PROTO-SOUND OR LEGACY'S EQUIVALENT

Sorry but at the moment Legacy's equivalent name escapes me.  I run MTH and Lionel engines.  MTH Engines, when started, have that sort of wake up slow and get louder thing going on where Lionel trains jump to attention and are up and running immediately.  Which one is more like a real locomotive when it starts.  I have ES44AC engines, and one DDA40X.

Also, MTH 55 SMPH is fast, but so is Lionel's 15 SMPH.  If I revved a Lionel to 55, well, do the words White Sands land/speed record and a tragic derailment with parts flying off mean anything to you.

Lionel doesn't kick in until 8 or 9 on the mph meter, where MTH almost moves at 1.

Once Lionel is going, you can dial back to 4 and that's creep mode.  But it won't move at all when you first dial in 4.  What gives?

I like certain features of both.  I especially like how MTH engines have that engine RPM increase whine, but I do have to drop the volume on the DDA40 because it's like standing next to a jet engine.  I know, I used to crew Blackhawk's.  I like how Lionel's engines say, "that's if for us dispatcher, we're going to the house".  MTH just powers down quietly and goes silent.  Lionel's also go into panic mode if you shut down with any mph left on the scale other than 0.  It's cute after you know why, but hat first time can be a shock to the system because your initial response is, "what the hell did I do!"

Original Post

First off, all of the objections you raise seem to be for older Lionel locomotives that don't have cruise control.  My Legacy diesels start moving at speed step one, and they move very slow.  DCS locomotives are only guaranteed to run smoothly at 5 scale MPH or more, however they typically do considerably better.  While DCS is good at low speed, I think the Legacy stuff has the edge at very slow speeds.

You need to be specific as to the exact makes/models you're comparing as your descriptions don't match my observations.  My legacy locomotives at speed step 15 (out of 200 possible speed steps), are still poking along, they're running very smoothly.

Yardmaster96 posted:
Lionel doesn't kick in until 8 or 9 on the mph meter, where MTH almost moves at 1.

Once Lionel is going, you can dial back to 4 and that's creep mode.  But it won't move at all when you first dial in 4.  What gives?

This is not normal for any locomotive with cruise control, so either you have one without cruise, cruise is switched off, or your engine is broken.

Yardmaster96 posted:
I like certain features of both.  I especially like how MTH engines have that engine RPM increase whine, but I do have to drop the volume on the DDA40 because it's like standing next to a jet engine.  I know, I used to crew Blackhawk's.  I like how Lionel's engines say, "that's if for us dispatcher, we're going to the house".  MTH just powers down quietly and goes silent.  Lionel's also go into panic mode if you shut down with any mph left on the scale other than 0.  It's cute after you know why, but hat first time can be a shock to the system because your initial response is, "what the hell did I do!"

Legacy diesels have all the sound features you're talking about.  In addition, you can do a ton of neat audio tricks with the Legacy CAB2 in conjunction with a Legacy locomotive.  Increased labor sounds, etc. are all at your fingertips.

FWIW, you can have a Legacy engine either have the shutdown crew talk or just have it do the shutdown sequence without any talking, depends on which button you push.

Bottom like?  You just need to spend more time learning how the two systems work before getting worked up about capabilities they do or do not have.

What control system are you using? Conventional , DCS, or the Legacy 990 to run the Lionel locomotives?

The legacy 990 does not use scale speed increments , not sure where you got the smph from.

If you are operating your legacy loco via DCS you are limited to tmcc operating characteristics.

This means fewer speed steps, less precise low speed control, and bigger jumps between speed steps . You also have no ability to access the actual Legacy features.

Otherwise.....what John said.

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

I'm not raising objections I am stating observations as I see them take place in front of me.  I am attempting to learn from others who use this stuff, rather than read a 100 and something page manual provided with the components that have basically assumed I am already out of graduate school, rather than thinking I am new at this and have never used it before.  Little things like what you gentleman have provided me based on experience not book smarts have been very beneficial in this adventure.  Now I find out there are locomotives with cruise control.  My engines run smoothly.  I like features that Legacy engines provide, I like features that MTH provides.  I'm just trying to get as much information as I can so I can tell if my system is working correctly before I spend another life savings trying to fix what was never broken to begin with.  All I know is that I have software version 6.0.  So one would take on faith that since I have what I think is the most current update, unless once again I'm wrong, any changes necessary to take into account past glitches or upgrades would be there.  As for my engines, I have a DDA40X circa 1998 premier, two ES44AC MTH 2016 and 2015, two ES44AC Legacy 2015 and 2017.  One of the MTH is an imperial class.  Other than the 1998 which is PS3 as well, all appear to be modern day engines.  I was just curious.  No rock throwing here.  Just thought I'd field some observations and see what came back.  My PFA button thread seemed a bit worn out and it didn't have anything to do with this, so I started a new post.  Don't get me wrong but sometimes I feel like a novice chess player trying to talk shop with Bobby Fischer.

