Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

MTH Engine Not Running Due to Short Circuit?

1151 views
11 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 985 posts
MTH Engine Not Running Due to Short Circuit?
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, August 2, 2021 6:50 PM

Hi, I recently acquired a non-running MTH H10s on Ebay for cheap. I planning to discard the MTH electronics (and smoke unit and electro coupler) and install a wowsound decoder into it, BUT before I ripped out all the electronics, I figured Id try to revive the decoder first.

Here's what I've found:

The engine doesn't respond to address 3, 107, nor 0107 (cab number 107). Programming on the main wont work bc you need to know the address. The lights in the passenger cars next to the loco dim very slightly (and undim when engine is removed)

When I switch my NCE powercab to prog track mode, it reads theres a short on the track. Interestingly though, whereas usually a short would cause the powercab to cycle, this engine doesnt cause this to happen.

I removed the engine from the tender and placed the tender only on the track and repeated teh above. Still nothing. Lights in my passenger cars only dim when tender is on the track. Engine alone on the track does/affects nothing. 

I use a continuity tester (multimeter) on the tender wheels and pickups. There is no short detected between the two sides on either truck (which is connected by wires).

I take off the tender shell and have the decoder off of the mount and dangle loosely out the side of the tender chassis (thinking it might be due to the diecast frame). I have all the wires strewn about, making sure none of it is touching any metal surface. The wires have no bare spots which lack insulation. STILL no response. 

There are three plugs to the decoder. A main plug with like 15 wires, and three 2 wire plugs. One to the electro coupler, one to the rear light, and the other to the speakers. I unplug the three 2 wire plugs thinking maybe the coupler or speaker is shorting out the decoder. Still no response. 

I unplug the last main plug, freeing the decoder from the tender entirely. Finally, the lights on the passenger cars no longer dim, and the powercab will enter prog track mode without saying there's a short. 

I inspect the board closely and cannot find any faults. Nothing looks to have a bad/overflowing solder connection, nothing looks to be burned or etc. 

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

Should I just call it quits? I tried finding if there was anyone else experiencing anything similar by googling various forums but I couldnt find anything. If anyone has any suggestions Id love to hear it! Im not a huge fan of MTH's limited capability decoders, but it does seem like a waste not using the smoke unit, electro coupler, wireless drawbar, and motor encoder...

Please dont turn this into a MTH DCS/DCC system is garbage thread. Im well aware they are, but if I can save $70 in not having to buy a new decoder, I'll take it.

Edit: also tried the 55 55 55 method on POM with no sucess. And tried addresses 1-12 with no responses.

Cheers!

Charles

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

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

  • Member since
    November 2015
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, August 2, 2021 8:52 PM

I have no MTH HO Scale Locomotives in my collection, but I'll do my best to help you.

I have a few questions:

Did the seller write out a detailed description for the locomotive on ebay? if so, did he explan why it was "non running"? Was it involoved in an accident on his layout/then sidelined as he felt the repair work simply wasn't worth it?

What number was this steamer programmed to run on?      Do you still have the box it came in?

MTH HO Scale Locomotives use two methods to operate on, one is standard "DCC" and the other is "DCS". DCS is something truly unique to MTH. To change control settings, you simply slide a switch under the model. The Sound/Smoke steetings can be accessed by opening up the magnetic water hatch.

Their DCS system is kinda tricky and may not work as well as DCC.

 

If anyone on here has this exact same locomotive, please chime in

 

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 985 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, August 2, 2021 9:29 PM

ATSFGuy

I have no MTH HO Scale Locomotives in my collection, but I'll do my best to help you.

I have a few questions:

Did the seller write out a detailed description for the locomotive on ebay? if so, did he explan why it was "non running?" Was it involoved in an accident on his layout/then sidelined as he felt the repair work simply wasn't worth it?

What number was this steamer programmed to run on?      Do you still have the box it came in?

MTH HO Scale Locomotives use two methods to operate on, one is standard "DCC" and the other is "DCS". DCS is something truly unique to MTH. To change control settings, you simply slide a switch under the model. The Sound/Smoke steetings can be accessed by opening up the magnetic water hatch.

DCS is kind tricky and may not work as well as DCC.

 

If anyone on here has this exact same locomotive, please chime in

 

 

I already asked the seller if he knew what the original address was. He said the loco wasent his and didnt know anything about it. Not the original address, nor what exactly is wrong with it except that it didnt run.

