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Can someone recommend A Serial to USB connector for the TIU To WIU Connection? I purchased the Sabrent USB 2.0 to Serial Adapter and it wont work. Then i bought the Insignia USB to RS -232 and its not working either. I know my WIU and TIU work as I brought it down to Sommerfeilds trains to add the new Revision and it worked on their Layout Using their Cable. He doesn't remember where he got his adapter cable. Thanks

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As Joe said! DCS box needs power, either via fix 1 or aux. Grab a cheap HO DC transformer and plug it in to AUX, or a good wallwart. Do this even when you run your trains since you will have no power to CONTROL anything if you lose power to the TIU. As many say, "This and much more can be found in Barry's book."

@cngw posted:

As Joe said! DCS box needs power, either via fix 1 or aux. Grab a cheap HO DC transformer and plug it in to AUX, or a good wallwart. Do this even when you run your trains since you will have no power to CONTROL anything if you lose power to the TIU. As many say, "This and much more can be found in Barry's book."

Thank you, I was powering it with a Z1000, then my z4000. Just cant get it to communicate with a New in Box WIU on the MTH Network

@MarkSteven posted:

Thank you, I was powering it with a Z1000, then my z4000. Just cant get it to communicate with a New in Box WIU on the MTH Network

New in box or old stock new in box? pretty much all of the WIUs shipped with old firmware installed and need to be updated to version 1.1. To check which firmware you have go to the LuCi login page and check the firmware version:

WIU Firmware check

The picture above depicts a WIU with the latest version 1.1 firmware installed.

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  • WIU Firmware check

To be fair, here are the reasons why you were asking for a specific cable.

#1 While many different brands and chipsets of USB to serial conversion exist- they require a software "driver" on the USB logic host side of the cable. By that, I mean the WIU is a small Linux operating system "computer" for the purpose of this discussion. That operating system has to know and be able to use the specific USB to serial chipset in the cable.  So while you could plug in a cable electrically- that still means some cables- there is a chance with counterfeit or just unsupported brands of chips DO NOT WORK. So yes, 2 cables can look near identical, but have inside buried where you cannot see the chips- different brands and models of chips that will not work with the WIU.

#2 The serial side of the interface is just as much a problem. This is because there is a voltage standard for the serial interface (what voltage indicates a 1 bit and what voltage indicates a 0 bit. Given that the cable is powered from the USB side- we only have 5V DC as the source. Depending on how cheap (minimal electronics) the cable and it's USB to serial conversion is- you might only get 5V or even less out of the pins of the serial cable. Higher end and more complicated converters may have a power supply that takes that 5V from the USB and raises it to a higher regulated voltage, and then the serial data coming out of the serial data pins are at this higher voltage "standard". This PDF by Texas Instruments documents that "standard". https://www.ti.com/lit/an/slla...Fwww.google.com%252F

"Valid RS-232 signals are either in the range of +3 V to +15 V or the range −3 V to −15 V with respect to the
common ground. To be more specific, the driver output is Logic 0 when the voltage is between +5 V
and +15 V and is Logic 1 when the voltage is between -5 V to -15 V.


Received signal voltage level is that Logic 0 works on the received signal voltages up to +3 V to +15 V and Logic
1 works with voltages up to -3 V to -15 V."

Point being, the "better" (more compatible and higher voltage serial data output) cables cost more, typically have a larger electronics package and thus a box or large area where the PCB is molded into the cable to support this voltage increase (boost) and translation, compared to a simple 5V converter that is "within the spec" but at the low end of the range.

#3 As stated, the TIU is another microprocessor controlled electronic device and needs power so it can communicate. While MTH allows the TIU to "borrow" power from Fixed 1 input, ideally we want the TIU powered all the time so the WIU can communicate regardless of channel status. Thus the suggestions of powering the TIU via aux power input jack with a 12-19V supply- AC or DC is valid 1 to 2A capacity.

#4 Last- all the above has to work so the TIU processor and firmware can handshake over the serial data connection back to the WIU. So the firmware version on the TIU, the firmware version of the WIU, the USB to serial cable chipset used, the electrical interface of the serial converter and it's voltage translation has to be compatible and working with the TIU serial interface.

Any step or point anywhere along this complicated path just 1 thing is incompatible- and the TIU and WIU do not work together.

It's entirely possible a cheap cable exists and works. Further I'm not saying for sure you must have a higher voltage serial data connection and that the lower end of the range does not work, however, if having problems- this is one possible answer.

Brand names like Tripp-Lite and Saberent are good known and hopefully higher quality cables that might cost more, but are more likely to work than a given generic no name brand cable.

Sadly, there are no guarantees- with the world today, supply chain problems, counterfeit chip problems, even a name brand cable could be a problem. I know that everyone here is trying to give you best advice and what works for them.

