MTH Original Proto-Sound Reset Kit

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MTH Original Proto-Sound Reset Kit
Posted by dwiemer on Friday, March 23, 2007 8:21 PM

Just got my copy of the "other model train mag" and read the article on this kit that MTH sells for $24.95.  They have a replacement battery, a chip removal tool, and a special reset chip.  While it does not seem that hard to do, I am a little ticked off that they sell a repair kit for a problem that is a result of their poor planning.  Of course they also said that Proto 1 would be compatable with PS2.  I know that both of the big players in this hobby have issues with products after release (Lionel early ZW with the reverse plug, etc.), but I wish MTH would fix the problem gratis.  I just think this would be better customer service.

Dennis

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 23, 2007 10:43 PM

Dennis,

                QSI designed the Protosound 1 system, not MTH.  From my understanding, the relationship between QSI and MTH became troubled.   The two split.  When MTH designed PS2, they wanted to make sure that a low battery wouldn't cause the problems that could occur with QSI's Protosound 1. 

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Posted by dwiemer on Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:39 AM

Thanks for the response.  I have a PS1 Hudson that I have not even put on the tracks yet because of this issue.  Was not sure what to do.  My plan is to update it with TMCC, possibly Legacy if they have the kits for it soon.  I did not know about issues between QSI and MTH early on, but I do know that in many other circles of manufacturing, the company will do the fix.

Dennis

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Posted by BDT in Minnesota on Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:46 AM
Dennis................With this kit installed,,will the locomotive be improved, or simply restored to it's original condition..And,, how long would the battery last before needing a replacement???  I have shyed away from the proto-sound 1 locomotives for this very reason...I find my non-sound RailKing 0-8-0 impressive for the price, and would just as soon not have a sound system if it will prove to be problematic..I have six steam locos with Railsounds or Trainsounds, and would like to hear some opinions as to how they compaire....BDT
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 24, 2007 9:25 AM

Dennis and BDT,

                        If you are unsure if a battery is good, replace it.  Just be sure the new battery is given a full charge before you use it.  Personally, I think that this battery issue has been blown out of porportion online.  I have had no problems with with PS1 engines.  The problem can only occur when the battery is too low to run the processor during power interuptions (to change direction, for example).  This results in the operating instructions becoming scrambled.  The chip in the reset kit is used to rewrite these instruction to the board.  If your run the loco on a regular basis, you should get 5+ years out of a battery.  Don't worry about this potential problem, just run your trains.  I have an Alco from 1999, and even though I have let the battery run low occasionally, I have never had the board get scrambled.  Some say that this issue only can affect locos built in 1996 and 1997.  As long as you run the train, the battery will charge, and you won't have to worry.

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Posted by BDT in Minnesota on Saturday, March 24, 2007 10:22 AM
 jimtrumpie wrote:

Dennis and BDT,

                        If you are unsure if a battery is good, replace it.  Just be sure the new battery is given a full charge before you use it.  Personally, I think that this battery issue has been blown out of porportion online.  I have had no problems with with PS1 engines.  The problem can only occur when the battery is too low to run the processor during power interuptions (to change direction, for example).  This results in the operating instructions becoming scrambled.  The chip in the reset kit is used to rewrite these instruction to the board.  If your run the loco on a regular basis, you should get 5+ years out of a battery.  Don't worry about this potential problem, just run your trains.  I have an Alco from 1999, and even though I have let the battery run low occasionally, I have never had the board get scrambled.  Some say that this issue only can affect locos built in 1996 and 1997.  As long as you run the train, the battery will charge, and you won't have to worry.

