Proto-Sound Equipped Engine Compatibility With DCS
equipped engines (PS1) built in 1995 and 1996 suffered operating anomalies
when used with "shark-fin" or phase control AC Waveforms found in the
AC track voltage of what were then considered modern-type transformers.
Older transformers, like Lionel's ZW model or MTH's then newly released
Z-4000 employed a more "pure" sine wave form of current for which the
PS1 system was specifically designed.
Because these newer
transformers could cause the sound system to act irregularly, MTH chose
to disallow operation with any transformer type affected by the shark
fin wave form rather than suffer complaints that the engine was defective.
The affected transformer types were not listed in the approved transformer
list found inside each engine produced during those years. Because so
few of these "modern" transformers existed in the marketplace few consumers
experienced the automatic transformer rejection.
By 1997, software
designers had pinpointed the shark-fin problem and resolved it through
software and hardware changes in the PS1 circuit board. Consequently 1997
and later PS1 engines do not require the shark-fin transformer rejection
needed in 1995 and 1996.
Users of DCS may have
experienced the shark-fin rejection when attempting to run those engines
on a variable channel. This is because the DCS Track Interface Unit (or
TIU) does not employ the more expensive pure sine wave form of current
found in the MTH Z-4000 and instead relies on the less expensive phase
control AC waveform. While the TIU waveform isn't as pronounced as that
found in those early mid-1990's transformers, the PS1 software will still
reject the current and not allow the locomotive to leave the RESET state.
DCS users experiencing
this phenomenon should follow either of the following procedures to allow
their PS1 engines to operate with the DCS system.
Z-4000 Remote Receiver
- With the PS1 engine
on the track, employ the use of the MTH Z-4000 transformer for powering
the variable or fixed channels of the TIU.
- Configure the TIU
for a Z4K Channel. There are two ways to do this. Either step requires
the use of the Z-4000 remote receiver (MTH part number 40-4002)
- Configure the
Fixed channel by setting it up through the TIU setup menu as a Z4K
- If using 2.1
software, you can configure a variable channel as a fixed channel
as well. Once configured as a fixed channel via the TIU setup menu,
the channel can be used as a Z4K channel.
- Give the fixed
(or variable configured as fixed) Z4K channel full power from the Z-4000
- Use the DCS remote
to access the Z4K channels and adjust the track current appropriately
to operate your PS1 locomotive. The shark-fin rejection will be disabled
because the TIU is receiving full power from the Z-4000 transformer.
The combination of full power with the use of the Z4K receiver eliminates
the need for the TIU to regulate the current from the TIU to the track
and thus does not "contaminate" the track current with a shark fin or
phase control wave form. As a result, the track current isn't rejected
by the PS1 hardware and the locomotive should operate normally.
- The engine will
continue to function and respond to DCS commands as long as it is not
shut down. When shut down, repeat the above procedure to get the engine
to respond again.
Sine-Wave Trick Method
- With the PS1 engine
on the track, employ the use of an MTH Z-4000 transformer or any older
Lionel ZW or KW type transformer as the power supply for the Variable
- Apply power only
to the TIU via either the Fixed 1 or Auxiliary Power input. Do not apply
power to the variable channel at this time.
- Scroll the variable
track voltage up to 22 volts using the DCS remote.
- Now apply 8 - 10
volts of current from the transformer to the Variable Channel you wish
to control. At this point you have tricked the TIU into thinking it
is passing current straight to the track and the PS1 locomotive should
- Press the red Direction
button on the remote to allow the PS1 engine to leave Reset. Press DIR
again to park the engine in neutral.
- Adjust the transformer
throttle up to full voltage. And lower the DCS voltage setting down
to the desired operating voltage the user wishes to apply to the engine.
- The engine will
now continue to function and respond to DCS conventional commands as
long as it is not shut down. When shut down, repeat the above procedure
to get the engine to respond again.