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Obsidian, unless it failed, I would never consider "upgrading[?]" a PS2 to a PS3.  I find the former to be a more solid performer, and by using a supercap, I have eliminated the battery.  That said, what would be the market for DCS equipment---boards, remotes, TIUs, AIUs without also having a loco line?  I would not in passing that for persons who operate only conventional, like postwar Lionel, a TIU plus a remote gives you walkaround control.  I had that for several months before getting my first PS2 loco back around 2002, and it was a drastic improvement in operating.  I didn't have any AIUs then, but adding AIU(s) to a conventional layout would mean that you can turn blocks on-and-off and throw switches, without being tied to a control panel

If they weren't making the boards, it would be somewhat pointless I would imagine.   However, it's actually pretty clear that they do intend to make the boards.

"The new tech company will continue to manufacture and provide support including any necessary software updates to the DCS hardware or DCS WiFi App."

Does anyone know if the new company would provide replacement boards for PS1, PS2 and PS3 engines as well as all parts and support for the Z4000 and the MTH operating system? If they did, I bet we would all be delighted to hear that. Arnold

Arnold, I'm sure nobody knows exactly what the new company is actually going to provide, or even if they'll be able to pull it off.  Another wild card is what the pricing will be, the prices could go up significantly for any replacement boards.

I seriously doubt they'll be providing anything but PS/3 boards, unless they buy existing stock.  The PS/1 and both flavors of the PS/2 boards haven't been manufactured in years, and they have obsolete parts that are no longer available.  MTH stopped shipping any version of the PS/2 boards some time ago.  It's also been a long time since MTH has provided boards for the Z-4000, so I can't imagine them suddenly doing that, but who knows.

@shorling posted:

It would be nice to have a series of boards that are direct plug-in replacements to restore functionality to PS 1, PS 2 and PS 3 engines. 

Well, PS/1 ain't happening, I can't imagine anyone spending the amount of money to replicate 20+ year old technology!  There is a "close to" drop-in board to replace PS/2 boards, it's the PS32 stacker board.  It's the same board that is used for the steam PS/3 upgrade kits, and it's sold with 3V and 5V compatible connectors to replace failed 3V and 5V PS/2 boards.

Well, PS/1 ain't happening, I can't imagine anyone spending the amount of money to replicate 20+ year old technology!  There is a "close to" drop-in board to replace PS/2 boards, it's the PS32 stacker board.  It's the same board that is used for the steam PS/3 upgrade kits, and it's sold with 3V and 5V compatible connectors to replace failed 3V and 5V PS/2 boards.

PS3 Kits are pretty easy to install.  Not sure how they can get easier.  Now in the DCC world the NMRA compliant connectors make it even easier, but not everything has those.  For 3 Rail O, I think the cost of creating the adapter kits would push the price up too high.  Then there's the fact at some point you will have to go wire by wire on many models.

But again, the PS3 kits and instructions are very good and it's a simple enough process.  Read through, pay attention, and take your time.

As for PS1 there is not value there.  Sales would be small, cost would be high, and they're less capable than what I PS3 upgrade will cost.  Just getting components to make the boards would be mostly impossible.

Thanks for your responses.  I'm not talking about manufacturing 20 year old technology.   I'm suggesting new designs with new technology  engineered to be affordable.   Some folks would be just happy to see their engine move again.  Other like all the bells and whistles.  So the challenge is to the new" DCS lives on" owners.  The potential is to capture the legacy DCS PS failed engine and upgrade market plus the  future.

I'm thinking a DCS board in simplest form with basic reverse functions including speed control.  If it's affordable maybe that's all some folks want to fix PS 1 or convert conventional's.   Maybe these core functions can be enhanced with the really cool stuff at increased cost but affordable.  If the boards are direct replacement or almost, there could be a savings on third party installation costs.   I'm just blue skying:  set a goal, understand the market, develop a conceptual design, formulate a business plan.  See how close you get to the goal and still make money.

I'd be very surprised if cutting out the audio and some lighting features changed the manufacturing costs more than $6-8 or so.  Given that the PS/3 diesel board can't possibly be costing more than the $40-50 ballpark, I don't see this moving the needle on purchase costs enough to justify the engineering to create it, and then the ongoing costs to support another configuration.  I'll be stunned if that happens.

What would be useful is a really cheap DCS based receiver that just gives you functionality like the ERR Mini-Commander ACC board to automate rolling stock and the like.  That's functionality that is totally missing from the DCS product line.

     As of yet, who knows which way the new DCS company will go. I would think that, in order to generate business, they would need to expand their install base.

Step one would be to license the product to other manufacturers. Find ways to interest other manufacturers to provide it, at least as an option. Up until now, the purpose of DCS was to help sell MTH trains. Now, they will need trains to sell DCS

Step two would be to come up with retrofit kits. Some people might want to upgrade their conventional powered units to DCS. Part of what enabled DCC to take hold in other scales was that you could modify your existing fleet rather than need to buy all new locomotives for command control. Yes, you had to cut wires, and modify frames. Yes, there were different DCC modules for different manufacturers needed, but it still gave an entry into the arena. It doesn't just work with open standards, either. In the world of slot cars, there are different proprietary digital systems, but there are also retrofit kits that can convert analog cars to digital.   