I'll start by saying this isn't intended to be rude or knock you for asking questions, but you don't seem to have a grasp on what you have, much less a starting point for technical questions.  that said I'll do the best I can.  

To start, I'd read through the manuals provided with the engines, they are usually written at a level a child can understand and will walk you through the functions of the engine.  There are plenty of books and this forum has a search function that may be helpful for the basic questions.  

On the speed difference of the original post, MTH with the DCS system uses scale miles per hour as it's speed system.  the numbers count from 0 to top speed in one mile per hour increments.  Lionel uses a different system with their TMCC and Legacy engines.  we'll just address Legacy here, since you don't have any TMCC from what you said.  Legacy uses 200 speed steps from 0 to the top speed of the engine.  these steps have no relation to miles per hour.  They don't quite work out perfectly evenly, but think of each step as 1/200th of the engine's top speed, or maybe about 1/2 or 1/3 mph per step.  

As for cruise, all Legacy engines have it built in.  I think all PS3 do as well, and many ps2?  I'm afraid i'm not very well versed on MTH products since they don't offer features I require in a control system.  Some TMCC engines have cruise but most did not, while most aftermarket upgrades would have it.  

One last thing, you mentioned a 1998 engine with PS3?  is this an upgrade kit or ?  PS2 wasn't out in 98, never mind 3.  

 

$ This is John Galt speaking.  $

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.” 

 

 

I have an idea.  Call this a suggestion for the forum director.  Trust me, I'm perfectly sane right now, in a pleasant state of mind.  This is a suggestion only.  Since it is obvious that I am, and I apologize if this gets anyone's dander up, but I am still a candidate for the "kiddy pool".  I'm not ready to move to deeper water, nor am I knowledgeable enough to jump off the diving board.  I can't be the only person out here that is in my shape.  Would it be too much to ask for a "model trains for dummies."  A forum where other members, with the knowledge that what they read will be a hodge-podge of questions that show the writer's lack of knowledge, would be willing to, as all of you have been, to dispense your years of knowledge and help novices like myself get our layouts running efficiently and answer some what would be considered "dumb" questions for the other forums.

I know, there are no dumb questions.  Well, if you attend a symposium of scholars who wish to discuss the dynamics of Picasso and how his life affected his art and changed the modern world, and you stand up and ask, "why did he put her left breast under her chin?" For this audience, that's a dumb question.

Well, as much as I have tried to keep my questions on par with the forum I have delved into to ask the question, it is apparent that, and I understand fully, that some of my threads and replies have started to bring out the, "oh for goodness sakes" answers.  If we had a forum that was titled, "the novice" or "A beginners guide to model railroading", then skies the limit to what questions you are going to see.  At least this way the adults can talk without the kids interrupting them.

Just a thought.  Sorry if I ****ed anyone off. 

Yardmaster96 posted:

I like how Lionel's engines say, "that's if for us dispatcher, we're going to the house".  MTH just powers down quietly and goes silent.  Lionel's also go into panic mode if you shut down with any mph left on the scale other than 0.  It's cute after you know why, but hat first time can be a shock to the system because your initial response is, "what the hell did I do!"

MTH does have a long shutdown and startup feature on many locos that does this too.

I wouldn't worry about the cantankerous ones on here, many forget there are many hurdles to fully understanding everything and people are trying to state things in the way it makes sense to them.  This may or may not be "correct" in official terms but patience is key.

