Beta Testers needed for TMCC/Legacy track signal booster

I have built up some buffer/booster amplifiers for the TMCC/Legacy 455 KHz track signal, and I need volunteers to test the prototypes to help me determine if this is a viable product idea.  I am primarily looking for operators with large layouts that have already tried the well-documented fixes such as ground-signal improvements, but still have troublesome areas on their layouts.  This is a 'brute force' solution to the problem that can typically provide five times as much signal to the track.

Beta testers will be required to conduct a short sequence of test measurements using equipment that I provide to compare "before" and "after" signal strength, and then run any troublesome trains to evaluate the amount of improvement.

I already have some field test data, and it looks quite promising, but moving forward requires enough of a monetary investment that I don't want to run off half-cocked.

Interested parties should probably contact me directly at (805) 529-2496 for more information.

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Bravo Dale!  Sounds like a great idea. My layout only has a couple of short areas where signal is an issue, but I know some larger layouts have big issues. I  would love to volunteer, but living in Canada presents some shipping hassles, so not likely a good situation. Best of luck on the new amplifiers!

Rod

We are never too old to learn something stupid....

This will be interesting to see the results. I had wanted to try TMCC outside on my G scale. I had heard some results that scared me away from trying it. I think a trackside overhead wire might have been the answer. I would have disguised it on telephone poles.

 I did try it on my basement 2 rail O scale layout. The signal was very strong I believe. I just have a lack of equipment to justify using it. I may try an overhead wire there too, to see if it keeps the DCS signal stronger. It may just have been the missing choke thing.

 I still need to study TMCC/Legacy more down the road. For now, I use it on a separate track to make it easy.

" on Sour mash and cheap wine " ??

Why go back to DCC when I have DCS!

Dale, my layout would be open to you.   My layout was used for  for TMCC testing back in the day before it was released to the public.  Both the layout and I are getting old.  The layout is set up for Legacy and TMCC. 

 

 

TCA-79-13758

T.T.O.S.-3057

LCCA-28444

LOTS-RM-4833

MTH DCS and Wi-Fi  Beta Tester

MTH Factory  Certified Technician-6 schools

LIONEL Factory Trained certified  repair Technician #10140

Member Mid America 3 Railers and NJ HiRailers

 

 

 

I have been in touch with Bob De Guarde at NJHR regarding a comparison with their vacuum tube amplifier.

Initial tests elsewhere indicate about a 3x improvement on heavily-loaded layouts, and that is good for about 10-12 microamps increase on the signal testers using modified R2LC cards.

I am hand carrying a unit to Phoenix next week.  Anyone in Tucson or Albuquerque interested?  My extended RV trip will take me from L.A. to Las Cruces, NM for a class reunion, then cruising around the southwest for a couple of weeks.

Dale Manquen posted:

I have been in touch with Bob De Guarde at NJHR regarding a comparison with their vacuum tube amplifier.

Initial tests elsewhere indicate about a 3x improvement on heavily-loaded layouts, and that is good for about 10-12 microamps increase on the signal testers using modified R2LC cards.

I am hand carrying a unit to Phoenix next week.  Anyone in Tucson or Albuquerque interested?  My extended RV trip will take me from L.A. to Las Cruces, NM for a class reunion, then cruising around the southwest for a couple of weeks.

this place is in Phoenix az

http://www.pandprr.com/thepandprr/Home.html

illinoiscentral posted:

Found another signal amplifier if that one doesn't work:

Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower
Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower

 

Yeah, unfortunately that booster has side effects, such as those shown below:

youngfrankenstein bride

   

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

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Dale,

First, this is a fabulous idea.  I hope it pans out.

Second, while I would love to test it, the timing just doesn't work.  Shortly the first Panhandle will be in tear-down mode (it's only 10'x18' anyway).  Serious construction on Panhandle 2.0 (11' x 47') probably won't begin until late 2017.

Just bad luck.

Anyway, I wish you the best in this endeavor and I might end up being a customer.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Dale,

I have an S gauge layout built about 35 ft long and 8 ft wide, powered with Legacy Cab1-L. I have installed the ground to the entire track system but, still have a few places where occasionally an engine will lose the signal and stall with the headlight blinking. One place where the problem occurs is on a metal bridge crossing over another track, the other place is where there are three parallel tracks. This has occurred with a single engine and with engines in a consist. I am not sure if this is the kind of situation you are looking for or not.

Ray

Rayin"S" posted:

Dale,

I have an S gauge layout built about 35 ft long and 8 ft wide, powered with Legacy Cab1-L. I have installed the ground to the entire track system but, still have a few places where occasionally an engine will lose the signal and stall with the headlight blinking. One place where the problem occurs is on a metal bridge crossing over another track, the other place is where there are three parallel tracks. This has occurred with a single engine and with engines in a consist. I am not sure if this is the kind of situation you are looking for or not.

Ray

you can try Dale's fix.

but in the mean time ground the metal bridge.  we have a metal signal bridge and had the same issue, soldered a wire to the bridge and ran the wire to the center screw of a close electrical outlet and signal issue gone.

I will do the suggested, attach the bridge to the ground plane. The track on the bridge is on wooden ties so is clear of any contact, Gilbert track has both rails insulated from the metal ties.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Ray

Dale Manquen posted:

Ray, this can be applied to any gauge that is running TMCC/Legacy.

George, good luck on your new version of the Panhandle. 

I consider the Buffer/Booster to be a last resort after you have applied all of the normal "earth ground enhancement" techniques, not a knee jerk reaction to start solving problems.

Dale,

Thanks for the good wishes.  We will endeavor to use best practices to make the new Panhandle electrically sound.  If we encounter issues and ground plane fixes don't correct them, you'll hear from me.

In the meantime, good luck on your beta trial and best wishes on the product launch.

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Dale, you are right on that part.  I have no signal issues.  It would be hard to observe improvement.  I always read everything you post.   I think people with an issue should follow what you are doing.

 

 

TCA-79-13758

T.T.O.S.-3057

LCCA-28444

LOTS-RM-4833

MTH DCS and Wi-Fi  Beta Tester

MTH Factory  Certified Technician-6 schools

LIONEL Factory Trained certified  repair Technician #10140

Member Mid America 3 Railers and NJ HiRailers

 

 

 

Hi Dale. We down at Angels Gate Hi Railers in San Pedro would love to be a beta tester. We have many areas where the signal is not very good. Have installed wire mesh as well as overhead wires connected to earth ground. Still some weak areas. Our layout would be ideal for you to "play with". Our members get frustrated when their engine stops and light flickers-indicative of weak signal. We also have a long tunnel which is problematic. Kindly let me know if you are interested.

Jeff

President AGHR

Thanks to Dale for visiting our layout on Saturday. Sure enough, the signal was increased 3 times in a bad area. Matt Jackson will be posting some pictures showing the results. If, and when, you are ready on this Dale, please put us down for one.

Thanks for putting up with us on Saturday. It was a pleasure to see you. You are always welcome to visit and experiment on our layout. All the best.

Jeff

President AGHR

Was good to see you again Dale. I was impressed with what I saw.

Here are the scans Jeff referred to.

The first is the "no-load" wave pattern at 455Khz non-buffered/non-boosted

20161112_115648

The next is the "loaded" wave pattern non-buffered/non-boosted

20161112_115711

This is the previous pattern with the buffer/booster activated. Note the amplitude is SUBSTANTIALLY higher.

20161112_115722

Matt Jackson
"The best service you can provide for the hobby is to pass on what you have learned."

 Angels Gate Hi-Railers San Pedro, California

"Celebrating 20 years of moving freight and passengers from Point A to Point A!"
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