I’ve seen it mentioned several times that “locos with PS1 are cheap on eBay because they have problems with modern control systems, but are a great buy if you use conventional transformer control”.

Reading a bit about this topic, what I actually find is a lot of detail, some of it inconsistent or contradictory. 

What actually happens, if you try to run a PS1 equipped loco from the transformer, with no TMCC or similar control system present? What does it actually do? 

Original Post

PS-1 is not command control. TMCC or DCS has nothing to do with it. PS-1 engines are basically a conventional engine with sound and some other features that are controlled with a series of button and bell presses with a conventional transformer with bell and horn buttons.  The MOST important thing to do with a PS-1 engine is to change the battery BEFORE putting voltage to the engine. If it is the old White MTH battery then toss it and replace it with a new MTH green battery or a BCR. Don’t use the battery in the kitchen junk draw you think is still good! 

7E9618F6-0B3D-48BA-996A-6CE5BE55D836

 

 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

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I've bought two premier locos with PS1 lately that the seller claimed did not work.  Both actually came alive after a few minutes of fumbling and work as they should.  Got the early 20-3118 K4 for $100  and the PRR GP30 for $75.  Ok for me I guess.

Dennis Holler If its old and broke, I like it

While true that PS1 is not command control, there is one benefit to using it with either a Z4000 or a DCS TIU/remote in conventional control mode on the variable channels.

This allows you to access the various combinations of throttle adjustments used to access PS1 features much more easily than manually by hand.

While a lot of those features are not something you might try to access every operating session, doing a manual "throttle high to low" cycle for 25 times by hand is tedious and ripe with opportunity to mess up and have to start over. 

That's a random example, I have no idea if 25 is an actual valid command, but the number can unfortunately be that or something even higher - I recall 39 as being one of them, I think.  ("darn, I waited too long when my wrist got tired on cycle 22 - lets start over...one, two.....").  The Z4000 or TIU will raise and lower the voltage to the track automatically for such features when you program the buttons on the Z4000 or use the soft-keys on the DCS remote.

Also, there is a lot of transformer compatibility to consider.  I'll let others go into more detail there, but as a single example, I recall it doesn't play well with an old TMCC CAB-1 and PowerMaster (original version form 1995 , at least).  This is pure Conventional (with no command base added), but the PS1 engines won't like the "chopped" waveform type.  The engine may move, but it will not likely react properly to special features like bell/horn button press combinations.

-Dave

 

So.... if I put a PS1 loco on the track, connected to my KW transformer, and apply voltage, what would happen? 

If I press the bell button, or operate the whistle lever, what would happen? 

Because those are the available options. Either this loco is a good buy for a conventional control system, or it isn’t. 

Rockershovel posted:

So.... if I put a PS1 loco on the track, connected to my KW transformer, and apply voltage, what would happen? 

If I press the bell button, or operate the whistle lever, what would happen? 

Because those are the available options. Either this loco is a good buy for a conventional control system, or it isn’t. 

The manual for the engine will give you the voltage range to get it out of reset and running. They run very well, the drive train is usually flawless. 

Protosounds One engines are fine to run with conventional control or by using the Z-4000 remote which gives you a walk around throttle with whistle, horn, bell and direction similar to the panel on the Z-4000. I would not run any loco with circuit boards with a KW or other older Lionel transformer. The circuit breakers in these transformers are designed to protect the transformer, not your engine. They take too long to trip which means that $200-300.00 in boards could go up in smoke before the breaker reacts.  The Proto-1 engines used circuit boards designed and supplied to MTH by QSI, a firm in Beaverton, Oregon known for making reverse units and circuit boards for HO engines. Mike Wolf used the QSI circuit boards because they required little R & D and could help MTH in the 1994-98 period bring out engines quickly. They are reliable boards especially if you use a BCR battery replacement instead of the rechargeable battery. The "Scrambled Chip" issue that occurred with a small number of Premier and Railking engines did not affect the majority of Proto-1 engines. In fact, the only Premier engines affected were the Shay, Big Boy, scale Hudson and the Santa Fe and L&N F3 units. With a BCR the problem never occurs. I am currently running the Shay, and for an engine that is more than 20 years old it runs like it was new. In conclusion: If you like your hands on a transformer and like getting great engines at bargain prices look for Proto-1 engines, but run them with only modern transformers. Use your ZW, KW, V or Z type for accessories and lighting. 

Dennis Holler posted:

I've bought two premier locos with PS1 lately that the seller claimed did not work.  Both actually came alive after a few minutes of fumbling and work as they should.  Got the early 20-3118 K4 for $100  and the PRR GP30 for $75.  Ok for me I guess.

