Proto-Sound® 2.0 with Digital Command System FAQs

Do I have to have an M.T.H. Z-4000™ to use Proto-Sound 2.0?

No. Proto-Sound 2.0, whether in Command or Conventional Mode, will work with most UL-approved, AC hobby transformers, including any M.T.H. transformer, the Lionel® ZW, and others. We do caution you not to use homemade transformers or Right-Of-Way™ transformers that are not UL-rated and have power outputs in excess of 190 watts, as these may damage system components.

Follow this link for a transformer compatibility chart in PDF Format.
Click here to download the latest PDF reader from Adobe.

What are the maximum power ratings of the DCS Remote Control System?

The TIU channels are designed to handle up to 12 amps and 190 watts each. This is the maximum allowed by UL regulations, which we are careful to follow. Our system is fully compatible with all UL-approved AC hobby power supplies.

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What is the effect of full voltage on the lights in M.T.H. switch stands and passenger cars?

The bulbs used in the switches are rated at 18v. They can operate at slightly higher voltages, but continuous operation at higher voltages (20-25v) will reduce the average life of the bulb and generate a lot of heat.

MTH took the precautions of ensuring that our passenger cars bulbs would work at high constant voltages some time ago. Most passenger car bulbs are rated at 18 volts and so will have full lives running at constant 18v loads or less; others are rated at 14 volts, so will have slightly shortened lives if running at constant voltages higher than that. All passenger cars bulbs made in the last few years have been protected against overheating in a high constant voltage environment.

Do I have to have the RealTrax™ system to use the Proto-Sound 2.0 features?

No. Proto-Sound 2.0 works with any 3-rail O Gauge track system-or 3-rail Standard Gauge track system, for the Tinplate Traditions™ fans.

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This system is so complex, isn't it hard to set up?

No. Your Proto-Sound 2.0-equipped engines are ready to operate in Conventional Mode right out of the box with no additional equipment. As soon as you put the locomotive on the track and power up the transformer, you will hear the engine come to life.

The separately sold Track and Accessory Interface Units (TIU and AIU) for Command Mode are easy to connect (link to Connection Diagram) and allow you to control multiple locomotives and track switches and accessories with a single DCS remote handheld.

To make it even easier, every DCS Remote Control System (Item No. 50-1001) will come with a video, a CD ROM, and a tips sheet for easy set-up and use and to explain how to access each feature.

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Does Proto-Sound 2.0 with DCS really allow me to control Lionel® Trainmaster® engines?

Yes. Proto-Sound 2.0 with DCS is the first fully compatible train control system on the O Gauge market. When you connect a Lionel® Command Base into the DCS TIU you can operate DCS locomotives in Command Mode, Trainmaster® locomotives in Command Mode, and Conventional locomotives on the same track at the same time, all with a single DCS Remote. You will be able to operate all current TMCC® features with our DCS remote.

That does not, however, mean that our new features, such as Proto-Speed Control, will function in non-Proto-Sound 2.0 engines that are being operated by our DCS remote. You will be able to use only the features that are included in each individual locomotive.

Our system will control other manufacturers' Conventional operating systems and other sound systems (QSI, Ott, etc.), as well.

Lionel's Cab One® will not control DCS Command features, but it will run our engines in Conventional mode.

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Can I use my DCS Remote and my Z-4000™ remote or Cab-1® remote at the same time?

Yes. You can use multiple remotes to run the same engine. The last command given from any remote takes precedence in this case. You could also opt to control your DCS engines and TMCC® engines on the same layout, each controlled by its own respective remote; their signals will not interfere with each other.

The DCS remote will also address Z-4000 remote receivers directly, giving you another option for your operations.

If I want to run conventional and DCS command mode locomotives on the same track, what limitations will I have?

The speed on all the locomotives is limited to the setting you use for the Conventional locomotive's speed. For example, if you choose to run the Conventional locomotives slowly and set the transformer for 10 volts, that is all the power that will be available to the Command engine, limiting its speed as well.

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What is the operating range of the DCS Remote?

Fifty feet or more. At distances greater than fifty feet, environmental factors such as major power sources in the area may cause "noise" that could interfere with the operation of the remote.

Will the DCS Remote interfere with my telephone or with the operation of other consumer products?

No. It complies with FCC regulations for toy remote controls and will not interfere with other electronic products.

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Can I retrofit my original Proto-Sound locomotives with the new system?

Now operators can enjoy Proto-Sound 2.0 in older M.T.H. locomotives outfitted with M.T.H.'s original Proto-Sound sound and control system by having Proto-Sound 2.0 installed. The Proto-Sound 2.0 upgrade kit can even be used in non-M.T.H. locomotives and can be purchased directly from the company's website or through an M.T.H. Authorized Retailer. Each kit consists of a Proto-Sound 2.0 circuit board, a coil wound Proto-Coupler, various wire harnesses, new speaker, new rechargeable batteries, new mounting brackets, and headlight and backup light bulbs. Learn more about the Proto-Sound 2.0 Upgrade Program by CLICKING HERE

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Does this new system mean my engines with original Proto-Sound are obsolete?

Not at all. Market surveys suggest that people collect the engine (the kind of locomotive and roadname), not the electronics. Although Proto-Sound 2.0 will certainly bring additional excitement and realism to layouts, we believe people will continue to enjoy their favorite engines, whatever system controls them. In fact, since the first Lionel® command system was introduced in the mid-1990s, the majority of trains sold have been non-command controlled. That is why we are confident our earlier engines will hold their value. So if you like certain engines and certain roadnames that you have collected or ordered, by all means you'll want to keep those engines in your collection. Just as most of us don't stop using our perfectly functional traditional televisions just because high definition TV is now available, you shouldn't plan to stop enjoying your original Proto-Sound locomotives. Our hope is that model railroaders will see Proto-Sound 2.0 with DCS as an enhancement of your existing layouts, not as a replacement for all the other items you have collected over the years.

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