MTH class J

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Thu Apr 2 13:00:56 EDT 2009

The reason you do not see any problem with the mth loco is because you are using their proprietary system.
The NMRA has set a standard years ago so that all DCC system are compatible, mth system is not fully compatible!
That is why mth does not call their system DCC, they call is DCS. Those who do not own their system cannot fully access
all of the functions and are paying extra $$$ for something they cannot use unless they spend more money and buy their DCS.
If you do buy their DCS system you will have to make all you other brands/locos to match his locos.
Stephen Rineair

----- Original Message -----
From: NW Modeling List
To: NW Modeling List
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: MTH class J

I read with interest Bob Folsom's review of the MTH J. I am an MTH user in
3-rail O (scale only). I have run the MTH HO engines and did not see the
operational problem Bob saw, but was using the MTH control unit. I am not
familiar with Digitrax. That probably does not make any difference.

Bill Graham, III
Twyman's Mill, VA
----- Original Message -----
From: "NW Modeling List" <nw-modeling-list at>
To: <nw-modeling-list at>
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 10:38 AM
Subject: MTH class J

> Hello everyone,


> I just received my MTH class J locomotive and can share a few initial

> observations. It has many features that I haven't tried yet (including

> smoke, playable whistle, etc.), so I will mention some basics. I recently

> sold my Bachman Spectrum J's so the only comparison I will make there has

> to

> do with operation. I have 2 BLI J's and 2 brass J's for comparison. The

> overall appearance is very good. BLI's drivers are totally black whereas

> the MTH has unpainted tires. Likewise for the pony trucks. I think the


> trailing truck and tender trucks have better detail than the BLI. The

> paint

> is flatter on the MTH than the brass locos, and the BLI is the shiniest.

> I

> think the space between the loco and tender is too far on the MTH compared

> to BLI (and the brass have prototypical space if you can manage your

> curves

> that way). The headlight has a good slightly yellowish tint to it - looks

> realistic. The MTH has a beautiful coal load in the tender - piled high

> and

> with lots of texture. The BLI coal pile is flat and with an obvious cast

> plastic appearance. At least they have coal. I haven't yet gotten around

> to putting coal in the tenders of my brass locos! Both the BLI and MTH

> have

> a traction tire and spare driver set. This is where they both outperform

> the brass locos - more traction. In my situation, traction is the most

> critical element because I needed locos that could haul a 14-car

> Birmingham

> Special up a 1.6% grade, and the brass J's were not able to do that.

> After

> that, sound and operation are high on my list of attributes. Both brass

> locos have cams and were retrofitted with Soundtraxx DSD 150 (SP GS4)

> decoders. They perform superbly. In my estimation, nothing comes close

> to

> this combination. The brass locos can start up or come to a stop with

> ultimate realism, and the chuffing sound at speed is very realistic,

> coordinated exactly with the driver RPM's. This is a big plus for the

> MTH -

> the exhaust matches the driver RPM at all speeds. This is not true for

> the

> BLI. Also, the overall sound package on the BLI ranks last. The whistle

> is

> horribly raspy, and the exhaust sound at speed is ridiculous and has no

> relation to the RPM's of the drivers. The whistle sound of the MTH is

> better, but tends to sound a little bit like an automobile horn. The

> control of both the BLI and MTH is spasmodic. On the BLI's, you keep

> turning up the throttle, and then suddenly the train lurches forward. It

> is

> very hard to make a smooth start. Likewise, the MTH does nothing at

> first,

> then jumps forward, and even worse, increases in huge increments at each

> click of a Digitrax throttle. Maybe this can be adjusted. The MTH also

> makes a grinding sound at speed which worries me - I will contact them

> about

> that. The Bachman Spectrum locos ran very smoothly and quietly. I would

> have retrofitted them with Soundtraxx decoders, but they didn't have the

> pulling power, and of course had the bright red stripe instead of the N&W

> red as is the case on both the BLI and MTH. Personally, I like the

> lettering on the MTH better than the BLI, however it is more muted. Well,

> that's it for now. When I can work more with it, I will make another

> report. If anyone else has an MTH, please share your observations.


> Bob Folsom

> Clemson SC



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