Step three would be a "PS3 Basic" receiver. Basically, a board that provides command control of more or less the same basic items found on a basic conventional locomotive. Direction, speed, bell/whistle/horn. Lights on/off/direction and smoke on/off could be considered. LC, without the mistake Lionel made of needing a separate controller. Pairs well with step two retrofits.  

Step four would be DCS for non-locomotives. Controllable lighting for passenger cars. Move the conductor out of the locomotive cab and have his announcements come from the cars. Provide accessory control of action cars. 

 

That may not be the way they end up going, but that is this persons thoughts on the subject

Step One is a logical thing to do if you're in the business of just selling the electronics, you need a customer base to sellinto.

Well, Step Two is already here, that's what the PS/3 upgrade kits are for.  Given the diversity of different configurations that these kits get installed into, I don't see them getting vastly more simple, they are what they are.

Truthfully, I don't see the utility of Step Three.  For the small incremental cost, you have full functionality with the existing kits.  This seems like the answer to a question nobody asked.

Step Four, OTOH, is something that's been sorely missing from the DCS lineup.  One of the few examples I see of this kind of capability is the Coors Silver Bullet train.  The super cool reefers with all the lights and smoke synchronized with the sound are really neat.  I never could understand why they didn't expand on that technology. 

DCS has always been "feature rich". Lionel has not been able to reproduce all of the DCS options. However I rarely use many of the DCS features. Mostly because I cant remember them.

I need to control engine movement, sound, lights and coupling. Not much else. Doppler effects and clickety clacks real neat but rarely employed.

My point, do we really need 80 or 90 percent of what DCS HAS?

One reason I'm a fan of the DCS App is that all of these features become more intuitive.  It's easier to lay these out in an APP than through a physical remote.  One thing I wold like in the app though is the ability to control two trains on the screen at the same time and an attachment thumb/finger wheel for controlling throttle.  ESU has this on their touch screen system for DCC and it's very nice.

There needs to be an easy to use and economical way to run/control DCS engines from JMRI or/and Freiwald's Train Controller.  Without the functionality that these programs offer DCS will be remain a good limited way to run trains stuck in the past.  TMCC trains can be controlled with both these programs because the protocol is open.  With an open DCS protocol people will start developing innovative new ways to use DCS generating more DCS board sales.  I don't see the economics of a 3rd party developing DCS boards to compete with the company taking over the MTH DCS board business.  I am selfish, 2/3 of my engines are DCS and I would like to see them have a future.

Carl552 is kind of aligned with the direction I was thinking of.  There are a lot of existing MTH eingines out there which could be enhanced or brought back to life: conventional, PS1, PS2 and PS3.   Lets not forget those Lionel folks who would like to run DCS.  The initial market for change seems to me to be strong, but is tempered by declining O gauge train enthusiast  population.   Searching for the sweet spot is the economic challenge.  I would think offering more sooner is a business plan necessity.  Eventually  there is going to be a glut of product on the market and it will be cheaper to toss your broken engine and buy another on the bay.  Unfortunately, for a lot of us this won't be an issue.

So this spin off company will more or less support DCS/PSxx but without a train to put it in will basically support existing product and any possible engine upgrades?

If I were them I would hope someone buys the train business and will contract with them or one of he other companies will want to use PS electronics otherwise this could be a short lifespan. I just don't see a demand in existing and upgrades to keep this going. 

I guess the next question is who will own DCS?  The new support company or someone that might buy the MTH train portion of the company. Lots of interesting months ahead but I wish everyone involved the best. 

@MartyE posted:

So this spin off company will more or less support DCS/PSxx but without a train to put it in will basically support existing product and any possible engine upgrades?

If I were them I would hope someone buys the train business and will contract with them or one of he other companies will want to use PS electronics otherwise this could be a short lifespan. I just don't see a demand in existing and upgrades to keep this going. 

I guess the next question is who will own DCS?  The new support company or someone that might buy the MTH train portion of the company. Lots of interesting months ahead but I wish everyone involved the best. 

I agree MartyE.  They will have to make a deal with some train manufacturer to have their product outfitted into new trains.  There couldn't possibly be enough of a demand to just make spares for an existing and aging market of old MTH trains.

Have Fun!

Ron

Unless the new DCS company lines up a a significant new train contract, I see this either having a limited lifespan, or the components costing way more than they do now.  Either scenario will likely make it a short lived project.  Think if you had to pay $300-400 for a upgrade kit from a company that you didn't know if they'd be around next year!?  That wouldn't be a purchase that I'd be likely to make.

Well we don't know what deals could be going into place right now. As it is DCS is used in 3 other scales too while being DCC compatible. There is good opportunity here as the DCC market is plenty hot. Pretty much all of the decoder and hardware companies are separate from the locomotive manufactures. The DCS system could be updated to control DCC as well. I don't think it's market is as limited in theory as some might think at first glance.

