What I've learned about MTH, DCS, DCC

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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
#41
I believe that the pretty much universal compatibility of DCC has accomplished a good deal of that. Remember the lawsuit over the BEMF that stifled DCC development about 5-8 years ago between mth and in particular BLI. mth claimed that it had a patent that gave it the right to use the BEMF as a method of speed control, that said it could have speed steps in increments of one scale mile and hour, which came to IIRC 120 speed steps and no one had anything better. Trouble was the patent application did not show any prior art, which for the application to be legitimate, it has to. The court ruled against mth with 2 rulings. One, since they showed no prior art in their application and BLI proved that there was, the patent was disallowed, and Two, since there were more DCC companies who had speed steps of 14, 28, and 128 steps, their claim as having the ability to register changes in 1 smph differences wasn't unique enough to have the case stand on that alone. That was the first big loss mth faced. I don't believe that except for the suit against Korea Brass, which backrupted Lionel, mth has won many suits since. And that forced bankruptcy on Lionel allowed it protection from the lawsuit damages, which was $35 million, and that was money Lionel never had, the courts did give them enough protection so all mth got out of Lionel was some designs.

I think that when folks who bought mike's trains found that they weren't originally DCC compatible they either returned them for refund, or ripped the electronics out and replaced with DCC components and told mth about it. I also think that the company was in dire straits financially and had to add this compatibility just to stay alive.

IMHO, until mth offers FULL DCC compatibility, and the kinds of detail that a scale modeler wants on their locos, mth will never be anything more than a very minor player in HO. At one time I counted the number of manufacturers that actually followed the NMRA on their DCC standards and RP's stood at 85 different companies. There is to date only 1 maker of dcs and that is mike.
 
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#42
I believe that the pretty much universal compatibility of DCC has accomplished a good deal of that. Remember the lawsuit over the BEMF that stifled DCC development about 5-8 years ago between mth and in particular BLI. mth claimed that it had a patent that gave it the right to use the BEMF as a method of speed control, that said it could have speed steps in increments of one scale mile and hour, which came to IIRC 120 speed steps and no one had anything better. Trouble was the patent application did not show any prior art, which for the application to be legitimate, it has to. The court ruled against mth with 2 rulings. One, since they showed no prior art in their application and BLI proved that there was, the patent was disallowed, and Two, since there were more DCC companies who had speed steps of 14, 28, and 128 steps, their claim as having the ability to register changes in 1 smph differences wasn't unique enough to have the case stand on that alone. That was the first big loss mth faced. I don't believe that except for the suit against Korea Brass, which backrupted Lionel, mth has won many suits since. And that forced bankruptcy on Lionel allowed it protection from the lawsuit damages, which was $35 million, and that was money Lionel never had, the courts did give them enough protection so all mth got out of Lionel was some designs.

I think that when folks who bought mike's trains found that they weren't originally DCC compatible they either returned them for refund, or ripped the electronics out and replaced with DCC components and told mth about it. I also think that the company was in dire straits financially and had to add this compatibility just to stay alive.

IMHO, until mth offers FULL DCC compatibility, and the kinds of detail that a scale modeler wants on their locos, mth will never be anything more than a very minor player in HO. At one time I counted the number of manufacturers that actually followed the NMRA on their DCC standards and RP's stood at 85 different companies. There is to date only 1 maker of dcs and that is mike.
Good information Carey. Thank you for that.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
#43
First off I have to say I have no use for any MTH product.

To me they are like Apple, they can keep their proprietary stuff.

Mike that is a great article you wrote and even though I am not an MTH guy I appreciate your good work and effort.

I am sure there are some MTH guys that will appreciate it.

I don't know any, but there must be some because they keep making products.

Thank you Mike for taking the time to research, write and post your article.

Louis
 
#44
IRM was running south Shore Little Joe 803...video with sound...I couldn't hear any diesel engine sound, it was very quiet, the only sounds it made were horns, rail thumps, creaks, bell...MTH put a diesel sound on their model, my LHS demoed one...
I went...nope.

I now own 3 brass Joes, all differrent manufacturers, I dont need flipping pantographs.
The OMI model detail is crazy.
 
#47
G'day all...really interesting opinions..I , first hand had really big troubles with DCS and DCC compatibility.. I bought my first MTH a few months back and was keen to try it out but I'd had it a week before it hit the rails..Absolutely nothing , except on DC...After a lot of research , lost hair (kept tearing it out) good tips on the forum and a certain amount of luck I finally got my BNSF SD70 ACe.. to go...Tell you what though...She's an absolute cracker running through my NCE Powercab..Gob smackingly smooth and powerful, a highlight is the 1-5 speed step operation..simply amazing...and has been the topic already of some non MTH owners..While detail isn't quite as good as a Genesis, which I also have..it makes up for with performance...but....it's too hit and miss it seems as an operating systems crossover and a really experienced DCC operator told me they can be an absolute nightmare to figure out..I'm not sre how keen I am to buy another after several weeks sorting out the first one..Cheers Rod..
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#48
'scuse me while I lift the lid again on this old thread, but I am only now getting around to trying to program the long address into the new one of those MTH SD70ACe's I unwisely bought (1 new, 1 used).