Thanks Jim,, this is good to know....I have bought some locomotives and complete sets that were non-current models...Some of my bargains have been in storage for years...Knowing that a non-working sound system can be res-erected with a 25 dollar kit is good news...Now for anouther question,,about this new reprogram chip, if the locomotive was stored again for a few years, would the chip need replacing again???  BDT

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, March 24, 2007 3:39 PM

 I've had good luck with the 2 PS1 engines I own...if you consider both have had batteries go ( or going) dead.  I simply replaced the battery in my GG1 with a new 9 volt Duracell as recommended in the manual as a tie over until a proper replacement can be installed.  Well, as usual with me I keep procrastinating so 2 years has gone by with the GG1 still running on the same temporary replacement.  All the PS1 functions still work as they should.  The other engine is a RailKing F3 A-B-A set that likes to discharge enough between runs so that it will not go into reverse unless left to charge for a few minutes.  I plan on doing the same battery swap to it as with the GG1 and see if it responds as favorably. 

I do like the sounds on both these engines.  While the drone of a moving GG1 isn't exactly breath taking it is nice to have squealing brakes and intellegable crew talk in conventional control, rather than needing a remote to access the same with TMCC.  The proceedure for firing couplers and programming is kinda wierd though.  I always need the manual to remember how many cycles and clinks and clanks are required.  I wonder if anyone could ever memorized them.

Just throw it on the track and go for it, Dennis.

 Bruce Webster

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Posted by mpzpw3 on Saturday, March 24, 2007 4:58 PM

I tend to agree with the proto-sound reset kit. It should be offered for free, of for cost if nothing else. Doesn't matter who made the sound system, some of them were known to be defective. I do understand, however, that MTH was working with people who owned these engines on a case-by-case basis. That was a couple years ago, though.

Someone was bound to mention it, so it might as well be me. Buy a BCR from J and W electronics, install it, and never worry about batteries again. I have 2 MTH premiere F-3 sets, which are very nicely detailed. I paid less than $500.00 for both sets. Another $50.00 for 2 BCR's really wasn't that bad. Sure, if you have a fleet of MTH proto-1 engines, it is expensive, but if you paid full retail for them, and don't want to sell them for current proto-1 prices, the BCR allows you to run and store them pretty much worry-free. Another way to look at it: MTH has made a lot of the proto-1 stuff with proto-2 now. If you run conventional, you wind up paying an extra $100.00 or more for electronics you won't use. $25.00 vs. $100.00 per engine? See what I mean.

Everyone has a different situation. I rotate engines out quite a bit, and may not run my proto-1 engines for a long time. I don't want to try and remember the last time I ran it, and for how long, or pull the shell off to charge the battery before I run it. I have been using BCR's for 2 or more years now, and never had a problem, no matter how long the engine has sat. If you run your proto-1 engine all the time, and have replaced the original MTH battery with a Nimh battery, you probably have no problems either. Depends on how you run your trains, in my opinion.

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Posted by dwiemer on Sunday, March 25, 2007 8:05 AM

It was asked about needing another chip to repair the scrambled board if the engine is set aside for an extended period and then the battery dies.  From what I read in the article, the chip that comes in the kit is only for de-scrambling the board.  Once this is done, the original chip is replaced.  In the future, should you have another issue like this, you would then only need a new battery, then, I believe, you could just re-use the same chip kit.  I think the battery replacement would be the way to go.  I am not too enamoured by the whole sounds thing with regard to station sounds, etc.  I do like the true sounds of the different locomotives, ie: the hudson's whistle.  From what others have told me, the PS1 sounds on a converted to TMCC engine become a very nice package.  This is my plan.

Thanks for all the input

Dennis

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Posted by DMUinCT on Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:05 AM

PS-I was just a sound system, PS-II is a sound system combined with Digital Radio Control. PS-I was designed in the 1990s when your PC Computers were dependent on a CMOS Battery to store Ram Data.  New Computers store boot data on non-battery dependent Flash Ram.  With Proto-II/DCS the sound files of your choice can be downloaded free by the internet.

