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Good summary John,  as I understand it (and have both PS3 and PS2 engines) the difference:

- No battery (BCR built in)..... easy enough to install BCR's in PS2 engines

- Rule 17 / LED lighting

- More memory / storage for better sounds down the road.

I believe that may be it that we could actually see / hear.  Certainly the electronics are different.

 

I have a PS3 GP40 and a few PS2 GP40 diesels.  The sounds are definitely improved in the PS3,  but it all depends on the sound set recording.

 

PS1 to PS3 is well worth it as you move to command control.   PS2 to PS3?  As John stated,  unless it fails,  I agree it is probably not worth the $$ but to each his own...

 

Mark

Last edited by Nativefl

Mark,

 

The PS/3 upgrade does not offer Rule-17 lighting, it still drives incandescent bulbs.  You have to have a factory PS/3 with the LED's to get the Rule-17 lighting.

 

The difference in sound file, if there is any, is a moot point for the upgrades as they have firmware that requires you to load PS/2 sound files.  More memory?  Well, you have to be able to load PS/3 sound files to use any of that.

 

I've seen discussions about loading chain files to allow loading PS/3 sound files into the upgrade.  I have no idea if that works or how well.  Also, since that is certainly not an MTH supported configuration, I don't think the average user is likely to consider it very seriously.

 

OTOH, If you have a factory PS/3 equipped locomotive, most of the advantages and potential advantages you mention do exist.  I'd like to see a PS/3 upgrade kit that supports LED's directly and allows you to use PS/2 or PS/3 sound files.

 

 

I have 2 PS2 steam upgrade kits on the shelf.  I have 2 PS2 9-volt locos left, for which the kits are intended. When I install them, I'd use Digikey supercaps, which are very much smaller than any batteries and presently in all my 3-volt PS2s.  I also have 2 PS3 upgrade kits on order, as I understand they come through set up to take the plugs found in 9-volt installations.

 

The differences between factory PS3 and upgrade PS3 is disappointing to me.

Mark,

 

IMO, the single biggest advantage that PS3 engines have over PS2 engines, is that the DSP (digital signal processor) is an FPGA chip as opposed to an ASIC.

 

The FPGA is a much faster chip and provides significantly improved DCS signal strength.

 

This is also the single biggest difference between the Rev. L TIU and all previous model TIUs.

 

This and a whole lot more is all in MTH’s “The DCS O Gauge Companion 2nd Edition", available for purchase as an eBook or a printed book at MTH's web store!

PS2 to PS3 - If their is nothing really I am gaining then gunrunnerjohn makes a good point, however, since Barry is one the folks, along with a few others,  that really knows DCS - it seems like he verified GRJ's comments. Now, If I was jumping up a few levels as Barry points out then I am getting quite a bit and would probably upgrade.

 

I was trying to understand the value for moving to PS3

John / Barry,

 

Thank you both as usual,  very informative and thanks for setting me straight on what I thought I would be getting if I were to upgrade anything to PS3.   Glad I said what I said on current OEM state and learn what I will get with an upgrade.

 

Still going to do my PS1 engines soon as materials become available.   My two DD40AX need to go DCS. Based on your comments I too see absolutely no reason to upgrade a PS2 to PS3 except for failure of components. 

 

Good to know the real difference in the TIU versions also thanks,  I was an early adopter way back so I have the original version still.   No problems with it,  but still good to know.

 

Thanks guys!

Mark

 

There is a lot more to PS-32 then P-2, and the comments so far have not fully grasp those differences.

 

The PS-32 is DCS and DCC capable.  While not everyone's cup of tea, there are DCC operators out there.

 

For 2 Rail DC folks, the PS-32 is NOT polarity sensitive.  It can detect DCS signal on either rail.

 

Because the flash file can be changed by operator, you can get other features like quillable whistle without requiring a special Flash PS-2 board.  So if you where upgrading a Bigboy or Triplex as an example, or that N&W J, you can load the PS-2 3V file with QW and you get that function.  That would not work, with the old PS-2 3V kit.

 

If your installing in an ABA set up with slave, you actually have a direct port for motor sequencing that allows a better motor signal to be sent to the slave board for enhanced slave operation.

 

Having said that, unless these are features you need, no need to upgrade a PS-2 3V or 5V to PS-32, but if your upgrading PS-1 or other manufacture items, PS-32 is the only kit available, once the PS-2 3V kits out in the retail market dry up.

 

Unless you go to an ASC who does custom installs.

 

Alan to answer your older question about original PS-3 boards, yes they could always load a PS-2 3V sound file.  So that is not new.  G

Recently took delivery of a PS3 equipped N&W J and am greatly disappointed with the performance - extremely poor 2 rail electrical pickup and DCC control over the sound.  The model will stop running almost randomly at times.  The caps keep the sound on for a few seconds but no juice to the motor.  Touch the locomotive sideways against the rails and it will take off.   I verified the issue is not related to drawbar issues.   I suspected the wheel/driver blackening was causing the loss of conductivity and polished the treads with fine emery paper.  it did help but stalls still occur at times Even on clean level straight track!  I compared notes with two other  2 railers running MTH steam and they have had similar issues with poor pickup on virtually all their MTH steam locomotives - but not the MTH diesels.  Both modify'ed or replaced the plunger (axel) pickups on the locomotives.  One added all wheel pickups on the tender trucks.   While diving in to the rework the 2 rail pickups  I'm considering replacing the PS3 board with a DCC decoder equipped with super caps that provide both sound and motor coverage.  Is there a market for the PS3 gear?

