I just bought my first MTH loco. I have many Lionel, Williams, K-Line, Weaver but I’m new to MTH. I bought a Scale GG1 in Tuscan 5 stripe. The first thing I noticed was the casting for the body is complete garbage. It should never have been painted. It reminded me immediately of the Williams TCA 25th Anniversary GG1 I have. I had to fill and sand and fill and sand it before I could repaint it. The MTH didn’t come with any instructions so the odd noises it made upon startup had me worried. I’ve come to realize it’s normal for that model. I found the online instructions and printed a copy. This is where imageD04881DD-31CE-4325-BFE5-4EB4E4B29993 I am confused. I read that it has a battery, I assume it’s for the sounds. It said that if the battery needs charging to place the loco on the powered track for 16 hours. Who in their right mind would do this? Did I misunderstand the instructions or did it tell me to leave thousands of dollars worth of electronics powered up to charge one battery? I wouldn’t do that for 16 minutes. Let alone 16 hours. The seller said he put a new MTH battery it the model before I purchased it. How long can I expect it to last? Have these issues been resolved with new models or is this just the way things are done at MTH? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to bash on anybody. I really like my MTH rolling stock, buildings, & RealTrax. I’m just not sure if they are on par with Lionel Locomotives. 

American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.  

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If you provide us with the model number, it would help the experts on this forum to answer your questions.  One thing is for sure, MTH has resolved the need for a battery in the newer models.  You can also resolve this yourself by purchasing and installing a BCR.  

Chessie

Part of the forum since 2000.

Maybe you can share the exact model number you have?  FWIW, you obviously purchased an older model, it's been years since an MTH locomotive needed a battery, they use a supercap in the PS/3 units.

The pictures suggest you bought a GG-1 from the 1990's, MTH has come a long ways since those were produced!  Yes, those had a battery, and yes, you have to charge it.

When in neutral, increase the throttle to maximum and press whistle.  You'll hear the "coupler arm" sound.  The next press of the button will fire the coupler.  There is a switch on the bottom that selects which coupler is active, either the front or rear coupler.  This is all in the manual for the locomotive.

CoolHand posted:

It said that if the battery needs charging to place the loco on the powered track for 16 hours. Who in their right mind would do this? Did I misunderstand the instructions or did it tell me to leave thousands of dollars worth of electronics powered up to charge one battery? I wouldn’t do that for 16 minutes. Let alone 16 hours. The seller said he put a new MTH battery it the model before I purchased it. How long can I expect it to last? Have these issues been resolved with new models or is this just the way things are done at MTH? 

Based upon the catalog number, (MT5501LP) that is a very old engine. MT ("Mike's Trains") predates Premier or RailKing designations. It is likely from the late 90's.

They do have built-in battery chargers. So yes, you do power them up and let them sit. Batteries are good for at least 3 years. Part of the life depends upon how often you run the engine. The buyer said he put a new battery in it. Simple. Check it with a voltmeter. If it's dead, replace it before attempting to power up the engine. Otherwise, you may be introduced to the "Three Clanks of Death". Do a search here, it has been discussed ad-nauseum.

MTH has progressed a long long way since the engine you have. FWIW, it's probably a great puller.

I'll be very honest with you... I love 3rd Rail Engines the best... but MTH Ps3 engines are really nice too... I'd recommend trying one out before judging MTH prematurely... I think you might be very pleased with their newer offerings... 

Even Ps2 engines from 2005 are pretty darn cool! Trust me... the Ps2 20th Century streamlined Hudson is still a staple almost 20 years later, and the electronics hold up decent enough with a battery change, and you can always upgrade to ps3 later... 

David

You guys have been really responsive AND helpful. Thanks. I appreciate the explanation of the Proto-Coupler from GUNRUNNERJOHN (cool handle BTW). Yes, Gilly, it should be a great puller. It must weigh 9-10 pounds! I don’t think I wanna know about the “Three Clanks of Death.” I believe it IS the green battery, Tony H. David, I need one of those streamlined Hudsons you spoke of.  I like Hudsons and anything STREAMLINED! I’m using Lionel’s Legacy System. I honestly don’t know how compatible it is with modern MTH electronics. That’s one reason why I didn’t mind buying an older model. I knew it would be operated conventionally. Please, chime in if you operate PS3 with a Legacy System. 

The one thing that bothers me, is that nobody mentioned the DREADFUL casting. Does this mean it’s normal for MTH? Was the issue ignored because there isn’t anything that could be done? Has anyone seen such a rough casting on their MTH models?

American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.  

Hi Coolhand...

