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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought the MTH 30-20758-1 - ES44AC Imperial Diesel & Caboose Set "Christmas" w/ PS3 and only have Lionel fastrack to run it on. How do I or how can I get or add dcs to this so I can use all the features and functions of the engine?
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks in advance,
Marc
 

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Have you ever had any trains before this?
I don't know but Gunrunner or someone else will know.
Just wanted to welcome you to the site. :)
 

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Melmarc, welcome. The full featured DCS system requires a TIU and either a remote or a WIU. Unfortunately, the TIU has been discontinued and is not available new. You can find them on the used market but people have been charging over MSRP. MTH has announced a new combined WIU/TIU but it has not been released yet.
 

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If you want a cheaper alternative, MTH does make the DCS Explorer. I used to have one and in my experience it was finicky and I had to keep a steady supply of fuses because it really tripped easily. Still, if you can find one super cheap, you could give that a whirl. If time is a factor, that would get you going quickly (before Christmas).
 

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First, welcome to the group and welcome to being an MTH owner.
Second, let's understand DCS- the signal and control system you are asking about.
DCS is a digital signal that is carried inside the power feeding the track. This is different than Lionel which uses a radio signal that requires each engine to have an antenna.
Again, DCS is a signal that goes inline with the power of the track through the outer rails and inner 3rd rail.
There are a couple of boxes or devices that produce the DCS signal.
The cheapest and and most basic featured is the 50-1033 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS DCS Remote Commander (Infrared).
Product Gadget Font Audio equipment Cable

There are some rules about this device but your particular train should meet all of them. One key one, this works best with recent PS3 engines, is compatible with PS2 3V engines, and most importantly, not compatible with PS2 5V engines. Again, you have a recent PS3. Second part is, the engine must be on address1 and not joined previously to a full blown DCS system. In other words, if say you buy a used PS3 engine and the previous owner failed to reset it to factory defaults before selling, then that engine might be set to an ID other than 1. This system is basic so it does not have the add engine function that sets a new or different ID into an engine. It simply broadcasts the commands to address 1 and as long as your engine is at factory defaults, then your engien will listen and follow those commands. This device is roughly somewhere between $40-$60 depending on new or used also subject to market pricing.
This device can be used either pass through (power into the power input jack and then through the device to the track) or in passive mode where this is attached in parallel to your power source to the track.

As pointed out, next up is the silver box DCS 50-1035 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS DCS Explorer wifi . This came in both starter sets and as separate sale. Street price is about $135-to straight ridiculous.
Wireless access point Wireless router Gas Electronic device Audio equipment

This is also a limited interface AND requires you load the application onto a smart phone or tablet and talks to that device over wifi. Another thing is this cannot be used passively, it much have power go into the power jack and power out the terminals to the track. Also it does not turn on the power to the track UNLESS you send it a command that then turns on the power to the track. It cannot vary the voltage to the track, it only can turn off the power. It also can only load 3 engines (the app is what is limiting this) and does NOT work with all engine types. Specifically I have the PS3 monorail and it will not work with that engine and I suspect many trolley or subway engines. The bad thing is you will not know what it does not work with until you try and then it errors and says it does not work with that engine!! This is not an issue in your specific engine, but again, long term future, this is just annoying how they crippled this device.

Last and most expensive are the full blown DCS TIUs.
I won't go in depth because of the lack of them being available and high cost.
 

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Like others have said, we're in a state of transition right now with the MTH control systems. Old ones not available on the market, and the new version not yet released. I'd stick with conventional running until the fog clears.
 

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The cheapest and and most basic featured is the 50-1033 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS DCS Remote Commander (Infrared).
View attachment 571556
There are some rules about this device but your particular train should meet all of them. One key one, this works best with recent PS3 engines, is compatible with PS2 3V engines, and most importantly, not compatible with PS2 5V engines.
Not sure why you say this, I've run 5V PS/2 with the DCS Remote Commander, and there's no reason it shouldn't be compatible with the older 5V boards.
 

