Skip to main content

Sorry this might be a bit long, but I wanted to get everything in up front.

Thinking about my future layout and trying to understand what can control what.

I will start by saying I prefer the MTH DCS over Lionel's Legacy.

Currently have the following:

40-1000 - Z-1000 Transformer w/Power Block - includes 40-1000A (Z1000 Brick) and 40-1000B (Z-Controller)
50-1001 - DCS Remote Control System - includes 50-1002 (DCS Remote Control Handheld Unit) and 50-1003 (DCS Track Interface Unit [TIU])

6-14295 - #990 LEGACY® Command Set - includes #991 (LEGACY CAB-2 Remote Controller) and #992 (LEGACY Command Base/Charger)

6-32923 - 1.8 Amp (36 Watt) Accessory Transformer; can I use this to power some of the accessories?
6-14198 - CW-80 80-watt Transformer (from Ready-To-Run Sets; have TWO; can I use this to power some of the accessories?)
Lionel O-36, O-60, and O-72 command control switches and all Lionel FasTrack. No MTH trackage or switches.

Planning on purchasing these as necessary:

50-1004 - DCS Accessory Interface Unit (AIU)
6-81639 - LCS Accessory Switch Controller 2 (ASC2)

Not sure if I need this as I do not have the apps - yet:
6-81326 - LCS Serial Converter 2 (SER2)

Will purchase the cables necessary to connect all these together.

Currently running MTH DCS as my primary system with Lionel's LEGACY Command Base connected to the MTH TIU Variable OUT1.

I have several Lionel trackside accessories - some are non-lighted; some are lighted using track power; and some are "Plug-Expand-Play".
Also have some Menards buildings (these are run off the Menards 4.5-volt power supplies).

I do not - yet - have any MTH trackside accessories.

Also have some MTH PS2 and PS3 locos (I might have some conventional MTH; haven't checked but don't think it makes a difference).
I have some Lionel conventionals, some TMCC, and some LEGACY locos.

I'm thinking I may need to purchase TWO ASC2 (one for accessories and a second one for Lionel Command Control switches as I think I read I can only have the ASC2 set to accessories OR switches; not both - unless I can control the switches and accessories from the MTH AIU.
Or can ALL my Lionel switches and any accessories be controlled by the MTH AIU?

It's my understanding that I can not control all the LEGACY functions using the MTH DCS remote (thanks for that advice @gunrunnerjohn) so that's why I'm guessing I have to purchase the Lionel SER2.

The future room I think my layout will be built in is supposed to be about 12'x12'.

My preference would be to run as much as possible using any parts of the MTH DCS.

Would like to connect all my accessories as follows:
Some powered all the time, i.e., Classic Automatic Gateman (6-81063), Command Control Culvert Loader (6-82029), and Command Control Culvert Unloader (6-82030) so any accessory can be turned on/off by the passing of a train.
Some powered by the handheld remote so I can turn on the lights in buildings when I'm simulating nighttime running, i.e., Plug-Expand-Play Double Floodlight Tower (6-82013); several Menards buildings.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

First off, without knowing the future status of DCS and its components.  And knowing that the Z4000  ad other transformers will no longer be made nor are parts currently available, I would not plan my future layout using them as my main control system.

I also have all three systems on my layout and tend to use DCS to control my MTH/Railking locomotives and Legacy/TMCC on Lionel equipment.  That way I have access to all the features offered by both manufactures.

Although DCS can be used to control both TMCC and DCS equipment now, what will happen when replacement parts are no longer available?  I would seriously consider at least exploring what equipment would be necessary to operate as much of my existing train gear without DCS.

DCS components (Handheld units, TIU, AIU and transformers) are getting more difficult to come by, and as such, demand a grater price.

It look like you have taken some of this into account already, but until MTH announces what if any future plans they have for the DCS/PS3 line I would not invest any additional resources in there acquisition.

Good luck on your future layout.

Last edited by NYC 428
@NYC 428 posted:

First off, without knowing the future status of DCS and its components.  And knowing that the Z4000  ad other transformers will no longer be made nor are parts currently available, I would not plan my future layout using them as my main control system.

I also have all three systems on my layout and tend to use DCS to control my MTH/Railking locomotives and Legacy/TMCC on Lionel equipment.  That way I have access to all the features offered by both manufactures.

Although DCS can be used to control both TMCC and DCS equipment now, what will happen when replacement parts are no longer available?  I would seriously consider at least exploring what equipment would be necessary to operate as much of my existing train gear without DCS.

DCS components (Handheld units, TIU, AIU and transformers) are getting more difficult to come by, and as such, demand a grater price.

It look like you have taken some of this into account already, but until MTH announces what if any future plans they have for the DCS/PS3 line I would not invest any additional resources in there acquisition.

