I am looking for a solution to the following problem.I have a large layout 16x24 on which I run both DCS and TMCC/LEGACY.I am having trouble with starting up my Lionel engines in command mode.When I power up the track on which the engine is on it comes alive with the sound system but I cannot do anything else.I am assuming it is starting up in conventional mode.My dcs consists of 4TIU's all in super mode and the legacy base connected to the #1 tiu with the appropriate dcs/legacy cable.I have tried to solve this problem by disconnecting the cable from the TIU to the legacy and trying to start up using just the legacy system but it still started up in conventional.I tried starting the legacy base first then powering up the track and it still did not work.I have a small separate conventional layout that I moved the Legacy system to, put the train on the track and throttled it up and it worked, the engine stayed quiet until I commanded it with the legacy remote and it started up in command mode. So I verified that my Legacy system is not defective. I should also add that when I built my layout I placed 16 gauge wire along side each track and ran them all to earth ground on an outlet under the layout.Has anyone had a similar problem?I know all layouts are a little different but I am hoping someone has had a similar experience.
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My first thought is that you are not making connection from the gound terminal of your Legacy Command Base to the outer rail(s) of your layout. To test, I would make a temporary connection from the Command Base ground terminal directly to the outer rail of the loop your engine is on, power on Legacy Base first, then the engine. If this works, then you need to figure out how you are missing the ground connection from Command Base to track outer rail.
As a minor second thought, Lionel recommended (at least they used to) that the Legacy Command Base be plugged to the wall without going through a Surge Protection outlet strip, as the Surge Protection Circuitry could greatly decrease the Command signal going from the Command Base to the earth ground of your house.
Guessing here this is a siding or yard track? Do they run normally elsewhere?
FWIW, those wires next to the track may not be doing you any favors. That's not the place to put your earth ground wires, ideally, they should be a few inches above the tracks as that's where the antennas are on TMCC/Legacy equipment.
Also, the gauge of any earth ground wires is immaterial, they can be #30 wire.
Thank you all for your responses.I forgot to include in my original post that I did connect the Legacy base directly to the outer rail on the layout and the same problem happened.I also plugged the legacy directly into a wall outlet not into a power strip. What is a LCS serial converter 6-81326?
Too much of a good thing? I'm referring to the TMCC "ground plane" transmission wires next to the track. I would first disconnect that wiring from the AC outlets ground and re-test Legacy with only the track outside rail wire connected to the base. The locomotive gets its radio signal in two parts: (a) the rails via the wheels, and (b) the antenna over your layout - i.e. your house wiring's ground wire. If one part overwhelms the other, such as when the track signal is also radiating above the locomotive while it is under bridges and upper levels, the locomotive can't receive the signal.
With the TMCC "ground plane" disconnected, verify that the wiring is completely isolated from the track. A single connection to the track defeats the entire system and causes problems similar to what you are experiencing. I would not reconnect the "ground plane" wiring until Legacy works without it, and then reconnect only if you have weak signal (the loco's headlight flickers) in parts of the layout.
Verify that the Legacy power brick is connecting to the house wiring (the external antenna) ground. Use an outlet tester to verify the outlet you are using is wired correctly (I'm surprised at the number of times I've found this is the problem).
The SER2 6-81326 is not needed unless you are using Lionel's LCS system.
Thanks again for your suggestions, I did disconnect the earth ground wires from the layout that were connected to the outlet center screws and I connected the Legacy track wire directly to the outside rail and plugged the base directly into an outlet no power strip but the engines still start up conventially.Not sure how to test the outlets for earth ground.I should add that if you put your hand over the engine when powering up it does not start up conventially
Have you tried the Legacy unit on a test track all by itself with these engines?
Well, the hand over the engine affecting clearly says you probably have a ground to the power connection and have a earth ground signal strength issue. Tell us more about the size and configuration of the layout? Some folks have addressed the issue of signal with the TMCC Buffer box.
As I said earlier the room is 16 x24. The basic shape of the layout is a double dog bone with 3 main lines paralell to each other.The 3 lines climb up to the second level thru a tunnel across a bridge and back down to the first level there is one of the 3 tracks that has a switch that leads to a third level. Would pictures help?How do I get them to you?I am learning how to use this forum.Thank u I tested the outlets with a volt meter and I have 120V from the hot to neutral and from the hot to the center screw also 120V.
I'd start by losing any of the existing "earth ground helper wires" you've added. If you decide to add them, they should be above the tracks if possible. Typically, it's only fairly large layouts with multiple layers that end up needing these, but you never know.
I have disconnected the earth ground wires where they were connected to the wall outlet center screws. The wires on the layout are buried in ballast.
If there is steel mesh in the tunnel that might mess the signal up. If the bridge is steel that could throw the signal off. Sometimes the bridge can't be touching the track as it really throws it off. The **** Gate bridge comes to mind as it is insulated from the track.
Correct me if I am wrong, but assuming he is putting 16 - 18 volts on the track upon power up, if as was stated "I assume it (the Locomotive) is starting up in conventional", would the Locomotive not begin to move at an accelerated rate? Since Joe is not mentioning that this scenario is happening, then the Locomotive is coming up in command mode, isn't it? I saw this thread and was drawn to it as when I am powering up my system, I have one engine that is immediately moving. I will be starting a seperate thread with my entire issue. I have been checking my antenna circuitry.
Just to be clear when I throttle up to 18V the engine sounds come up but the engine does not move and I cannot operate it with the Legacy remote at all.No movement,whistle,bell etc.