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Hello,  I recently purchased (new) an MTH Premier 20-3773-1 N&W J-1a Locomotive with whistle steam (smoke).  I don't think I've even ran it 30 minutes, mostly in short run times of 5-6 min. Everything worked fine in DCS until last night, the Tender Back-Up Light did not illuminate when hitting the direction control on the Remote...? The Locomotive does reverse and run in reverse; the rear Coupler on the Tender Fires open, (with sound)….every other feature seems to work ok....The Cab Light, the Marker Lights; the Firebox Glow;  Headlight....Any suggestions..?  I've gone through all the "soft key" selections on the Remote and don't see one for Back up Light...?  Did I accidently hit a couple command keys together and somehow turn the Back up Light off...?  Any/All suggestions ideas welcome....Thank you...

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Hello All,   Thank you for your suggestions...Ok...From the top...The # 1 button on my DCS Remote turns the smoke off and on...No. 7 is the Headlight, but I tried "both" 1 and 7 when putting the Locomotive into Reverse....Still No Back-up Light....I did both a "Feature Reset",  and a "Factory Reset" as found in the Advanced Menu....No Back Up Light after doing both Resets....The Tender has (3) Switches on Bottom...(1) 2-Rail of 3-Rail...obviously set to 3-Rail;  (2) DCS  or DCC....set to DCS; and (3) and this one I don't understand  AUX - COAL...?  Anyway, it was factory set to AUX, but for the heck of it, I tried it set to "COAL".....no Back up light either way....however, interestingly, now I seemed to have lost the firing (opening) of the Proto-coupler on the rear of the Tender....I get the sound effect, the Locomotive still goes into, and runs in Reverse....but still no Back-Up Light, and now, no opening of the Coupler...?  Go figure..?  I bought it brand new from a Dealer in Indiana....I'm in Pennsylvania....so taking it in for a quick check at the Dealer isn't an option.....So....if nothing else, I guess tomorrow evening, I'll carefully remove the Tender Shell and see if I see anything obvious...unless someone has another idea to try....Again....Thanks for all your help....PRREnola

There is a tether in the tender.  Read your instruction manual.  You can attach an aux water tender to this via a tether in the tender.  Select the AUX switch an the aux coupler fires and not your coal tender which would decouple the water tender.  So I wonder if they got this wrong in the wiring that is preventing your rev light.  You switch sound backwards.

MTH did this several way over the years with respect to how coupler fired, and how lights operated.

If you sent me just the tender, I could work through it and make sure it was wired right.  Otherwise I would call MTH and get it fixed. Ask them to pay shipping both ways.

If john is correct an many have this wrong, they should know about it.  G

@PRREnola posted:

Hello All,   Thank you for your suggestions...Ok...From the top...The # 1 button on my DCS Remote turns the smoke off and on...No. 7 is the Headlight, but I tried "both" 1 and 7 when putting the Locomotive into Reverse....Still No Back-up Light....I did both a "Feature Reset",  and a "Factory Reset" as found in the Advanced Menu....No Back Up Light after doing both Resets....The Tender has (3) Switches on Bottom...(1) 2-Rail of 3-Rail...obviously set to 3-Rail;  (2) DCS  or DCC....set to DCS; and (3) and this one I don't understand  AUX - COAL...?  Anyway, it was factory set to AUX, but for the heck of it, I tried it set to "COAL".....no Back up light either way....however, interestingly, now I seemed to have lost the firing (opening) of the Proto-coupler on the rear of the Tender....I get the sound effect, the Locomotive still goes into, and runs in Reverse....but still no Back-Up Light, and now, no opening of the Coupler...?  Go figure..?  I bought it brand new from a Dealer in Indiana....I'm in Pennsylvania....so taking it in for a quick check at the Dealer isn't an option.....So....if nothing else, I guess tomorrow evening, I'll carefully remove the Tender Shell and see if I see anything obvious...unless someone has another idea to try....Again....Thanks for all your help....PRREnola

