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  • Topic: MTH locos vs. LGB/PIKO/USA/Aristo?

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    • December 19, 2015 5:06 PM EST

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      MTH locos vs. LGB/PIKO/USA/Aristo?

       

      From Jerry's excellent website:

      "He (Jerry Barnes) finds the sliding skates and power pickups on the wheels pickup the power from the rails very well and constant cleaning of the track is not needed, unless he has run a live steam engine!"

       

      In Jerry's excellent website, he references the electrical pickup qualities of his MTH locos not requiring "constant cleaning of the track is not needed."

      He may be on to a comparison that has not been done nor discussed prior: MTH's comparative advantage under track power vs. the other brand names.

      If there is a definitive difference, I am interested as the Palm Desert, Calif., Living Desert layout favors brands other than MTH only because of size.

       

      Your experience?

      This post was edited by Wendell Hanks at February 6, 2016 7:49 PM EST
    • December 20, 2015 9:32 PM EST
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      I'm just the opposite.  The size of the MTH locos disqualifies them from use on my railroad.

      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • December 20, 2015 11:25 PM EST

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      you asked for experience. I don't have any MTH (I don't think Steve does either)

      But I do have limited experience with MTH and the DCS system.

      Under track power, and running DCS they are definitely tweeky, the system was never designed to handle the electrical environment of a large layout with sometimes large voltage drops. Even the biggest proponent of G scale MTH I know, Raymond Manley has to put filters on the track and in lighted cars to help "preserve" the DCS signal.

      Running MTH locos on DC will eliminate this issue but then you give up the remote control and all the features. DCC has come to the smaller MTH scales but not G scale. Promised but not delivered.

      Now, as to power pickup, no better than the skates on LGB locos, although MTH skates seem to catch on switches slightly more.

      Power train reliability? Well, they make a big noise on ball bearing motors, but the drivetrain is not orders of magnitude better than Aristo or USAT.. a bit better.

       

      Hope that answers some of your questions.

       

      Greg

       

      ____________________________________

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    • December 21, 2015 1:39 PM EST
      • WYOMING, PA
         
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      My newly acquired (used) MTH Dash 8 occassionaly does the 'short circuit' thing on (2) Aristo WR switches at various speeds.  The Challenger, Hudson, NW2, VO1000, F's run "no" problem...

    • December 21, 2015 2:19 PM EST
      • Deer Park, Washington
         
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      Greg Elmassian said:

      you asked for experience. I don't have any MTH (I don't think Steve does either)

      But I do have limited experience with MTH and the DCS system.

      Under track power, and running DCS they are definitely tweeky, the system was never designed to handle the electrical environment of a large layout with sometimes large voltage drops. Even the biggest proponent of G scale MTH I know, Raymond Manley has to put filters on the track and in lighted cars to help "preserve" the DCS signal.

      Running MTH locos on DC will eliminate this issue but then you give up the remote control and all the features. DCC has come to the smaller MTH scales but not G scale. Promised but not delivered.

      Now, as to power pickup, no better than the skates on LGB locos, although MTH skates seem to catch on switches slightly more.

      Power train reliability? Well, they make a big noise on ball bearing motors, but the drivetrain is not orders of magnitude better than Aristo or USAT.. a bit better.

       

      Hope that answers some of your questions.

       

      Greg

       

      Greg is right, I don't have any personal experience with the MTH stuff.  Once I saw a Challenger next to my Aristo Mallet, I had all the info I needed.  That and the vicarious experience of others in the club, most of which Greg has detailed, above.  Of the few in our club who did purchase various MTH locos, none have them now.  That by itself speaks volumes.

       

      I could be wrong, but I think I'm right, to get the use of DCS in the MTH locos, you have to use AC, rather than DC.  Greg?

      This post was edited by Steve Featherkile at December 21, 2015 2:21 PM EST
      ____________________________________

      Not only does my mind wander, sometimes it walks off completely.

       

      Some people try to turn back their odometers.  Not me.  I want people to know why I look this way.  I've traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren't paved.  Will Rogers.

