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I belong to a club that has a very large O-gauge layout that runs both MTH DCS and Lionel Command.  The Lionel Command (Legacy and TMCC) works well but the DCS Command is struggling.  The layout has four main lines and a lot of side and yard track.  We have 5 TIU's, all channels set to Fixed voltage and Super Mode.  We are using Passive mode also.

It seems to be hit or miss if we can get good control of an MTH engine, and forget about lashups.  When you are able to run an MTH engine, the delayed response is sizable.  A thought by some club members is that the track ground is fragmented such that the signal gets lost or is too weak to control the engine reliably.  I would like to think we could cleanup the ground paths once it is understood the best way to approach it.  It is also a possibility to add additional TIU's.  And as I have seen in many threads on this subject, yes I have Barry's DCS Companion 3rd edition.

What I am looking for is a detailed wiring diagram that includes multiple TIU's using all four channels (fixed and super mode) and how they are distributed to the track blocks, mail lines and sidings, and the best strategy(s) to maximize DCS signal strength while minimizing response time.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Best regards,  Frank.

Last edited by Frank R.
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@Frank R. posted:
What I am looking for is a detailed wiring diagram that includes multiple TIU's using all four channels (fixed and super mode) and how they are distributed to the track blocks, mail lines and sidings, and the best strategy(s) to maximize DCS signal strength while minimizing response time.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

The specifics will really depend on exactly what the layout looks like, and each layout has it's own wrinkles.  The best advice I can give is to follow the wiring guidelines that Barry presented in his The DCS WiFi Companion 2nd Edition.

This sounds like a pretty large layout. Is all your equipment in one area such as power supplies and the TIU’s ?

I’m not familiar with passive mode as I didn’t feel it was needed on my layout. Nothing I run is taxing the TIU amperage wise. I run 3 TIU’s in Super Mode. Probably overkill. I don’t have a lot of trackage but more of a big area. The TIU’s are spread out and each cover a certain area which shortens the wire runs on the out side of the TIU’s.
That’s why I asked where the TIU’s are located. I’ve seen layouts where they are all in one area. Or spread out so that each one is only working the area closest to it. In other words. One main loop may have 4 TIU’s feeding different blocks in it. Eliminating long wire runs.

Last edited by Dave_C
@Dougklink posted:

Have you looked at the signal strength on a loco in various areas of the layout?  Through the handheld.

We have but not recently.  Will do.  Thanks.

The specifics will really depend on exactly what the layout looks like, and each layout has it's own wrinkles.  The best advice I can give is to follow the wiring guidelines that Barry presented in his The DCS WiFi Companion 2nd Edition.

Understood.  I have the 3rd edition.  Would it be better to go back to the 2nd edition?  Thank.

Thanks.  Will check it out.

@Porschev posted:

Do the Lionel Locomotives sharing the same track/same power at the same time with MTH DCS Locomotives have Chokes installed?

Yes, we run them both.  Good question.  I'll have to find out.  Thanks.

@Dave_C posted:

This sounds like a pretty large layout. Is all your equipment in one area such as power supplies and the TIU’s ?

I’m not familiar with passive mode as I didn’t feel it was needed on my layout. Nothing I run is taxing the TIU amperage wise. I run 3 TIU’s in Super Mode. Probably overkill. I don’t have a lot of trackage but more of a big area. The TIU’s are spread out and each cover a certain area which shortens the wire runs on the out side of the TIU’s.
That’s why I asked where the TIU’s are located. I’ve seen layouts where they are all in one area. Or spread out so that each one is only working the area closest to it. In other words. One main loop may have 4 TIU’s feeding different blocks in it. Eliminating long wire runs.

We should be ok with this.  I'll have to check though.  Thanks.

@bluelinec4 posted:

Passive mode lowers the signal strength by at least 2  A large layout is not conducive to it  We have 9 TIU's running our layout  All with power through the TIU  Every line has a PSX to protect the TIU  If you add extra TIU's they can not be addressed the same as a TIU with AIU's connected  All of our extras are addressed as 5

Ok, I am not sure if anyone in the club was aware that passive mode lowers the signal strength.  This could be a major contributor to our issues.  I'll have to discuss with the club members.  Understood regarding the extra TIU's addressing.  Thanks.

Thanks all for your comments.  Hopefully we have a few more things to check and consider.  I'll report back when we know more...

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