I've enjoyed every step of this.  It's just taken me so long to get the room ready and I bought the trains like a kid in a candy store.  I bought the track and the DCS components on sale.  Now that I have the jigsaw puzzle put together, and one wire firing it all, I can at least run the trains around the track, and play with the remote.  This entire thread was generated through simple observations I'd made.  I just wanted to know if anyone else had experienced what I am experiencing.  Yes, No, not quite, that happened to me once, found out it was because...…  That's all

Honestly, you should get Barry's DCS Companion book for DCS and read it. It's a pretty easy read and it explains much more than anyone could here on the forum. That will give you the basics and then you can ask for clarification, or further questions here on the forum. Those should be manageable and Barry himself will many time provide you with answers. I think Barry's books (he has one for wifi also) are now available on MTH's website. You can always find one of his posts for a link, he often includes one in his replies to others questions. It's also a great reference for future use, I use my copies frequently as I often forget stuff pretty easily. It's much better than the DCS manual and does a good job of explaining things so even I can understand them.

I got back in the hobby in 2011, what changes they have made since I was a kid in the '50s!!! I got that book as soon as I got DCS and read it clear through. Then I hooked up my DCS system and fiddled with it. Then read the book again. I can't remember it all, but I can look things up and/or ask here on the forum when I get stuck.

OGR has a video on using DCS, but it's older and doesn't cover some of the newer features that have been added. I am not sure it is still available, but it does cover the basics and might also be of some assistance. If it's still available it should be on the OGR website in the OGR Store.

There are also a couple of videos and a book on Lionel Legacy. They are available from TM Books & Videos. I am still lacking in the Legacy department, which I also have on my layout. I mainly use DCS, but I do have some Legacy stuff and want to know more about it. Anyway, I finally got around to ordering the videos and book from TM and am looking forward to those as well. They are written by a very knowledgeable Legacy guy and I heve heard they are supposed to be pretty good.

Anyway, just kind of a FYI here. It might help you get up to speed more quickly.

Yardmaster96 posted:

I have an idea.  Call this a suggestion for the forum director.  Trust me, I'm perfectly sane right now, in a pleasant state of mind.  This is a suggestion only.  Since it is obvious that I am, and I apologize if this gets anyone's dander up, but I am still a candidate for the "kiddy pool".  I'm not ready to move to deeper water, nor am I knowledgeable enough to jump off the diving board.  I can't be the only person out here that is in my shape.  Would it be too much to ask for a "model trains for dummies."  A forum where other members, with the knowledge that what they read will be a hodge-podge of questions that show the writer's lack of knowledge, would be willing to, as all of you have been, to dispense your years of knowledge and help novices like myself get our layouts running efficiently and answer some what would be considered "dumb" questions for the other forums.

I know, there are no dumb questions.  Well, if you attend a symposium of scholars who wish to discuss the dynamics of Picasso and how his life affected his art and changed the modern world, and you stand up and ask, "why did he put her left breast under her chin?" For this audience, that's a dumb question.

Well, as much as I have tried to keep my questions on par with the forum I have delved into to ask the question, it is apparent that, and I understand fully, that some of my threads and replies have started to bring out the, "oh for goodness sakes" answers.  If we had a forum that was titled, "the novice" or "A beginners guide to model railroading", then skies the limit to what questions you are going to see.  At least this way the adults can talk without the kids interrupting them.

Just a thought.  Sorry if I ****ed anyone off. 

Yardmaster - you just keep asking questions on this form as long as you think you need to.  That is what the forum is here for, and I guarantee you there are others who have the same questions, BUT do not post them out of fear of sounding dumb etc.  Those who slam you probably forget they faced the same learning curve as you.  Trust me - they were not born with "the manuals" and related knowledge embedded in their brains. 

Surfliner

I appreciate the pep talk.  Thank you.  It's just that sometimes when I try to make a point, people get pricked with the pin.  What I was trying to say gets lost in the translation.  But with your encouragement, I want to update my odyssey.

I bought Barry's book.  I have read "a lot" of Barry's book.  I don't read well.  I'm not dyslexic but my eyes wander as if they have this uncontrollable need to get to the good stuff and I miss out on all the explanation needed to understand the "good stuff".  But I forced my eyes to stay on message and I learned a great deal.  Here's what I think I learned.

Powering my entire layout using the brick through the Fixed 1 IN channel doesn't appear to be a good idea because Barry never mentions that approach.  Closest he comes is the barrel jacked Z plugs of varying varieties that attach to the jack on the TIU designed for auxiliary powering of the TIU.  Every page mentions using a transformer of some sort.  Not complaining but this is an observation, not a critique.

