So I went through a challenge getting my first scale loco. I decided on the MTH Premier SP GS4 4-8-4 #4449 Holiday Express. Subsequently went full bore and purchased over 60feet of RealTrax. MTH Wifi and TIU package, MTH 100Watt transformer. Six Holiday express cars. So the engine is beautiful (after exchanging the first one I received). However this one I have noted after double checking the app and toggling the firebox glow soft switch, that this feature is not working at all. Any  suggestions short of sending this expensive loco back to MTH or the dealer?  I fear shipping and handling damage enroute back and forth. My impression is it seems like QA at the MTH overseas factory is not up to par. 

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Thanks for the reply Gunrunnerjohn. That is something I considered as I typed out my long story above. It will take some time and effort to try the reset since I’ve dismantled the entire holiday LR floor layout and all eq. I’m certainly going to find the time and will report back. Thanks again. 

I had a similar issue with my premier PS3 0-8-0.  The problem was that the firebox LED is highly directional and pointed upward -- i.e., not pointed toward the firebox door.  I installed a small brass reflector over the top of the LED and angled at approximately 45 degrees, thereby directing the light toward the firebox door.  Problem solved.

@TexasSP good question. While I don't know about all the possible versions. On this version I have it lists firebox glow as a feature and it does happen to have a rear sliding roof vent and a pair of upper doors that swing out wide. Granted you have to look in and down at the firebox door to even see it. Minor issue in the big scheme but if it is supposed to be there and working, I'd like it to do what it is intended. Other than this and the occasional odd controller communication loss, I love the engine.

TheOReg posted:

 It will take some time and effort to try the reset since I’ve dismantled the entire holiday LR floor layout and all eq. I’m certainly going to find the time and will report back. Thanks again. 

That's why if possible anyone with problems needs to ask the questions when they can actually try out the provided solutions.

TheOReg posted:

@TexasSP good question. While I don't know about all the possible versions. On this version I have it lists firebox glow as a feature and it does happen to have a rear sliding roof vent and a pair of upper doors that swing out wide. Granted you have to look in and down at the firebox door to even see it. Minor issue in the big scheme but if it is supposed to be there and working, I'd like it to do what it is intended. Other than this and the occasional odd controller communication loss, I love the engine.

I wondered about this when I saw your post since the closed cab means the feature can not be seen in the same way it would on other models. Plus some years back there was an issue about firebox glow not being a feature on Lionel models of UP oil-fired steamers. They did not have it and that made me think that manufacturers would skimp on this if they could.


I would not rely on a manual or indeed catalog description because manufacturers don’t always trouble to distinguish between different models. 

So some progress. I’m a newb at modern, non conventional powered rr modeling. I have the engine and tender set on a 30 inch piece of track with a lighted bumper on one end.  

As soon as I  applied power to the TCU the engine fired up. And I immediately noticed the firebox was glowing as you can see in the first picture below. 

Interesting though the iOS app shows the engine as “(inactive)”. So as I’ve seen this in the past I recycled the power to the Wi-Fi and TCU/track. Still the engine powers up automatically but again per the app “(inactive)”. Assumedly it is because I’m powering a simple 30 inch open ended section of track and not a complete circuit or loop of track and so it is sensing or defaults to conventional mode? (See second pic of the app from my iPad).

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I'm not an expert on DCS and in particular on the WiFi app (which I do not use), but the "inactive" description and the fact that the engine appears to have started up in conventional when you first applied power is an issue I have had. Also various lighting features (like the beacon on my DDA40X) not operating sometimes. I wonder if it would be a good idea to try using the remote first without the WiFi? 

It should not make any difference that you are using a small section of track as long as it is wired up to the TIU properly. I assume you went through the routine of adding the engine and the "READ TRACK" function - otherwise I don't know how it would be listed as inactive. Try READ TRACK again and see if it shows in the display. 

I see that you do have (or had) firebox glow. I don't know whether there is any independent control of this through the softkeys. It's easy to accidentally turn things such as sound effects and lighting on and off by hitting the wrong button. Basically I had to check each softkey command for each of my DCS engines in order to be clear what I had turned on and off - it's far from an intuitive system - but a feature or factory reset is an alternative for checking the status of a feature. For that you will need to have the engine recognized as active by the DCS system.

Someone more expert may weigh in but the above is what I would try.

