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1.  My control system has been corrupted....for reasons unknown.  I can no longer add a new engine...either DCS or TMCC.  The remotes tells me that the new engine has been added;  thus lying to me!  Some (not all) engines that previously ran well no longer respond.  Those that do respond behave properly,  except for the frequent need to repeat commands (OUT OF RF RANGE)

2.  I have a large,  complex, "3-D" layout:  5 TIU's (super mode) and 9 AIU's.

Since the bad behavior occurs for all 5 of my MTH remotes,  the problem seems to be in 1 or more TIU's.   HELP !

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I strongly recommend that when you are about to add an engine, you have no other locos on POWERED tracks.  You might consider using the MTH loader cloning/backup/restore feature to assure that all of your remotes have identical content.  I recommend always using a specific remote to add engines, and then cloning it with the others.  I do that, so all 4 active remotes are identical, with no engines having different IDs in different remotes.

@Dave_C posted:

The poster also mentioned he couldn’t add a TMCC engine. Other than adding it to the wrong TIU that doesn’t have the TMCC cable. Not much can go wrong. The layout doesn’t even need to be powered.

I'm wondering if there is noise on the power source messing up the signal.  But I wouldn't think this would apply to each block.  And, I'm assuming, the blocks are isolated.

By new engines. Are they Proto 2’s being added or new Proto 3’s ?  Proto 2’s will add with a dead battery. As long as power remains on they will run. If you are adding them. Then shut down power to layout. They will come up as Engine Not on Track. They need a good charge to retain their memory.

That’s a lot of power and TIU’s. Any way to simplify the layout into just one block. So your only dealing with a small area. Sort of a large programming track. It could be a starting point for signal strength and sorting out your engines and remotes.

I wouldn't accept David's advice to buy new engines.  PS2 was far more reliable than PS3, in my view, and none of my 20 or so PS2 engines have batteries.  I have refitted all with supercapacitors.  I also would not unblock the layout.  Good electrical distribution demands multiple feeds to track and DCs is not tolerant of multiple feeds to the same block, I am told.  5 TIUs, feeding 20 signals into the same block, is an invitation to a system collapse.  Do note that when you start a PS3 engine after it has been shut down awhile, the capacitor is dead.  So after assigning an ID, let the engine stay powered for a minute or so to assure it has the power to save the changes.

One idea would be to reset a remote, wiping it out.  Then put one engine on a programming track and try to add it.  When you have done so, the system will indicate the ID of that loco.  Write it down.  Reset the remote.  Go the the next engine.  Then you'll have a written list of all engine IDs, and will spot any duplicates.

Then take a reset remote, and start adding engines, correcting any duplicates.  When you go to add the first engine, the remote should give you a list of all open slots.  When all are added and you have the softkeys set for each loco, save to computer and clone another remote.

By new engines. Meant. New to the layout. Looking back. I could have left that sentence out.

I agree. A layout this large needs to be blocked. My suggestion was just to not power up 15 of the 16 blocks. Just leave one powered up for testing only. A programming track would work. I just figured he already has one in place.

From what I gather from the original post. It all worked good enough at one time and some engines have no issues other than what seems to be a bad track signal in spots. I think you have to get one good working engine with a perfect 10 in one block. Then proceed and test each one. Tweak as needed. Rule out the layout and then proceed to the engines.

I did some SIGNAL STRENGTH tests:  Royal Hudson 2860 @10 smph.  Results,  covering about 1 lap....~150 ft of track:  1,2, OUT OF RF RANGE,1,10,OORFR,10,OOR,10,OOR,1,OOR,3,4,OOR,2,10,10,OOR,9,OOR,1,OOR,1,OOR,4,10,9,10,9,10,9,OOR,10,OOR,9.OOR,10,1,OOR,1,10,OOR,10,10,OOR,10,10,OOR,10,1,OOR,1,OOR,`,10,1,10,OOR,10.. STOP TEST.

CONCLUSIONS? Well,  except for many OUT OF RF RANGE reports,  and the 'jumps' from GOOD to POOR, I have NO IDEA what to conclude!

Are you seeing DCS signal strength varying within a block? Or, do those measurements each represent a single block?

If it were me I would be trying to correlate the issue to a single TIU. That may mean cycling through the tius one at a time on one of the blocks that shows a weak signal. It could be the signal generators are getting weak. If it doesn't seem to follow any TIU the problem may be in the track or possibly wiring.

