PS 1 to PS 3 upgrade

Still getting my feet wet on this. 

A PS 1 can be upgraded to PS 3, correct?  Is it anymore difficult than 2 to 3?   I have a PS 1 that needs upgraded to at least 2, but cannot find kits that are whole for 2. I am running the MTH DCS on the layout. 

I understand the warranty void if done myself, but I have the correct items to perform this task.


Thanks for any help.


Original Post

Mark Boyce covered this very topic in our NE Ohio O-Gaugers meeting earlier this month.  He follows this Forum, and I am sure will get to you and assist.  He wrote an excellent article, a summary- with notes and photos for our group.

Mike Wyatt

Correct.  I have done it, and also have upgraded all of my whistle/horn-only can-motored steam & diesel locos to PS2  and 3 steamers to PS3.  You did not say whether steam or diesel.  I have not upgraded a diesel to PS3  Steam PS3 upgrade kits are very similar to PS2, but the diesel kits, I am told, are more difficult due to a profusion of very fine wires.

The diesel upgrade isn't impossible, but it's just a bit more "fiddly" due to the multitude of very fine wires in the kit.  They provision every possible option, ditch lights on front and rear, strobe lights, marker/class lights front and rear, MARS light, etc.  So, you get a rats nest of wire to deal with.  If you proceed logically, you can do the upgrade, but it's not as easy as the steam in that regard.

My personal method is to remove any wire from the board connector that won't be used in my specific upgrade, that normally reduces the pile of wires by about half and makes it more manageable.

Ok thanks. The rats nest of wiring is not daunting to me, I routinely work on radios in my Ham Radio hobby, thus I have the needed tools and safeguards for the boards.

One thing I am still uncertain of is the actual downloading of sound files. Can these be downloaded to Android and then into the DCS control to program the engine or do I need to use an actual computer? I know for some of you this is a dumb question.

You need a real computer, and it has to run Microsoft Windows.  An Apple works with a Windows emulator, but it's far easier to use a plain Windows machine.


I would take RJR up on his extra unused kit.  I had two that I decided not to use, and sold them to another Forum member just a few weeks ago.  Mike Wyatt is right that I put together a little document for a small group of Northeast Ohio/Northwest Pennsylvania Forum members.  I would be happy to forward it to you.  My email is in my profile as is RJR's.  I do think you need to decide if that engine is worth the money to upgrade or if you should sell it to a conventional operator and buy a PS2 or PS3 engine.  After doing one single diesel successfully the first try, I decided the F3 A-B-A set wasn't worth upgrading for me.  If the diesel has two powered A units, you need a kit for each A unit, which means double the cost.  I think some of our most advanced folks have done it with one board, but they are more familiar with the MTH electronics and better electronics engineers than I am.  

The instruction book that comes with the kits and is available for download on the MTH Website is one of the most detailed I have seen.  It will take you right through the project.  Take John's word for it on wire management, he has done quite a few.  I tacked my wires down with a sticky tape to the shell to keep them from hitting the flywheel or getting pinched putting the shell on.  It really isn't hard if you are comfortable using a static mat and wrist band.  It sounds like you are an old hat at electronics.  I got my electronics training in the mid-'70s at two-year college, before getting an IT degree much later.

Warranty, that's the rub.  There is no warranty if you do it yourself.  If you pay a MTH certified technician, then he can offer a warranty.  I think it is fair.  I could blow the chips on the board due to improper handling.  The Certified technician is trained by MTH

GRJ, if you're working in a room with a nylon carpet, I'd say there's a good chance you'll damage a board with static electricity.  If you have a concrete floor, I would think that there is little chance of doing so.  I'd be wary of using a soldering gun around a board, due to induction.  But apart from these, I think the greatest risk is from pinching a critical wire and putting a pinhole in the insulation. (If you're lucky, the wire isn't critical and all you'll get is a short.)  This same risk is encountered whenever removing a shell.

While the risks, assuming you're doing this with some static protection, are fairly small, they are real.  Note that when you remove the shell, the board is already connected to all the external circuitry, and thus there is a low impedance path for any current to flow.  However, a bare board has all the circuitry just waiting for some current to flow in the I/O circuits, you don't want that to be a large static discharge.

As for the carpets, there are a lot more things that create static, trust me, I know.  I have a wood floor in the workshop, but I can still draw a nice arc to the steel legs of the workbench, turns out the fabric on the chairs generates the static as well.  Synthetic clothing will also generate static quite well.

The dangers are not huge, but they do exist.

RJR and John, I agree with you both!  Fortunately I have never blown anything at home due to static, but I have at work.  

The main point for WD8DK and anyone considering a DIY upgrade is to assess your willingness to assume the responsibility that if you blow something on the board, there is no warranty on it, as John so concisely said earlier this morning.

You are most welcome for my input.  I gleaned information from several members of this Forum, some who also responded to your request, then did my own trial and error so to speak.    I agree with you, that you have to be sure the engine is worth the investment before tackling this.

The real key to a ASC tech doing it is that I load and test board out of engine.  If bad, I know right away, replace it and do the warranty replacement for the board.  Additionally an MTH Tech can load the permanent serial data (Engine ID).  Then you get the additional warranty if it fails in the first 90 days.  Plus all the little details, like right size couplers, or different speaker if required.  The kit is generic.  G

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