this has been going on in my mind for quite awhile now.

 

with the newer electronics in past 10 years  and as they age and parts fail most items are no longer available to return them to as they were delivered status!

 

so am curious if like the conventional engines of yesteryear!! will someone ever embark on a aftermarket supply for the electronics as well as the regular bits and pieces that could fail or get bent or? so these engines can be around doing 50 years from now as they were delivered to us with all the features working as the post war trains are doing now?

 

would it be a legal nightmare to even try to create an aftermarket parts supply utilizing the old outdated items needed to manufacture them as we all know patents and licensing is a reality in todays world.

 

now I intentionally left out the current aftermarket folks making a version of electronics as they are not the original items used on current items being manufactured with todays latest greatest engines of anyone manufacturer.

 

so what do you all think possibly down the road the younger generation will see this come to fruition??

 

 

 

 

 

StPaul

Original Post

The simple truth is they won't be working years from now like our old Lionel's.I have had several high ticket items both MTH and Lionel in for repair...the repair was almost as much as the item,the more stuff you cram in the more it can go bad....don't misunderstand, i love all the bells and whistles just wish they were more durable....my 2 cents...all the best...joe

ORA  LEGE  RELEGE  LABORA  et  INVENIS

 

Joe Krasko LCCA 17199

This electronics problem is only going to get worse as things age and manufacturers and suppliers go out of business.  I recently sold all my trains to downsize.  I am already thinking of restarting a small layout (everyone told me I would) and I think I am only going to have engines with simple mechanicals. Maybe a DCRU  for forward and reverse.

I see a lot of postwar engines for sale at quite reasonable prices.

 

I know there are lots of repair people available to help me fix a 50 yrs old engine.

And, a lot cheaper to repair.  When I was a kid and got my 1947 Lionel Berkshire set I could repair everything on it, and probably did.

That to me is my future in Toy and model trains.

Larry3railtrains in Calgary, AB, Canada

As Sheldon says"  There is ONLY "O" Gauge"

From only a personal view and what I have encountered. I still have some HO and N items with electronics, sound, smoke, etc. Have never had a failure, and they still run. On my "O" scale items, its a 50/50 thing with almost every engine having a problem, or need to replace something.

I enjoy my "O" items, but with boards being bigger, same for the smoke units, and now seeing many features of steam whistles and depleting coal in tenders in HO. You would think larger would also increase better and reliable running??  I bet the HO will have a better reliability factor then "O" scale items.

Its seriously were I will be looking at what I have and re-considering my path into possible going back to HO.

 

Last edited by josef

Just install a different operating system like people do now. or a simple reverse board. These trains mechanically will last fifty or more years. 

Originally Posted by StPaul:

 

 

so what do you all think possibly down the road the younger generation will see this come to fruition??

 

 

 

 

 

99.999% of the younger generation is going to/doesn't care about toy trains much less parts to repair them.

 

There are plenty of folks that have early Lionel command stuff that still runs as good as it did out of the box.

 

At this point in time, there are more parts available than most folks think. There is an assumption that there is zero parts availability for newer stuff and thats just plain false.

 

I think its better to enjoy your trains now, than to worry about 50 years from now. There are dozens of items you probably currently own ( some far more expensive than trains), TV's appliances, automobiles etc that will likely not be operating 50 years from now or have parts.

 

As far as those who may "inherit" ones trains, in most cases I'd bet most family members do not share the interest. Theres a reasonable chance many items would be sold off with no regard to value, operation or parts.

 

IMO there are "better" things one can worry about, toy trains are supposed to be an escape from the worrys of daily life.

 

Not every 50 year old locomotive made still runs, as Lee Willis once stated " what you are seeing are the survivors".

 

 

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

Last edited by RickO
I have purchased four nonfunctional Legacy locomotives over the past several years and had them converted to conventional runners. Each was bought for less than $100, and I invested ~$50 ea. for parts and labor.  While boards and electronics will inevitably fail, properly maintained motors will probably be fine for a very long time.  I see the coming years as a goldmine for "recycling" toasted locomotives.