Hancock52 posted:

I'm not an expert on DCS and in particular on the WiFi app (which I do not use), but the "inactive" description and the fact that the engine appears to have started up in conventional when you first applied power is an issue I have had. Also various lighting features (like the beacon on my DDA40X) not operating sometimes. I wonder if it would be a good idea to try using the remote first without the WiFi? 

It should not make any difference that you are using a small section of track as long as it is wired up to the TIU properly. I assume you went through the routine of adding the engine and the "READ TRACK" function - otherwise I don't know how it would be listed as inactive. Try READ TRACK again and see if it shows in the display. 

I see that you do have (or had) firebox glow. I don't know whether there is any independent control of this through the softkeys. It's easy to accidentally turn things such as sound effects and lighting on and off by hitting the wrong button. Basically I had to check each softkey command for each of my DCS engines in order to be clear what I had turned on and off - it's far from an intuitive system - but a feature or factory reset is an alternative for checking the status of a feature. For that you will need to have the engine recognized as active by the DCS system.

Someone more expert may weigh in but the above is what I would try.

Thanks for the reply @Hancock52 

I agree, it does seem to have started up in conventional mode. When i had it on my Holiday floor layout complete with the WiFi and TIU (thanks for correcting me on that acronym) set up it had never started the engine up automatically on powering up the TIU. I always had to press the Start Up soft key in the app. 

I do not have the DCS remote. But from what I am reading here and there perhaps I should purchase one. 

So from what I seeing the firebox glow only works when the engine is started in what is looking like a default to conventional mode. Keep in mind that my TIU/wifi app is set to Command mode. Not sure why the engine is being detected as conventional yesterday and this morning. 

Further futzing with the engine I did the following.

  • moved the tender and ending closer to the MTH clip-on that is powering the track. I have two 30 inch sections connected to equal 60inches total of track
  • Powered up the Wifi
  • Powered up the TIU after about 15-20 seconds of the WiFi
  • now the engine did not automatically power up.
  • opened the app after making sure I was on the DCS wifi stand alone network
  • Hit "start up", hence the engine started up in idle mode... holiday lights, sound effects, cab light all start as expected.
  • put cab forward and backward at a 1,2,3,-- 8 SMPH to see if firebox would glow.... nope it does not.
  • Oddly one of the times in moving the engine it seemed it decided to automatically shutdown (fwiw track is on a carpet). (never happened before), keep in mind I had this engine and a long train of cars operating well over a month during the holidays on a large oval in my living room floor (hardwood).
  • I thought, let me make sure the wireless tether is tight, when I applied pressure to the tether on the tender side (per MTH instructions she fired up.
  • Ok, odd because the tether did not seem to be loose or even move upward or "click" into place. 
  • shut her down. scratching my head...
  • Started it up once more.. moved her, no firebox glow... stopped. 
  • Now I got stupid here  Looking at the app, while engine was powered up but idle I changed the app from Command to Conventional .. bad idea because of course the track has full 18volts and the engine quickly accelerated forward and I'm sure I saw the firebox glowing but panicked to shut her down as it hit the track bumper. Glad to report I pulled the power and shut it down, no damage. ... 

So at this point it seems clear that the Firebox Glow only works in Conventional mode for some reason. 

I have also tried an "Engine Factory reset" and the "Engine Features reset" from the app, neither of which help the firebox glow.

TheOReg posted:

So some progress. I’m a newb at modern, non conventional powered rr modeling. I have the engine and tender set on a 30 inch piece of track with a lighted bumper on one end. 

Interesting though the iOS app shows the engine as “(inactive)”. So as I’ve seen this in the past I recycled the power to the Wi-Fi and TCU/track. Still the engine powers up automatically but again per the app “(inactive)”. Assumedly it is because I’m powering a simple 30 inch open ended section of track and not a complete circuit or loop of track and so it is sensing or defaults to conventional mode? (See second pic of the app from my iPad).

Everyone is always learning!

As mentioned by Hancock52 the straight section of track shouldn't be an issue if wired correctly. I'd guess most test or programming tracks are simple straight segments.

Interesting and surprised about the firebox glow. As said, learn something new.

As for wifi versus remote, if using the full software it has everything the remote soft keys do. They're actually easier to deal with on the app as it's clearer what each function does, no abbreviations. 

It most certainly is a setting at this point and you can do a full factory reset via the app as well.

Theo....