@H1000 posted:

New in box or old stock new in box? pretty much all of the WIUs shipped with old firmware installed and need to be updated to version 1.1. To check which firmware you have go to the LuCi login page and check the firmware version:

WIU Firmware check

The picture above depicts a WIU with the latest version 1.1 firmware installed.

I brought the WIU and TIU down to The Train store Saturday.They loaded Revision 6.0 into the TIU. I cant do it because I dont have Windows Platform. We hooked everything up to their Layout and Got it all to work. Brought it all home, got a new Serial USB adapter and it wont connect. I have the MTH-1039 on pre-order since January of 2021. if its ever released and ships, I hope I dont have the Same issues. I'm running Trains with my explorer but would like more features than what it provides

To be fair, here are the reasons why you were asking for a specific cable.

#1 While many different brands and chipsets of USB to serial conversion exist- they require a software "driver" on the USB logic host side of the cable. By that, I mean the WIU is a small Linux operating system "computer" for the purpose of this discussion. That operating system has to know and be able to use the specific USB to serial chipset in the cable.  So while you could plug in a cable electrically- that still means some cables- there is a chance with counterfeit or just unsupported brands of chips DO NOT WORK. So yes, 2 cables can look near identical, but have inside buried where you cannot see the chips- different brands and models of chips that will not work with the WIU.

#2 The serial side of the interface is just as much a problem. This is because there is a voltage standard for the serial interface (what voltage indicates a 1 bit and what voltage indicates a 0 bit. Given that the cable is powered from the USB side- we only have 5V DC as the source. Depending on how cheap (minimal electronics) the cable and it's USB to serial conversion is- you might only get 5V or even less out of the pins of the serial cable. Higher end and more complicated converters may have a power supply that takes that 5V from the USB and raises it to a higher regulated voltage, and then the serial data coming out of the serial data pins are at this higher voltage "standard". This PDF by Texas Instruments documents that "standard". https://www.ti.com/lit/an/slla...Fwww.google.com%252F

"Valid RS-232 signals are either in the range of +3 V to +15 V or the range −3 V to −15 V with respect to the
common ground. To be more specific, the driver output is Logic 0 when the voltage is between +5 V
and +15 V and is Logic 1 when the voltage is between -5 V to -15 V.


Received signal voltage level is that Logic 0 works on the received signal voltages up to +3 V to +15 V and Logic
1 works with voltages up to -3 V to -15 V."

Point being, the "better" (more compatible and higher voltage serial data output) cables cost more, typically have a larger electronics package and thus a box or large area where the PCB is molded into the cable to support this voltage increase (boost) and translation, compared to a simple 5V converter that is "within the spec" but at the low end of the range.

#3 As stated, the TIU is another microprocessor controlled electronic device and needs power so it can communicate. While MTH allows the TIU to "borrow" power from Fixed 1 input, ideally we want the TIU powered all the time so the WIU can communicate regardless of channel status. Thus the suggestions of powering the TIU via aux power input jack with a 12-19V supply- AC or DC is valid 1 to 2A capacity.

#4 Last- all the above has to work so the TIU processor and firmware can handshake over the serial data connection back to the WIU. So the firmware version on the TIU, the firmware version of the WIU, the USB to serial cable chipset used, the electrical interface of the serial converter and it's voltage translation has to be compatible and working with the TIU serial interface.

Any step or point anywhere along this complicated path just 1 thing is incompatible- and the TIU and WIU do not work together.

It's entirely possible a cheap cable exists and works. Further I'm not saying for sure you must have a higher voltage serial data connection and that the lower end of the range does not work, however, if having problems- this is one possible answer.

Brand names like Tripp-Lite and Saberent are good known and hopefully higher quality cables that might cost more, but are more likely to work than a given generic no name brand cable.

Sadly, there are no guarantees- with the world today, supply chain problems, counterfeit chip problems, even a name brand cable could be a problem. I know that everyone here is trying to give you best advice and what works for them.

So basically even though I am applying power to the TIU from a Brick or Z4000, I should also apply power to the Aux. Power Input?

@MarkSteven posted:

So basically even though I am applying power to the TIU from a Brick or Z4000, I should also apply power to the Aux. Power Input?

Yes. The TIU is a piece of electronics. You cannot "guarantee" at all times fixed 1 input has power to feed the TIU logic itself. Powering via external power supply into aux in ensures the TIU logic is powered.

Well then your WIU should be up to date. the older WIU 1.0 firmware won't work with TIU firmware 6.0 & 6.1. Relating just a bit to what Vernon said above, the WIU works exclusively with Serial adapters that use the "FTDI" or compatible chipset which encompasses about 90% of the USB to Serial adapters out there. I do know of some adapters that don't work with the WIU for this reason (a couple of Belkin models come to mind).

On an unimportant side note, the WIU loads drivers for other USB based things it doesn't ever need, for example a Delorme EarthMate GPS receiver!? I guess it wants know where on Earth it is when it's running trains?

