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What I have is a used system that had a lot of engines in the dcs.The engine I'm using was part of the collection. I have power thru tis, red light lit. Test light shows power, ditch lights on. Actually got it to move from remote but no sound or smoke,could also move it from the transformer both F&B. Tried a different engine that would not be in this system, nothing at all. Read finds the tis and 2 ais. Add sequence shows >24 in the sys. could have been it's #. Transformer,track,switches are different for this. Be nice if there was a way to wipe everything back to original settings and go from the manual.

 When you got the engine to move with the remote. After you selected the engine to run from the menu. Did you hit the Start up Button. MTH engines will run in what’s called stealth mode. No sounds. But will move forward and back. See if you can get the engine moving again. Once it’s moving it will stay moving. You may not have good control of it as far as throttle or response to button pressures. Scroll through your soft keys and find Track Signal. Select it and see report back as to what you have for a number. It’s liable to be all over the place. 

 It still would be in your best interest to set up a temporary programming track. Just to take your layout out of the equation. Your only dealing with the DCS and the engine.  If the engine sees a poor track signal on your layout. You can hit startup and move the throttle all day long and the engine won’t respond.

...Be nice if there was a way to wipe everything back to original settings and go from the manual.

So if you read the DCS manual that comes with these systems (or online link provided above) You'd learn that it's simple to clear out the info inside.

There are commands to reset the DCS remote, and the DCS TIU to clear all info out. You would then have to add any engines back into the system.

I just have a feeling that you don't know how to use the system. If I'm wrong, so be it. If I'm right, we'd have a lot of explaining to do......

Wiped it clean set up a test track and programed both engines. Got no response on the regular track. Have to wait to clean regular track. Thank you

Yes, clean it for sure. Also, you need to break a loop of track in at least one spot so that the signal doesn't double back on itself.

You also should remove any powered piece of equipment and test the track signal strength with the layout hooked up. You may have offending pieces of equipment pulling down the signal. Your track joints, wiring, etc. need to be solid to carry the signal. I would recommend using #14 stranded wire to power the track.

 

.................Also, you need to break a loop of track in at least one spot so that the signal doesn't double back on itself.

 

A sidenote Joe.

DCS , TIU ( REV L  / 6.1 ) DCS remote............ inside loop over and under figure 8................outside loop double track over and under .              All on 16'×5' layout.

Do I need to cut positive and ground connections at one juncture ?         I never did this before.        What symptoms sometime occur if this is not done ?

Not sure about the " sour mash "  Joe but I can handle the Manischewitz BlackBerry at $ 15.89 per gallon .  🙃🍷

Let's assume you have your transformer feeding power into the TIU and your TIU has 4 power drops per loop and your loops are electrically connected. That means when you send a signal from your remote, the engine is receiving the same signal from 4-8 different locations at the same time and that can result in signal overload and spotty performance issues with DCS. 

Not all layouts experience this problem, so if you're not having an issue then you don't need to cut the layout into track blocks. 

If you are, it is only the center rail that is cut. If you think in simplest terms of one large loop, say 30' X 5', you would cut the track into 4 equal sections - half-way down each straight and in the center of each curve. That would divide the layout into 4 quadrants. You would then run a power drop to the approximate center of each quadrant. That way, when the engine is physically in each section, it is only receiving the signal from the power drop in that quadrant and, thus, no confusion and no control issues.

Simply apply the above principle to your layout if needed.

I could use a glass of that Manischevitz about now.

Last edited by Richie C.

I was thinking over your reply and I did concur with Barry on a point. It seems more reliable to connect each block at one end (and then add a filter with older TIUs at the other). I had a block with a center connection and experienced weird results when certain engines were run nearby. It solved the issue when I moved the track connection to the end of that block. So I have to say that it might be better to connect at the ends. The nice thing about that way is when you run wires, you run a pair to each half of an oval. You connect one wire to each end running apart. That can be better for running shorter wire lengths and may be easier.

@Richie C. posted:

Let's assume you have your transformer feeding power into the TIU and your TIU has 4 power drops per loop and your loops are electrically connected. That means when you send a signal from your remote, the engine is receiving the same signal from 4-8 different locations at the same time and that can result in signal overload and spotty performance issues with DCS. 

Not all layouts experience this problem, so if you're not having an issue then you don't need to cut the layout into track blocks. 

If you are, it is only the center rail that is cut. If you think in simplest terms of one large loop, say 30' X 5', you would cut the track into 4 equal sections - half-way down each straight and in the center of each curve. That would divide the layout into 4 quadrants. You would then run a power drop to the approximate center of each quadrant. That way, when the engine is physically in each section, it is only receiving the signal from the power drop in that quadrant and, thus, no confusion and no control issues.

