MTH control equipment, DCS, analog and/or DCC.

This page is intended to explain a little about the DCS control system

First of all DCS is a proprietary control system from MTH, it has been around a fair time (in digital electronic development terms) but is some ten years younger than DCC and consequently it is a much more modern, and I would say a more capable and efficient system. The original Protosound system came out in 1995, Protosound 2 came out in 2000, Protosound 3 arrived in 2007 with the first Ho models and filtered through to the other gauges in 2013. Protosound 3E+ arrived in 2014 for Motorola/Märklin Ho 3-rail.

For Ho 3-rail:

The PS-3E+ decoder reads the commands put out by the Motorola derived digital controllers supplied by Märklin for their 3-rail AC powered system. MTH does not currently offer a controller. The PS-3E+ decoder will also operate under analog AC control.

For Ho and S gauge 2-rail:

The PS-3 decoder reads the commands put out by any of MTH's DCS controllers, it will also read the major generic DCC commands, it will also operate with a default set of sound effects with an analog DC controller. 16 volts DC is the recommended maximum input voltage. The PS-3 decoder is not "handed", it will pick up control signals from either the positive or negative side.

For the other gauges , ie O gauge (Railking, Premier and tinplate), gauge 1 and tinplate Standard Gauge:

The PS-3 decoder has the same DCS/DCC/Analog capability as above. The difference comes in taking up to 22 volts DC or AC. In analog AC mode a number of features such as reversing, bell, whistle and coupler can be operated by pulsing the power.

The Protosound 2 decoder does not have the DCC decoder function and only picks up DCS commands on one line, which is no problem for 3-rail systems but means that 2-rail locomotives are "handed". 2-rail PS-2 locomotives have a "polarity" switch to let you choose which side is active, so a locomotive can be sat on the rails pointing in either direction, b have reversing loops or "wyes" or turntables. PS-2 has the same DC and AC analog functionality.

If you like operating under analog then any of the generic 3rd party controllers with a suitable power output should do, as will any of the MTH controllers that have sufficient current capacity to handle the expected loads. If you want analog control of multi-unit power hogs then perhaps the twin throttle Z-4000 controller may be suitable and it may be worth pointing out that it has the option of the 40-4001 Remote Commander which can link to three Z-4000s if you want to have a walk-around handset. It may be stating the obvious but european customers may need to source a 240v or 220v to 110v step-down transformer. These are relatively easy to find and need not be that expensive if you shop around.

If you already have a DCC system then you should look for the locomotives with the PS-3 decoder.

If you want to have a DCS controller then there are three basic choices.

For the cheapest trial or if you are running a single locomotive then the DCS Commander Remote may be all that is required. This unit can not do a factory reset for locos.

For maximum flexibility with operation from a remote handset then the TIU is worth looking at, it has two fixed (DCS only) outputs plus a further two outputs that offer DCS digital as well as variable voltage AC, with a maxiumum of 10 Amps from each output. A remote control option from a phone or tablet is due in late 2015.

If you do not like remote handsets and a 6 amp output is sufficient then the DCS Commander may fit the bill, it is lower cost than the TIU+handset.


This is the currently available or list, you may also view lists of the master catalogue and currently unavailable or previously produced items

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50-1009 aug02 6 FT MINI TO MINI CABLE

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