Yes. The TIU is a piece of electronics. You cannot "guarantee" at all times fixed 1 input has power to feed the TIU logic itself. Powering via external power supply into aux in ensures the TIU logic is powered.

💯% AGREED!!!  The old way of powering a TIU via the FIXED 1 INPUT should have been done away with a long time ago, I supposed 20 years ago it was a way to sell it without its own wall plug and save a little on original sale price but boy has that caused problems, confusion and many questions here on the forum.

@H1000 posted:

💯% AGREED!!!  The old way of powering a TIU via the FIXED 1 INPUT should have been done away with a long time ago, I supposed 20 years ago it was a way to sell it without its own wall plug and save a little on original sale price but boy has that caused problems, confusion and many questions here on the forum.

Partly my fault. I built a Nice 24 X 15 Foot layout, but I'm Not 'Tech Savvy" and Didnt really Study DCS enough.

Yes. The TIU is a piece of electronics. You cannot "guarantee" at all times fixed 1 input has power to feed the TIU logic itself. Powering via external power supply into aux in ensures the TIU logic is powered.

Even way back when and I was running the DCS, I put some kind of DC/aux tranformer power output into the aux pwr input on the TIU! That way, I know the TIU had power. There were too many instances of power failing/breaker tripping when supplying the TIU! Can you say "runaway train!"

We can't say for sure that putting the power into the aux will solve your problem, but before you put ANY other cables to the TIU, you should hook up the aux pwr, and see if the red light is on inside the box! That way, input to the Var or Fixed of any channel will not have to supply it. (only the fixed 1 does that anyway.)

If aux pwr (enough anyway) lights the red light, then after all other hook ups fail....you know it is NOT the power hook up anyway. Just my opinion.

@cngw posted:

Even way back when and I was running the DCS, I put some kind of DC/aux tranformer power output into the aux pwr input on the TIU! That way, I know the TIU had power. There were too many instances of power failing/breaker tripping when supplying the TIU! Can you say "runaway train!"

We can't say for sure that putting the power into the aux will solve your problem, but before you put ANY other cables to the TIU, you should hook up the aux pwr, and see if the red light is on inside the box! That way, input to the Var or Fixed of any channel will not have to supply it. (only the fixed 1 does that anyway.)

If aux pwr (enough anyway) lights the red light, then after all other hook ups fail....you know it is NOT the power hook up anyway. Just my opinion.

Thank you as well as everyone else that Replied. I did try that, Aux Power with a Brick, then with the Z4000. Just never got the TIU Light on the WIU to come on, thats with switching my Serial adapter cables. just not sure why it connected once when we tried it at Sommerfields Trains. I had full connections. Maybe it was a Fluke.

@MarkSteven posted:

Thank you as well as everyone else that Replied. I did try that, Aux Power with a Brick, then with the Z4000. Just never got the TIU Light on the WIU to come on, thats with switching my Serial adapter cables. just not sure why it connected once when we tried it at Sommerfields Trains. I had full connections. Maybe it was a Fluke.

man, this is tough. Now I read that your WIU's TIU light was never on?

So for me, this was a bad time. I blame myself for not getting every single fact right at the start. For anyone else following along, it probably will look stupid. For the OP, it was a huge waste of time.

So for the future, my advice, get all the facts right away. No light, what is exactly not working, etc., etc..

I always think back a few years to a post where the guy stated he had train, train no work. Getting anything out of him was like pulling teeth. I was wrong about my diagnosis then, and others advised that I stay away. Skip ahead to now, and I forgot that advice, and again, I am wrong here.

So for me, this was a bad time. I blame myself for not getting every single fact right at the start. For anyone else following along, it probably will look stupid. For the OP, it was a huge waste of time.

So for the future, my advice, get all the facts right away. No light, what is exactly not working, etc., etc..

I always think back a few years to a post where the guy stated he had train, train no work. Getting anything out of him was like pulling teeth. I was wrong about my diagnosis then, and others advised that I stay away. Skip ahead to now, and I forgot that advice, and again, I am wrong here.

No real need to stay away! As for, "I was wrong about my diagnosis then" just think, if for every 5 wrongs you have, you help out another rail runner with a "right"......you done good.

Life is like that. Stick in here, you have been here for years, you know this by now. And we are all better for having you here.

So for me, this was a bad time. I blame myself for not getting every single fact right at the start. For anyone else following along, it probably will look stupid. For the OP, it was a huge waste of time.

So for the future, my advice, get all the facts right away. No light, what is exactly not working, etc., etc..

I always think back a few years to a post where the guy stated he had train, train no work. Getting anything out of him was like pulling teeth. I was wrong about my diagnosis then, and others advised that I stay away. Skip ahead to now, and I forgot that advice, and again, I am wrong here.

I definitely appreciated yours and others advice. I probably didn’t describe the problem very well. To clarify… no matter how I hooked up the TIU, I always got the Power indicator light on. But only once, the TIU connection lamp on the WIU only came on once.

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