......if you bought your loco locally and there is a track set up there , take two boxes ,one with the loco and one with your Wi-Fi setup and try out each at that shop.

I only mention this as your original post stated that this loco you have was a replacement .  I ' assume 🙃 '  because the first had issues.

 

 

TexasSP posted:

Interesting and surprised about the firebox glow. As said, learn something new.

As for wifi versus remote, if using the full software it has everything the remote soft keys do. They're actually easier to deal with on the app as it's clearer what each function does, no abbreviations. 

It most certainly is a setting at this point and you can do a full factory reset via the app as well.

Well, there is obviously power to the firebox in conventional mode so one fault I wondered about - no or no sufficient power to the firebox circuit - seems not to be the problem. Also the OP has tried the resets via WiFi and that hasn't resolved the issue. I assume that the resets "took" in that all the functions defaulted to the out-of-the box settings. The only way I know to check this is by seeing if things like smoke, acceleration/braking rates etc that have been adjusted by the user revert to the original settings. The odd shutdown would indicate a wiring/track connection fault to me but that would not necessarily explain having one feature that does not come on.

Incidentally, do you know which revision number the TIU is? And presumably you had no issues getting the WiFi to function? MTH wireless tethers are notorious for being prone to defects but I cannot see that this would impact only one feature in command mode.

As TexasSP says, it does seem likely to be a particular setting that is not right and I wonder (a) if the feature has to be turned on (although I can't see why it would not be on by default whether the engine is run in conventional or DCS) or (b) something in your setup is causing it to be off under DCS control. I assume that in the App there are various options for lighting features but I don't think that in the handheld remote I have seen one that relates to firebox glow in my steamers. 

At this point, I'd see if it works under a different setup/on a different DCS layout and if your LHS has a DCS test track that is probably your best bet. Or maybe one of the DCS experts can weigh in here to suggest a different test or fix. I don't have the experience with the DCS WiFi App to think of anything else. In the past, I have have to update MTH engines via the DCS Loader program to correct sound problems but that may now be an outdated approach given the WiFi capabilities.  

@TheOReg out of curiosity, while using DCS/wifi did you try toggling the soft-key settings for "interior light" (LIN) and/or "marker light"?  MTH sometimes links or maps some of the lighting controls (more so on railking although you have premier) to also control other features or duplicate the control w/ other descriptions.  I have a few MTH engines that the firebox light is controlled by BOTH the "interior light" AND/OR "marker light" soft-key selection.

You can have a steam train ...If you'd just lay down your tracks.

Thanks everyone for all the input and ideas.
@Hancock52The TIU firmware is v 06.10 according to the app. I upgraded from the standard to the premium version which gave me a lot more app functionality than I need right now. Meaning I have not one accessory to use or an AIU for that. 

@Keystone Today I fuddled around with trying different combinations of the lighting soft switches. Not one combination turns on the firebox glow. Attached here is what the app looks like. The "Beacon" switch controls the Christmas LED lights. Sad to admit I don't know what a beacon is on a loco.

The loco was not bought locally. The nearest decent Hobby shop that has a decent model train section is about a 40 minute one way drive from me. I did get it from a reputible MTH authorized dealer. I wonder if the loco software itself needs an update/bug fix. Last I looked a month ago there was nothing. 

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HEY THEOREG,....

......I went over the manual for your Premier Holiday engine and since you seemed to get all this new product , I can't see that you would have had the DCS and DCC on the same track which might have caused aTIU problem.

I looked over the manual carefully and could not find any info about the engine that would have all features working on conventional and not on DCS.

I see you're about a 40 minute drive from that decent model train place.  I am about 30 minutes drive from my guy's store and layout ,which can be used for test purposes for customers.    It's worth the drive for me as I've learned a lot and had some good conversations and had a lot of fun ( ALSO PURCHASES  😁 ).

Hope you get that firebox glow working Theo.

I wonder about your engine’s software settings too. You might try to re-install the sound and chain files although the last time I did that it required the DCS installation software and a computer with a serial/USB connection. Otherwise I can’t see why the feature would be powered on in conventional and not under DCS 

There's a lot of info here and I did not read it all. Did you do a conventional reset? (Not with DCS) 1 whistle and 5 bell presses, and with the engine confirming 2 quick horn blasts?

If that doesn't work you should contact MTH. There have been many sound sets that have needed to be fixed over the years. Maybe they got the function wrong on the decoder assignment.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

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