I would replace the batteries in these with either new charged up MTH green batteries or BCRs .With the BCR , you need to let the engine charge the BCR on the track at about 12 volts for about a minute before starting and leaving the reset mode. If your engine does not use the BCRs but a MtH battery, you can check the charge level by starting the engine in reset and let it sit for a minute and then turn the track voltage to zero. Sounds should continue to play for several seconds. If they do not, the battery needs a charge . Follow the instructions in the manual.

You can run PS-1 with the DCS handheld using the variable channel to power the track . There is a PS-1 soft key on the hand held which puts the electronics through a check mode and then sets the track voltage for about 8 volts. You can then use the direction button to move the engine forward, neutral and reverse. The whistle and bell features will respond to the handheld buttons when the engine is moving. It is not command operated per se. 

LIRR Steamer

Interesting you should mention QSI. I have an On30 BLI C16 2-8-0 which has a QSI circuit board and the parallels are obvious. 

It runs on DCC or 12v DC, automatically detecting and setting itself. I use it with various transformers, including a Hornby unit dating from the 1980s, and it runs just fine on all of them. 

It doesn’t have the reverser or neutral function in either mode, just forward or backward from the controller. In 12v DC, it goes through a start-up sequence of “engine sounds” up to about 3v, then moves off at about 5v. Flick the power to OFF momentarily, gives you the whistle; flick the power past OFF or flick the reversing switch, gives you the bell - which all sounds very like the Lionel style whistle and bell controls. It has no battery or BCR. 

It’s a nicely thought-out system which works well. 

Regarding circuit breakers, bring in the U.K. I have a two-stage reduction - 230v AC to 110v AC, then a KW to give 20v AC. I presently use a proprietary step-down transformer bought on eBay for the primary step-down, and I find that this will trip out before the KW; which I suppose, illustrates your point about modern electronics being more sensitive. 

Rockershovel posted:

 

Regarding circuit breakers, bring in the U.K. I have a two-stage reduction - 230v AC to 110v AC, then a KW to give 20v AC. I presently use a proprietary step-down transformer bought on eBay for the primary step-down, and I find that this will trip out before the KW; which I suppose, illustrates your point about modern electronics being more sensitive. 

NOT fast enough for todays electronics!

Ron

POTRZBE posted:

I bought the RK Burlington Zephyr in early 2001.  Ran fine.  After a year or so I put in a BCR.  Still runs fine.  PS 1.  Conventional only.

Same is true of my PS1 models. Still running them.

MELGAR

A couple of years ago I had a lot of trouble with my Railking PS-1 Big Boy.  Most of the time it would not run and it would make random sounds.  I even bought a new chip from MTH thinking that I had 'scrambled' the original chip.  Someone on this forum recommended that I check the connector between the locomotive and tender.  Sure enough, I resoldered the connections on the locomotive side of the connector and I have had no problems since.  The original battery has been replaced with a BCR.  The locomotive is a very smooth runner and the smoke is actually too much.  (I cut off the smoke most of the time.)  I use a ZW as my power source.

Russell Trahan, Jr.

Driftwood, Texas 78619

TCA 89-30266

LCCA 12719

PRRronbh posted:
Rockershovel posted:

 

Regarding circuit breakers, bring in the U.K. I have a two-stage reduction - 230v AC to 110v AC, then a KW to give 20v AC. I presently use a proprietary step-down transformer bought on eBay for the primary step-down, and I find that this will trip out before the KW; which I suppose, illustrates your point about modern electronics being more sensitive. 

NOT fast enough for todays electronics!

Ron

Looks as though I’ve definitively settled on “no modern electronics” for O Gauge.

TBH, if I was interested to go down that route, I’d have just concentrated on On30. I already have two MMI 2-8-2s and the BLI 2-8-0 fitted with DCC and modern sound, requiring 36” minimum radius (=O72). The whole attraction of O Gauge was to be able to build layouts on doors, sound air whistles, back locos over uncoupler tracks that go “bzzz.. clunk” and the rest of it. 

Rockershovel posted:
PRRronbh posted:
Rockershovel posted:

 

Regarding circuit breakers, bring in the U.K. I have a two-stage reduction - 230v AC to 110v AC, then a KW to give 20v AC. I presently use a proprietary step-down transformer bought on eBay for the primary step-down, and I find that this will trip out before the KW; which I suppose, illustrates your point about modern electronics being more sensitive. 

NOT fast enough for todays electronics!

Ron

Looks as though I’ve definitively settled on “no modern electronics” for O Gauge.

