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This just in from MTH to its dealers....

DCS/Proto-Sound Lives On

June 9, 2020 - With the scheduled closing of M.T.H. Electric Trains next year, support for the DCS Digital Command System and the Proto-Sound 3.0 onboard locomotive systems will continue through a new independent company headed up by current M.T.H. staff once direct M.T.H. support for the systems concludes on June 1, 2021.

The new tech company will continue to manufacture and provide support including any necessary software updates to the DCS hardware or DCS WiFi App. In fact, new and exciting product ideas are currently under development.
The DCS System controls any Proto-Sound 2.0 and later equipped locomotives and first debuted 18 years ago. It has been an integral part of the M.T.H. product line family since its inception and its continuation beyond the closing of M.T.H. is an important part of the transition envisioned by retiring M.T.H. president Mike Wolf.

As the retirement transition process moves forward, more details about the new company's creation and ongoing development of M.T.H.'s technology packages will be announced. Stay tuned.

Original Post

fyi,

 I talked to mth service yesterday.  Not that its a big surprise, but they are taking repairs as normal.  My Tiu needs some attention and I got an RA# to send it in.  I was told 2 to 3 weeks turn around time.  That's the same amount of time my son's video game console needed, so no big deal to me.  (Although I did a factory reset on a few engines last night with the working channel just to make sure they were working properly in conventional!)

Makes sense to spin off the DCS system into a new company. It's one thing to turn on a transformer and run a post war Hudson. Not being able to run thousands of dollars worth of electronic engines would be a big problem.

But then again- our phones and computers are obsolete almost as soon as we buy them.

@Ken-Oscale posted:

I wonder if Bachmann might put in DCS/DCC decoders into their product line?

Sure don't know why they would.  The two prime modeling scales, HO and N, are firmly entrenched in DCC (and that is a good thing).  Two rail O scalers are predominately either still straight DC, or DCC.  Yes, there are outliers out there (John Sethian and Engineer Joe come to mind) that have been successful with two rail DCS, but they are a small minority. 

Regards,

Jerry

 

This is amazing news for me.  I adopted DCS when it first came out 18 years ago.  I went through a phase where I had to sell most of my engines, but I was just starting to take the plunge again.  The news of MTH closing made my heart stop and took the wind out of my sails...  Mostly because I am wedded to DCS.  This news today gives me hope for a hobby stretching into my retirement years.

 

Hate to be a downer, but I really can't see them having enough business to stay afloat.  Hope I'm wrong!

If no one picks up new engine manufacturing....yes, DCS will fade away as older locos die. I'd see a solid 10 years minimum before the market share shrinks.

Offering retro-fit kits as the technology advances will likely keep them afloat indefinitely.

Last edited by RSJB18

If they would price the boards ($200 DCS Upgrade Kit) closer to say$150 then I'd upgrade more of my PS2 engines to PS3.   As it stands now I can buy a nused PS3 Railking engine for around $200 and cannibalize the PS3 board for one of my Premier PS2 engines.   PS3 gets me DCC and a better sound set including a quillable whistle on steamers.   With no more new MTH engines after 2021 upgrading PS1 may be the only way to get a certain engine under command control.   A reduced PS3 board would make upgrading fiscally more attractive and generate business for upgrade techs and expand DCS user base.

See my PS3 upgraded 1997 C&O Allegheny here: I bought the engine nused for about $350+$200 Ps3 upgrade kit (DIY install) = $550 for a Premier articulated steamer.

Last edited by Obsidian

Ummmmm...well....so what is he business model? Software sales--sure. Upgrade kits--okay but got to be careful about pricing those--that will be low-margin and not high volume neither. Will they make TIUs and AIUs and WIUs? Handheld remotes--probably not. MTH had already announced the end of the handheld.

So I guess the model is about the same as the current crop of DCC guys selling in HO scale? But O scale is a much smaller market. So they will have to be strong into HO and maybe N.

Like ERR at Sunset, they are going to need all of our support (meaning our purchasing) at least initially.

I'm no expert but from a casual, hobbyist review of what's out there for DCC users, DCS is so much better put together, easier to implement and maintain that it should eat their lunch. They have a stable hardware and software base at a very good price point. Or so it appears from a distance.

Don Merz

 

@carl552 posted:

For DCS to grow in the market it needs to make the protocol open.

I mentioned this in the MTH closing thread but the TIU needs to evolve to be able to operate DCC equipped locomotives without any add on equipment. If the TIU could operate both DCS and DCC equipped locomotives without extra hardware then hobbyists in HO, N, G, and 2 rail O could continue to operate their fleets of DCC locomotives while adding DCS by just buying a TIU. To meet the needs of every model railroad hobbyist the TIU should be able to operate DCS and DCC locomotives right out of the box and TMCC/Legacy locomotives with the addition of the adapter cable and a Lionel command base (as it currently does). 

That is a relief after the bad news of MTH closing. 

As much as I would prefer one command control system (for ease of having to remember what does what and how to program, troubleshoot, etc), having a viable DCS and Legacy control system actually lends variety and spice to the hobby of running trains in a command control environment. More to the point, each has advantages and features. Now, if one of the "exciting new products" turns out to be a universal remote that operates all command control trains than I wouldn't complain

 

@superwarp1 posted:

Just thinking out loud here.  With Mike walking out the back door.  You think there's any chance the new regime will open the DCS system up?  So I can control MTH engines in a command environment with my Cab2 like we can with the DCS system controlling TMCC/Legacy??  One can dream.

This is already possible with SDMark's great work.

You could read the TMCC/Legacy commands coming in from the command base, and send out the appropriate DCS sequence. The work is just deciding how to map Legacy/TMCC commands to the desired response from a PS2/3 engine.

I keep meaning to build this as a proof-of-principle but haven't gotten around to it.

Last edited by Professor Chaos

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