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This is kind of a stupid question, but I need to ask it anyway. I have never owned an MTH 2-rail engine, but, I do model some in 2-rail O scale. What type of operating system do these 2-rail MTH engines use? Will they operate on my good old conventional DC 2-rail system, or not? Thanks.

Jeff

Last edited by mowingman
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The more modern "3-2" locos - DCS-compatible engines with PS2/3, that can be run in either 2- or 3-rail environments, achieved by flicking a switch and easily removing the center-rail pickups...I do not think that they would be compatible with your system..

The older, strictly 2-rail MTH items had no sound or command, essentially just a headlight and a big ol' Pittman DC can motor, should run on your ancient DC layout. I had a flirtation with 2RO, DC - I bought a used MTH Empire State Express 4-6-4. Beautiful. Simple.

I envy you your "ancient" DC 2R layout, to be honest. There are so many literal and figurative electronic moving parts and possible failure points in modern 3RO that it's just getting - has gotten - annoying. It's become another anxiety nexus. Too late for me, though.

D500, thank you for the info. I suspected as much, but was not sure. It is never "too late" to start over in modeling is it? I currently have my 2-rail O scale, and just a few years ago, dug out the old conventional Lionel, and am building a small layout with my grandson. Heck, I am almost 72! I have 2 rail in the spare bedroom and 3 rail in the garage. Plus, a very understanding wife.

Jeff

All PS3 MTH Locos will run fine on 2 rail.:  The loco has constant intensity directional lighting, engine start up and shut down sounds, and smoke. There are no additional functions (bell, horn, etc and squealing brakes.  The engine starts up at 6.5V, and moves at 7.5 Volts.  If more than 7.5 Volts is applied right away, the engine will not move to prevent sudden coupler snapping starts.  In that case, lower the voltage below 6.5 Volts, and then raise it back up. You can change the volume by a pot on the underside.

For PS2 locos, its variable. Some run, some won't.  But yuu can always disconnect the electronics and connect the motors and lights directly to the pickups. If you want directional ligthing connect the lights through a diode.

Have fun in 2 rail!

@D500 posted:

The older, strictly 2-rail MTH items had no sound or command, essentially just a headlight and a big ol' Pittman DC can motor, should run on your ancient DC layout. I had a flirtation with 2RO, DC - I bought a used MTH Empire State Express 4-6-4. Beautiful. Simple.

I envy you your "ancient" DC 2R layout, to be honest. There are so many literal and figurative electronic moving parts and possible failure points in modern 3RO that it's just getting - has gotten - annoying. It's become another anxiety nexus. Too late for me, though.

Gee...I didn't realize that "DC 2R" is now considered "ancient"...  🤔 🙂... but I suppose in many ways it is.

Mark in Oregon

All PS3 MTH Locos will run fine on 2 rail.:  The loco has constant intensity directional lighting, engine start up and shut down sounds, and smoke. There are no additional functions (bell, horn, etc and squealing brakes.  The engine starts up at 6.5V, and moves at 7.5 Volts.  If more than 7.5 Volts is applied right away, the engine will not move to prevent sudden coupler snapping starts.  In that case, lower the voltage below 6.5 Volts, and then raise it back up. You can change the volume by a pot on the underside.

For PS2 locos, its variable. Some run, some won't.  But yuu can always disconnect the electronics and connect the motors and lights directly to the pickups. If you want directional ligthing connect the lights through a diode.

Have fun in 2 rail!

So, are you saying that an AC, MTH locomotive can also run on a conventional DC system? That does not sound right.

Jeff

Jeff,

I have a couple of older 2 rail MTH locomotives with PS 2 and they will also run on straight DC too.  The sound, lights, and smoke function but you do not have the ability to operate the bell or whistle.  Fun none-the-less.  I always did find it amazing that MTH was able to come up with a system that would run on AC, DC, or DCS, and in the case of the PS 3 locomotives even DCC.  Pretty versatile.

Mike

Using a Z1000 MTH power pack you can run PS-2  and have smoke, lights, engine sound, bell and whistle.  

I use a double pole, double throw, three position toggle to connect either a DC power pack to the rails or a Z-1000 to the rails

Having several routes, there is a DC power pack and a Z-1000 for each route.

Recently I have been pursuing battery R/C control.  No wires at all.

Jeff,  I have 3 older MTH 2 rail locomotives. One is a NYC scale Hudson, one is an undec scale SD60. The third is an undec scale GE C-40-8.  All 3 run on conventional 2 rail DC. No fancy electronics, just headlights and smoke units. Purchased them about 25 or so years ago and they still look and run great. The Hudson will still today " smoke" you out of the train room after about 20 minutes of running.

@mowingman posted:

Ok, thanks. I guess I might try an MTH loco if a 2 rail model comes up that I like. I just did not know how flexible their operating system was. Some of their 2 rail engines look pretty nice.

Jeff

Jeff,

What are you looking for?   I have some PS3 two rail engines.  All GE, mostly ES44ac.  I have swapped out the scale wheels for high rail wheels but might have a few sets of scale wheels stashed away.

email me if you are interested.

Jeff,

What are you looking for?   I have some PS3 two rail engines.  All GE, mostly ES44ac.  I have swapped out the scale wheels for high rail wheels but might have a few sets of scale wheels stashed away.

email me if you are interested.

Thank you Dave. However something like that would overpower my small layout. I am probably going to try looking for one of their small switchers, or maybe a smallish GP, if anything shows up down the road.

Jeff

I have PS2 engines that I have run on straight DC. I typically run on DCC now but have toggles to run the layout on DC. I have PS3 engines but never tried them on DC, only DCC, but they advertised for DC use.

With DC on my PS2 engines, I had to move the lever on the power pack quickly to allow higher voltage on the track and then take it back down quickly. The engine would not move during this quick process but it seemed to be some sort of signal to the engine.

After that process the engine would start slowly and perform as usual for DC.

@Strummer posted:

Gee...I didn't realize that "DC 2R" is now considered "ancient"...  🤔 🙂... but I suppose in many ways it is.

Mark in Oregon

Well, just a half-**s attempt at humor.

-------------

John Sethian posted:

"An MTH locomotive with PS 3 can run on straight AC, straight DC, DCS,  or DCC."

That, I didn't know. I run my "Factory Default" PS2/3's using a Remote Commander. Limited, but at least I get to use them as intended. Mostly I'm TMCC.

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