I had the same problem.  Specifically the tender light.  For what its worth, I took the shell off 2 times to inspect.  No much under the shell to go wrong.  Plenty of room.  The problems grew from there.   You can find my original post for that.  Here were the steps I took:

Installed new drawbar.  No go.  I put my Hiawatha tender to the 611.  Flawless operation.  Ran 3 hours all over the layout.   611 tender, stops dead and requires power off and on to get track to find engine.  When power back on columns and smoke start high until shutdown.  Then power up and adjust smoke and volume down sound.  Start again, run a few feet or loops,  “Dead”!

Checked plugs on 611 tender board.  Did seethed soldered and shrink wrapped the green wire from plug to board.  Did not take wrap off but felt fine.  Ran without shell and back- up led installed.  611 runs fine until it goes through switches or anything that may have voltage interruption  ( small gaps in Ross 4 way).  My MTH Hiawatha and Dreyfuss tenders on 611are fine.  Build seems to be very similar to each other.  So swapping as troubleshooting made sense.

I think it is the board, and needs to go back to MM for board replacement.  I want to avoid the busy MTH service department.  Fitting as probably my last new MTH steamer.

Interesting, the same dealer sold mine to me.  I sent mine in to MM.  Jeff ordered a new tender board from MTH.  Not in yet.  Mine is waiting for the part.

Last edited by Bryant Dunivan 111417

Hello to All....Most recent update...I worked the switch on the bottom of the Tender from Coal to Aux. and back a few times, firmly putting it in the "Coal" position....and I did get the rear Tender coupler firing (opening) again, but still no Back Up Light. I will remove the Tender Shell tomorrow evening, or Saturday, depending on time, just to be sure it isn't something obvious like a crushed wire; loose pin on Board (if there is one in their), obvious issue with the LED, and go from there. Thanks again to "All" who have taken their time to read, analyze, and make suggestions to remedy this issue with the Back up Light.  PRREnola

Bryant, your issue sounds like a bad super cap or solder joint.  Might have been an easy fix.  Still would like to know the issue with the LED if multiple units have issues with it.

In the PS-3 world, everything in the tender works off the tender board as long as tender has track power.  Either from it's own pickups or from the engine (usual).  The engine needs to have good communication with tender via draw bar to work.  The boiler board is effectively a slave being told what to do in the engine (lights, smoke, motion).  The only thing the engine board tells the tender board is what speed it is going to generate appropriate sounds.  It is a two way communication along the data wire.  G

@GGG posted:

Bryant, your issue sounds like a bad super cap or solder joint.  Might have been an easy fix.  Still would like to know the issue with the LED if multiple units have issues with it.

In the PS-3 world, everything in the tender works off the tender board as long as tender has track power.  Either from it's own pickups or from the engine (usual).  The engine needs to have good communication with tender via draw bar to work.  The boiler board is effectively a slave being told what to do in the engine (lights, smoke, motion).  The only thing the engine board tells the tender board is what speed it is going to generate appropriate sounds.  It is a two way communication along the data wire.  G

Since it is under warranty, and obviously needed intervention, I sent it to the Dealer.  After the dust settles, I will put together a list of boards that may be wise to purchase soon.  I have the latest Dreyfus, Hiawatha and this J.  Long term, if I keep these engines, it may be wise.

You and GRJ are 2 people that I have in mind if I get into post warranty repair.  I know there are other fine people out there, but you 2 are the most visible to me over the years.  Thanks for your sage advice.  I am sincere in my appreciation.  Stay safe and healthy.