I have no clue how I am going to power those switch track separately.  He drives home the need to make sure those motors are not powered through the TIU.  He shows us how to wire the switch to utilize the aux side and remove the jumper.  My layout is on the floor, not a table.  My wiring choices are limited to say the least.  When you have four on one side, four on the other, five at the top and four at the bottom, your ability to run wire across the floor, under the track to a centrally located transformer, an 80 watt Lionel, hooked to a 24 location terminal block, makes for a spider web of foot traffic problems.

I finally understand what home run/star wiring means.  Thanks to a Lionel service video I know what common bus wiring means.  The DCS manual, the one that came with the package,  states clearly not to use common bus wiring.  Anyone want to field why?

Barry's book mentions Fastrack switches, but instructs more toward Realtrax wired track.  I have Fastrack.  I don't think I have the ability to use those specifically designed track pieces with the light bulbs on them.  I'll look and see if Lionel sells something like that in my catalog.  Fastrack as you know has connection points under the track.  So any instruction on how to translate his well explained method of wiring different points using fastrack would be helpful.  His diagram clearly shows Realtrax being used.

Barry if you're reading this i'm not complaining, I'm just explaining what I saw and what I read.  Your book is gold.  Thank you.

One final observation and this is where my "just wanted to make sure" question comes in.  Lashups.  Read it as close to the brain as I was able too.  Read the part on testing your engines to make sure they won't fight one-another when they are working in tandem.  Read how to set one up.  Never saw one statement that read, "couple your engines together".  Did my wandering eyes I mentioned earlier get me in trouble here?

There is no problem powering the Fastrack switches from the track if you have constant voltage to the track.  The one concession I make to DCS for Fastrack is to substitute a 22uh choke for the power jumper on the bottom of the Fastrack switch.  This prevents the switch internal electronics from affecting the DCS signal on the track.  The neat thing about this configuration is you can use the Fastrack command switches and have no wiring at all to them, you just operate them from the TMCC or Legacy remote.

This kid of discussion is bothersome because it's like a microcosm of life. We all make casual observations and comparisons and we think that is the equivalent of "research".  So we end up in a situation of "what you know that ain't so". And once we "know" whatever it is, we are sure reluctant to admit that it might not be so. If I had enough hair left, I'd be pulling it out after reading this! Yeesh.

Don Merz

 

Don M.

Gunrunnerjohn

I think you mentioned that to me in an earlier reply.  That sounds great and I'd like to try it.  Could you point me in the right direction as to where I can find them?  Oh, very important, at least for me, are they attachable items, or do they have to be soldered?

No soldering, just replace the track power jumper with one of these, tucks right into the cavity for the wiring under the switch.

eBay: 381847474571, it's a US seller, so you should get them fairly quickly.  20 of them for less than $5.+

eBay: 291617081883, from China, 50 of them for around $3.50, slower shipping.

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Thanks Gunnrunner

I take it from the photo it's the wire piece with the abacus looking green bead with the black lines I am actually bending and tucking into the slots where the jumper used to be?

I tested one of my switches tonight, one that wasn't working.  The LED worked fine, but the remote is defective.  I took the bottom off and hooked the two wires I was using to the aux side under the IN and Ground slots, but even that didn't help.  I thought maybe my gator clips, since they weren't connected to both the straight and the thru sides might be a factor, but when I connected the wires internally, the motor still only moved one way with help from the remote, I had to move it back the other way manually with the lamp.  Based on this, only one of the toggle buttons, the rear one near the green light on the remote, not the front one near the L, is only working.  Does my math compute?

Yardmaster96 posted:

Surfliner

I appreciate the pep talk.  Thank you.  It's just that sometimes when I try to make a point, people get pricked with the pin.  What I was trying to say gets lost in the translation.  But with your encouragement, I want to update my odyssey.

I bought Barry's book.  I have read "a lot" of Barry's book.  I don't read well.  I'm not dyslexic but my eyes wander as if they have this uncontrollable need to get to the good stuff and I miss out on all the explanation needed to understand the "good stuff".  But I forced my eyes to stay on message and I learned a great deal.  Here's what I think I learned.

Powering my entire layout using the brick through the Fixed 1 IN channel doesn't appear to be a good idea because Barry never mentions that approach.  Closest he comes is the barrel jacked Z plugs of varying varieties that attach to the jack on the TIU designed for auxiliary powering of the TIU.  Every page mentions using a transformer of some sort.  Not complaining but this is an observation, not a critique.