The used one responds fine to it's already set long address and the new one to it's default #3. (and pressing 3 again to start them up soundwise). So, with see-sawing between MTH's and NCE's instructions, I haven't managed to get the new one re-addressed.

According to MTH, "CV's 17 & 18. Extended Address (upper bits must be set to 1)".
"CV29. Enter 38 to set extended address to engine cab# or Bits 5 = ext.addr; bit 1 = speed/direction method.

There is an included, loose, an Addendum for these locos which states that " when making setting changes in DCS and DCC, e.g. Address, wait a minimum of 5 seconds after removing power to insure settings are stored in loco memory. Reapplying power in less time may loose setting changes". Whether your have to de-power and re-power after each and every setting change or only at the end of a resetting session isn't made clear. (I think I've mentioned how much I love instructions that are written as mere reminders for those who already know what they're doing).

Anyway, (apologies to Ellen D), I reset CV18 to 1 and CV29 to 38 and the engine did a little jump. Ah! I thought (and you know where thinking gets you) it's automatically recognised the cab #, maybe MTH in their great wisdom have the decoders set up to do so (silly me). Exited the Ops programming and switched off the power (maybe I should have just switched off without exiting). Waited longer than the required time and switched on again. Nope, not responding to long address, only default 3. Have tried several different approaches including resets (CV55=55). What the "Bits 5 = ext.addr; etc means, haven't a clue.

Was going to try consisting the 2 of these (facing same way) at the DCC club next week after being there yesterday and seeing another member running his new MTH Big Boy (smoking well too) but only on address 3 (don't think he knew how to reset either). Figured it wouldn't be a good idea to have 2 default locos on the same layout. I also read that the only way to consist these damn things in DCC is by the "old" or "universal" method, no advanced capability.
 

kbkchooch

"retired" conductor
#49
'scuse me while I lift the lid again on this old thread, but I am only now getting around to trying to program the long address into the new one of those MTH SD70ACe's I unwisely bought (1 new, 1 used).

The used one responds fine to it's already set long address and the new one to it's default #3. (and pressing 3 again to start them up soundwise). So, with see-sawing between MTH's and NCE's instructions, I haven't managed to get the new one re-addressed.

According to MTH, "CV's 17 & 18. Extended Address (upper bits must be set to 1)".
"CV29. Enter 38 to set extended address to engine cab# or Bits 5 = ext.addr; bit 1 = speed/direction method.

There is an included, loose, an Addendum for these locos which states that " when making setting changes in DCS and DCC, e.g. Address, wait a minimum of 5 seconds after removing power to insure settings are stored in loco memory. Reapplying power in less time may loose setting changes". Whether your have to de-power and re-power after each and every setting change or only at the end of a resetting session isn't made clear. (I think I've mentioned how much I love instructions that are written as mere reminders for those who already know what they're doing).

Anyway, (apologies to Ellen D), I reset CV18 to 1 and CV29 to 38 and the engine did a little jump. Ah! I thought (and you know where thinking gets you) it's automatically recognised the cab #, maybe MTH in their great wisdom have the decoders set up to do so (silly me). Exited the Ops programming and switched off the power (maybe I should have just switched off without exiting). Waited longer than the required time and switched on again. Nope, not responding to long address, only default 3. Have tried several different approaches including resets (CV55=55). What the "Bits 5 = ext.addr; etc means, haven't a clue.

Was going to try consisting the 2 of these (facing same way) at the DCC club next week after being there yesterday and seeing another member running his new MTH Big Boy (smoking well too) but only on address 3 (don't think he knew how to reset either). Figured it wouldn't be a good idea to have 2 default locos on the same layout. I also read that the only way to consist these damn things in DCC is by the "old" or "universal" method, no advanced capability.
Welcome to the word of Mike Wolf, which it revolves around him an YOU (as a DCC user) dont matter!! :rolleyes:
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#52
Thanks guys and gal, I can feel the heat from the flames way down here (lucky it's winter and the weathers fine but cold). Anyway (once again, apologies to Ellen), I did find this article written by Steve Gill of Ulrich Models which may, I say may help, in understanding some of those cryptic instructions, as well as the very limited DCC compatibility issues.
http://www.amhobby.com/products/tech/generic/mth_compatibility_and_dcs.html

One interesting statement he made in his quest for greater compatibility is this.
I have purchased a DCS system to configure my MTH locomotives because I desire control over such things as individual sound volumes, smoke level and maximum speed. However, I am someone who uses advance consisting and the lack of advance consisting in MTH locomotives will be a significant factor in my purchase decisions. My MTH K-4 is a wonderful locomotive and I enjoy seeing and hearing it run. I only wish it had greater DCC compatibility.

And this.
MTH configuration parameters can be set using an MTH DCS controller. Using DCS, there is a full complement of configuration variables that can be set. Once set in DCS, they will remain set when using DCC. Therefore it is possible to configure an MTH locomotive on a DCS program track and then use the locomotive in DCC with the modified configuration.
Some of the configuration variables are as follows:

  • Maximum sound levels for whistle/horn, chuff, and bell
  • Smoke volume
  • Lighting operation and effects
  • Maximum speed
  • Enabling and disabling various sounds

But advance consisting unfortunately is still not possible using DCC.

