Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion Kit Q&A Fact Sheet

1. What is a Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion Kit?
2. Why do I need to convert to Proto-Sound 2.0?
3. What features are included in the conversion?
4. What comes in the conversion kit?
5. Will it work in other manufacturer's locomotives?
6. How difficult is the conversion kit to install?
7. Does the conversion kit come with a warranty?
8. How can multi-unit diesel engines (AA or ABA consists) be converted?
9. Can the Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion be installed in 2-rail DC locomotives?
10. Why is M.T.H. offering the Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion when in the past the company claimed that an upgrade program wasn't feasible?

1. What is a Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion Kit?

The Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion Kit allows owners of older M.T.H. locomotives not equipped with Proto-Sound 2.0 to migrate to this new and exciting sound and control system.

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2. Why do I need to convert to Proto-Sound 2.0?

Owners of M.T.H. engines equipped with original Proto-Sounds, DCRU reverse units with an electronic or horn, or Loco-Sounds do not need to convert to Proto-Sound 2.0 if they are satisfied running those engines in conventional mode. If command mode operation is desired, Proto-Sound 2.0 contains hundreds of command control features not found in engines not so equipped.

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3. What features are included in the conversion?

The Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion includes all the operating features found in a factory installed Proto-Sound 2.0 locomotive including Proto-Speed control, synchronized steam engine puffing smoke, Proto-Coupler control, and full Proto-Sound 2.0 digital sound features. There are but two exceptions.

1. If the steam locomotive did not come with a factory installed fan driven smoke unit, the upgraded locomotive will not have the synchronized puffing smoke feature.
2. If the steam engine features operating cab interior lights, fire box glow lighting, operating locomotive marker lights and any other lights other than a headlight or tender backup light, those lights will not be controllable by the DCS system. The steam engine conversion kit is only capable of providing headlight control and tender backup light and marker light control.

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4. What comes in the conversion kit?

The conversion kit is available in a steam or diesel model and includes all the necessary components to install the system into most M.T.H. locomotives. The kit does not come with a preloaded sound set. The sound set must be downloaded from the Proto-Sound 2.0 website and loaded into the Proto-Sound 2.0 circuit board by the installer. A full list of the components included in the kit is as follows:

Steam:

A) PS2 board (1)
B) PS2 plastic mounting bracket (1)
C) PS2 metal heat sink bracket (1)
D) Tender harness (1)
E) Proto-coupler, long (1)
F) Back-up light (1)
H) Tender Marker Light harness with 2 LEDs (1)
I) Engine harness with tach reader
J) Headlight (1)
K) 4 ohm speaker (1)
L) Tach reader brackets (2)
M) Tach tape stripes (3)
N) AA Ni-Cd batteries (2)
O) Battery holder, with connector (1)
P) Screws 6/32 x 6 mm (4)
Q) Nuts 6/32 (3)
R) Screw 6/32 x 10 mm (1)
S) Shrink tubing (1)
T) plastic coil for wire management (1)
U) Wire Ties (6)
V) Foam tape (1)
W) Instructions (1)


Diesel:

A) PS2 board (1)
B) PS2 plastic mounting bracket (1)
C) PS2 metal heat sink bracket (1)
D) Locomotive harness (1)
E) Proto-coupler, long (2)
F) Back-up light (1)
H) Marker Light harness with 2 LEDs (1)
I) Motor harness with tach reader
J) Headlight (1)
K) 4 ohm speaker (1)
L) Tach reader brackets (2)
M) Tach tape stripes (3)
N) AA Ni-Cd batteries (2)
O) Battery holder, with connector (1)
P) Screws 6/32 x 6 mm (4)
Q) Nuts 6/32 (3)
R) Screw 6/32 x 10 mm (1)
S) Shrink tubing (1)
T) plastic coil for wire management (1)
U) Wire Ties (6)
V) Foam tape (1)
W) Instructions (1)

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5. Will it work in other manufacturer's locomotives?

The Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion kit was developed to upgrade older M.T.H. locomotives. However, in theory the conversion kit can be installed in locomotives produced by other manufacturers if those locomotives have the space for the electronics and utilize a DC motor with a flywheel. Because Proto-Sound 2.0 relies on specifically developed algorithms for generating scale speeds of each locomotive, there is no guarantee that the conversion kit will provide actual scale speeds when installed in other manufacturer's locomotives. The user will retain Proto-Sound 2.0's 120 speed steps in such installations but may find that those speed steps result in different speeds for other manufacturer's engines when compared to factory-equipped Proto-Sound 2.0 locomotives. In addition, like those M.T.H. steam engines not equipped with a fan-driven smoke unit, installation into other manufacturer's steam engines will not have synchronized puffing smoke.