I think that sometimes when we build larger, more complex layouts it doesn't really help when things work the first time because we don't learn how to trouble shoot our new layout.

I use 5 active  [not passive] TIU's in super mode;  4 blocks per TIU.  The signal problem (OOR) occurs within the same block.  I repeated the test with a 2nd remote....Same results.  I conclude that the problem is in a TIU...maybe more than 1.

I now solicit suggestions re:  How to test for a 'bad' TIU.  Also, does anyone know how a TIU can 'lose'/decrease its ability to interpret a command?  (This is why I was seeking an "expert" ....)

@Kenjr posted:

I haven't seen any responses from experts like gunrunner, but this could be some of your TIUs loosing signal strength. Rev L TIUs seem to experience this problem. There is a circuit board kit that allows you to check output of tiu channels. I think rtr12 sold the kit.

The bottom line is this is such a convoluted mess that I can't imagine any truly useful contributions or I would have spoken up.  I'm pretty sure this is one that it would be far easier to diagnose in person than in ASCII.  I don't know how other people work, but something like this I'm all over in person as seeing and touching things makes a world of difference.

I just read this and figure I probably wouldn't be contributing enough useful information to make a difference.

@phil gresho posted:

1.  My control system has been corrupted....for reasons unknown.  I can no longer add a new engine...either DCS or TMCC.  The remotes tells me that the new engine has been added;  thus lying to me!  Some (not all) engines that previously ran well no longer respond.  Those that do respond behave properly,  except for the frequent need to repeat commands (OUT OF RF RANGE)

2.  I have a large,  complex, "3-D" layout:  5 TIU's (super mode) and 9 AIU's.

Since the bad behavior occurs for all 5 of my MTH remotes,  the problem seems to be in 1 or more TIU's.   HELP !

My only idea would be to test the components individually on the bench, TIU by TIU.  And I'd also disconnect all the AIU's until I resolved the issues.  I have about 500 feet of track and run it using one TIU.  This layout must be huge to require five TIU's.

I repair Phils trains, and have had conversations too.  I agree with John, this one can't be done here.  Phil not as versed with this either.  One repair would not work in DCS.  After walking thru the issue on the phone, Phil had the test track set up passively except using the input to the TIU.  Hard to get a DCS output when you only have the TIU attached to the track via the input terminals.  So a west coast expert in DCS needs to help Phil with this.  G

My email is in my profile and I do offer the TIU Port tester kits for forum members, only to make them available for all here that still wanted them after GRJ made an initial batch and was then too busy to continue with them. I am not sure one of these would do much for you at this point and I think gunrunnerjohn would have suggested it if he had thought one would help in any way. After all he did the design of the TIU Port tester and knows much more about them (and TIUs) than I do.

After reading GRJ's and GGG's posts above I have to agree with them that someone with good expertise in DCS systems should visit your layout for some 'hands on' trouble shooting to help solve the problems you are having. GRJ and GGG are miles ahead of me in all of this stuff anyway, not sure I would know where to start. 

Thanks to ALL of you who have recently offered your cogent advice....esp.GRJ and Captain Galyo.  I would LOVE to have a DCS expert visit me, but that doesn't seem too likely.  Another avenue I'm trying to approach is to see if one of my near neighbors has recently added some 'e-gadget' that employs the POPULAR-AND-DIRECTLY-COMPETIVE 900 MHz frequency....such as a a 'smart meter' or similar....

@phil gresho posted:

Another avenue I'm trying to approach . . .

Did you build this or did you pay someone else to build it? Someone is responsible for why things are the way they are.

The issue is in your layout, thrashing about in all directions just wastes energy. You are over your head, I'm sorry to say. I believe your best bet is for you to offer to pay some one to visit your layout to try to diagnose all that may be causing issues.

@phil gresho posted:

Dan:  Yes; I paid Don Grabski [Daylight Don"] to do the electrical design & installation.  But be aware that the RR worked perfectly for many years.

Also, I forgot to mention earlier, that my RR is rather over-powered....4 TIU's with 4 Lionel 180 watt bricks for each TIU.

What happened to the five TIU's?

@phil gresho posted:

2.  I have a large,  complex, "3-D" layout:  5 TIU's (super mode) and 9 AIU's.

The description does sound like 900mhz interference could be an issue, how about buying/renting a spectrum analyzer and seeing what is about?  It it always dead?  Does tethering a remote change the behavior?

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