So I guess it's a choice of buying an MTH system to get those extra effects, or see a lawyer.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#53
Never had an MTH train and, from what I read here, never will!

I might be wrong BUT, thy have taken proprietary to the next level and nothing like Apple either by the way. As one person said, there must be people who like this DCS stuff (MTH) or are just extremely capable when it comes to making DCS match DCC.

Only real question I have to ask myself is, why on earth would anyone spend money on something that only does 80% of what something else does for the same or lesser price? Got a feeling that MTH will follow the same route as Model Power, Mantua and the like.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#54
From reading articles like Steve Gill's, which seems fair and unbiased, DCS does appear to offer great ease of use (no CV's to worry about or program etc) and more features. From a purely good business viewpoint, instead of trying to crush what he seems to have seen as a threat to his market dominance aspirations, he had licensed his system to other model manufactures and thereby not only received royalties from them, but actually gained favour for DCS over DCC and we all may now be extolling it's virtues. According to the MTH manual there are 28 "F" functions available for DCC use but even with NCE, the highest you can get to is F19 or 20 (F27 is one I'd like to turn off).

But it looks like what has been offered to DCC'ers is only a sop intended to win a few to his HO products. There is no doubt about their solidness and ability to cope with more handling than others in the higher details bracket, which as Terry has noted, makes them great candidates for club use. Tis a shame really. It will be interesting to see if Athearn's newly announced upgraded RTR/sound locos will win them back. I must admit that if they were to do as MTH does and have wire handrails with somewhat beefed up plastic stanchions, I could be drawn away from their own Genesis line.
 
#55
G'day ....RE ripping your hair out....what happens if you're bald ?....I have a nice MTH SD70 ACe...It caused no end of grief...Even with initially literally dozens of great suggestions via the forum and two frustrating Saturdays no go....I ended up buying an NCE powercab about the same time (not because of the MTH though)..and tried navigating the nightmare with that a few weeks later...IT WORKED pretty well...not perfect or still can't consist it yet but she does sound , speed steps , lights and a few standard functions via NCE...so As much a nice looking loco and with rare fantastic tractive effort...I'm thinking a second MTH will be a while off yet...seeing as my hairline is already heading north faster than I'd like it to already let me say..Cheers Rod..
 
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bnsf971

AKA Gomez Addams
Staff member
#56
I thought I'd give an update to a few things that I have discovered coming from Wolfland. Not that they told anybody, but that's another story...
First, the new, improved Protosound 3 (called PS3 enhanced) will allow advanced consisting in their diesel locomotives. Older PS3 decoders can be updated, either using their DCS system with their file loader, or by taking the engine to your MTH service center. My local service center will reprogram for me for the price of their standard service fee (currently $10).
MTH has said repeatedly they will not ever offer this in their steam decoder line.
I recently purchased an MTH Challenger, and happened to put it on the programming track, and ran it through Decoder Pro. Surprise, surprise. It came from the factory equipped with the PS3 Enhanced system. Another club member purchased a new Triplex, and it is also equipped with the new software (firmware?).
I have also found on some diesel models there is now a slide switch to change from DCS to DCC. I'll have to check some of my newer stuff and see if the switch is on more than that one particular model.
 
#57
I recall going to the trainfest in Owosso, MTH had some tables there, I kinda wandered their stuff peeked at some of the engines and moved on....I drove 4 hours to get there, it was RAINY. PM 1225 blew a flue the next day I went aww nuts for them, 765 did its runs after that.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#58
We had a visitor from Victoria at the DC club (although that's in the process of being subverted by some of our new members who aren't going to let the "conservatives" deny them running their DCC gear on the main layout) and he has only just got one of the new Triplex's. Didn't know a lot about DCC, so he got a lot of info from us (another NCE user coming up). Wish your post about the "Enhanced" being included in the description had come up before I left this morning, Terry. Could have given him some better info. Did tell him that these new ones were now fitted with a DCC decoder.

Said he's coming back for our "Brisbane Model Train Show" in May, so might be able to catch up with him again.

P.S. I also extolled the virtues of this forum.
 

D&J RailRoad

Professor of HO
#59
Well, this thread has only focused on setting the address. The MTH manual says CVs 3&4 can also be set through POM. I've been trying to put a little momentum in my SD70Ace, but it's not taking it.
Can anyone tell me the procedure?
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#60
Didn't think you could adjust CV3 as it's the short address CV. If the loco's one of the early SD70ACe production, then there's only about 4 CV's available. They were supposed to come with the long address (CV17 & 18) already pre-set to the cab number at the factory. The newer editions say the have a DCC decoder in them (apparently in addition to the DCS one) which makes them compatible with other DCC decoder brands for consisting. Maybe, like the earlier DCC compatibles, it's still lacking many features we expect wit a full function decoder. Wouldn't surprise me.
 





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