Chessie/CSX  -  Minneapolis & St. Louis

    Polar Railroad  -  Hershey Railroad

This is an interesting question on a much talked about subject. If you're asking if someone is going to make exact reproduction boards for these trains I would say the answer is most likely "No" as there really isn't much collector value in new trains because the manufacturers keep increasing details and features.

 

"new trains new electronics so what happens when they fail??"

 

IMHO, one has 3 options when a board fails: #1) sell item as is and let someone else worry about the repair/part out the locomotive #2) repair it, or #3) use it for display purposes only as Lee Willis did.

 

I believe some type of board will always be available to repair these trains but unfortunately they don't come cheap.

 

Posted by josef:

"From only a personal view and what I have encountered. I still have some HO and N items with electronics, sound, smoke, etc. Have never had a failure, and they still run. On my "O" scale items, its a 50/50 thing with almost every engine having a problem, or need to replace something."

 

That's something I always suspected which is that the boards used in HO and N are of a better quality than O gauge. I am not saying it's true just something I suspect because there seems to be a lot more failures in O gauge. Again I don't have any concrete evidence just a perception. And what feeds my perception is that the HO and N guys wouldn't stand for it but here in O gauge if Lionel or MTH makes a enthusiast upset after the other company there really isn't anywhere they can go. 

 

Or maybe it is just the lower amperage rating in HO and N makes it easier for the boards to work longer than the same boards in O.

 

Knock on wood, I have yet to have a O Gauge board fail. Motors yes and wiring problems but not a total failure of the board. Maybe they are not as unreliable as we think they are?

Phil

TCA Member

NYCHS Member

MTH RR Club

Every HO site I've been on includes cooked decoder boards, and setting up issues too.

 They really don't use much in the way of proprietary systems in other scales anymore.

Our use of ac in O brings bugs to the table they don't really deal with. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

DCC being a common factor among more scales of trains has helped it catch up.

But I think TMCC helped everyone the most.

 

 I think you will have both "save & repair", and "replace with newer electronics" in the future for repairs.

 A "re-pop" of a simple board? Maybe, but more likely someone would make their own. 

 

Just like any other part, if you can use it to build another, maybe its worth saving.

 My Box O' Boards, only has a train Sound of Steam board in, but I keep many other boards for parts, repair, and later reuse.

 

 

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





Personally, I'm not worried about replacement parts for the electronics portion of my trains. I think there will always be something available to replace any bad parts with, just as there is now. It may be a new and improved version, but I there will be something. If there is a demand there will be options. If the hobby is still around, we will have something to make repairs with.

I know one thing.At least here in Cleveland,It's not parts that is the problem.It is finding someone to work on them.You take a Legacy or JLC engine to any of the local hobby shops for repair,they look at you like you are crazy!Even Lionel does not want to work on them anymore.When they die,throw them out and get a new one just like your TV or refrigerator.Nick

No such thing as over kill-do it RIGHT.                                                                                                                             

Originally Posted by rockstars1989:

When they die,throw them out and get a new one just like your TV or refrigerator.Nick

This sounds about right...

 

Jeff Davis

I run conventional so I don't have that problem. I can add a simple E unit or a bridge rectifier for forward only. For sound I use RS4,mounted in the engine or a dummy. If something interests me I will buy up the dysfunctional engine,modify it cheaply and run it. 

 

Dale H

Another fine product of the Cleveland Public School system.

A nice site to visit is J&C Studios.

Enjoy your trains for the present time. I simply cannot worry about their ability to run in the future. I'm sure there will be something out there to make them work when current electronics are obsolete.

Train prices today are no different than they were for our parents when the got us our first sets and  I don't think they worried about the trains lasting long into the future.

Enjoy

romiller

Rod Miller

Everything electronic these days is built to be disposable. The only thing that displeases me is that compared to my toaster, coffee machine, radios, DVD player cell phone, and TV set, trains are more expensive items to throw in the garbage. I guess to save them you can just buy an eUnit , electronic horn/sound board and run conventional. I have always run conventional. You put in the smoke fluid, set the transformer, watch the trains run, and occasionally blow the horn or whistle. What could be easier?  Simple operation, easy to repair and rock solid reliability.

