Legacy signal help

Layout background - running with both DCS w/wifi and Legacy; two lower loops, a yard and one upper loop; power provided by two Z4000s using all four handles each on a separate TIU channel; 990 ground connected to output side of TIU (Rev L) with all black terminals tied together.

I was having problems with some legacy engines receiving consistent commands, especially adjusting smoke levels. I purchased the Legacy buffer/signal booster and hooked up. A quick measurement shows 1.8v base out and 5.8v boost out. With the booster in place things got much better but I still experience a couple of areas that have inconsistent commands. I have thoroughly cleaned the track a couple of times with no real change in performance. The problem areas seem to be where my upper track is running parallel and directly above lower.

I'm thinking my next step would be to add a ground plane wire attached to upper level.  Since this will require a decent effort wanted to get feedback if this seems like a reasonable next step or if there are other things I might try. Also, if I do connect a ground plane wire, can I use the same earth ground point as the Legacy Buffer/Signal Booster?


Original Post

Use one earth ground point for everything, don't go connecting to water pipes or the like.  Try just laying the earth ground wire alongside the problem area of the track and see if it fixes it.  If so, then go to the trouble of installing it.

FWIW, the earth ground can be any gauge wire, just make sure it doesn't contact the track, I use #24 or smaller.  Ideally, the earth ground is run above the track as that's where the antenna is normally located on most locomotives.

It doesn't matter, you can have a variety of wires, just have them all terminate at the same earth ground.  Since the TMCC buffer has a convenient earth ground tap, that's a good place to grab the earth ground.

Well the ground plane wire solved all issues on the lower level. The upper level seems to be working well except for one engine; my guess is that engine may need some tweaking of the antenna.

I am using the TMCC buffer for earth ground. Is it ok to run a single wire from buffer earth ground to a small terminal block and then run four separate wires to different parts of layout?

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