TBH, if I was interested to go down that route, I’d have just concentrated on On30. I already have two MMI 2-8-2s and the BLI 2-8-0 fitted with DCC and modern sound, requiring 36” minimum radius (=O72). The whole attraction of O Gauge was to be able to build layouts on doors, sound air whistles, back locos over uncoupler tracks that go “bzzz.. clunk” and the rest of it. 

The solution is so so simple.  Just add an inline fast blow fuse from the KW outputs.

Ron

I’m reminded that my KW has a modern circuit breaker installed, I discovered that when I had some electrical issues early on. 

The PS1 just sounds like a lot of fiddling with the controller, for things I don’t need. I already have enough uncoupler tracks, I’m quite happy without the cab chat and conductor announcements. 

Rockershovel posted:

I’m reminded that my KW has a modern circuit breaker installed, I discovered that when I had some electrical issues early on. 

The PS1 just sounds like a lot of fiddling with the controller, for things I don’t need. I already have enough uncoupler tracks, I’m quite happy without the cab chat and conductor announcements. 

What are the specs on the "modern" breaker?  I have a KW that was repaired/updated with new cord, rollers and breaker years ago. I think could almost weld with it.

"Fiddling"  only have to fiddle with the throttle  (voltage) control and whistle?horn button to uncouple engine any where along the track.  Plus have the ability to program certain feature.  Back in my PS/PS-1 days I programed the whistle/horn to 100%.  And programed the engine sound (steam exhaust/diesel rumble to 25% making everything so pleasant to hear.

And by the way probably anything built since mid-1985 has an electronic E-Unit that may not survive a short on the tracks powered by a older ZW or KW.

Ron 

Some people when they upgrade ZW's and the like put in a modern fast blow breaker to replace the old clunky one. It is relatively easy to add a fast blow breaker to the transformer and also potentially put tvs's across the power to handle surges.  To be honest, lot of this comes down to personal finances, it is all great to talk about being modern, getting the latest transformer, but they aren't cheap. While a ZW-L has some neat features (it  has built in powermasters on all 4 outputs), it is like 750 bucks, you can do the same thing with an old ZW-L you have for a couple of hundred bucks between the legacy powermasters and the fast blow circuit breaker. 

 

 

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

PRRronbh posted:
Rockershovel posted:

I’m reminded that my KW has a modern circuit breaker installed, I discovered that when I had some electrical issues early on. 

The PS1 just sounds like a lot of fiddling with the controller, for things I don’t need. I already have enough uncoupler tracks, I’m quite happy without the cab chat and conductor announcements. 

What are the specs on the "modern" breaker?  I have a KW that was repaired/updated with new cord, rollers and breaker years ago. I think could almost weld with it.

"Fiddling"  only have to fiddle with the throttle  (voltage) control and whistle?horn button to uncouple engine any where along the track.  Plus have the ability to program certain feature.  Back in my PS/PS-1 days I programed the whistle/horn to 100%.  And programed the engine sound (steam exhaust/diesel rumble to 25% making everything so pleasant to hear.

And by the way probably anything built since mid-1985 has an electronic E-Unit that may not survive a short on the tracks powered by a older ZW or KW.

Ron 

It’s the 10A one sold by various outlets for the purpose. I contacted the PO (who had overhauled it and fitted a new cable, I didn’t just buy it on spec on eBay) and he told me that he had fitted it. 

 

turbgine posted:

The "Scrambled Chip" issue that occurred with a small number of Premier and Railking engines did not affect the majority of Proto-1 engines. In fact, the only Premier engines affected were the Shay, Big Boy, scale Hudson and the Santa Fe and L&N F3 units.

Add to the List: Premier FP-45 (20-2143-1, 20-2144-1, 20-2145-1, 20-2146-1)          Premier F40PH (20-2147-1, 20-2148-1, 20-2149-1, 20-2150-1)          Premier GP-20 (20-2139-1, 20-214-1, 20-2141-1, 20-2142-1          Premier SD70MAC BNSF & CN : sorry don't item numbers for these units

 

What has worked well for me is to run my MTH PS1 engines conventionally using the MTH Z-4000 transformer that provides power to both of my independently powered main lines. That Z-4000 has operated flawlessly for over 20 years, so it has stood the test of time.

I also have many sidings that are powered by  ZW and KW transformers using Atlas O Scale controllers. However, I rarely run my PS1 engines on those sidings. Those engines run on my main lines powered by the Z-4000.

I also replaced all the original batteries with BCRs.

Arnold

In my little world, I leave this troubled world behind.

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