    • December 21, 2015 3:15 PM EST
      • Newton, KS
         
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      DCS is DC power Steve. I use a Bridgewerks.   I have my TIU sitting out connected to the track in passive mode. Transformer is in the garage, wire to the track from there. I have no problems, but don't have a big layout either. THat is one reason  I like MTH and the 1/32 scale.  Ray Manley has been a big help also.  The MTH units seem to 'fit' in my layout and don't dominate as the 1/29 does, so prefer the MTH anymore. Still have a few 1/29 engines, but seldom use them, mostly Pacifics(or locos I made based on them) and a RS-3. I even have a Challenger I made with two Pacifics, it's a monster!

    • December 21, 2015 5:29 PM EST
      • west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
         
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      I have found issues on my larger layout in using the MTH TIU's with track power.  But I love the MTH product (especially when it is available).  To get around the track power issue I have an MTH boxcar with the TIU circuit board and an 18 volt Lithium ion battery inside and use it as a trailing car.  Now I have the best of both worlds.  I left the sliding skate electrical pickups in place on the locos so with a dpdt switch I can go from trailing TIU car to track power with the flip of a switch.  

    • December 21, 2015 9:25 PM EST

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      Actually DCS is a carrier signal added to the "base" voltage, and it will work on either DC or AC.

      It's incorrect to say DCS is DC, DCS is an extra signal, that is on top of your base track power, whih can be AC or DC.

       

      The problem is that it is a small voltage compared to your "base" voltage, and it's easy to "lose" the signal through voltage drop or light bulbs or other loads on the track.

       

      DCC is a completely different animal... the power is square wave AC, whose frequency is modulated to provide the data.

       

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • December 22, 2015 1:39 AM EST

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      The latest MTH 1:32 stuff is shipping with ProtoSound 3, which is DCC-compatible. It seems to work well at least within the confines of my shelf railroad. In terms of the skates and power pick-up, I've not noticed anything which would indicate it to any different than other manufacturers.

       

      Later,

       

      ____________________________________
    • January 26, 2016 7:42 PM EST
      • Lewiston, NY
         
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      I have just about all the MTH products. They all run great for me. I can't help people that don't like the 1/32 scale thing. I personally don't like the scales being all over the chart and branding them all "G" scale.

      I hate experts who chime in with pre-biased notions and post to draw in arguments. They don't even own the products and can't figure out how to make them work when given the chance? There's just a couple of basic rules to follow. I have built many DCS layouts for myself and have enjoyed them all. I'm currently on my fourth or fifth build?

      You don't need any bulbs with the current MTH TIU for track signal. I know of guys who have had trouble (myself included) getting DCC to work smoothly. With the huge investment needed in DCC, MTH's DCS is a better choice. Many don't like it. I can't help  them. It's a free country. That's why there are so many choices I imagine. DCS is a better system that's a better value period. I have owned most of the systems that were available before I went to DCS. I don't want to discuss programming DCC challenges, installing separate sound cars, keep alive circuits etc. 

      There are limits to every system. Understanding them helps for trouble free operation. If anyone who buys the MTH product needs help, I will try. I won't stand bashing of a great product from ignorance. Personal "size" choices, are a different thing altogether. Try convincing most European guys that 1/32 scale is the wrong choice. Many can't figure out why guys "over here" want oversized equipment.

       I'm hoping to see the new Accucraft passenger cars soon. I'm sure that many here won't like that they're 1/32 scale. That is their choice. I wonder if the guys will start bashing them too? That would be a shame to be pre-biased so bad as to not even look with an open mind.

    • January 27, 2016 5:41 AM EST
      • UK/Ontario/Oregon
         
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      Joe - just a reminder that although 1/32nd scale Gauge dominates in mainland Europe, that is not the case here in yUK, where it vies with 10mm scale [almost 1/30th] in the popularity of many builders.  The name of the company run by Terry Hines, Tenmille Products, says it all, and most providers of live-steam models in kit form - John Barrett and Keith cousins and others, build their locos in either one scale or the other - some build in both.