Good luck on your future layout.

@NYC_428 - You should not be so quick to dismiss MTH as a future option.

This is what's been know thus far:

This was posted to the MTH Dealer's network on June 9, 2020:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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.

*********************************************

The following was posted on the O Gauge Railroading On-Line Forum (not a forum on Facebook) on Dec 31 by Steve Nelson of Mr. Muffins Trains. I can't add anything so take it for what feel it's worth:

I talked with Mike about this. He told me:

They were creating a new legal entity to take over DCS development, DCS sales, etc, and had already selected the management team. They would start when MTH wound down - forecasted for the end of April 2021

They were creating a new legal entity to take over parts provisioning, support the authorized service centers, and provide warranty repair for products MTH sells through the shut down. Again, he has already selected the management team

What was unknown was what would happen, going forward, with new product production and their tooling. That is still unknown. IMO, and its just my opinion, their tooling and their manufacturing capability is just too valuable to go away

To have MTH announce uncatalogued diesels like this, in late December, gives me confidence that there's a path forward and these items, like everything else we are receiving now, will receive warranty coverage.

I have been a customer of MTH's for a long time, and a dealer for over five years, and in my humble opinion, I have found them to be competent business people. Very professional.

This was in response to the recently announced NEW BNSF 25th Anniversary locos.

Source: Source: https://www.facebook.com/group...ink/3190712227696931

*************************************

Yes, there may be some supply problems, but looks like something will still be available for quite some time.

Pauip575

I currently have DCS, TMMC, Legacy, Lionchief and conventional. Yes you need the SER2 (description of hook up in last MTH catalog in front.) I also have several AIU's that I use for switches and accessories. I also have MTH WiFi unit. I started with the FREE app and went to the Premier app. I have 99% of Legacy functions with it and have NO PROBLEMS. If I were starting over I would Still do it the same, regardless of what people say about MTH, start/plan with DCS and add the Legacy to give full control. I know several people want to complain about DCS but if you read several (actually a lot) of post you will see Legacy has issues also. Main issue I see constantly is GROUND PLANE WIRE. No problem with DCS. BUT everybody likes or stands in one camp or another with a few of us liking both. My suggestion is since you have almost everything, Wire for DCS and add Legacy with SER2 and MTH WiFi plus $25.00 premier app. I do not believe you will be sorry or unhappy. One suggestion if I may, Go to the MTH web site and get Barry's DCS Companion Rev 3. Buy it either electronic download or book. You will not be sorry. Most important remember to ALWAYS enjoy the trains and come to the forum to ask for help. EVERYBODY regardless of camp are friendly and will try to help you. Great group on here. So get building and move the throttle to notch 8.

Curtis

Now don't get your panties in a bunch, but I will offer two thoughts.

First from a business perspective I'm not sure a DCS supply and support service combined with a MTH parts supply service is a viable stand alone business model without the manufacture of trains.

Second to address the original poster who obviously is planning on a LOT of trains in a very small (12' x 12') space. I would suggest selling all your DCS equipment and convert all your MTH locos to TMCC and Railsounds using ERR components. This will give the capability of operating virtually any manufacturer's locos under one simple unified system.

My recollection is that the SER-2 is only necessary if you are going to be using the MTH Wifi (WIU and app) as part of your system. If you just want to be able to add and control Legacy engines with limited capability using the DCS remote, you just need the correct cable to connect the serial port of TIU to the serial port of the Legacy base (and the Legacy "one-wire" connected to a TIU output as you've described).

I have begun to "hedge my bets" by adding a few TMCC (used) locos to my 18 year DCS layout.  I see the pros and cons of both systems and trains, much like anything in life has!  (No Legacy yet, but I did go with Base 1L which I understand provides most of that capability.)

One hole in the Lionel world, if I am correct, is they don't have an "out and back" subway or trolley capability.  Am I missing something?

It's a big deal for me as, in my limited space, I have managed to account for 2 short trolley lines and a slightly longer subway line.  My layout wouldn't be nearly as fun without these!

Last edited by Brad Trout
@Richie C. posted:

My recollection is that the SER-2 is only necessary if you are going to be using the MTH Wifi (WIU and app) as part of your system. If you just want to be able to add and control Legacy engines with limited capability using the DCS remote, you just need the correct cable to connect the serial port of TIU to the serial port of the Legacy base (and the Legacy "one-wire" connected to a TIU output as you've described).

That is I think I remembered reading - you don't need the SER-2 unless you are using the Lionel wifi app. Currently I do not have a way to use any apps so that's in my list of things to possibly purchase some day in the future. And since that's a Lionel item, it should be around for a while.