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Not sure why you say this, I've run 5V PS/2 with the DCS Remote Commander, and there's no reason it shouldn't be compatible with the older 5V boards.
It's right in the manual.
Page 4
Font Number Rectangle Circle Document

I'm as upset as you are and believe fully there should not be a reason it doesn't work. The problem is, I have seen first hand it not work with a PS2 5V engine. Now is that all of them, only the one I tried, something wrong with the one I tried? All I know is that others pointed me right at the manual that states it and my experience said to not bother and try since both my experience and the instructions say there is an incompatible reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you ever had any trains before this?
I don't know but Gunrunner or someone else will know.
Just wanted to welcome you to the site. :)
Lol!!! No. I have a Lionel Polar Express rtr set I got last year but my father-in-law got sick and I didn’t even get to take it out of the box. Still factory sealed. I bought the MTH engine because my wife and grandson likes it but I don’t know what to run it on. I have seen where you can run it on fastrack but I don’t think I’ll be able to use all the features and functions.
Thanks for the welcome!! Looking forward to seeing and hearing some answers!!
Again, thanks for the welcome!! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
 

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Like others have said, we're in a state of transition right now with the MTH control systems. Old ones not available on the market, and the new version not yet released. I'd stick with conventional running until the fog clears.
Agreed. With conventional, at least Melmarc could run his train until he finds the right system that will work for him.
 

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Lol!!! No. I have a Lionel Polar Express rtr set . I have seen where you can run it on fastrack but I don’t think I’ll be able to use all the features and functions.
Couple of things about that.
#1 Fastrack is just the track.
#2 That Lionchief set comes with a constant voltage DC power supply.

So it's perfectly capable of powering this engine, however, you currently have NO control system. Conventional control is the old and standard way of varying the voltage feeding the track. Both old and modern transformers generally have a way of controlling and varying that voltage- however- a Lionchief DC power source is not controlled. it's ON or OFF.
So you kinda do need some sort of a system here to use that MTH engine.
1 option is buy an MTH Z500 or Z1000 controller and transformer set and control it conventionally.
Another is buy the same Z500 or Z1000 transformer and then use the 50-1033 DCS commander set
 

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Lol!!! No. I have a Lionel Polar Express rtr set I got last year but my father-in-law got sick and I didn’t even get to take it out of the box. Still factory sealed. I bought the MTH engine because my wife and grandson likes it but I don’t know what to run it on. I have seen where you can run it on fastrack but I don’t think I’ll be able to use all the features and functions.
Thanks for the welcome!! Looking forward to seeing and hearing some answers!!
Again, thanks for the welcome!! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
I told you the electrical guru's would help.
I don't have many "fancy" trains, most of mine are old school.
I don't see why it can't run on fastrack, unless if the wheelbase is too long for some curves.
But I never had fasttrack either.
Old tube track here.
My trains run by the throttle levers on the transformer. And my hand. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you want a cheaper alternative, MTH does make the DCS Explorer. I used to have one and in my experience it was finicky and I had to keep a steady supply of fuses because it really tripped easily. Still, if you can find one super cheap, you could give that a whirl. If time is a factor, that would get you going quickly (before Christmas).
Thank you for the welcome and the help!! I’ve really learned a lot!! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First, welcome to the group and welcome to being an MTH owner.
Second, let's understand DCS- the signal and control system you are asking about.
DCS is a digital signal that is carried inside the power feeding the track. This is different than Lionel which uses a radio signal that requires each engine to have an antenna.
Again, DCS is a signal that goes inline with the power of the track through the outer rails and inner 3rd rail.
There are a couple of boxes or devices that produce the DCS signal.
The cheapest and and most basic featured is the 50-1033 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS DCS Remote Commander (Infrared).
View attachment 571556
There are some rules about this device but your particular train should meet all of them. One key one, this works best with recent PS3 engines, is compatible with PS2 3V engines, and most importantly, not compatible with PS2 5V engines. Again, you have a recent PS3. Second part is, the engine must be on address1 and not joined previously to a full blown DCS system. In other words, if say you buy a used PS3 engine and the previous owner failed to reset it to factory defaults before selling, then that engine might be set to an ID other than 1. This system is basic so it does not have the add engine function that sets a new or different ID into an engine. It simply broadcasts the commands to address 1 and as long as your engine is at factory defaults, then your engien will listen and follow those commands. This device is roughly somewhere between $40-$60 depending on new or used also subject to market pricing.
This device can be used either pass through (power into the power input jack and then through the device to the track) or in passive mode where this is attached in parallel to your power source to the track.