Yea the switch was already set to DCC, I forgot to mention that I already checked that. Water hatch iirc has smoke and sound volume.

Good suggestions!

Charles

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

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

  • Member since
    September 2002
  • 193 posts
Posted by KemacPrr on Monday, August 2, 2021 10:20 PM

Did you check the tender trucks to make sure a wheelset has not been swapped around ? 

  • Member since
    November 2015
  • 1,273 posts
Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, August 2, 2021 10:37 PM

You also mentioned something regarding passenger car interior lights. Are they being powered from the tender or the locomotive? 

Does the tender have power-pickups to power the lights inside the coaches?

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 17,630 posts
Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 6:04 AM

Just as a note: I believe the wiring of the socket in this locomotive is not NMRA compatible, and you would need to rewire before plugging something like a TCS decoder into it.  We have had threads here on that subject.

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 985 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 9:22 AM

Kemac: The wheels on the tender pickup on both sides and are insulted with a plastic axle in the center. I made sure the trucks themselves arent shorting.

ATSFguy: No I meant the passenger cars on a second track which also pickup power from the layout dimmed very slightly, implying the decoder IS recieving power and is causing some sort of disturbance on the layout. 

Overmod: Yes, Im aware of that. Not only is the plug not NMRA compatible, but the daughterboard in the loco wouldnt work with any other non MTH board, so all the electronics will have to go. 

Charles

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

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
  • 1,818 posts
Posted by CSX Robert on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 9:25 AM

Trainman440
...The lights in the passenger cars next to the loco dim very slightly (and undim when engine is removed) When I switch my NCE powercab to prog track mode, it reads theres a short on the track. Interestingly though, whereas usually a short would cause the powercab to cycle, this engine doesnt cause this to happen...

There clearly is not a dead short because the lights in the passenger cars right next to it still light, but it does sound like it's drawing an excess amount of current.  The PowerCab programming track mode has a reduced current capacity to help protect the decoder in case of a miswiring on a hardwired decoder.  In programming track mode, the PowerCab will see a "short" at a much lower current draw than when in operating mode.

My understanding is there is a potentiometer to control the smoke output as well as digital control.  The first thing I would try is to turn the potentiometer to the lowest setting in case the somegenerator is causing issues.

 

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 985 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Thursday, August 5, 2021 11:56 AM

Alright well Ive decided to just rip the decoder out. While it might be possible that the loco will respond to the right address, I tried in on DC and even that didnt net any response, so I'll be ripping the decoder out.

Charles

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

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 1,869 posts
Posted by snjroy on Thursday, August 5, 2021 1:46 PM

That's what I would have done off the bat. These decoders are odd in many ways. I fiddled with one once and that was enough for me. 

Simon

  • Member since
    November 2006
  • From: NW Pa Snow-belt.
  • 1,949 posts
Posted by ricktrains4824 on Friday, August 6, 2021 5:44 PM

This is gonnal sound dumb as a box of rocks, but......

You said you narrowed it down to a issue on the tender.

Does anything flex enough while sitting on the rails to create a "weight-bearing" short?

If it's not a defective DCS board, simply replacing it might not fix the real issue....

Ricky W.

HO scale Proto-freelancer.

My Railroad rules:

1: It's my railroad, my rules.

2: It's for having fun and enjoyment.

3: Any objections, consult above rules.

  • Member since
    May 2014
  • From: Pennsylvania
  • 985 posts
Posted by Trainman440 on Monday, August 9, 2021 2:59 PM

ricktrains4824

This is gonnal sound dumb as a box of rocks, but......

You said you narrowed it down to a issue on the tender.

Does anything flex enough while sitting on the rails to create a "weight-bearing" short?

If it's not a defective DCS board, simply replacing it might not fix the real issue....

 

Hi, Im not 100% sure what you mean by weight bearing short, but I removed the decoder/speaker assembly off the tender and clipped on power from the pickup wires and the speaker still didnt sound when F3 was pressed (OR in DC, the powerpack was set to 18V).

I appreciate the input, everything is worth trying, but this thing seems to be dead as can be. 

Charles

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

Modeling the Santa Fe & Pennsylvania in HO

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLb3FRqukolAtnD1khrb6lQ

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!