My First MTH PS2 Diesel

Discussion in 'G / O / S Scale Model Trains' started by Geno, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I finally gave into the purple train sickness and bought an MTH PS2 diesel- a 3/2 scale-wheeled UP SD-70 ACe. I'm aware of the great debate on the Lionel vs. MTH model and I do agree that the Lionel version looks more like the prototype with a better modeling of the frame beams and fuel tank, but what made me choose the MTH version was not only the fixed pilots and scale wheels, but the great detailing and its' ability to run on both 2 and 3-rail track. And since I run on Atlas code 148 2-rail with a studrail down the center, the choice was obvious to me.

    MTH has definitely come a long way in the detail department- this model has much finer detail and thinner handrails, almost approaching a much more expensive scale model. And while not accurate or correct, it could pass for an SD-70ACe variant if you never saw the real thing. The frame beams are also only a fascia covering MTH's stamped steel chassis, so if I really wanted to fix them it would not be impossible (the fuel tank may be another matter).

    DCS took a little getting used to since I've only been running TMCC upto this point, but it is still fun, if in a more technical way. I ran my MTH Ace on AGHR's 20 x 100 layout this weekend, and despite the derailments (what you get when you run scale wheels on Gargraves track) and DCS signal issues (5 TIUs = constant track reading), I still managed to enjoy myself. And it did run out of the box, which I am told is a very good thing for an MTH PS2 engine. I suppose I could get some hi rail wheels and it would run much better on the club layout, but I prefer the scale wheels and they will stay on the engine (got plenty of TMCC diesels to run on AGHR's 3-rail track).

    Overall I'm happy I finally gave in and got this engine. I'm sure with my 2-rail track, the wider radius curves I have planned for my new garage layout, and consistent wiring, I will be able to run DCS with less interruptions. The new 3/2 PS2 engines will also fit in great with my desire to create a 3 rail scale layout that looks like a 2-rail layout.

    Geno
    [​IMG]
  2. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

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    That's a great looking diesel!
  3. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I think so too- I still prefer the MTH model over the Lionel despite the inaccurate details. The Lionel model also bunny-hops over certain O gauge 3-rail switches- something my scale-wheeled version didn't even do over Ross and Atlas 3-rail switches.

    Geno
  4. rock island rocket

    rock island rocket Member

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    MTH is getting more detailed each year, and at a fair price! even the rail king line has just as much detail as there premiere line on most things. just shorted cars.
  5. Geno

    Geno Member

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    I actually paid about $20 more for this engine than I paid for a new PS1 Premier diesel back in 1998- this engine has so much better detail and sound, as well as PS2, so I would say MTH engines are an excellent value.

    Many of the older Premier engines have been demoted to the Railking line, which gets you a PS2-controlled engine for less than $300. The detail on these is still not bad, and many models are scale.

    Geno
  6. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

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    Geno,

    Glad to hear that you like the MTH diesel. I have quite a few in 3-rail and have come to prefer them to most Lionels. I have both TMCC & DCS and usually run everything with DCS, although I do have a few K-line locos that for some reason do not run well on using DCS. I guess the main reason I have bought more MTH is that they have the road names that I like.
  7. Geno

    Geno Member

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    John,
    The one thing I found somewhat frustrating about the MTH DCS system is the fine tuning required to control PS2 locomotives. I'm told that AGHR's 20 x 100 layout and 5 TIUs have something to do with those issues, but judging from comments made by those with smaller layouts DCS control should be better at home.

    I still need to pick up the DCS system, but after using my club's remote I found it straightforward. Hopefully wiring for DCS won't be as difficult or troublesome, now that I have good sources of help and advice to draw from.

    Geno
  8. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

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    I have a layout 10' X 6'-8" that is connected to a 5' X 13 layout in another room by a 12" wide shelf layout 12" long. Using 6 circuits from 2 TIUs I have had good results. Some of the wiring is the DCS recommended star design and some is the old buss style that I have not gotten around to changing. So far so good. I use TMCC to control the switches in the other room since I had that before I got DCS. Also have a camera in the other room that lets me check what is happening on the TV in my layout room.
  9. Geno

    Geno Member

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    John,
    I had a 20 x 20 L-shaped layout that I had to dismantle (sister-in-law needed a room to stay in), but fortunately the 2 x 6, 2 x 4, and 3 x 4 modules are still there, waiting for the room to become available again. I plan to go around the walls next time, possibly more than one level. Do you think more than one TIU would be required (one per level)?

    Geno
  10. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

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    It depends how many, and what kind of trains you will be running. I had to add the second TIU because with only one I had only two circuits available for the main line. On occasion two passenger trains would be in the same feed section and would trip the CB on the Z-4000. I added another TIU and two bricks and have had no problems since. I have a postwar ZW that feeds the two smaller inner loops through separate TIU circuits, a Z-4000 that feeds the two loops of the large dog bone through separate TIU circuits and two 180w Lionel bricks that feed each leg of the double track that connects the loops through two more TIU circuits. Total of six circuits. I usually run two trains on the large loop but have run three on occasion with no problems.
  11. Geno

    Geno Member

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    John,
    I do tend to run powered multiple unit lash-ups with long trains and more than two or three trains at one time, so I think two TIU's with another power source and multiple circuits seems to be required to keep my CB from tripping. I currently only have a Z-4000 that ran two loops on my old layout, but that was already maxed out when I ran three trains (six engines) on it. How do you regulate voltage on the Lionel 180w bricks- is the TIU doing that?

    Geno
  12. jefelectric

    jefelectric Member

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    Geno, with either TMCC or DCS, the full voltage (18v) is on the track at all times. TMCC or DCS controls the amount of voltage flowing to the motor via the circuit board in the engine. That is also why I can't run conventional on the tracks fed by the two bricks, as I have no way to control those sections for conventional control.