 

Ed Rappe

 

 

Last edited by Keystoned Ed
Originally Posted by Keystoned Ed:

Recently took delivery of a PS3 equipped N&W J and am greatly disappointed with the performance - extremely poor 2 rail electrical pickup and DCC control over the sound.  The model will stop running almost randomly at times.  The caps keep the sound on for a few seconds but no juice to the motor.  Touch the locomotive sideways against the rails and it will take off.   I verified the issue is not related to drawbar issues.   I suspected the wheel/driver blackening was causing the loss of conductivity and polished the treads with fine emery paper.  it did help but stalls still occur at times Even on clean level straight track!  I compared notes with two other  2 railers running MTH steam and they have had similar issues with poor pickup on virtually all their MTH steam locomotives - but not the MTH diesels.  Both modify'ed or replaced the plunger (axel) pickups on the locomotives.  One added all wheel pickups on the tender trucks.   While diving in to the rework the 2 rail pickups  I'm considering replacing the PS3 board with a DCC decoder equipped with super caps that provide both sound and motor coverage.  Is there a market for the PS3 gear?

 

Ed Rappe

 

 

Your issue is not the PS-3 board it is the engine pick up and wiring conductivity.  Until that is resolved, changing electronics won't matter.

 

Remove black oxide coating, ensure all wire screws are tight, change the black outer rail version to nickel, check any pickups, check switch wiring and continuity.   G

 Wow Ed, I'm surprised!

My two stock PS3 steamers run smoother than anything I have. My frogs aren't powered yet and they glide right thru without any issues.

 I do have issues like you're describing outside on my G scale. I believe the engines are not seeing power steadily enough so that they would stall at the first chance they got. I've done a lot of work to smooth out all the track power issues like switches that aren't carrying power thru all their rails. Dirt and corrosion outside take their toll on things that started off working fine.

 Anyways, I'm betting that G is right about the electronics being sound. I'd bet it's either the coating or even a problem with the tether? I keep mine connected as much as possible. I've heard others complain heavily about them.

 If you decide to sell the PS3 guts, I would be in the market. It's tough for you because the upgrade kits are very economical now.

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

GGG

 

I know that PS3 isn't the cause of the problem - it's the pickup and I can fix it.  If I can sell the virtually new PS3 gear for a decent price  I can install a DCC decoder with super caps that will handle dirty track issues.  With a DCC decoder I'd give up PS3's constant speed control but that feature has no value to me.  On my mountain railroad I want each engineer to control his engine's response to grades and curves - not the electronics (we don't do hands off continuous running).  While I have the J apart I'll add weight in the boiler to improve it's relatively poor tractive effort.  Though the engine is heavy as delivered, I suspect with un-sprung drivers I'm not  getting optimal rail/driver  contact on super elevated curves. 

 

Ed Rappe

 

 

Last edited by Keystoned Ed

Has MTH gone beserk, or is everyone else confused?  I have heard from those who should know:

1. The steam kits have 5-volt connectors.

2, The steam kits have 3-volt connectors

 

3. The steam kits support incandescent

4. The diesel kits are LED.

What sense does it make to have this difference?  If you're upgrading, you're upgrading.  The PS2 diesel and steam upgrade kits had the same board but with different harnesses and added external components.  I believe the factory and upgrade boards were the same also (trolleys excluded).

 

5. Why not offer the 2 unit factory steam set as an upgrade?  If I'm upgrading, I want the full features.

 

Ralph, if you're buying more than one kit, it pays to join MTHRRC, which also gives a freight car.

Last edited by RJR

No RJR has gone berserkshire

 

PS-32 steam upgrade kits have 3V connectors and support light bulbs.  For what ever reason MTH felt a 2 board kit might be too complex to implement.

 

Also, they do need a replacement for PS-2 5V and PS-2 3V boards. So that is the PS-32 board.  It is sold to ASC with 5V connectors for the 5V replacement and it is sold with 3V has the upgrade kit and PS-2 3V replacement.

 

MTH never promised you they would allow every train you own to be upgrade to the latest technology, they are not Microsoft they are MTH.  They promised a back fit for PS-1 engine to be upgrade to command.  You have that.

 

For the diesel, a one piece board, I imagine it made sense to keep it simple and go with one board, one harness with LEDs as an upgrade kit.  Saves money.  But if your repairing a PS-2 diesel your going to get a PS-32 board as a near direct swap with your original harnesses.  Otherwise you go through the labor of gutting everything but smoke and couplers and rewiring the engine.  