IMG_6199[1]Hello all,  OK....I don't know how to explain this....I came down  this afternoon to remove the Tender Shell to check for any problems....powered up one more time before I started....and I have a Back-Up Tender Light....Do I have Gremlins in my Train Room....I am at a total loss to explain this....nor do I know how long it will last, but for right now....it's working and has been for a couple hours now...??  Again, Thanks to all who have been such a big help with your time and suggestions....It's much appreciated.....GRJ...can always count on your help, and GGG...thanks for your advise...If anyone knows why this came back, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts....and whether you think it's a short term thing, and will fail again soon..?   PRREnola

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@GGG posted:

Thank you.  I would tell Jeff and MMT to check the caps, otherwise your going to be waiting awhile for the new tender board as MTH is out. G

I spoke to Jeff at MM trains to follow-up on my repair being done in partnership with George.  I was told he rec’d about 4 more with similar issues.  Turns out, MTH says it is a design problem as opposed to component failure.  MTH wants the units brought in for design fix, whatever that means.  I think the tender PCs was a new design.  This late in the game for MTH to use new board design when Mike is exiting makes no sense unless driven by cost or obsolescence.  I sincerely hope whatever mystery entity or entities purchases segments of MTH can support their electronics.

The irony here is I bought this one after the paint fiasco with Lionels version.  So much for that.  At least I will have a good looking version when done.  With that, if anyone has 1 sealed in box, you might consider testing it while under warranty.

The boards are standard PS-3 steam, no design change.  There have been harness construction issues, bad drawbar, and some drive train issues with dogbone that may be from a cover installed wrong on drive gear.

I did have one with reverse light wired wrong inside tender.  Basically on the model, the tender coupler and rev light outputs designed to go to the Aux/Coal switch.  So either tender light and coupler work, or aux light and coupler work.  Not both tender lights like some PS-2 3V did.

The harness wrapping is tight and can pull on 20 pin connector (out of board connection).

If you have intermittent function on the tender I would check harness wires for a broken wire, or solder joints at the molex connector under the heat shrink.  G

The irony here is I bought this one after the paint fiasco with Lionels version.  So much for that.  At least I will have a good looking version when done.  With that, if anyone has 1 sealed in box, you might consider testing it while under warranty.

Meh. It's a high speed passenger locomotive. How often is it really going to being going backwards anyway?

That bad stripe on the Lionel version can be seen forwards, backwards, and sitting still lol!

Glad to hear it's getting fixed!

@GGG posted:

The boards are standard PS-3 steam, no design change.  There have been harness construction issues, bad drawbar, and some drive train issues with dogbone that may be from a cover installed wrong on drive gear.

I did have one with reverse light wired wrong inside tender.  Basically on the model, the tender coupler and rev light outputs designed to go to the Aux/Coal switch.  So either tender light and coupler work, or aux light and coupler work.  Not both tender lights like some PS-2 3V did.

The harness wrapping is tight and can pull on 20 pin connector (out of board connection).

If you have intermittent function on the tender I would check harness wires for a broken wire, or solder joints at the molex connector under the heat shrink.  G

Great insight.  Thanks. I look forward to getting mine back.  When it intermittently works, it a nice loco.

I tend to agree that it's not running in reverse very often....but at the price point of "all" O Gauge 3-Rail Locomotives these days, they really shouldn't be defective right out of the Box....I too had purchased Lionel's most recent edition of the J with the in-correct stripe color, and again, had an issue right out of the Box with a front Marker Light not working due to a bad LED.  Lionel Service sent me a replacement and it was an easy fix, but again, having to remove the Shell on a brand new $1500.00 Legacy Locomotive is not something you expect to have to do...and then, after replacing the LED and selling the Lionel to purchase the latest MTH "J"  with whistle steam, and having an issue with the Back up Light....I'm beginning to remember now why I went back to buying "lightly "used"  Trains a few years back....Some years ago it seemed just about everything that came out new had to go back for some sort of factory issue....I certainly hope we're not headed back to those days...I understand these newer PS 3.0 and Legacy and Vision Line Steam Locomotives are very complex Locomotives but at $1800.00+  for a Vision Line Daylight, I don't want to have to "pull the shell",  or  "send it back"...It should be right the first time...Anyone agree..?? 

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