My post about MTH PS2 engines was deleted from OGRR

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My post about MTH PS2 engines was deleted from OGRR
Posted by MoPac858 on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 12:18 PM

I am a longtime O-gauge operator and AGTTA member here in San Diego.  I got into both TMCC and DCS when they were released in the 90s/00s and have since backed way off any additional purchases because of a 67% catastrophic failure rate of my MTH PS2 engines with 5v boards.  Of my 6 PS2 engines, only 2 still operate.  The other 4 died, and I repaired one to the tune of $150 for a replacement board (it was our family's favorite, the RK Big Boy).  Incidentally, my Lionel and K-Line TMCC engines continue to operate without a hitch.

At any rate, I shared my opinion that a 66% failure rate for such expensive engines was unacceptable (IMO) and I would be focusing more on maintaining my current roster as well as finding and operating Lionel PW, MPC and early Lionel LLC domestically produced engines.  

I am not badgering anyone else to pass up the wonderful innovations that DCS, TMCC and Legacy have to offer I am just not willing to pay from $500 to $1500 for an imported engine that I cannot service myself or in some cases cannot even purchase OEM electronic repair components.  The issue with the MTH 5v PS2 board seems to be known by anyone who has every had problems with it or has repaired one.  It seems to me that a simple, inexpensive (i.e., $100 or less) solution that can be installed by the end user should have been offered by MTH.  And BTW, I am not going to pay several hundred dollars for a PS3 upgrade.

Which brings me to my point.  I don't think we (as operators) should be apologists for the manufacturers.  I (and many other members of our club) focus on primarily pre-TMCC and pre-DCS gear for the reasons I outlined above.  If I were in the C-suite at MTH or Lionel I would be concerned about this.  Not to sound like an old guy, but I am, so here I go. I (like many of us) received a Lionel starter set as a kid because my Dad had one and believed in the product.  My childhood Lionel MPC era starter set still runs fine; however, I can't say the same of the MTH equipment I purchased for my kids (and myself!).  The Lionel TMCC stuff still runs (fingers crossed!).  However, I have to say when I start to have grandkids and consider purchasing a starter set, I will most like buy the best-running post-war conventional set at a show or from a club member.  At least I will know that my kids or I will be able to repair it and find parts.

I understand that the new tech in TMCC, Legacy and PSx is light years beyond open-frame AC motors and electro-mechanical E-units.  That's not the point.  These are still toys trains, marketed to kids and hobbyists.  Part of the joy in the hobby is operating, maintaining and repairing the engine.  When you can't fix it, it becomes a pretty display piece, and I don't find much joy in static displays.

As a consumer and fairly loyal Lionel enthusiast, I would pay more for a domestically produced, user serviceable, conventionally-controlled starter set than one headed by an imported engine equipped with PSx or Legacy and Bluetooth.  

I hope the C-suite reads our forum.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, January 16, 2020 9:49 AM

I can't imagine why OGRR dropped your post, there's certainly nothing objectionable to what you said, and you said it well.  Anyway, I don't bother with the OGRR Forums anyway, don't like 'em much.

That being said, I understand perfectly where you're coming from, even though I own a number of MTH PS-2 engines and have had no problems with them except for one.  The board package blew due to a pinched wire that apparantly went back to the time it was built.  As I bought it used there was no point in trying for a warranty repair.  A replacement board package would have cost $200, in addition to the fact I would have had to send the old board package back with the order.

Now, I don't blame them for that policy, there's no doubt proprietary stuff in those boards they don't want anyone to know about.  Anyway, since I run strictly conventional and have no interest in DCS or TMCC I ordered a drop-in replacement E-unit board from Dallee Electronics.  The board was $79.95 and it worked perfectly and still does.

However, I still needed to do some mods.  I had to re-wire the smoke unit, it doesn't puff anymore but smokes in a steady stream, no big deal for me, and I installed a Williams whistle and bell sound system in the tender as I lost the sound with the removal of the old board.  So, instead of being an "exotic" that MTH engine of mine runs like a post-war, which is fine with me.  

Steam engine sound effects are fun, but I don't consider them crtitical. I don't need the "chug-chug" and crew talk, the visual dynamics of a steamer are good enough for me. 

Here's the website for Dallee...   Give them a try.

One last thing, do you still have batteries in your MTH engines, or have you replaced them with BCR's?  I installed BCR's in my MTH's and they work perfectly, no more dead or weak battery-related issues.  If your local hobby shop doesn't stock them like mine does you can order them direct.  Well worth it.  

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Posted by anjdevil2 on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:28 AM

As far as OGRR is concerned, I peruse their Wanted or For Sale pages as I think that the most of those people there are elitists anyways.....and most of them are MTH apologists, in MY opinion....

That being said, I have had little trouble with the "NEW" technology.  I have been fortunate to buy those engines that the owners have given up on and had them repaired at little cost - less than $100, with a purchase price of half that, if not free.

I DO NOT care for the MTH stuff in general, as it is very slow to boot up and run, my Lionels have almost no boot up time and run like nobody's business.  AND Before anyone says anything - my roster starts with a 262e, a 1666 and runs all the way to my last addition, a LionChief+ Jersey Central Blue Comet.  On Layaway at my favorite LHS (Tranis and Things in Ewing, NJ) is a TMCC Lionel K4s.....