 

How hard is that to follow?  G

Seems a 2-board kit would be no harder to implement; presumably, it would eliminate need for a mux board.

 

These upgrade kits are used for a lot more locos than just PS1s, and I'm sure non-PS1 upgrades are a major portion of revenue.  In fact, I've never had a PS1 but have upgraded both whistle-only MTHs & locos of other mfrs.  I'm not aware of any desire by MTH to limit upgrade kit sales to PS1.  I'm sure the MTH Comptroller is very happy when they are used to upgrade Lionel, Williams, Weaver, etc. to DCS.  In fact, one of the MTH executives told me that they are working on (didn't say how hard) a kit that won't need a flywheel just to permit bringing DCS to more non-MTH locos.

 

Although I may be totally beserkshire,* I still don't see the point of having one board for diesel and a completely different board for upgrade steam, with different lighting, and a third for factory steam.  It certainly increases production costs.

 

*I shall some day resolve the Berk's problem, but that's another story. 

 

I think I'll drop off the thread.  What MTH has produced is what it is, and while I don't understand the logic, we have to live with it until MTH makes further changes.  No point is discussing what might have been or should have been.

Last edited by RJR

Beside the nice discount on the upgrades, the MTHRRC is a great value - join at the $50.00 level and you get a great piece of rolling stock. Like Atlas - they treat their customers who join their clubs really well. The 2015 MTHRRC car came today- really very nice - flat car with 4 sections of track on it. Well done and is a great value.

 

K

PSU1980, I second your opinion on the MTHRRC. It is a very good deal, you get the yearly car, discounts on products and special yearly products at very low prices available to club members only. Very good deal. And they mail you all the catalogs.

 

They also have a membership with the same benefits, but no yearly club car, for either $20 or $25 a year (forget the exact cost on that one?). There are RK, Premier, Tinplate, HO, S and maybe some other memberships at varying prices listed in the back of the catalog.  

Last edited by rtr12
Originally Posted by RJR:

Seems a 2-board kit would be no harder to implement; presumably, it would eliminate need for a mux board.

 

These upgrade kits are used for a lot more locos than just PS1s, and I'm sure non-PS1 upgrades are a major portion of revenue.  In fact, I've never had a PS1 but have upgraded both whistle-only MTHs & locos of other mfrs.  I'm not aware of any desire by MTH to limit upgrade kit sales to PS1.  I'm sure the MTH Comptroller is very happy when they are used to upgrade Lionel, Williams, Weaver, etc. to DCS.  In fact, one of the MTH executives told me that they are working on (didn't say how hard) a kit that won't need a flywheel just to permit bringing DCS to more non-MTH locos.

 

Although I may be totally beserkshire,* I still don't see the point of having one board for diesel and a completely different board for upgrade steam, with different lighting, and a third for factory steam.  It certainly increases production costs.

 

*I shall some day resolve the Berk's problem, but that's another story. 

 

I think I'll drop off the thread.  What MTH has produced is what it is, and while I don't understand the logic, we have to live with it until MTH makes further changes.  No point is discussing what might have been or should have been.

Ralph, You know I am teasing. 

 

MTH Makes X amount of kits and they always seem to sell out.  But they were made to upgrade expensive MTH conventional engines bought before PS-2 was released.  Not repair PS-2 engines.  Which is what many of the current kits get bought for by some.  Or necessarily convert other engines, though I am sure that is part of the market now.  I think you over estimate how many kits are sold.  I dpn't think it is a major revenue stream.  And you can probably make the case, you sell a few less trains because of upgrade kits.  

 

Conventional engines don't have MUX.

 

You would need to go to different harnesses for PS-3 Steam and since production steam don't use harnesses anymore you still would need to create a new harness.

 

If you followed a flow diagram you would start off with the primary concern being a replacement part for PS-2 5V and 3V engines when you no longer can produce a PS-2 3V board.  So PS-32 fit that needed.  The repair should be a basic board drop in, not a complete rewiring of the engine.

 

Second was to create the new Upgrade kit.  For Steam, choosing to use the PS-32 board allows you to drop it right into the box, and just remove the battery and battery harness.  Done.  MTH did not make the PS-2 3V upgrade kit for steam with production features. So why expect that for PS-3.  They are in the business of selling new trains.

 

Diesel was different, but they had to create the new diesel harness for a kit, the production versions are different in each engines and they needed one with universal output.  But they no longer had to produce the 5 harnesses required for PS-2.  Which also were specifically made for the PS-2 3V kit.  So it makes sense to go that route.  Especially since the single PS-3 diesel board is $25 cheaper then the stacker board.  So in the end other then LED being more expensive then bulbs at the retail level, the PS-3 diesel kit probably is less expensive to make then the 3V kit.    For steam it would have been the opposite and the kit would have cost MTH more to produce.

 

Trust me, when you get your first PS-3 diesel kit you will see it will be a little harder to use and require more work upgrading diesel engines.  The complexity of the smaller gauge wires and requirement to change Every bulb with LED will notch this one up.

 

There are other subtleties too.   G

Last edited by GGG

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