I have no clue how I am going to power those switch track separately.  He drives home the need to make sure those motors are not powered through the TIU.  He shows us how to wire the switch to utilize the aux side and remove the jumper.  My layout is on the floor, not a table.  My wiring choices are limited to say the least.  When you have four on one side, four on the other, five at the top and four at the bottom, your ability to run wire across the floor, under the track to a centrally located transformer, an 80 watt Lionel, hooked to a 24 location terminal block, makes for a spider web of foot traffic problems.

I finally understand what home run/star wiring means.  Thanks to a Lionel service video I know what common bus wiring means.  The DCS manual, the one that came with the package,  states clearly not to use common bus wiring.  Anyone want to field why?

Barry's book mentions Fastrack switches, but instructs more toward Realtrax wired track.  I have Fastrack.  I don't think I have the ability to use those specifically designed track pieces with the light bulbs on them.  I'll look and see if Lionel sells something like that in my catalog.  Fastrack as you know has connection points under the track.  So any instruction on how to translate his well explained method of wiring different points using fastrack would be helpful.  His diagram clearly shows Realtrax being used.

Barry if you're reading this i'm not complaining, I'm just explaining what I saw and what I read.  Your book is gold.  Thank you.

One final observation and this is where my "just wanted to make sure" question comes in.  Lashups.  Read it as close to the brain as I was able too.  Read the part on testing your engines to make sure they won't fight one-another when they are working in tandem.  Read how to set one up.  Never saw one statement that read, "couple your engines together".  Did my wandering eyes I mentioned earlier get me in trouble here?

Barry's book is a good start, and it looks like GRJ has you fixed up on the switches. In my post above I never meant to imply you shouldn't ask any questions, I was just trying to offer some help in learning the DCS and Legacy systems so maybe after that your questions would get more replies.

I will try to help with a couple of other things you mentioned. Your TIU must be powered in one of two ways, by powering FXD IN 1 or powering the TIU AUX port. If you use the AUX port you still need to power an input and use that inputs output to power the track. If you only have one loop of track then powering everything through FXD IN 1 is fine.

Say you have 2 loops of track and you want to isolate them to be independent of each other and power each separately using one power supply for each input, FXD 1 & FXD 2.  You would then want to use the AUX port to power your TIU. Reason being if you use FXD IN 1 to power the TIU and you trip the breaker on the brick, anything running on the FXD 2 channel will just keep running and you will have no control over it because the TIU will no longer be powered. Using AUX power will keep this from happening.  Anyway, I'm sure Barry explains this much better than I just did, but hope that helps some.

This example is for one loop only, the same applies to each other loop you might have. You want to break you loop in at least two places, in the center rail only, creating at minimum (depending on size) two separate blocks/sections of track (maybe more if loop is large) in close to equal lengths. You would then wire to your MTH terminal block from your TIU output. From the MTH terminal block you would then wire one pair of wires to somewhere close to the center of each block/section of track. The reason for this is that with no separations the DCS signal will run back over itself and the engines and DCS system can become confused. Buy having separate sections the DCS signal can't run over itself. Again, I'm sure Barry explains thin better, but this is the simple explanation. 

I don't have any Fastrack so I defer those questions to GRJ or whoever else uses Fastrack. (GRJ is definitely one to follow the advice of, I have learned a lot from him as well as others here.) Also, I have only done one lash-up about 6 years ago so I really can't comment on that part either. I would have to get out the book and follow it to ever do another lash-up, but you would definitely have to 'couple them together'. (And FWIW, lash-up is actually called MU for multi-unit. I am prototypically challenged so I didn't know that either until I had been here for a while.)  

Maybe that will help you some, and good luck with your trains.

RTR12

I was pretty sure you had to couple them together, and if Barry reads that, may I say I meant no harm nor was I critiquing his book.  If it's there I just honestly missed it and didn't want to trust my eyes.  For what it's worth, I like Multi-unit over Lash-up.  Truthfully I've never heard the origin of the term, and multi-unit consist seems more on par for what is taking place.  Lash up sounds like something you do with horses in a stage coach.