Simply apply the above principle to your layout if needed.

I could use a glass of that Manischevitz about now.

Thanks Rich for that clear explanation.

They say the Manischewitz like most wines should be served at room temp.   I just pull the gallon out of the fridge and have at it .    If it's sitting on the table waiting for room temp  ......it won't make it !!!  😋

 

Well nuts. I cleaned all the track and I have soldered all track connections. I have 220 or so feet of track with 18 feeders from 2 MTH blocks (9 on each) All 16 guage wire. Remote will not recognize either engine that I programmed in. Cannot read signal since it won't see them. Rev, 13 on the bottom of the TIS. Cutting the track? What is that,one cut per loop? I didn't see anything in the manual.

If you can, connect the tiu to a spare piece of track with only one engine getting power.

Check signal strength and report back. If it's very low the TIU maybe damaged. It may save time since if it's bad, we won't get anywhere.

Those 18 power drops may actually be a problem. Just not always. You could connect a light bulb to each of your 2 blocks and also right at the TIU outputs.

http://www.rayman4449.com/MTH_DCS_Info-Tips.htm

http://www.rayman4449.com/DCS_...m#Tuning_your_Layout

from Ray Manley's pages:

Step 1: Select light bulb or SSLT

Light Bulbs:

You can use any bulb with a voltage rating at least as high as the voltage you intend to use on the layout.  The amperage of the bulb will determine how many you will need to use and recommend using bulbs with a .2 amperage rating.  Make sure you acquire a bulb that has an adequate rated life. 

I would suggest connecting both fixed #1 and #2 to your layout. One channel goes to each of your blocks. You can jump the input side of the TIU if you're only using one power pack. You add the bulbs to the outputs (like #1818) and/or at the blocks connections (like a #1873).

or use filters:

https://www.slsprr.net/technical/filter.htm

BTW, what are you using for power to the rails? Is anything else drawing power from it like switch machines?

Did you remove all other equipment from the rails for the test?

Do you have Lionel's TMCC or Legacy connected too?

 

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

If you can, connect the tiu to a spare piece of track with only one engine getting power.

Check signal strength and report back. If it's very low the TIU maybe damaged. It may save time since if it's bad, we won't get anywhere.

Those 18 power drops may actually be a problem. Just not always. You could connect a light bulb to each of your 2 blocks and also right at the TIU outputs.

http://www.rayman4449.com/MTH_DCS_Info-Tips.htm

http://www.rayman4449.com/DCS_...m#Tuning_your_Layout

from Ray Manley's pages:

Step 1: Select light bulb or SSLT

Light Bulbs:

You can use any bulb with a voltage rating at least as high as the voltage you intend to use on the layout.  The amperage of the bulb will determine how many you will need to use and recommend using bulbs with a .2 amperage rating.  Make sure you acquire a bulb that has an adequate rated life. 

I would suggest connecting both fixed #1 and #2 to your layout. One channel goes to each of your blocks. You can jump the input side of the TIU if you're only using one power pack. You add the bulbs to the outputs (like #1818) and/or at the blocks connections (like a #1873).

or use filters:

https://www.slsprr.net/technical/filter.htm

BTW, what are you using for power to the rails? Is anything else drawing power from it like switch machines?

Did you remove all other equipment from the rails for the test?

Do you have Lionel's TMCC or Legacy connected too?

 

Excellent reply Joe.

So much good info and source for electronics.       And here I thought that the light bulb to the track was the magic formula for good signal.

Thanks

OK. So it appears that the track is messing with the signal for some reason? I would start by making sure the mainline loop is broken in at least one spot electrically (center rail). I had a simple loop of track with poor control until I did this. Remove all other equipment drawing power.

I would then suggest adding filters/light bulbs to see if you can get proper responses with the rest of the layout the way it's already wired.

 

Joe knows from where he speaks. A closed track loop allows the signal to cancel itself out because it travels in both directions from the feed drop(s). In the case of a track with a single feed (should be at one end), you still may get feedback when the signal hits the end of the track and bounces back which cancels out the signal. Basically, you have to look at DCS (and DCC) the same way you'd look at a packet network like the old "thin net" Ethernet and put a "terminator" at the end of the buss (track). DCC uses the term "snubber" which is the same as the "Deats Filters". In a three-rail context, the snubber/terminator/Deats filter would connect to the far end of the track and the feed drop on the near end. For this exercise, dismiss the internal resistance of the rails but suffice it to say, the longer the track block, the greater the resistance and the lower the requirement for a snubber at the other end. This isn't an exact one-size-fits-all, but basically it's a resistor and capacitor across the power leads to act as a terminator (which is what was in the old thin-net terminators).