As pointed out, next up is the silver box DCS 50-1035 | MTH ELECTRIC TRAINS DCS Explorer wifi . This came in both starter sets and as separate sale. Street price is about $135-to straight ridiculous.
View attachment 571557
This is also a limited interface AND requires you load the application onto a smart phone or tablet and talks to that device over wifi. Another thing is this cannot be used passively, it much have power go into the power jack and power out the terminals to the track. Also it does not turn on the power to the track UNLESS you send it a command that then turns on the power to the track. It cannot vary the voltage to the track, it only can turn off the power. It also can only load 3 engines (the app is what is limiting this) and does NOT work with all engine types. Specifically I have the PS3 monorail and it will not work with that engine and I suspect many trolley or subway engines. The bad thing is you will not know what it does not work with until you try and then it errors and says it does not work with that engine!! This is not an issue in your specific engine, but again, long term future, this is just annoying how they crippled this device.

Last and most expensive are the full blown DCS TIUs.
I won't go in depth because of the lack of them being available and high cost.
Thank you for the welcome and the info!! You’ve been a great help!! Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Like others have said, we're in a state of transition right now with the MTH control systems. Old ones not available on the market, and the new version not yet released. I'd stick with conventional running until the fog clears.
Thank you so much for the welcome and advice!! I am brand new to this (model railroading). If you don’t mind and I have a few more questions. By conventional do you mean I can use stuff from a Lionel ready to run set? That’s all I have at the moment. I hope you ve a happy Thanksgiving!!!
Thank you in advance
Marc Ruff
 

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By conventional do you mean I can use stuff from a Lionel ready to run set? That’s all I have at the moment.
Clearly you missed the answer- so did others.
You do not have everything you need.
Your current power system to power the track included with that Lionchief set puts 18V DC on the track.
The engines- yes both of them, the lion chief that came with the set, and then the MTH PS3 have electronics in them that listens for commands and controls the voltage to the motor in the train to control speed. For Lionchief, this is done ether by the included remote or a bluetooth app from Lionel that talks to the engine over radio. Your MTH engine is looking for a DCS signal. Since you do not have anything that makes a DCS signal, it then would startup in conventional mode expecting to see a varying track voltage to control speed and on off power dips to control direction. Problem is, again, you have NO such power control system currently.

So, to run that new engine, you need to buy a power or control setup.
You can by a variable AC transformer- preferably with whistle and bell added buttons that send a special DC offset inside the AC power.
Or
You can buy one of the 2 DCS control systems and put them between your power source and the track.

Last, long term, as you buy more items, you want to get away from DC power sourcethat came with the Lionchief set and switch t AC track power since as you buy more trains and cars, many of them are AC only. This also goes for special tracks and accessories that can burn up if used with DC.

Again, let me make this clear.
Right now, if you setup that Lionchief RTR set. It comes with a small DC power pack to power the track. This runs the lionchief engine just fine, but that MTH engine, without a control system, may startup and make sounds but will not move. If it does move, it will do so at top speed.
 

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Terms to learn:
Conventional- means that you vary the track voltage to control the trains speed. Also implies that you can have a special bell and whistle/horn buttons that send an analog DC offset signal on top of the variable AC voltage track power. Last momentary drops of power cause the engine to cycle between forward, neutral, reverse.

Command control or just command- the idea that constant power is on the track. Then the engine has electronics that listen for some form of command signals- bluetooth, radio frequency, DCS signal, TMCC signal and so on, and the engine inside internally controls it's speed based on your control system sending it commands.

Your 2 engines are both "command" meaning they have electronics and are looking for a digital control signal.
The Lionchief one is looking for a radio signal in the form of the lion chief remote, or possibly a bluetooth signal from the app from a phone or tablet. Sadly, the lion chief engine is NOT capable of conventional control. It must have a digital signal to do anything.

