A couple months back  bought a Consolidation locomotive off eBay. It was in the original box, but had never been used. After oiling it, I put it on my layout using DCS Explorer (I use the MTH iOS app to control the locomotives) where I run MTH Imperial locomotives and it ran great. Then it sat on the shelf for a couple months while we did some work on the layout. This week I put it back on the layout and when I attempted to run it, the app told me I had to upgrade my hardware to the full DCS WIU and TIU. Same thing with a brand new Imperial PRR Pacific my friend just bought. Yet the Imperial Southern I bought a few months back works just fine with DCS Explorer. Anybody know why this is so

Thanks

Original Post

This may (or not?) shed some light on the problem.  From the product overview MTH website:

"While the feature set in the DCS Explorer is more than adequate for small and mid-size layouts and gives the user control of up to three locomotives on the same track at the same time, it cannot take advantage of the additional features found in the In-App purchase options. Users wishing to utilize those features found in the In-App purchase options can only do so if they replace the DCS Explorer with the DCS WIU Wifi Interface Unit and the DCS TIU Track Interface Unit."

I don't have an Explorer, so no first hand experience. Just remembered reading that it had limited features. I do have the WIU & TIU, but I seldom use the app. I suppose this makes me a Luddite, but I still prefer the old original remote. 

Thanks for your comments. I’m familiar with this description of DCSExplorer and do plan to upgrade in a future budget, but the problem here is that I can’t add this locomotive, though Imperials should run under DCS Explorer even I’d some features are not accessible. I figure I’ll check with MTH support this week and share their comments here.

Yes, Imperials should run with the DCS Explorer, AFAIK, that is what they now include in all the starter sets these days. The starter set diesels are Imperial, not sure about the steamers?  Anyway it will be interesting to see what MTH has to say.

I have to admit, I've run into this problem too and find it quite annoying. I own 2 TIUs and remotes, I have the Wifi module and then as a complete separate system the DCS explorer. One example was I setup my monorail and because that's a semi portable layout, use the DCS explore rather than dragging around a TIU for one track- yet the DCS explorer will not control the monorail set and wants you to upgrade to using a TIU + wifi. And yes, also recently saw the same issue with an engine where the explorer was all but worthless and would not control it. This is purely one firmware update from working. Zero technical electronic reason- just they want you to spend more money. I really had high hopes for the DCS explorer and understood it has some limitations- but flat out not running a certain engine- that's just ridiculous. Again, Understand not supporting Premier features like quilling whistle, or other features, but not running an engine in the most basic mode just because of it's not in a list I support, is basically a breaking point.

And it's the price jump. A DCS explorer is what $135 or so street price? A TIU + Wifi is $315 -$350 street pricing. Again I don't mind a feature limitation (3 engines, no advanced features) but to not run a Proto 2 or 3 engine that isn't exactly special is just a really sore point with me too.

Thanks, guys - your input is appreciated. I contacted MTH Support about this issue and found the answer to the problem I had. It's root cause is in the expansion of my railroad empire! It turns out that, not only is the DCS Explorer limited to controlling 3 locomotives at one time, you can only have three locomotives configured in the unit at one time! I had three in there when I went to run the PS2 locomotive. The "fix" was to remove on locomotive that was not in use, then I was able to add in the old PS2 loco and everything worked fine. The problem is that, at least in the literature I've seen on the DCS Explorer that isn't clearly called out. (at least not clearly enough for my old brain to pick up on it!) The message that shows up in the app doesn't give a clue to this either, it just tells you to upgrade (translation: spend more money with us).

In the end, it's now working as it should.

Although I picked up a used DCS Explorer just to have one to compare, I will continue to use the full DCS system that doesn't have limitations like this.  Other then the full DCS, all of the "inexpensive" alternatives seem significantly limited in one way or the other.  For instance, there was no good technical reason to limit the DCS Explorer to three locomotives, that was purely a marketing ploy to herd you to the full system.

Well, let's see... 99 vs 3...  I think I like that limit a bit more.   Obviously, everything has limits, but some things have artificial limits that have no reason technically, I think that was my point.

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