Builder of the Hill Lines ( New Delta Lines). Recreating history for the model RR community.

Originally Posted by rockstars1989:

I know one thing.At least here in Cleveland,It's not parts that is the problem.It is finding someone to work on them.You take a Legacy or JLC engine to any of the local hobby shops for repair,they look at you like you are crazy!Even Lionel does not want to work on them anymore.When they die,throw them out and get a new one just like your TV or refrigerator.Nick

I repair those too

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





1995 TMCC 2380 GP9

1995 TMCC  SD-50

1996 TMCC F3 A-B

2000 TMCC Century Club 773 Hudson

etc..etc.. like a Phantom set, a couple more GPs....   then current day stuff:

 

Legacy Hudson

Legacy Daylight Cab Forward

 

My TMCC base and handheld are my originals from 1995.

 

Everything works, whether 21 years old or 2 years old.

 

Sure, I throw traction tires now and then, and need to do some smoke tube (blow down the stack) maintenance now and then.

 

One thing I do yearly is open them up and make sure the pc boards and traces are not oxidized, wires not pinched, and all boards seated well.

 

My experience has been similar with my three MTH rail-king PS2 that I started buying in 2004.

 

 

Besides all that:  I am not worried if my trains will run 50 years from now.   I most likely won't be here.

 

 

Music, trains, boneless chicken farming
David

 I run all DCS ps2 and ps3. Some of my engines needed pre- duty service but nothing serious and never a board failure but i know it can happen. But between the DCS pundits on this forum ( i am estimating a 95 or better percent success rate if you have a problem) and MTH repair an update kits my response to"new trains new electronics so what happens when they fail" is "i ain't scared".

 

If it ain't broke,break it and make it better

Last edited by willygee

You can easily predict support for fancy electronics by checkng out things that are mass produced, like TV sets.  We found that when the TV craps out, it is cheaper to buy a new one.

 

The aviation industry is a slightly larger market than model trains.  We all have these neat little hand-held GPS units.  When one breaks (and they do break) we ship it to the factory, and they pretend to fix it, sending us a brand new unit for the repair charge.

 

My favorite GPS is the 295.  When they go dead there is no hope.  You drop it in the electronics recycling and get a newer model.  Parts are not available.

 

Likewise radios.  The very best radio out there is a portable Icom, and they do not make them anymore.  They will not fix them either.

 

The model train market is so much smaller than any of these - when your electronics break, it is time to upgrade.

 

 

Last edited by bob2

That got me thinking about mini & micro electronics vs the larger cases.

 

The chances of me throwing it away when its cooked just easily doubled

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"

 

"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.

 





I have had absolutely atrocious luck with locomotives!

Out of the 10 I have purchased, only 5 have made it 9 months without needing help!

 

I am not impressed with the reliability of these things at all.

Now, if I can just stop myself from buying any more of the silly things!

Last edited by Terry Danks

new trains new electronics so what happens when they fail??

 

new paper weight?

Skip  

TCA, LCCA

"On track, on time, and over budget!" 

Send them to me (free of course)

 

You'll still have a DC motor in them, gut the engine except for the motor, and run DC to the outer rails and center rail.  You'll no longer have all the bells and whistles (literally) but your engine will run.

 

OR

 

Convert them to BPRC (Battery-Powered, Remote-Control) like I converted all my steamers (using a system from RCS in Australia) if you want wireless control (I have ZERO wires on my layout now).  I've converted 7 steam engines since May this year, MTH, Williams brass, and a Weaver/scratchbuilt 4-6-0.  My Williams brass N&W 4-8-4 Class J (all 14 pounds of it) runs fine on a 11.1v LiPo battery.  Right now I have no sound, but an engine with dead electronics has no sound either.

 

Of course the RC electronics will die too, but I expect there will always be something else to take its place, if not, revert back to my first suggestion   DC motors will be around for a while.