@Lou1985 posted:

I would say keep using both DCS and TMCC/Legacy. If your DCS stuff is working there's no reason to just sell it all and convert your PS2/PS3 locomotives to TMCC. When things die and if parts aren't available then worry about it. Otherwise enjoy what you have.

That's my intention - to keep the DCS items until they become non-repairable for whatever reason. I don't have that kind of money to convert something that works well. I'm guess later this year we'll know more about how the future of MTH is working. I'm confident it will be here - just under different names for the various divisions now currently under the MTH name umbrella.

@Richie C. posted:

My recollection is that the SER-2 is only necessary if you are going to be using the MTH Wifi (WIU and app) as part of your system. If you just want to be able to add and control Legacy engines with limited capability using the DCS remote, you just need the correct cable to connect the serial port of TIU to the serial port of the Legacy base (and the Legacy "one-wire" connected to a TIU output as you've described).

Correct but why not have 99% control with one app?

Now don't get your panties in a bunch, but I will offer two thoughts.

First from a business perspective I'm not sure a DCS supply and support service combined with a MTH parts supply service is a viable stand alone business model without the manufacture of trains.

Second to address the original poster who obviously is planning on a LOT of trains in a very small (12' x 12') space. I would suggest selling all your DCS equipment and convert all your MTH locos to TMCC and Railsounds using ERR components. This will give the capability of operating virtually any manufacturer's locos under one simple unified system.

As I stated there are those in each camp!

@paulp575 posted:

That is I think I remembered reading - you don't need the SER-2 unless you are using the Lionel wifi app. Currently I do not have a way to use any apps so that's in my list of things to possibly purchase some day in the future. And since that's a Lionel item, it should be around for a while.

You add it for the MTH App. I also remember something about the signal being improved even if not using the app. I will have to go back and find that info. I know Barry posted it i his book.

Last edited by CurtisH
@CurtisH posted:

Correct but why not have 99% control with one app?

I agree, but the direct question posed by the OP was whether he "needed" the SER-2 in order to operate Legacy/TMCC engines through the DCS system. The response I gave was "NO" and that is accurate.

The OP also stated that he "understood" that he "can not control all the LEGACY functions using the MTH DCS remote (thanks for that advice @gunrunnerjohn) so that's why I'm guessing I have to purchase the Lionel SER2."

I saw no need to repeat that information, but I respect the rights of others to chime in and offer additional, alternative or advanced suggestions.

A SER2 os LCS wifi is required for the Legacy command base to accept Legacy commands (beginning with 0xF8, 0xF9 or 0xFB instead of 0xFE) - but does any part of the MTH system actually transmit those Legacy-specific commands to operate Legacy features?  The TIU at least only uses 0xFE TMCC commands.

If you have LCS modules plugged into the Legacy base then you may physically need the extra DB9 port provided by the SER2 to connect the TIU, but that's not related to Legacy vs. TMCC commands.

Last edited by Professor Chaos

I hope that Mr. Muffin is right about the future of MTH. The Muffins run a really sharp operation which I have happily patronized But I certainly have to wonder whether MTH has simply been unable to sell the business because of the contraction in the market.

My young grandchildren love to run "Grampa's trains," but they see them no where else.

Those of us who've been in the hobby for a  long time remember when everybody went nuts because high end engines broke the $800 barrier. But now we're approaching $1,800 as a routine large  engine price, which has got to really shrink the market, on top of the demographic shrinkage. And when $600.00 K-Line steamers like the recent 4-6-6 tank engine become the $1,000 Lionel version and I see how poorly the the 1970-1990 electronics have stood the test of time,  i just decide to enjoy the 20-30 + engines that I own because I just don't enjoy spending like that. I could write the check and am grateful for being able to do so, but...

Our engines have become like computers with unavoidable built in obsolescence. That's the price of technology, but I don't buy 5 or more computers every year, as I used to buy trains. Of course, I did just pick up the MTH 20th Century. It's gorgeous as is its sound, but it can't pull the four cars it came with. I also bought an MTH 44 tonner. And I've ordered a NYC 4-6-0. So I'm not out of the market but I did pass on the PRR H-10 because it was was priced at about $1,000.

I apologize for going on so long. But let me end by thanking each of you for the knowledge and expertise you so willingly share. I learn and get help with my trains every time I go on this board.

RubinG

I am 70 years old and my secret to buying stuff is to move the decimal point....$1,800 = $180.  Just like my Dad everything costs too much. He wouldn’t buy watermelon till it got to a penny per pound. I now understand his reasoning. Minimum wage? My first job paid $1.15 an hour. My dad worked all month for $5. Haha. My grandkids will pay one million for their house. Meanwhile my new $2,000 makes me smile everytime I blow it’s whistle. Enjoy your life, it is too short to complain about the price of watermelon!

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×