Sunday, March 20, 2011

DCS down for a while, Legacy up

A few days ago the Track Interface Unit (TIU) for my MTH DCS system stopped putting out the DCS signal to Fixed 1 Output. As it worked one day and not the next and the DCS system is only about a month old, I am assuming marginal electronics from the initial build. I had to return it to MTH for warranty repair and was quoted 5 weeks turnaround! Yikes! (actual turnaound time was a little over 1 week)

Since these TIU's can be somewhat fragile and I don't want to be without running trains for over a month, I went on a mission to find myself a backup Rev. L DCS System.  There is very limited stock on these nationwide, but an email blast out to many dealers I found on the MTH web site yielded me a new system the next day. In an effort to better protect the TIU from future issues, I installed 10-amp inline mini fuses on all my power drops from the transformers. I applied the latest firmware update from MTH regarding the AIU problem, and then updated to DCS 4.20.  All is working fine at this time.

Also this week I ordered the Version 1.3 software update to my Lionel Legacy Remote system.  The update was free from Lionel and was in my hands two days from my order.  Also, I ordered a replacement LED headlamp harness for my 6250 switcher via the Lionel online parts ordering system and this worked great!  Again, two days from order to my house without having to talk to a human.  Lionel is doing much better than MTH as far as parts availability, repairs, and turnaround times.

If you missed it, I have decided to run my MTH DCS and Lionel TMCC/Legacy engines on electrically-separate blocks.  This was fairly easy to do since my control panel was set up for block wiring and multiple power supplies from the start. This was all due to the DCS signal being severely degraded when TMCC engines were running on an electrically-connected track. The issue was not solved by installing 22uH chokes as suggested, and I decided to just separate them and get on with life.

All is working fine now, and I really haven't lost much, if any, functionality.