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

I only have two tmcc type engines and one dcs.  I have never ran them.  They came in collections with other stuff.  The idea of having an engine with the modern day features does intrigue me.  Seeing them operate at shows and club runs is awesome.  However, I am unsure how I would react to some of the electronic problems listed in these forums.  Probably like a two year old beating the floor with my fists.

I've looked at some of the basic electronic e-units and they look fairly repairable.  Once you get custom chips on the board, its a big problem.  Electronics manufacturers will often buy up all end of life chip inventory to guarantee future supply.  I'm not sure how the big three train mfrs approach that issue.  Their chips are usually copyrighted, so the third party would need a license to make replacement boards.
As long as the motors are good, you should be able to salvage the engine with an after market Elec e-unit.  However, I would be upset loosing all the other features.
I think i would approach the high end engine purchase like any other electronic item, looking at failure rates and customer service/repair centers.

P.S. all of my old Lionel postwar and mpc still work flawless and I repair them when they break. (I didn't need to mention that, did I)

NO WORRIES HERE!

 

      With all the stuff I have acquired in the last thirty years, I am the one who is most likely to fail, it would be impossible to wear out or get tired of all the rolling stock I have . Engines , if I had one or two a year fail , I would have more trouble , making it to the train room before I ran out! Bottom line don't worry about trains that might break, HAVE FUN NOW BECAUSE YOU MIGHT BREAK ! and the trains will still be there.

 

LIFE IS SHORT MAKE THE MOST OF IT AND ALLWAYS EAT YOUR DESERT BEFORE YOUR MEAL! TECHMAN  

Bob Delbridge beat me to it--but when he's out of space you all can start forwarding those free locos to me.

 

I can rip out electronics with the best of them, and then i can either wire the engine to run conventional, or convert it to radio control.

 

Jeff C

This subject comes up periodically, and I keep seeing these postings, "Help! My two

thousand dollar gee-whiz turned into a brick!".  That has scared me away from any

of the electronic stuff, BUT even the simple stuff like RMT RDC's have boards in them.

You can, of course, go back to the products of the fifties, but few of those were actually good models.   A quandary....Good scale model, or a train that runs like

old Marx??  I have said on here before it is odd that the new autos, from at least some

import sources, run trouble free racking up 100K while loaded with electronics...and

the TV's do seem to last a while...mine have....

??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

Originally Posted by Bob Delbridge:

You'll still have a DC motor in them, gut the engine except for the motor, and run DC to the outer rails and center rail.  You'll no longer have all the bells and whistles (literally) but your engine will run.

 

Some guy had actually done just that on a recent episode of I Love Toy Trains I saw on TV. He wasn't converting electronic engines though, they were all older conventional units. 

 

All of my electronic stuff has been pretty reliable so far, so I can't complain. If it breaks I will probably go back with replacement electronics. Command control is a big part of the fun of it for me and also a big reason for getting back into the hobby a few years ago.

Last edited by rtr12

Every time I repair dead electronics I wonder if I'd be better off gutting them and running 12 VDC.....still possible.

Let me add to my statement by saying I choose to replace my PS2 electronics with BPRC, I had ZERO failures with PS2.

 

I ran my PS2 trains pretty regularly.  The folks who have failures, are they running the wheels off their trains (high mileage) or are most of the failures straight out of the box?

 

Now that I think about it, only 1 (RK Imperial 0-6-0) of the 7 steamers I have came new with PS2, 1 was converted to PS2 from Locosounds (RK 2-8-0), 1 had been gutted by the previous owner (another RK 2-8-0), 1 was only a brass chassis that I built a boiler for (Weaver 4-6-0), and the other 3 were Williams brass Crown Edition engines (2-8-2, 4-6-2, 4-8-4) with reverse boards.  So, 6 out of 7 have upgrade kits in them.

 

The only problem I've had with an engine with factory installed PS2 or TMCC was a RK NW2 that had an intermittent problem.  I traced it to a strand of wire that was periodically grounding out on the chassis when the trucks swiveled around a curve, on straights it performed fine.

 

The 2-8-0 with Locosounds didn't like cold weather.  When my layout was in the garage if it got below 50 degrees I had to turn the heater on and wait 30+ minutes for the layout room to warm up enough so I could reverse direction.  When I brought the layout indoors the problem went away.

