Problems with TMCC/Legacy on Generator Power

Due to issues related to being directly hit with a hurricane here in Florida, we are on generator power. After a long day of clearing debris, and repairs, I tried firing up my (undamaged) layout to bring life back to normal. Postwar trains and TMCC trains in conventional mode work fine. Nothing in TMCC mode works correctly. Lights flash, operation is erratic, etc. Does anyone know whether the quality of home generator power interferes with TMCC? Is it dirty power, signal shape, or running at 63 Hz that is causing trouble?

Original Post

You have no house ground for the signal to be transmitted from.  In simplest terms, the house ground provides half of the signal via the power supply wall pack.  You could take a feed from pin 5 of the 9 pin and drape it above the layout as it also has that half of the signal.

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Earth ground your generator. Should have a earth ground point on it somewhere to attach to a earth stake.

Not saying it will definitely work via a extension lead though. Without using the house ground wiring.

Also make sure your using a pure sine inverter generator. One of those cheap Chinese things will cause all sorts of problems with delicate electronics.


Drive a 8' ground rod next to the generator and connect a piece of #6 copper from the rod to the ground lug in the generator wiring panel. If its a permanently installed unit (Generac, Kohler, etc.), it should be clean power. Home Depot construction units can fluctuate wildly. Especially when the refrigerator kicks on. Honda portables are pretty good.

Glad you are safe and secure following this monster storm. We went through Sandy in 2012 and we were on generator for a week.

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   In a poor design, the electrical for the motors ignition system might cause issues if not sheilded well too.

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Thanks everyone. I'm lucky, since I just got my power back after 3 days. Others not so much.  Aside from TMCC not working well under generator power, there was a comfort issue with a 93 degree train room leap-frogging to 100 degrees after 30 minutes of transformers and light bulbs going steady. Not exactly the nostalgic cold basement experience I grew up with. 

I'm glad your power is back on, Greg!  My wife's aunt and uncle in Fort Lauderdale got there's yesterday.  I'm with Jim, I would be afraid to power on my electronics with a generator, but 41 years working for the power company then the phone company has made me very cautious.

Glad your power is back Greg. We had a house in Haines City for 7 years. Sold it back in April. 

Yes I would be very cautious what power you connect to TMCC/Legacy.  We have had issues running on 50Hz here in the UK. Got around a lot of problems by running a 230V 50Hz AC to 12V DC power supply which runs a 12V DC to 120V AC 60Hz pure sine inverter. You have to very careful getting earth ground continuity back to the UK house wiring to get the correct signal. 

Some people have no issues running on 50Hz. But I know others who have had no end of issues. 

DCS has no such frequency issues. There is a menu selection in the remote to choose the frequency 50 or 60Hz.


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