My MTH roaster includes a NYC 0-8-0 (Total purchase and repair $150), The Wanderer American Class 4-4-0, a T&P GP9 (Both were free) and a LocoSounds Steam Engine (which I got with a complete set for $25), just so you know I do own some MTH....

I will agree, that the Post War locomotives are VERY user friendly and can be repaired by someone with a modicome of knowledge about Electricity and Electronics, that being said, it takes no effort to replace a board if you know what you are looking for and the price isn't far from the E units that occasionally need to be replaced.

No one can deny, the attraction of sopunds and smoke and action that electronics bring.  LionChief brings remote control to the masses and is attracting the younger ones, Bluetooth, which isn't really my "thing" is another attraction.  

As an aside, the Price Points are well within limits for the "middle class", my Blue Comet all in was $300.  The same for my Camelback and the entire Polar Express set I purchased 5 years ago.

I am the monster in your head...And I thought you'd learn by now, It seems you haven't yet.
I am the venom in your skin  --- Breaking Benjamin

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Posted by fifedog on Friday, January 17, 2020 9:46 AM

MoPac858 ---> I agree with your statements regarding MTH 2.0.  And I, too grew to appreciate PW, after spending hundreds to repair my fleet of Protosound engines.

As to why the post was deleted...Confused

Fuhgeddabowdit, and just stay here.



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Posted by tarheeltracks on Friday, January 17, 2020 1:17 PM

First let me say if you like MTH go for it, I have one PS2 and maybe 6 PS1 all taking up shelf space or resting in their box. The one PS2 blew a capacitor because of the low battery charge. I replaced the capacitor and the engine ran as it should,lucked out on that!! Lionel TMCC and Legacy has been my choice to run with some KLine and Atlas thrown in all with TMCC. I have had one sound board problem and maybe two R2LC boards I have replaced along with lights, couplers . I did buy a Z4000 when they first came out and not had any issues, if it quit today I still could not complain. With that being said they all will give trouble I just decided to limit my troubles to one brand. OGRR/no thanks

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Posted by rtraincollector on Friday, January 17, 2020 8:17 PM


Life's hard, even harder if your stupid  John Wayne

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Posted by ChiefEagles on Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:42 PM

MTH, dump them.  I did. 

 God bless TCA 05-58541   Benefactor Member of the NRA,  Member of the American Legion,   Retired Boss Hog of Roseyville Laugh,   KC&D QualifiedCowboy       


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Posted by Flintlock76 on Saturday, January 18, 2020 8:36 PM

Well, as I said in a post yesterday, which mysteriously disappeared when the Forum went haywire, I'm very satisfied with the MTH engines I've got and won't hesitate to get more, if any come out I'm interested in.

And no, I'm not on the MTH payroll!  

Again, I run strictly conventional, I'm not interested in that high-tech "gee-whizzery."  The only thing that makes me nervous about the new stuff is the same thing I was seeing in my last few years in the copier business, that is, the designers getting too smart for their own good and putting features in the machines no-one will ever use.  Go koo-koo with the electronics and sooner or later you're asking for trouble. 

And that is the scary thing in the back of my mind and the minds of quite a few others.  Will these new products, whoever makes them, last as long as the pre and post-war engines?  No-one's really sure. 

And the OGR Forum?  That struck me a while back as a "closed club," if you're not already a member don't try to get in.  And some of those boys are wrapped WAY too tight, if you know what I mean.  I was looking in on an OGR Forum one time and it had gotten so out of hand the mag's editor had to step in and tell everyone to cool it!   You'd swear they were HO people, for cryin' out loud!  Whistling

We're a much nicer crowd here!  Wink

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Posted by MoPac858 on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:50 PM

Thanks for the reply, Flintlock76.  I'm glad you were able to install the Dallee board and Williams card.  I have actually thought about doing exactly that, but am stuck on what to do with the electro-couplers (one of the best features of digital control!).  I may still do it, since as you wrote, it can be done with less than $100.

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Posted by MoPac858 on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:52 PM

Absolutely!  I'm on to the next project - rebuilding my 6'by14' layout.  Thanks for the reply!

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Posted by MoPac858 on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:57 PM

I have noticed the difference in tone here already.  I have been a subscriber to CTT for decades, but never joined the forum until after my experience on the OGR board.  I like my trains to be a source of fun, not a source of angst.

Honestly, I like the MTH stuff except that I can't fix it at a price point I'm willing to pay (or find parts to do it myself).  I hear the PS3 stuff is better.  If I win a set in a club raffle, I'll let you all know!

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, January 22, 2020 9:35 AM

You're welcome MoPac!

I purchased an MTH PS3 "Blue Comet" engine several months ago, and so far, so good.  It looks and runs great, and I have no complaints.

And yes, going the Dallee route there are some things you give up, but as I said to me they're inconsequential.  I don't do switching, I just set 'em up and watch 'em roll.  Dalle does make sound packages as well, as I'm sure you've seen if you've checked the on-line catalog, but I haven't tried any yet.  At some point I will, they're supposed to be pretty darn good as well. 

And you are oh-so-right, trains should be a source of fun!  Life's full of enough agony as it is!

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