Gunrunner

I bought the 20 pack you hooked me up with.  Now just so I am in the loop as to how to install them, I remove the jumper, that's obvious enough, but I want to make sure I am seeing this correctly.  Based on the shape of the "resistors" is that correct, I have to bend the ends to fit the width of the area I am installing them?

Yardmaster96 posted:

RTR12

I was pretty sure you had to couple them together, and if Barry reads that, may I say I meant no harm nor was I critiquing his book.  If it's there I just honestly missed it and didn't want to trust my eyes.  For what it's worth, I like Multi-unit over Lash-up.  Truthfully I've never heard the origin of the term, and multi-unit consist seems more on par for what is taking place.  Lash up sounds like something you do with horses in a stage coach.

Gunrunner

I bought the 20 pack you hooked me up with.  Now just so I am in the loop as to how to install them, I remove the jumper, that's obvious enough, but I want to make sure I am seeing this correctly.  Based on the shape of the "resistors" is that correct, I have to bend the ends to fit the width of the area I am installing them?

Lashup is indeed incorrect, and your post will get much love from the former OGR CEO Rich.  Consist is correct in RR terms and I agree, lashup is a poor team either way.

Yardmaster96 posted:
I bought the 20 pack you hooked me up with.  Now just so I am in the loop as to how to install them, I remove the jumper, that's obvious enough, but I want to make sure I am seeing this correctly.  Based on the shape of the "resistors" is that correct, I have to bend the ends to fit the width of the area I am installing them?

Yep, you just form the leads so the choke fits in next to those two pins and secure it there.  Note that the illustrated red wire will NOT be there in the connection to track power, that's obviously an example of external power.  If my switches weren't buried in a box somewhere, I'd pull one out and snap a picture of one with the choke.

RTR

Not a problem, appreciate the information.  As soon as they come in I will install one and send you a picture.  So if you see a post that from me that has a picture attached, I will be sure to name it resistor install or something close.  Once I have confirmation that I am installing them properly, I will update all 17, then attempt to program the command control switches into the remote.  Not looking forward to the wiring on the other's, but i'll survive.

Gunrunner

Just saw your picture of the switch hookup using the choke.  I understand where to put the choke when I remove the jumper.  I need to know if the picture is telling me to use an auxiliary power supply, or did you just use that picture as an example of where to tell me to attach the choke, and it happened to be a picture of a switch that was hooked to auxiliary power?

Also, on the subject of the ground.  Are you talking about when I run the wires to the AIU? 

In reference to the remote/command switches, you said I could simply use the black button and program the switches directly into the hand remote if I use the choke.  I bought enough of them to choke all 18 of my switches.  Only five are remote/command.  I will need to wire the remote side of the switch for the remaining 13 to the AIU.  This is where I need to know more about your instructions regarding the ground wire.

Thanks

I think I screwed up that diagram anyway.   Just replace the jumper illustrated here with the choke, job done.  It goes between the TRACK JUMPER and AUXIN connections, same as the track power jumper.  As for wiring the remote controls, that's on the other side of the switch connection block, that doesn't change because of the choke.

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Gunrunner

Wonderful.  I was hoping that was the case.  They haven't come in yet but when they do, PROJECT!!!

A quick question if I may.  I've read Barry's book and again, unless I am just missing it, he doesn't mention the F5 softkey REL.  Normally I'd be less than interested but in this case it is causing a bit of a problem.  Usually when I shut down an engine, it is right after I press DIR and the SMPH drops to zero.  The problem is that when I go to shut off the remote, REL is parked over top of my F5 soft key.  When I press down for however many seconds, the remote never shuts down it just puts the word REL where the zero used to be and stares back at me.  I have to press the MENU button to get myself to a place where F5 is not blocked by REL so I can hold down the button and power off.  Any suggestions?

Gunrunner.  I need to follow up with you regarding my switch situation.  I installed the chokes in each one of my switch track.  Now that I have my remote/command switches located where I want them, I attempted to install one in my remote using the programming method over the wiring to the AIU method.  I pushed the button, the lamp blinked repeatedly, but nothing I tried on the remote came close to being correct.  I chose Menu, System, Switch menu, Add switch, and it displayed the one TIU I have on my layout.  But when I chose the TIU, it came back with No AIUS location found on the TIU.  A customer service guy at Model Train Stuff told me the Remote/Command fastrack switches wouldn't work as non-wired programmed.  Am I missing a step?  With the chokes installed is the remote supposed to skip the TIU part?  Any assistance is greatly appreciated.  Not just from gunrunner, from anyone else who has experience with this.