       

      1/32nd scale Aster is the only show in town as far as the US is concerned, with the occasional appearance of UK-oultine Accucraft or Bowande/WuHu products.  Due to the off-chance of personal litigation by incorrect assembly of a Barrett or cousins kit causing actual harm, the chances of seeing any 10mm live-steam UK-outline model in the US are extremely slim, but over here, it's around 50/50, for locos AND rolling stock alike.  

       

      tac

      G1MRA #3642

    • January 29, 2016 12:23 AM EST

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      Unfortunately, the DCS system is not good for outdoor layouts because it is a small, low voltage signal added to the track power, so it suffers from interference, loss from distance, lighted cars, etc.

      Now, the PS III system that works on DCC gets rid of those issues and have given me pause to think.

      But saying the DCC investment is huge as compared to MTH is just BS, MTH locos are a lot more expensive than the Aristo/USAT/Piko locos.

      This thread started about skates making better power pickup. There is absolutely no doubt that they help tremendously. More and better power pickup is great, I just hate the looks of them.

      For the museum outside in the dusty, dirty desert, might be a good idea. Being smaller, you will lose some of the wow factor, especially if the viewers cannot get close to the trains.

      Why not just run all LGB at the museum?

       

      Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


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    • January 29, 2016 8:19 AM EST
      • Lewiston, NY
         
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      It is the truth. It is a less expensive system that does not need all the separate components that DCC does. How much is a decent DCC system??

      It works fine for me on my backyard layout because I know how to connect the wires and I can read and follow instructions. It does not suffer from interference from light bulbs? It works like a network communications system and requires some simple rules to be followed. Some people just can't get that???

      How can U compare prices on locos that come without sound inside? plastic gears that fail regularly? What's the price of a G scale Challenger???

      Spreading pre biased notions that they are too small and should never be considered is BS. This whole post is argumentative. They have redundant power pick-ups and that's what Jerry's site stated. I know some guys here just can't wait to pounce.

    • January 29, 2016 12:01 PM EST
      • Newton, KS
         
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      MTH engines all come with a great sound system and smoke. So may cost a bit more, but no headaches installing them.

    • January 29, 2016 8:32 PM EST
      • romeoville, illinois
         
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      I use both strait DC with a Bridgewerks power pack and occasionally bring out my MTH system . Its one of the early versions . I find using the MTH system enjoyable to operate even with the occasional glitch . I do wish they made them 1/29 but the difference in height is something I personally can live with. I really like the record / play back function . When I use it people are really impressed that the train starts and stops , blows the horn , bell etc all on its own .

    • January 29, 2016 9:50 PM EST

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      Joe Paonessa said:

      It is the truth. It is a less expensive system

      >>>> no way it is cheaper, especially since you need filters and heavily filtered DC, that's the system, now the PSIII decoders are approximately THREE times the cost of the best DCC decoders, which are $200.... tell me the price of a PSIII G scale decoder.... show me the price on the web.

      that does not need all the separate components that DCC does.

      >>>> wrong again, it needs MORE components than DCC, in fact you have to fit a flywheel with a CUSTOM tachometer strip to the motor which is very expensive unless you have a machine shop yourself AND you can print and modify the tachometer strips

      How much is a decent DCC system??

      >>> you can buy a 10 amp top of the line system with wireless remote for about $550, and a lot less if you want a more elementary system

       

      It works fine for me on my backyard layout because I know how to connect the wires and I can read and follow instructions.

      >>> it works ok on small loops like your layout and Jerry's, Ray Manley's layout which is a larger, but not complex layout needs the light bulbs/filters... this is on his web site, and he's pretty much the top dog in G scale MTH DCS

      It does not suffer from interference from light bulbs?

      >>> it's not interference, it is that the light bulbs "eat up" some of the DCS signal, and you need filters to block this from happening, again on many DCS sites this can be verified

      It works like a network communications system and requires some simple rules to be followed. Some people just can't get that???

      >>> it's in no way like a network communications system, there are commands from a single controller, not multiple controllers like a real network, but who cars.

      How can U compare prices on locos that come without sound inside?

