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Reply to "Out-of-Warranty repair for Legacy 990 Base {6-14295} Won't transmit from U post to track, otherwise OK"

Thank you all for the replies. Gary {Superwarp}--I have visited your layout once.  

I purchased the Legacy 990 set and 993 add-on in December of 2007. I added it to my already existing Train America Studios Layout Control System vintage 2005 running on a desktop computer with TMCC base, Cab-1's and I C Controls modules. I experienced the short range of reception between the Legacy base and Cab-2's and added a Hawking HSB2 amplified antenna, which was one of the recommended fixes at that time. I would still get the red LED indicating lost signal at about 10 feet from the base. I also experienced the hot rechargeable battery problem. I turned off the charger and used alkaline batteries.

Much later, I wired a friend's home machine shop with a rotary three phase converter and connected the Bridgeport mill and so on, and was paid by being given a large collection of prewar Lionel trains. I built a completely separate layout for them {in my grandparents house in the Catskill Mountains}, and began to add to that. Soon I added an MTH Leland Detroit Monorail and some Tinplate Traditions DCS locomotives. I purchased the two books by Barry Broskowitz, DCS Companion 3rd edition and DCS WiFi 2nd edition, in order to learn about DCS.  Until then, I had installed Electric RR upgrades kits, but only used TMCC because I could do all those aftermarket upgrades.

My Legacy system had been sitting dormant and unused almost from the initial purchase until I wanted to add the WiFi interface to each command control system. I have had the blue modules to upgrade from 1.2 to 1.3 from when they were first available, but never installed them. I was planning to do that first, and make a backup of my locomotive roster with black module 1. Then I was planning to download the latest upgrades for the legacy base to black module 2 and cab-2 to black module 3, and update my legacy system so it would be compatible with Lionel LCS. I did order three SER2 modules, one for my string of RS232 I C Controls and Lionel ASC's, AMC's, etc,  the second to connect my desktop computer's DB-9 port, and the third to connect the MTH TIU. 

I have been following the instructions in the two Broskowitz books and the McComas Modern O gauge Remote Control book and two DVD's. I brought the DCS system back from the Catskills for test purposes. Until and if I rewire for star distribution, I was planning to keep an MTH DCS powered track electrically separate from the majority of the track on the layout here in Connecticut, but test the MTH system for range compared to Legacy in the same basement room. If I only make one change at a time, I will know at what point it occurs if some thing does go wrong. It it works out, I will integrate the DCS into the layout here in Connecticut too.

Again following the recommendations in the books, I found the Legacy base to have no "u" post output to the track {nothing would respond to commands}. I am using the modern ZW controller and 180 watt power bricks for track power. 

The instructions ask for a direct connection from the computer to download the Legacy upgrades to the writable black modules, but otherwise indicate that the only device that should be connected to the factory supplied Y cable is the old TMCC base, and all others should be connected through SER2's, with the WiFi module being first in the chain. My takeaway from this is a question--does it have to do with the  rate that the packets of information are sent--since I believe that the PDI bus is faster than the RS232 bus, and some devices will be sending information back, not just receiving, such as the sensortrack. The SER2 manual seems to say that one can use both the screw terminals and the DB-9 connector if only sending, but for two-way communication only one or the other can be used,not both ports. 

I did use the links provided on this forum to read about the Legacy upgrades, and contacted Lionel by sending a message from their provided form on, knowing that their call center was short-staffed and busy. I haven't gotten an email back, but may try a phone call as suggested.  Once I make contact and get a return authorization number the repair or exchange should follow.

Thank you all, Paul

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