Thanks

The chokes are just to provide DCS signal isolation.  If you don't use them, each Fastrack switch degrades the DCS signal a little.  If you have a bunch of them, you can run into signal issues.

The MTH remote does NOT control TMCC switches, you'll need to talk directly to the TMCC/Legacy  command base with a Lionel remote.  You have to use the SWITCH function on the remote, MTH doesn't support that.

AHHHHH.  I understand completely.  So I will need to wire all 18 of my switches to the AIU's I bought.  Oh well.  At least I know how much wire to buy, and, that it will definitely be 22 gauge instead of 18.  I'm gonna need lots of room at my cabinet when those three wires all gather at the AIU for spots.

On another subject.  I read this in Barry's book.  The watchdog signal.  I have a DDA40X that may be having issues with that.  Whenever it is located at the top of my loop, where the TIU is connected to the track, and the voltage is high, it starts up on its own.  Turn on the brick, a second later, it roars to life.  I haven't even turned on the remote.  Is this a watchdog signal issue?

To answer the TIU question first.  Yes.  The TIU is powered by the Lionel 180 watt brick unit.  I modified the plug by cutting the factory specialized plug off of the cord.  Then I split the cord into two separate wires about 6 inches down.  The wire with the writing on it, written in a font I like to call microscopic impossible but white so you can find it, was told to me to be the "red" wire.  So using that information I attached a "banana connector" male end to both the red wire and the remaining wire, my guess the black wire, and plugged both of them into the back of the TIU into the Fixed IN 1 ports.  That powers the TIU.  The red and black wire coming out of the Fixed OUT 1 ports run to a Terminal board and hook to the respective red and black connections there.  Finally, a simple red and black wire hooked to location 1 on the board run out to the track and hook in correlation to their colors to the center and outer rail connectors under the fastrack piece I chose to hook them too.  My Imperial class CSX ES44AC has started doing it too.  It's an MTH Engine as well, but built to run on O36 curve.  I guess I need to know after all the back and forth from this thread, was it a bad idea to use the brick to power my layout?  Barry always talks about the Transformer I am using.  I have a transformer attached to the TIU, but it doesn't power the layout.  It powers my grandson's conventional track that is built near the ceiling.  I ran the power from the Z1000 through the TIU Variable In 1 port out the Variable 1 OUT port under the carpet to one of the columns and up the wall to the track.  I tested it, it works.  But my layout track is completely powered by a Lionel 180 Watt brick with an on and off switch. 

It's just like having it hooked to a light switch.  Flip the switch, power slams the track at its one connection point and filters electricity throughout the layout, weakening as it goes.  If the DDA40X is resting on its parking track, it doesn't spontaneously combust.  But drive that sucker to the top of the track, the area closest to the connection point or terminal track as we call it, and just as soon as the switch is flipped, on she comes, no remote help.

As for the signal test, I've run one around the track and got what I thought I would get.  At first when it leaves the terminal track, it's 10, 10, 10, then it turns the first curve and you start seeing 9's and quickly 8's then it reaches the first switch track and you get 3.  After it passes and begins the trip down the bottom of the track you barely get above 5, then you turn for home along the left side of the oval headed back to the terminal top and the signal increases a bit finally reaching 10 again near the top of the oval. 

Unless I understood it wrong, and this was told to me and based on what I read, command control is designed to send just the right amount of power to the track to allow the engine to be started and move immediately when directed to by the thumbwheel.  It's not supposed to spontaneously power up when it feels electricity flowing through its innards.  Opposite a conventional locomotive which takes off like a bat out of heck when the 18 volts cattle prods its butt upon turning on the brick, a command engine, as I understood it, just sits quietly and waits for me to tell it what to do.  I sat my grandson's old DT&I switcher on the track, and just as soon as I flipped that switch and power hit the track, it took off like an unguided missile for parts unknown.  I immediately turned off the power.  Based on how fast it took off, my guess is it was hit with about 18 volts immediately and responded accordingly.

Sorry for the long dissertation, but I am hoping that the more you know about what I am experiencing, the easier it will be for you to help me out.  Right now I have one wire set powering the layout.  I plan soon to fix that.  My fear is the when I do, and the voltage around the ovals increases and my weak spots get better, it won't matter where my engines are sitting, they will all spontaneously combust.  My two Lionel's already make a faint telephone ringing sound after they have been shutoff and sitting for about 2 or 3 minutes.