Track_Snubber

Also, track joints will affect signal quality and Barry and I had discussions about the pros and cons of soldering track joints and its impact on block lengths. They key to remember is use a single feed per block and you want to terminate the tail end of the buss or track block (but only if you're getting bad/weak signals).

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I was able to put both engines into dcs. I'm thinking that I have masking tape on quite a bit as we are balasting. I hope the glue is dry. Then i'm going to use a sanding pad  especially on the center. Then alcohol (for the track) and hope. I have 18 drops on somewhere around 240' ft of track Thanks again

Hey Jim. 

It's becoming a little confusing to me as to what is being said here. 

If the remote and TIU and Z4000 and the separate track have been operating the engine properly ........then it has to be some issue with the layout.🤔

  I have about 200 some odd feet of Realtrack on my layout using DCS ,TIU, handheld remote  and 2 loops with each loop having a seperate Z1000.       All lighting on 17 switches and switch controllers along with 3 four car passengers car trains and 10  cabooses are all electrified with LEDs .......and 21  engines lined up with that "watch dog " signal ready to use.  I can in almost every case add a new MTH engine with no problem with the system totally up.

You were saying that you sanded the rails and used alcohol to cleaned up the masking tape residue ............my experience with tape residue cleanup only worked with my less dangerous Zippo ( and only Zippo brand ) lighter fluid.  Alcohol was only partially useful .........lacquer thinner or acetate is really good at cleanup but extremely flammable and should be done with extreme caution with NO presence of SPARKING or OPEN FLAME any where.    ( i would rather not say why i know this.😨 )      Also do not get sloppy with this application as it will dissolve plastics and paint.

You seem to have a lot of bases covered so I don't know where else to go with this. 🤔

 

GRJ, I think Matt just picked a picture of a DCC snubber? I also like Susan's filters as they seem to do the job for DCS. She posted the info (shared) and did not charge for the advice. Bulbs of the correct value can also be used. Some users prefer the bulbs for the old fashioned effect. I don't like the wasted power draw or heat they give off. 

 (ALL) We are not at the OP's house and can only guess at what's happening. I personally don't like the way it's wired but I have heard of other successful attempts using it. So I adjust my method to what he has, what he's shared, and what might be the best way forward. I may not be correct here. I'm just offering free help as another DCS user. 

 If the rails are dirty, all advice about signal is for naught.

I'd stick with the Deats filter values, 47 ohm is a little stiff for the DCS signal, you may end up doing more damage than good by attenuating the signal.  The 220 ohm resistor specified on the page below is plenty of load to tame the signal reflections.

Filter for MTH-Controlled (DCS) Model Train Layouts

Actually, I did both. I went with the 100-Ohm first and it worked well, but it worked just as well with the 220.

Ray 4449 says put the drops every 10 feet, Jim Barrett in backstop O guage railroading says one drop. Proto 1 and a lionel 6-8-6 engine run perfectly without dcs. I powered the track from 1 connector without any response. The TIU lights and blinks. New batteries,clean track, and a boatload of profanities will not get any response from the remote to the track. I cut the center rail without any change. If the resistor and cap help,are they capable of creating a signal? Manual is worthless as to troubleshooting. Help!

Barry's book of DCS is the reference most of us go by.

https://mthtrains.shptron.com/...k-3rd-edition-e-book

I have tried Ray's wiring pattern and it didn't work for me. I do follow the rest of his advice.

I'd guess that it's the wiring messing up the signal. That's just a guess. We aren't there and only get what you give us to work with.

I'd say you need filters at the track block connections, and that's just a guess. I take my main loops and divide them into quarters. One pair of wires goes to each quarter at one end. A filter is placed at the other end if an older TIU is used. Too much track or too many joints can wreak the signal (and the power). Too many wire connections and/or using the wrong wire can also wreak the signal (and the power).

 You may have a bad or weak TIU channel. You reported back that you got a signal of ten with a piece of track so I have to guess that the TIU is ok. Something else is wrong here.

You could divide the layout and use more than one TIU channel to it. If you use one power pack, you just use jumpers on the TIU input side.

Make sure you are powering the TIU properly. Make sure you are using a proper (for DCS) power supply to the track.

What exactly are you using for power?

What is the exact engine model number?