Oh yeah, you'll definitely love the Streamlined Hudsons... Yes, I do operate both the PS3 engines with the legacy, and I also have some 3rd Rail engines with the good old classic TMCC still in them.. So I really enjoy running legacy with the PS3 engines - runs pretty smooth actually. You should definitely check out some cool PS3 engines that you like, both systems work great together, and I really enjoy running both types of engines. 

David

CoolHand posted:

Please, chime in if you operate PS3 with a Legacy System.

DCS and TMCC/Legacy play together at the same time, but you can't actually run a DCS locomotive (PS/2 or PS/3) through the Legacy system in command mode.  You'd have to also have the MTH DCS system installed.

CoolHand posted:

I just bought my first MTH loco.... The first thing I noticed was the casting for the body is complete garbage. It should never have been painted... I had to fill and sand and fill and sand it before I could repaint it. D04881DD-31CE-4325-BFE5-4EB4E4B29993

CoolHand posted:

....

The one thing that bothers me, is that nobody mentioned the DREADFUL casting. Does this mean it’s normal for MTH? Was the issue ignored because there isn’t anything that could be done? Has anyone seen such a rough casting on their MTH models?

To answer your question - No - I have never seen a casting defect on an MTH locomotive. Same goes for paint.

Here are pictures of my MTH Premier PRR GG1 #4876. The model has PS1 and dates from around 2000. I see no casting or paint defects on the body or trucks nor have I ever found such issues on any MTH product that I own.

Photos by:

MELGAR

MELGAR_01_PRR_GG1_4876_17MELGAR_02_PRR_GG1_4876_02MELGAR_03_PRR_GG1_4876_16MELGAR_04_PRR_GG1_4876_07MELGAR_05_PRR_GG1_4876_14MELGAR_06_PRR_GG1_4876_15MELGAR_07_PRR_GG1_4876_01MELGAR_08_PRR_GG1_4876_05

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I agree that powering up a locomotive and leaving it on the track for long periods unattended is risky at best.  For this reason I have invested in separate battery chargers (including the MTH chargers for engines with charging ports) for the 3V and 9V batteries used in MTH engines.  I have also used BCR's but have not found them to be trouble free.  The disassembly required to remove a battery is not difficult.  I have charged batteries on my workbench and just change them out so there is no waiting to run an engine if it has been sitting for more than a couple of weeks.

Rolland

I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with the casting.

If you're talking about these spots, then I'd tend to agree with Clem, could be zinc pest.

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Zinc Pest? Do I call Terminix? 

Seriously though. Almost all my locomotives are zinc castings. I’ve not noticed any of the boilers bubbling under the paint, YET. Is “zinc rot” something that can be prevented? 

American by birth. Southern by the grace of God.  

Hmm.  Any sign that the loco or box were submerged, or stored in a damp, humid environment?  Could this type of defect be caused by putting the loco in the box directly against the foam, without the plastic sheet in between?

Creep, coast, and pull.  We're not talking about cold fusion here.

CoolHand posted:

I just bought my first MTH loco. I have many Lionel, Williams, K-Line, Weaver but I’m new to MTH. I bought a Scale GG1 in Tuscan 5 stripe. The first thing I noticed was the casting for the body is complete garbage. It should never have been painted. It reminded me immediately of the Williams TCA 25th Anniversary GG1 I have. I had to fill and sand and fill and sand it before I could repaint it. The MTH didn’t come with any instructions so the odd noises it made upon startup had me worried. I’ve come to realize it’s normal for that model. I found the online instructions and printed a copy. This is where imageD04881DD-31CE-4325-BFE5-4EB4E4B29993 I am confused. I read that it has a battery, I assume it’s for the sounds. It said that if the battery needs charging to place the loco on the powered track for 16 hours. Who in their right mind would do this? Did I misunderstand the instructions or did it tell me to leave thousands of dollars worth of electronics powered up to charge one battery? I wouldn’t do that for 16 minutes. Let alone 16 hours. The seller said he put a new MTH battery it the model before I purchased it. How long can I expect it to last? Have these issues been resolved with new models or is this just the way things are done at MTH? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to bash on anybody. I really like my MTH rolling stock, buildings, & RealTrax. I’m just not sure if they are on par with Lionel Locomotives. 

You have to leave it on the track for around 12-16 hours before you can run it. I have to do this with my PS SW1 and 2-6-0 from 1995 until I can get solid operation out of them. Put it in neutral and let it sit on a track somewhere. It won’t take off or move unless the power is interrupted and turned up again immediately. 

Modeling Enola PA in miniature

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