Compatible PS-I to PS-II??  The engine not the operation.  The complete upgrade kit for Proto-II with DCS control ,  steam or diesel, costs $180 ($150 if you are a member of the MTH Club).  You then download the sound file you want, don't like it, try another file.  I have installed the PS-II/DCS Kit in 3 Aristo-Craft "G" gauge locomotives. The rumble of an ALCO in that Big RS3, WOW.

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Posted by nblum on Sunday, March 25, 2007 9:49 AM

"PS-I was just a sound system,"

 

I don't believe this is correct.  QSI developed a series of integrated digital locomotive control/sound systems in the early 1990s. These controlled locomotive speed, direction, couplers, and sound effects.  MTH had them design a cheaper version for their locos (PS1) that turned out to be seriously flawed in some respects. Both QSI's after market and OEM versions (for MTH and others) of this digital control system replaced E-units, either mechanical and electronic, that had been previously used.  Both required use of an onboard battery, another suboptimal design "feature." TMCC and Railsounds were also developed during the early to mid-1990s and are separate sound and digital control systems, neither of which require a battery in command mode, and only require a battery in conventional mode to prevent sound dropouts when power is momentarily interrupted.  Bottom line, PS1 was a down market version of QSI's original system, which was outmoded beginning in the mid-1990s, batteries and all.  Why MTH chose to design PS2 with a internal battery required for functioning still has people scratching their heads in 2007 ;). 

Neil (not Besougloff or Young) :)
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Posted by DMUinCT on Sunday, March 25, 2007 10:35 AM

Lets go back to before Proto-II.  MTH Catalog, 1999, Vol III, page 5. PROTO-SOUND (I)

"The Proto-Sound System designed by QSI"    " a state-of-the-art sound and train control system that requires no additional equipment or wiring to your layout"  "Your transformer throttle and its whistle button activates all the Proto-Sound features listed below.

Sound Volume, bell, horn or whistle,squeaking brakes, freight or passenger station sounds,engine lock out, REMOTE CONTROL COUPLERS.

Sound, E Unit, and the ability to read button pulses to work couplers and special sound features all on a QSI designed PC board.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proto-Sound II with DCS Contol is a loose copy of the "closed loop", "digital feedback" control system used in most industries coupled to a radio control system ( in this case, radio to a receiver that puts a digital signal on the track). The MTH control system is much like that of a locomotive or elevator, digitly encode motor speed (RPM) and adjust it for accuracy many times a second.   Under digital control, full voltage on the track removes the need for battery backup, but this locomotive must also run in conventional mode.  As you slow the train the lower voltage will not support a full volume of sound, and when the train stops ( at basically 0 voltage) the sound would stop.  Even systems using Condenser Backup have limited play time  on a stopped train but work well on rail gaps and start up/ shut down.  Unlike Proto I, Proto II does not use the battery to store data.

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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, March 25, 2007 12:14 PM

BDT,

        The chip in the reset kit can be used over and over, as long as the pins aren't damaged.  During the reset process, the original chip is removed and replaced with the chip in the kit.  After the reset is complete, you replace the reset chip with the original chip and the engine operates as it should. 

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Posted by nblum on Sunday, March 25, 2007 12:56 PM

"Unlike Proto I, Proto II does not use the battery to store data."

Which is one more motivation to redesign the system so it doesn't require a battery for operation.  Losing the battery will mean one less reason to remove the locomotive shell, one less failure mode, one less reason to delay operation at startup after locomotive storage, one less maintenance issue, etc.

Neil (not Besougloff or Young) :)
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Posted by DMUinCT on Sunday, March 25, 2007 3:41 PM
Too bad the reset chip wasn't designed into and installed into the Proto I, but that was 10 years ago.  Replace the battery in Proto-II ?? watch "HO".

Don U. TCA 73-5735

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Posted by BDT in Minnesota on Sunday, March 25, 2007 6:33 PM

I would like to give a big Thank You to all you Good Folks who did an excellent job of answering my questions,,,again,,,Thank you   BDT

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