Have you removed everything else from power?

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

Barry's book of DCS is the reference most of us go by.

https://mthtrains.shptron.com/...k-3rd-edition-e-book

I have tried Ray's wiring pattern and it didn't work for me. I do follow the rest of his advice.

I'd guess that it's the wiring messing up the signal. That's just a guess. We aren't there and only get what you give us to work with.

I'd say you need filters at the track block connections, and that's just a guess. I take my main loops and divide them into quarters. One pair of wires goes to each quarter at one end. A filter is placed at the other end if an older TIU is used. Too much track or too many joints can wreak the signal (and the power). Too many wire connections and/or using the wrong wire can also wreak the signal (and the power).

 You may have a bad or weak TIU channel. You reported back that you got a signal of ten with a piece of track so I have to guess that the TIU is ok. Something else is wrong here.

You could divide the layout and use more than one TIU channel to it. If you use one power pack, you just use jumpers on the TIU input side.

Make sure you are powering the TIU properly. Make sure you are using a proper (for DCS) power supply to the track.

What exactly are you using for power?

What is the exact engine model number?

Have you removed everything else from power?

Well?

 Jim, you mentioned in an earlier post that when you set up your programming track. You had no trouble adding   your engines and you had a track signal of 10 on that 1 piece of track.
 Is there anyway you can come up with at least a 3 ft. Length of track on your layout that you can totally isolate from the rest. A few feet more may even work better. Leave it connected. Just isolated. Whatever channel you used when you programmed the engines. Leave the rest of the layout hooked up to the other channels. Run your wires from that channels output directly to that 3 ft. section. Just use the 2 wires. Nothing else. Sort of like a programming track within your layout.

 Your engine should start up as that 1 channel is only feeding that small isolated section. Get it moving and then quickly get it into the test for your track signal. Before it hits the rest of the layout. Even if your signal goes south to say a 1 or 2. The engine will stay at the same speed as long as it sees voltage. Keep watching your track signal. You may even get a few spots that the signal strength isn’t that bad.

Engineer Joe...

you posted 

.................Also, you need to break a loop of track in at least one spot so that the signal doesn't double back on itself.

I must have missed that in the “destructions”. 
I have a reverse loop of MTH track that is putting the DCS signal back on itself. 

I have three reversing loops-that are putting the DCS signal back on itself, plus two loops, putting the DCS signal back on itself. 

What kind of issues could this be causing?

Because I am having some occasional “Ghost in the machine” occurrences- 

which I thought were just the nature of DCS. 

 

In response to Dave C.,I put in 90 inches of test, totally isolated it, got 2 different engines recognized with a signal of 10. Soon as it went into the main, I got a no RF signal on the remote after it went on the main for a foot or two. I'm not more than 3 feet away from the tiu,it has power,I've put 2 sets of batteries in the remote. I keep thinking it has to be something simple. I've ordered the parts for buffers and have hope. This system can't be this problematic or nobody would use it. Anybody life in or near Fort Wayne, In?

 Jim, as your engine enters the mainline. Is the mainline divided into blocks ?  If you put the first block you enter on whatever channel you were using for your simulated programming track. Your engine should continue on and run fine with good track signal. The one TIU channel should handle about 150 ft. Of blocked trackage.
 I went through this myself as I was one of the early adopters of DCS. Sometimes you just have to deal with one section of trackage at a time. Get that one working well and then move on. Looking at the whole layout at once and trying to get it running can be daunting. Keep at it. Eventually it will all come together.

One half of my track is on fixed 2 the other on fixed 3 via jumper from 2. Each is divided again to quarters, center rail cut on both ends and each has a drop. Each side of some cuts continue to display continuity and I know I cut deep away from ends. I think the tiu is rev13. I assume it is older ,but it seems ok on the test track. Each side has 110 feet of track. I'm going to do as you say and connect the next to the test track. Thank you all for your helpIMG_2579IMG_2580

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Here we go again. I have rechecked all continuity, Steady voltage segment to segment with almost no drop. I made 4 filters and hooked them up per instructions.5452 runs like the wind in regular mode but just sits with no response. Remote shows it as inactive but will not activate it now. Remote stopped working with engine on test track. Could the remote be the problem? Again thanks for all the suggestions. Jim

if the remote wont talk to the tiu, could be same problem. either the transmitter board in the tiu or remote transmitter may  have come loose inside the tiu or remote reseat both the tiu transmitter and reseat the transmitter board inside the remote. once there reseated try to use remote again and due a read button on the remote should come back with tiu found!

Alan

Alan

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