Fact is the TIUand AIU could benefit highly from new hardware in many ways.  Could this be one of the new things the announcement alludes to? An integrated smaller unit with DCC onboard could be interesting for sure. Maybe an advanced controller combining the touch screen with more tactile throttle control like the ESU system.   One could run the whole thing off a Raspberry Pi sized unit and still have excess computing power.

Not saying any of this is true or what is happening just pointing out possibilities.

Its a shame that The three rail market did not Go with the open DCC system that the rest of the model railroad industry uses. it seems MTH could have as there HO locomotive decoders handled DCS , DCC and DC so I would assume his system is somewhat similar to DCC. DCC has many company's using producing it and adding new tech as they go and its been backwards compatible from the beginning . A 5 or 8 amp DCC sound and control; decoder is about 2" X 3" in size and $150 or less. this sure beats the multiple boards that are packed into Lionel and MTH locos. I use DCC in some of my O scale narrow gauge and like the flexibility of not being tied to one manufacturer , I did put a 5 amp decoder in a three rail loco and unhooked my 3 rail system and tried it , seemed to work flawlessly. if I did not have so many Locos at this point I might think about converting them.  just my two cents worth    Rick

GRJ is right, it's unlikely that anyone is going to buy an engine for which there is no support system.  I don't think there is a large market for $300-$400 upgrade kits, not to mention any install cost.

As others have said, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.   Other companies foreshadow with tooling broken up and sold to various companies which installed their various electronics systems.  Even Lionel couldn't/wouldn't keep ERR going at their price point.

Obsolescence?  What could be more obsolescent that a loco with whistle/horn that only goes through a fwd-neutral-rev-neutral sequence, and can only have one loco running on a block/track at the same time?  That's late 1930s tech---but it's still popular.

I've reached an age where I expect that most all of my PS2 & PS3 locos will outlast me, and their quality is such that I expect my train-nut grandson will operate them for many more years (right now, he's using one of my original issue Rev G TIUs and an equally old remote).  Unlike the competition, with its multiple types of control systems, my 2002 dcs system runs any DCS loco ever made and via software upgrades is also the most-up-to-date.

@Rick Rubino posted:

Its a shame that The three rail market did not Go with the open DCC system that the rest of the model railroad industry uses.

Because those companies knew that people would want to operate their existing equipment with the command controlled ones which you cannot do with DCC.

seems MTH could have as there HO locomotive decoders handled DCS , DCC and DC so I would assume his system is somewhat similar to DCC. 

A dcc decoder has been standard since Protosound 3's introduction into o scale and, I believe, is on some proto 2 locos. That way, if you do convert to dcc, you can run any proto 3 engine in dcc mode without having to rip out the boards. It seems Mike did plan a little for the future.

 

I really hope the new company works out with its goal to support and advance DCS technology. Having said that, I just can’t figure out how this works. For example, the DCS app doesn’t pay for itself standalone. It is obvious that development  and maintenance are subsidized by train sales as a loss leader by MTH in promotion of the entire train line. And just how many in-app upgrades to the premium version are left to be reaped by whoever is selling them a year from now? Maybe it will go to a subscription?

@GregR posted:

I really hope the new company works out with its goal to support and advance DCS technology. Having said that, I just can’t figure out how this works. For example, the DCS app doesn’t pay for itself standalone. It is obvious that development  and maintenance are subsidized by train sales as a loss leader by MTH in promotion of the entire train line. And just how many in-app upgrades to the premium version are left to be reaped by whoever is selling them a year from now? Maybe it will go to a subscription?

Exactly, Just like the TMCC upgrades. It nice to have the availability. I even understand the rise in prices. But, the price is now at a point. I will not be upgrading anything new. Only, using boards for repairs.....Hopefully, it works out for everyone! 

OK, question. I currently have two TIU's and two DCS handheld remotes. The TIU's are Rev. L. Nothing ever upgraded. Been using them since 2013 and no issues. Handhelds show 2003, I think. One of my DCS handhelds has a "wobbly" thumbwheel, but it works for now.

1) Will a new version (current catalog) of the handheld communicate properly with my TIU's without any further upgrades ? Will I even get it if I order one ?

2) Is MTH reparing handheld remotes with bad thumbwheels ?

3) Best (easiest for an old dude) advice is appreciated.

Note: I'm almost 76 y.o., declining vision, declining mental acuity (not sharp as once was), can not safely use wifi app.

          NEED SOME GOOD INFO OR ADVICE       Thanks..........

Jeff, the wobbly thumbwheel is normally the cradle, I believe that part is still available.  I have them on order, maybe someday they'll come in.  I don't know if MTH is fixing anything right now, you'd have to give them a call.

New remotes should talk to your TIU's just fine, but I'd suggest getting them updated to the current version of DCS, 6.1.

Jeff, every remote and every TIU that MTH made will work with each other, and every remote and every TIU is upgradable to the latest software.  But, all remotes and all TIUs should be the same software versions, preferably the latest.  Don't feel bad about the wifi, kid, many of us don't like to use it.

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