 

Could the upgrade kits be more rugged than the factory installed systems, or are the people they're using to install them at the factory not doing it right???  Are they being rushed to produce, not properly trained, or is there a sinister plot to undermine all the train operators of the world

MODELING SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA

4+ years and STILL Having A Blast Running BPRC

There are a small number of people on this board who have the skills and ability to repair the electronics. Whether the cost of the repair will make it worth doing is another matter.

If I was into running trains with electronics, I'd be certain to have my wiring set up with the proper circuit breakers and surge protectors. If feasible, I'd put surge protectors right in the locomotives and other items with electronics. (Why don't the toy train manufacturers do that?)

 

My preference is for trains without electronics, but I do have a few pieces that have them.

C.W. Burfle
Last edited by C W Burfle
Originally Posted by RickO:
Originally Posted by StPaul:

 

 Perfectly stated. We should run our trains for the pleasures they give us and our families and friends today.

so what do you all think possibly down the road the younger generation will see this come to fruition??

 

 

 

 

 

99.999% of the younger generation is going to/doesn't care about toy trains much less parts to repair them.

 

There are plenty of folks that have early Lionel command stuff that still runs as good as it did out of the box.

 

At this point in time, there are more parts available than most folks think. There is an assumption that there is zero parts availability for newer stuff and thats just plain false.

 

I think its better to enjoy your trains now, than to worry about 50 years from now. There are dozens of items you probably currently own ( some far more expensive than trains), TV's appliances, automobiles etc that will likely not be operating 50 years from now or have parts.

 

As far as those who may "inherit" ones trains, in most cases I'd bet most family members do not share the interest. Theres a reasonable chance many items would be sold off with no regard to value, operation or parts.

 

IMO there are "better" things one can worry about, toy trains are supposed to be an escape from the worrys of daily life.

 

Not every 50 year old locomotive made still runs, as Lee Willis once stated " what you are seeing are the survivors".

 

 

 

As long as there is a market for replacement parts, someone will be producing them. How many post war replacement parts are made by Lionel today? Not many, most are made by third parties. Same with electronics today. If your TMCC engine breaks, Electric RR can get running again. MTH has DCS replacements as well.

With the cost of new engines reaching into the stratosphere, you can repair your existing engine for a fraction of the cost of replacing it. If you can replace existing electronics with a diode bridge as some have suggested, you can replace it with proper electronics. It may look more complicated but its really only a matter of a few more wires. The manuals are very well done just take it a step at a time Try one a see for yourself.

 

Pete

It's not going to be an insuperable problem for all the reasons mentioned.  Just enjoy today and let tomorrow take care of itself. 

Originally Posted by StPaul:

 

t

 

now I intentionally left out the current aftermarket folks making a version of electronics as they are not the original items used on current items being manufactured with todays latest greatest engines of anyone manufacturer.

 

so what do you all think possibly down the road the younger generation will see this come to fruition??

 

  

This is a point that nobody's addressed...

 

Personally, I wonder how likely it is our successors will actually care if the electronic boards in secondhand locomotives are original, assuming they do all (or most of) the stuff the original boards did. The market already is heavily slanted toward operators moreso than collectors, otherwise we'd be having heated discussions over say, the ethics of putting TMCC boards in Protosound-1 locomotives.

 

---PCJ

My YouTube videos

"Wait... Why am I rolling? Am I moving or are the trees moving? What'd you say about my brakes? Youtookoutmywhaaat?

Holy Cow I Can't Staaahp!!"

--MAD's Thomas the "Unstoppable" Tank engine

Last edited by RailRide

trainrat,

Surely you have a comment to add. You've been a member quite a while. 

Respectfully,

"Pappy"

My Two-Cents                 

 

Been there, done that, bought a new cell phone.  There is no repairing cell phones, at least not unless you have a lot of expensive equipment. 

 

However, with the current electronics in command locomotives, most can be repaired or the electronics replaced.  I suppose at some point down the road, the whole package will become "throwaway" like so much other stuff in our society...

 

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