The MTH engine also is looking for a digital signal, but specifically DCS signal. When it does not see the DCS signal (because you don't have a DCS control attached to the track) then the engine automatically starts up in conventional mode- but when it starts it's in neutral. So if you set it onto a track powered with a fixed voltage and no DCS signal, it will start up make sounds, all the lights come on, and then just sit there. If you happen to drop power for a second and then turn back on, it may think that is the signal to switch to forward and since the track voltage is high, then it tries to go pretty fast, near max speed uncontrolled. Hence why I'm saying, you do not have everything you need with JUST that Lionchief RTR set.
 

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Again, at the end of the day:
Right now, you have this as your power source for the track.
Ac adapter Adapter Adapter Font Battery charger


Yes, technically, it could power either engine (Lionchief or even the MTH engine). It's output is 18V DC.
Power is one thing, control is another thing entirely.

The problem is, the MTH engine needs some sort of control system.
Either, a different power source
"Conventionally" that can vary the voltage as in conventional control and also has bell and whistle/horn buttons as well as a direction button. Again, conventional control is a concept where we control the power to the track and add simple extra features- direction (simply cuts the power for however long this is pressed) Bell- adds a DC signal on top of the AC for bell, Whistle/Horn adds a difference DC signal on top of the AC/
AND/OR
one of the DCS controllers- 50-1033 or 50-1035

The manual for the MTH engine https://mthtrains.com/sites/default/files/download/instruction/30dl18489i.pdf
Page 46
Font Pattern Parallel Number Symmetry


or
Microphone Font Technology Auto part Cable


Since you have fastrack you need to either make a connection to the power jack or go to the underside of the track and use the terminals to connect wires to.
I basically do what T-Man is suggesting but I don't solder the wires. I have 2 pieces of track that no matter what I have done I can't get a good connection. So I do this:

If you flip a piece of fastrack over you will see some connection tabs.
Circuit component Passive circuit component Hardware programmer Electronic component Audio equipment



View attachment 112569

What I did was create my own wire. With the way fastrack is built you should never have an issue with the grounds so all you really need is to connect the center rail terminal from one piece to the center rail terminal of the next one. I take a single 18 gauge wire and attach a connector like these to each end:

View attachment 112577

Then clip to the center rail terminal on both tracks.
Another alternative is to use an adapter like this to convert wires to the jack used by the fastrack terminal piece.
5.5mm x 2.1mm
Product Sleeve Camera accessory Font Automotive tire

Product Rectangle Automotive tire Font Line

The + terminal goes to the center rail and the - goes to the outer 2 rails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Terms to learn:
Conventional- means that you vary the track voltage to control the trains speed. Also implies that you can have a special bell and whistle/horn buttons that send an analog DC offset signal on top of the variable AC voltage track power. Last momentary drops of power cause the engine to cycle between forward, neutral, reverse.

Command control or just command- the idea that constant power is on the track. Then the engine has electronics that listen for some form of command signals- bluetooth, radio frequency, DCS signal, TMCC signal and so on, and the engine inside internally controls it's speed based on your control system sending it commands.

Your 2 engines are both "command" meaning they have electronics and are looking for a digital control signal.
The Lionchief one is looking for a radio signal in the form of the lion chief remote, or possibly a bluetooth signal from the app from a phone or tablet. Sadly, the lion chief engine is NOT capable of conventional control. It must have a digital signal to do anything.

The MTH engine also is looking for a digital signal, but specifically DCS signal. When it does not see the DCS signal (because you don't have a DCS control attached to the track) then the engine automatically starts up in conventional mode- but when it starts it's in neutral. So if you set it onto a track powered with a fixed voltage and no DCS signal, it will start up make sounds, all the lights come on, and then just sit there. If you happen to drop power for a second and then turn back on, it may think that is the signal to switch to forward and since the track voltage is high, then it tries to go pretty fast, near max speed uncontrolled. Hence why I'm saying, you do not have everything you need with JUST that Lionchief RTR set.
Terms to learn:
Conventional- means that you vary the track voltage to control the trains speed. Also implies that you can have a special bell and whistle/horn buttons that send an analog DC offset signal on top of the variable AC voltage track power. Last momentary drops of power cause the engine to cycle between forward, neutral, reverse.