      >>> easy, you can add sound for $200 with a complete decoder that does NOT require a custom flywheel with a custom tachometer

      plastic gears that fail regularly? What's the price of a G scale Challenger???

      >>> I will certainly give you that MTH gearboxes are good, and much better than Aristo or USAT, and you PAY for that, I can buy TWO USAT F units for the price of one MTH...

      Spreading pre biased notions that they are too small and should never be considered is BS.

      >>> it is not BS, they ARE SMALLER... it's a personal choice... I agonized over 1:32 vs. 1:29 for a while... the difference is noticeable. If everything else was equal, I could live with the smaller size, but my layout is on the ground and they are smaller

      This whole post is argumentative.

      >>>> sure is and you are arguing also... so what?

      They have redundant power pick-ups and that's what Jerry's site stated. I know some guys here just can't wait to pounce.

      >>> no pouncing, but it seems some of the old "Kool Aide" tactics are being used...

       

      Like I said, if the MTH DCC operation worked well, and I could purchase all their products and at a reasonable price, I would be sorely tempted, but not one of those 3 criteria is true now...

      The MTH DCC implementation is still flawed, read up on the HO guys trying to do consists.

      The MTH line is NOT available for sale, only a few locos are available

      And for me, a reasonable price for an F unit is not $600 (per the MTH website), and the big boy at $1500 ...

      I'll stick to my $250 USAT F3, and my $800 2-8-8-4 Aristo Mallet.

       

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


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    • January 30, 2016 1:01 PM EST
      • Newton, KS
         
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      Isn't this fun! 

    • January 30, 2016 1:33 PM EST

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      Nothing is perfect, all systems have their pro's and con's.

      There's a lot of good to say about MTH, but the DCS signal outdoors on a large layout is not one of them, and it has weaknesses that make it inferior to DCC for reliably transmitting commands. It's no accident that MTH spent a lot of money adding DCC capability to it's system, there is no arguing that, they did not spend the engineering resources because they were bored, or had extra cash laying around!

       

      The other issue that makes it difficult to convert non MTH locos is the requirement of a tachometer on the motor, with the tachometer strip mounted to a flywheel and the optical sensor. Additionally, it's not the motor speed that is desired, but the actual scale speed of the loco. This actually is very neat, because all MTH locos running at the same speed step are going the same actual speed.

       

      In addition, knowing the actual speed of a loco allows you to have a cruise control and many other neat features. But this means the alternating black and white bands on the tachometer strip wrapped on the flywheel must be the right number to reflect the "gear ratio" between the motor rpm and actual speed of the loco. This translates to issues getting the right number of bands on the strip, which may be IMPOSSIBLE to achieve.

       

      So, while the system and locos all work together well, converting other locos can be anywhere from difficult to impossible (no room to fit a flywheel) and expensive, and beyond the capability of the average hobbyist.

       

      Indeed the addition of DCC to the PSIII is a great step forwards, but it's not working 100% right now from what I am reading. This is probably just firmware and can be changed, but it's going to take time.

       

      Like I said, if I could purchase today the full repertoire of MTH locos with the PSIII I would be tempted, but right now there is far more for me in 1:29 and DCC where I can pick from many control systems from $150 (yes the NCE PowerCab complete 2amp system is $150) and decoders from many manufacturers.

       

      This does not need to be a debate, like I said there are pros and cons to every system, but MTH is NOT the best, nor cheapest system out there.

       

      Regards, Greg

      ____________________________________

      Be sure­ to visit ­my site, l­ots of tec­hnical tip­s and modi­fications,­ and you c­an search ­for topics­ and key w­ords.


      ­Click HERE for Greg­'s web sit­e
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    • January 30, 2016 7:16 PM EST
      • Lewiston, NY
         
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      Hmmm...

       

       Quote this

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      Joe do you have any switches on your two loops?

      Nice big area with sweeping curves, should be very reliable running.

       

      Greg
      ____________________________________


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    • January 30, 2016 7:18 PM EST
      • Lewiston, NY
         
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      So all this from someone who has how many MTH locos or any controlled by MTH's system?

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