were trying to load a file into a steam board.  It trashed the board firmware.  Tried another board, and it nailed that one as well.  Those had to go back to MTH for a factory FLASH procedure to revive them.

@GGG posted:

I would not guarantee that.  That is a flash board for small smoke I believe.  MTH has seen issues with boards when folks use the editor to modify a sound file.  I had a repair just like that.  The edit sf (and this was on a Trolley) corrupted the Processor board.  So even with a reload  of original file it would not work.  So.....???  G

GGG

What is a flash board?  Do you mean like the PS2 quillable boards?  I was unaware of anything like that for different smoke units.

I do not see how modifying the original sound file would change any of the performance features if only the addresses with sound bits are replaced.  If the function addresses remain untouched, there should be no problem.  I still think this is unrelated.

If Joe sends this off to you, please post your findings. 

Joe,

I asked about the roller because you would be able to somewhat test the board functions (sound) even if they were not attached to the locomotive.  Just trying to eliminate the possibility of something wrong in the boiler or the tether.

 

Good luck and please post your findings!  This is something I have not seen before.

 

Last edited by David Minarik

Yes, in the later PS-2 3V they had flash boards that MTH could reprogram. Had a special chip that could be read/write vice write once.  If you had a GG-1 operating panto, you needed the GG-1 flash board.  If QW you need that, if small smoke you needed that.   In the 5V world it was special boards for GG-1, trolley, and articulated chuff.  3V had more memory so several flash codes could be combined.  PS-3 still needs those codes.  That is why I pushed MTH(Jason) to get those PS-32 flash codes out.  GG-1, small smoke, trolley, COORS etc...

I was doing so many PS-2 5V and 3V repairs, but needed those special features that MTH had to get them on the fast track.

As far as the newer boards, MTH has seen processor boards get corrupted.  If the FPGA (john correct me if I get it wrong) has to store memory items in the correct spot.  If it doesn't the board can no longer function correctly.  It does not know how to start up right.  I have had a few PS-3 do that with just a normal load early on.  Had to send board back to MTH so they could reflash the board.   Remember the document about Morse code type after a reflash?  Certain Morse code meant a corrupted memory.  G

I just lived through a PS/3 steam issue with a sound file that got corrupted with a bad sound file.  Another tech came down and we were trying to sort out the issue, and even getting the sound file again from MTH still corrupted the boards.  Finally had to send all of them back to MTH for them to beat them into submission. 

It's a bad feeling when you load a sound file and the board craps out, then you load another one and it does it again!

I attached the code audio for good and bad flash.  Luckily, I normally hear the good one.

Attachments

Audio (2)

Any idea which specific files have been corrupting boards when edited? I've edited all the PS2 3V sound files in my Premier steam as well as the Sound files in my PS3 converted (PS32 board) steam with the ADPCM editor with no issue. I've just changed whistles, bells, and the announcements in the PFA sequence. They've all loaded fine. 

@GGG posted:

Yes, in the later PS-2 3V they had flash boards that MTH could reprogram. Had a special chip that could be read/write vice write once.  If you had a GG-1 operating panto, you needed the GG-1 flash board.  If QW you need that, if small smoke you needed that.   In the 5V world it was special boards for GG-1, trolley, and articulated chuff.  3V had more memory so several flash codes could be combined.  PS-3 still needs those codes.  That is why I pushed MTH(Jason) to get those PS-32 flash codes out.  GG-1, small smoke, trolley, COORS etc...

I was doing so many PS-2 5V and 3V repairs, but needed those special features that MTH had to get them on the fast track.

As far as the newer boards, MTH has seen processor boards get corrupted.  If the FPGA (john correct me if I get it wrong) has to store memory items in the correct spot.  If it doesn't the board can no longer function correctly.  It does not know how to start up right.  I have had a few PS-3 do that with just a normal load early on.  Had to send board back to MTH so they could reflash the board.   Remember the document about Morse code type after a reflash?  Certain Morse code meant a corrupted memory.  G

G,

I've known about the flashable boards for those things but never knew there were ones for the smoke units.

In my experience with creating custom sound files, I've found the the memory locations for the Horn, whistle,bell sounds are located at the same address in different files.  You would almost have to replace PS2 control features with the same features from a corrupted file.  This still doesn't make sense to me how changing the sounds could corrupt the board.  The memory addresses are different in the sound file.

I could see if the control commands are replaced and the board cannot see the DCS signal...maybe.

Just trying to wrap my head around this.......

 

I just lived through a PS/3 steam issue with a sound file that got corrupted with a bad sound file.  Another tech came down and we were trying to sort out the issue, and even getting the sound file again from MTH still corrupted the boards.  Finally had to send all of them back to MTH for them to beat them into submission. 

It's a bad feeling when you load a sound file and the board craps out, then you load another one and it does it again!

I attached the code audio for good and bad flash.  Luckily, I normally hear the good one.

John,

I have had quite a few issues with PS3 steam boards not taking a flash and getting bricked.  I even built a simple loader harness and didn't use the PS3 test fixture thinking that there might be an issue with it.

That is a sick feeling!  Especially when you only have a couple left.

 

That is a sick feeling!  Especially when you only have a couple left.

And no more to be had it appears...

I've known about the flashable boards for those things but never knew there were ones for the smoke units.

 The PS32 boards have steam and diesel loads for standard smoke units and also another load for the single resistor small unit.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

I’ve flashed a couple of boards and never run into this.  One was an older 5v board in a 4-4-2 E6s in which I modified the sound file quite a bit as the sounds were pretty weak sauce.  I probably flashed it 10 times adjusting the sounds to make it the right volume and tweaking the reverb. The other was a PS2 3v board in 2-8-0 from a RTR.  In both cases it worked like a charm.  To hear about these other issues is concerning.

I probably won’t be flashing any of my other locos in the near future, but I have at least one PS2 5v loco I’d like to upgrade at some point.  There are also numerous PS-1 locos I’ve considered buying with the hope I could eventually upgrade and custom program the sound files.  Obviously who knows what will happen with MTH/DCS and board availability, but I figured I could Frankenstein some later with boards from locos that I either like less or are from RTR locos.

So this leads me to a couple questions.  First, what is meant by a “PS3-2” board? Is this a PS2 3v board, a PS3 board, or a PS3 upgrade board? If one of the latter, what does the -2 indicate?

Second, based on the information about the small smoke unit boards, if I bought a run of the mill PS3 diesel upgrade board on the MTH website (assuming they were available) would it work in a small diesel like the ALCo S-2 that has the little smoke unit?

The PS32 board is the two board stack that is in the steam upgrade kits and also is used to replaced failed PS/2 boards.  It consists of a special PS/3 board (different layout), and an interface board that makes it look like a PS/2 board in regard to interfaces.  Specifically, instead of LED's, you use 6V bulbs, and instead of the PS/3 tach reader, you use the older PS/2 tach reader.  Here's a thread by Marty F that has lots of pictures of the PS32 board.

PS3 upgrade information

The PS32 board is the two board stack that is in the steam upgrade kits and also is used to replaced failed PS/2 boards.  It consists of a special PS/3 board (different layout), and an interface board that makes it look like a PS/2 board in regard to interfaces.  Specifically, instead of LED's, you use 6V bulbs, and instead of the PS/3 tach reader, you use the older PS/2 tach reader.  Here's a thread by Marty F that has lots of pictures of the PS32 board.

PS3 upgrade information

Thanks!

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