Command control or just command- the idea that constant power is on the track. Then the engine has electronics that listen for some form of command signals- bluetooth, radio frequency, DCS signal, TMCC signal and so on, and the engine inside internally controls it's speed based on your control system sending it commands.

Your 2 engines are both "command" meaning they have electronics and are looking for a digital control signal.
The Lionchief one is looking for a radio signal in the form of the lion chief remote, or possibly a bluetooth signal from the app from a phone or tablet. Sadly, the lion chief engine is NOT capable of conventional control. It must have a digital signal to do anything.

The MTH engine also is looking for a digital signal, but specifically DCS signal. When it does not see the DCS signal (because you don't have a DCS control attached to the track) then the engine automatically starts up in conventional mode- but when it starts it's in neutral. So if you set it onto a track powered with a fixed voltage and no DCS signal, it will start up make sounds, all the lights come on, and then just sit there. If you happen to drop power for a second and then turn back on, it may think that is the signal to switch to forward and since the track voltage is high, then it tries to go pretty fast, near max speed uncontrolled. Hence why I'm saying, you do not have everything you need with JUST that Lionchief RTR set.
Good morning Jetguy and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Thank you soo much!! You are right!! I did miss the answer!! I really appreciate your help!! Forgive me, I’m brand new to this and have no experience or idea what I’m doing. Let me see if I got some of this. The track is just the track be it MTH realtrax or Lionel fasttrack. What I need is something to power and control it.
Again, at the end of the day:
Right now, you have this as your power source for the track.
View attachment 571592

Yes, technically, it could power either engine (Lionchief or even the MTH engine). It's output is 18V DC.
Power is one thing, control is another thing entirely.

The problem is, the MTH engine needs some sort of control system.
Either, a different power source
"Conventionally" that can vary the voltage as in conventional control and also has bell and whistle/horn buttons as well as a direction button. Again, conventional control is a concept where we control the power to the track and add simple extra features- direction (simply cuts the power for however long this is pressed) Bell- adds a DC signal on top of the AC for bell, Whistle/Horn adds a difference DC signal on top of the AC/
AND/OR
one of the DCS controllers- 50-1033 or 50-1035

The manual for the MTH engine https://mthtrains.com/sites/default/files/download/instruction/30dl18489i.pdf
Page 46
View attachment 571597

or
View attachment 571598

Since you have fastrack you need to either make a connection to the power jack or go to the underside of the track and use the terminals to connect wires to.


Another alternative is to use an adapter like this to convert wires to the jack used by the fastrack terminal piece.
5.5mm x 2.1mm
View attachment 571599
View attachment 571600
The + terminal goes to the center rail and the - goes to the outer 2 rails.
Again, at the end of the day:
Right now, you have this as your power source for the track.
View attachment 571592

Yes, technically, it could power either engine (Lionchief or even the MTH engine). It's output is 18V DC.
Power is one thing, control is another thing entirely.

The problem is, the MTH engine needs some sort of control system.
Either, a different power source
"Conventionally" that can vary the voltage as in conventional control and also has bell and whistle/horn buttons as well as a direction button. Again, conventional control is a concept where we control the power to the track and add simple extra features- direction (simply cuts the power for however long this is pressed) Bell- adds a DC signal on top of the AC for bell, Whistle/Horn adds a difference DC signal on top of the AC/
AND/OR
one of the DCS controllers- 50-1033 or 50-1035

The manual for the MTH engine https://mthtrains.com/sites/default/files/download/instruction/30dl18489i.pdf
Page 46
View attachment 571597

or
View attachment 571598

Since you have fastrack you need to either make a connection to the power jack or go to the underside of the track and use the terminals to connect wires to.


Another alternative is to use an adapter like this to convert wires to the jack used by the fastrack terminal piece.
5.5mm x 2.1mm
View attachment 571599
View attachment 571600
The + terminal goes to the center rail and the - goes to the outer 2 rails.
 
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