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I'm a newbie to the forum.  Looking for help with my son's layout.  It is a starter with MTH track on a 4X8 table.  We went to a train show and where able to purchase a MTH DCS remote with a TIU.  We have it all hooked up, I read the directions several times and can seem to add an engine.

I was able to successfully update both the DCS Remote and TIU to 6.10.  I have also been able to confirm connection with the TIU; wirelessly and via telephone jack.  I have power to the track depending on how I connect my power; Z500.  According to the manual I connect it thru the Auxiliary Power Input or thru the Fixed Voltage In.  If I connect thru the Fixed Voltage In, I have confirmed power to the track via a lighted caboose.  However, no power to the track thru Auxiliary Power Input.

The manual says that a Z500 & Z750 can be used; however I question if I have enough power to make the connection to add a MTH engine.  We have both the 4014 Steam Loco and another Diesel Loco which came out of starter pack.

Both engines run fine on the smaller DCS Commander and I have also reset both engines using this remote in the hopes the larger DCS Remote and TIU would read/identify the engine.

I have followed the directions perfectly for the quick set-up and also searched the internet with no luck. Don't want to shell out more money for a larger block if it's not going to work.

Looking for suggestions and any guidance.

Thank you for your time!

Best Regards,


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I think the Auxiliary Input is only to power the TIU and not the layout. I believe you still need a transformer to power the tracks themselves, but my layout did not use the Auxiliary power for the TIU, so I could be wrong. You May want to wait for some other thoughts with people that have used it far longer then I have.

Definitely use Fixed IN 1 for your Z750. It will power your track that way. AUX power is just for the TIU. As an aside, you can use a much smaller power supply with the appropriate barrel connector into the AUX power.


The Z500 is enough to power a 4x8 loop unless you're drawing a lot of power eg a long train with lots of passenger cars


If you have confirmed power on the track, try placing the locomotive right by the lock on with no other engines on the track and see if you can add it. If your engine starts up in conventional mode (powers up, lights up etc) without being added to the remote, you can still try adding it to the remote at that time.

What error message do you get when you try to add an engine?

As tcochran said above, you should connect your z500 to the fixed1 input of the TIU. That will power the TIU and send power to any tracks connected to the fixed1 output. 

Put one engine on the track then turn on the power and try to add it to the remote. Let us know what error message you get when you try this to help narrow down the possible problems.

I am getting two different error messages depending on what I do.  If I hit the Read button, it confirms the TIU is connected, no AIU found as I don't have one, and says "No Active DCS Engines".

If I follow the steps above thru the add engine feature in the menu and select Add MTH Engine, I get an error message which states "No Engine to Add".

And to confirm this is with the Z500 connected thru Fixed1 Input, no other cars on the track and the Diesel engine sitting on right on the section with the lockon/power.

Haven't tried conventional mode yet.  Will run into the other room and try that and reply back.

Yes, the Diesel is dark/silent with power on the track; confirmed again with caboose.  Just tried adding the engine thru the ADD TMCC Engine with no luck.  And the DCS Remote I have connected via the telephone jack so it is confirmed communicating.  Unless I am not following the steps correctly but it seems pretty straight forward.

If your engine is dark and silent when you apply power then that means one of two things:

1) There is no power to that section of track. That is unlikely since it is the track section with the power lockon. You can eliminate this possibility by testing that section with a lighted caboose.

2) The engine is receiving the DCS signal (which is why is stays dark and silent) but the signal is not good enough to add it to the remote.

Here are a couple of easy things you can try after you eliminate #1 as the problem. First check the track to make sure it is clean. Next check the engine wheels and pickup rollers to make sure they are clean. You can also try moving the engine to a different spot on the layout. 

You should be using "Add MTH Engine" when you are trying to add it to the remote.  The "Add TMCC Engine" command won't work for an engine from MTH.

MTH engines come with DCS inside. So like posted above, you use the add MTH engine command.

Add TMCC engine is for engines equipped with that. Usually Lionel, Atlas, 3rd Rail, etc.

Also for any future posts, we need the exact model number of an engine to help determine what type electronics package is inside. MTH has released several over the years and the older ones have different issues.

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

Try what Richie C suggests.  Specifically, power your test track/loop from the Fixed 2 output.  As I understand it, you have a Z-500 brick source from a starter set.

Since your TIU itself is powered by the Z-500 brick thru the Fixed 1 input, you'll still need this connection.  Hence, run 2 jumpers from the Red and Black Fixed 1 inputs over to the Fixed 2 inputs.  And then power your track from the Fixed 2 output.  It's a long-shot since presumably you purchased a working/new TIU...but I suppose the communications circuitry for the Fixed 1 output might be compromised while the Fixed 2 output might be 100% good to go.  There is separate DCS communications circuitry for Fixed 1 and Fixed 2.


Separately, as Joe suggests, it's always helpful to know the exact SKU or item number of your engine(s).  I believe you have so-called PS3 (Protosound 3) engines since you said you could "reset" the engine using the starter-set DCS Remote Commander.  That you can control your engines using the DCS Remote Commander is probably the most useful data point.  In any case, while this may seem like a game of 20-questions, this is par for the course!   

Stan and Richie,  Thank you for the suggestion as that worked!  I have two jumpers going over to Fixed 2 Input and the track on Fixed 2 output.  I was able to add the engine and run it.

So does this mean I have a faulty TIU?  I will later when I have time try switching it back to see if I can still run it thru Fixed 1 now that the engine has been added and follow-up to confirm if I am successful.

Thank you for helping with this!  

Best Regards, Chris

It sounds like Fixed 1 is compromised, but you'll know for sure when you try to re-hook it up. There are a variety of things that could be the problem and some are easier than others to fix, depending on your skill and soldering level. Being a tinkerer, I'd take it apart and try to locate the source of the problem, but that's just me.

For the most part, I'd probably leave it alone. With a 4' X 8' layout, the Z-500 and one fixed output (Fixed 2) should be sufficient for your current needs. If you decide to expand and stay with command control, you can always upgrade your transformer to something with more power and/or convert one or both of the TIU's variable channels to a fixed output should you decide to add more tracks/lines. 

Glad it worked out.


Take a look at this contemporaneous thread about powering the TIU.

Summarizing.  You have a 50 Watt power source (Z-500 brick).  Obviously this was enough to run one engine as per the Starter Set.  For budgeting purposes, the TIU itself "steals" 5-10 Watts from the Fixed 1 input leaving that much less power to your track/engine(s).  As an aside, the DCS Remote Commander from the Starter Set "steals" about 1-2 Watts from the Z-500.

I don't know if you plan to simultaneously run both engines on your son's layout but 50 Watts would be pushing it...obviously depends on how many cars being pulled, speed, etc. albeit a 4x8 layout.  Anyway, the point in the linked thread is you may already have a wall-wart power adapter to supply the 5-10 Watts of TIU power. That way, all 50 Watts of the Z-500 is available to run your engine(s).

Another idea.  Since you apparently have PS3 engines, in a pinch you can run the engines and the TIU (or even the DCS Remote Commander) on DC.  Point being, you might already have an unused DC-output laptop charger with more than 50 Watts capability.  That is, 90 Watt "universal" DC-output laptop chargers go for about $10...a lot more economical and compact than AC output train transformer bricks with similar wattage.  I have written about this in previous OGR threads and can re-visit if there's interest.

Last edited by stan2004

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