 

Yardmaster96 posted:

MTH Engines, when started, have that sort of wake up slow and get louder thing going on where Lionel trains jump to attention and are up and running immediately.  Which one is more like a real locomotive when it starts.

Well, that depends on which prototype locomotive you are comparing it to.

The only real locomotive diesel engines that actually start quickly are Alco Century models with air pressure starter motors. The starters on those locomotives emit a loud compressed air release sound which often startles anyone near the locomotive.  These starters typically increase rotation of the engine more quickly than any others.

First and early second generation EMD's (F-units, E-units, GP9, SW1200, GP30-35) rotate the engine for starting by motoring the generator, resulting in a slowly increasing RPM until the engine fires up, and then settles into idle speed.  Pre-Century Alcos and Baldwins start similarly.  GE's start in a similar manner, but once they fire, they rev up for a short time and then settle into idle.  All of these engines make a pocket-pocketa-pocketa sound while the generator slowly increases engine rotation.

Dash-2 and later EMD's use a starter motor, which emits a whining gear noise in two stages, rotating the engine slowly at first, to purge the cylinders, then increasing speed;  the engine fires on its own more quickly than on the older EMD's.

I have never started a Fairbanks-Morse engine, but I am told that they rotate up to idle more quickly than older EMD's.  They usually burp a mist of oil out of the stack when they fire up, with black freckles caused by the brief oil shower identifying anyone standing nearby.

All EMD's built before about 1990 can be started more rapidly by manually manipulating the lay shaft lever, although, if the batteries are strong, it is acceptable to allow the generator or the starter motor to start the engine naturally.

 

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way

I suspect your major DCS issues have been identified by your signal strength readings.  If you are seeing numbers below 7 or 8 anywhere on the layout, you probably need to improve the wiring to address that issue if you want reliable DCS operation.

I have two replies to honor in this.

Number 90.  Thanks for the information regarding engines.  I appreciate any information regarding railroads and how they work.  I do wish to clarify the statement I made regarding how engines start.  I meant model engines.  All I have to go on is what I can see when I start mine.  Both of the Lionel's are ES44AC modeled.  Two of my three MTH are the same.  The Lionel's sound like a burst of high pressure air then the rhythmic diesel chatter that just keeps going then is drowned out by track noise.  The MTH 44's make a sort of cat growl noise then the engine noise takes over.  Same engine in reality, but different start up noises in model. 

Gunrunner

I agree.  I won't know where to go with this until after I run more wire and better power the track.  Thanks again for the help, as always.

YM96, I'm probably repeating this, but for me, I think following Barry on proper track blocking and wiring accordingly is the one big thing that made a HUGE difference in the operation of my DCS system and layout. I am now a true and firm believer in Barry's recommendations there, I was truly amazed at the difference it made! 

I'm glad you mentioned that.  I do have a pattern in mind, already put some purple post-it strips under each track piece I plan to run wire too.  Not looking forward to having to disconnect and reconnect as Fastrack has those nice sharp edges and I don't do gloves well.  I can't feel anything.  One thing I am doing is making sure I have the 10 inch track pieces that are close to the switch track pieces wired.  My thought is that will help with any weak voltage issues I may or may not be having there.  I plan to run one block to each of the five parking tracks.  They aren't all that long and I plan to put them in the middle of the straight.  All three ovals get four blocks each.  One at the top near the cabinet where my TIU is shelved, one at each switch track area on the left and right side of the room, so that's two and three, and one at the very back of the oval strategically placed so I can hide the wires under the parking track closest to the area I put it.

Remember, this is on the floor.  Not a table.  So wire hiding will be a painful, excruciating process of slowly fishing the 20 feet of wire, give or take, under the track, through a hole in the cabinet, and finally to the terminal board screws.  Did I mention I was unable to buy the newly modified 10 inch fastrack pieces that DO have the notch cut at each end, like their curved partners already had.  I mentioned that and was told that issue was being remedied.  However when Model Train Stuff got the straight pieces with the notches cut in them, I got the old ones in a box of 50.  So I have to cut each track piece with a Dremel.  Then I get to wire all my remotes to the AIU.  I don't drink, but I see it in my future.

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Alan Mancus


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