Proto-Sound 1 Software/Battery Issues
The following document was created for owners of older Proto-Sound 1 locomotives and should be used as a reference for battery life expectations and battery troubleshooting.
Troubleshooting Early Proto-Sound Software Battery Related Errors
Owners of some M.T.H. Electric Trains' Proto-Sound 1 equipped engines built prior to mid-2000 may experience one of two software related errors that are initiated from low or discharged batteries. Some confusion in the marketplace regarding these errors has led to the replacement of the Proto-Sound board when correction could have been resolved through a software upgrade. In each case, the software error can be avoided entirely if the owner replaces the battery prior to use. Battery replacement should only be necessary if the locomotive has not been run within a year and the battery is no older than a year.
What follows is a description of each error and the necessary steps that must be taken to correct the problem. In case #2, the problem only occurs in engines produced in 1995 and 1996 as illustrated in the attached list. QSI, the developer of M.T.H.'s original Proto-Sound system corrected that problem in a later software version. In both cases, none of the errors will occur in engines equipped with Proto-Sound 2.0, M.T.H.'s proprietary system developed by M.T.H.'s own research and development team. Proto-Sound 2.0 features a far more advanced design that manages the battery usage much more efficiently than its Proto-Sound 1 predecessor and suffers from no ill effects from a low or discharged battery.
In both of the above cases, any M.T.H. Authorized Service Center or National Authorized Service Center can perform the reprogramming required to resolve the issues as well as replace the discharged battery. User's experiencing these problems should contact M.T.H. Service or their local service center for details. In Case #1, the reprogramming will be treated as a warranty repair for labor only. In Case #2 above, the customer will be charged $30.00 for the replacement chip but no charge for the labor to install the chip. Battery replacement and installation, for both cases, is not covered under warranty.
M.T.H. strongly encourages owners of Proto-Sound 1 engines to avoid these issues from occurring by making sure that the battery is sufficiently charged prior to operation. Keeping the battery charged should prevent the above problems from occurring. A simple test to see if the battery is sufficiently charged is to turn on track power and listen for the engine startup sounds to play. After hearing the sounds play, turn off track power and determine how long the sounds continue to play. If the sounds play for 10 to 12 seconds, your battery is sufficiently charged. If not, turn track power back on (at 12 to 14 volts) and let the engine sit on the track for a minimum of one hour. After an hour or longer, turn off track power and time how long the sounds play. If the sounds still fail to play for ten seconds, replace the battery. Please note that a full charge cycle is 16 hours.