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Hi everyone,

I read a few threads before posting this, and I think I am more confused than when I started, so apologies for a topic that has been discussed before. I have some MTH PS2 locomotives I bought new, and (sadly) have spent their entire lives in the box. I recently moved, and now have some room to finally explore trains with 0-54/0-72 minimums!

Anyhow, I am terrified of ruining a new locomotive and needed advice. I'm going to run these analogue (no DCS remote yet) and wasn't sure how to sort the battery in advance? So far I pulled out a Z750 and tried one loco out of the box, which basically did not go well.  Reading the manual, I placed the 750 on full track power and waited 15 minutes. This brought "better" response (reversing, running), but still some quirks like not responding right away to commands etc. I stopped there for fear of ruining anything. All of this was on a short test track, I didn't set up a full loop/layout yet.

So the question: what is best practice here? Buy a Battery, an MTH (or other?) battery charger, or fire up my old ZW and leave a locomotive to charge for XX amount of time on a higher voltage/amperage?

Thanks in advance! I have some E8s, F7s, GG1 and a few others to give the treatment to.

Original Post

One method is to pickup the MTH wall charging unit. It has two plugs, the round one and the small square type.  I think you can or should leave anything connected using that for over 12 hours first. If the batteries are that old, then best to just replace them with a BCR or another one. If you have specific model numbers, thn you can check MTH website to see when they were delivered. Anything 5 years or more  and hasn't been chareged, will most likely need replaced though.

Personally, I'd just start replacing the batteries before I even tried to run anything. Wouldn't have to do them all at once, you could just do a few and run only the ones with new batteries. Then replace the rest as you put each one in service.

Depending on when these were manufactured they could be even older than 10 years, unless you pre-ordered them all from the current catalogs at the time.

Also, after sitting that long I would fully lubricate everything according to recommendations in the manual, including checking the grease on the gears, in the gearbox etc.. Sometimes the grease hardens up a bit over time and can cause problems.

Gilly posted while I got sidetracked for a few minutes, I agree with his post!

Last edited by rtr12
Ted S posted:

Replace the batteries.  You can also search this forum for something called the YLB (Your Last Battery.)  I think it's some kind of capacitor that won't ever leak or degrade to the point that it won't take a charge.

Ted, thanks for the plug, but the YLB is for Lionel RailSounds, not MTH.  The BCR, while also using supercap technology, requires a charging circuit in the locomotive, the YLB replaces the alkaline battery in Lionel Railsounds equipped locomotives.

RJR posted:

You haven't mentioned whether these are 3-volt of 5-volt S2 boards.  If the latter, there's a good chance there may be some board failures, so I wouldn't go to the expense of buying BCRs for the 5-volt units.  I'd buy a few 8.4 volt batteries and run the 5-volt engines for awhile.

Happened to me when I bought a NIB Propane Turbine.  Jason Wendell told me to fully charge battery 1st.  I charged it on an external charger.  12 hours later, great running train.  Go to bed.

Next morning, nada, nuthin, zilch.  Jason warned me that a weakness with the board would occur in the charging circuit.  Someone can tell you which board is better in PS2.  I don’t remember.

It is now getting PS 3 upgrade at MTH.

Thanks all! I just spent some time with the E8 since I may not keep it, the ABA being too big for my layout/room with the matching passenger cars. I did the obvious thing I didn't think of, which was put a 9 volt in and try it that way. Conventional with ZW it fired right up and worked as it should. So that is one test solved and all ok. GG1 is next when I have an hour later this week to test...

Once tested I'll sort a permanent battery plan

Last edited by jpcanton

I got this straight fromKristen at MTH when I acquired about the transition point from 5 volt PS2 to 3 volt PS2.

"Thank you for contacting MTH Electric Trains. We appreciate your interest in our products. I am afraid I cannot give you an exact date or catalog where we switched from the 5-volt ProtoSound 2.0 to the 3-volt system. For the Premier engines (steam and diesel) in was primarily in the 2004 volume 1 catalog; the majority of the engines offered in that catalog or after have the 3-volt system. For the RailKing engines the switch over was about one catalog later - the 2004 volume 2 catalog. If you have engines that were released around this time we can check on a specific models.

Please let me know if you have any questions."

Hope it helps some.

If you have the engine in hand, checking the charging jack is a good way to see which board is installed, round is the 5V board, and rectangular is the 3V board.  Any that don't have the charging jack are normally the early 5V board.

If you don't have the engine in hand, you can also look at the manual for the model on the MTH website.  This is about 99% accurate, occasionally one is incorrect in the manual.

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