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6. How difficult is the conversion kit to install?

The Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion kit requires some soldering, mounting bracket installation (by drilling mounting holes), the ability to trace and understand wire harnesses, significant wire management to prevent short circuits during reassembly and an understanding of how to load a sound set into the Proto-Sound 2.0 circuit board using the DCS equipment. M.T.H. predicts that experienced service center technicians can complete most installations in less than four hours. Inexperienced installers may damage the electronics and need as many as 8 hours to disassemble the locomotive, remove the old electronics, install the new mounting brackets, speakers, coil couplers, wire harnesses, new Proto-Sound 2.0 circuit board, reassemble the locomotive, load the sound set and test the model for operation. M.T.H. therefore strongly recommends that conversions be done by a participating M.T.H. Authorized Service Center.

Required Tools:

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7. Does the conversion kit come with a warranty?

The Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion kit is backed by a 90-day warranty valid only when the conversion kit is installed by a participating M.T.H. Authorized Service Center. While the electronics used in the conversion kit are very durable, they are not resistant to short circuits caused by an improper installation. A segment of the wire harness pinched during reassembly or worn through by contact with a moving part (wheels, axles, flywheels, etc.) can cause the circuit board to fail. Because of the importance of a proper installation, M.T.H. feels that its warranty can only be offered when a participating Authorized Service Center performs the conversion.

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8. How can multi-unit diesel engines (AA or ABA consists) be converted?

Multi-unit diesel engines can be converted to Proto-Sound 2.0 by installing separate diesel conversion kits into each powered unit. Such a conversion will effectively create two completely different locomotives and will eliminate the need for the locomotives to be physically connected to one another via a cable harness. When operation in command mode as a multi-unit is desired, the locomotives are combined into a lash-up using the DCS system.

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9. Can the Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion be installed in 2-rail DC locomotives?

Because the circuit board used in the Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion kit can operate with either AC or DC power, the conversion kit can be installed into M.T.H 2-rail. DC locomotives. However, 2-rail M.T.H. locomotives are not equipped with a fan-driven smoke unit so no synchronized puffing smoke would be available on those engines. In addition, any other manufacturer's 2-rail engine must be equipped with a flywheel in order for the conversion to succeed.

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10. Why is M.T.H. offering the Proto-Sound 2.0 Conversion when in the past the company claimed that an upgrade program wasn't feasible?

As with all electronic goods, circuit boards are typically refined and improved throughout the lifespan of the product. The maturation of Proto-Sound 2.0 is no exception and a more capable design was created in late 2002 for our RailKing One-Gauge locomotives that allowed for use on both AC or DC current. More importantly, the new design provided a standard memory system so that all variations of M.T.H. Proto-Sound 2.0 equipped locomotives could function. Proto-Sound 2.0 has three different types of processor software configurations for standard steam or diesel locomotives, trolley/street car/subway units and articulated steam engines. The multiple processor memory configurations required in the past for the different Proto-Sound 2.0 locomotive types would have made the Proto-Sound 2.0 conversion much more difficult.

In addition, the board now utilizes an advanced two-part design which reduces the amount of heat dissipation required in the earlier circuit. Such a configuration greatly simplifies the mounting of the board to the locomotive chassis. A plastic mounting base is included in the conversion kit that eliminates the potential of the board's electronic components from contacting other metal surfaces resulting in a damaging short circuit.

Since the release of the first Proto-Sound 2.0 equipped locomotives, M.T.H. has believed the cost of any upgrade would be unattractive for some locomotive types since it costs about the same as some new steam and diesel locomotives in the M.T.H. product line. Even with the simplicity of the new Proto-Sound 2.0 electronics, the current conversion kit likely will only appeal to owners of more expensive Premier Line steam locomotives. Nevertheless, the new electronics have made an upgrade conversion kit a reality and continued consumer input for such a program has prompted M.T.H. to begin promoting the conversion kit.

In short, the new Proto-Sound 2.0 board design is much more user-friendly and conducive for a conversion program.

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