TMCC/Legacy Track Signal Booster (Dale's Legacy Continues) - Kits Now Available -

George, the booster will be in a small plastic enclosure about 4" x 2.5" x 1.5" tall.  The buffer output amp heatsink will project out one end, and the six terminals for system connection will project out the side.  The back side will have the plug for the 24V power brick.  The top will have the two indicator LED's.  This is the board that's inside the case, the heavy white lines denote where the board projects through the case.

There is no mounting provisions, however my advice is some sticky-back Velcro strips to attach it to the location of your choice.  If you want to be able to see the power and signal level LED's, the top should be visible.  Three of the terminal connections are required, earth ground, base input, and track output.  The other three are provided for measurement of the input base and output track signal relative levels.  They output a DC voltage that can be measured with any 1 meg-ohm or higher impedance meter (most digital meters).  The earth ground will be tapped off the TMCC or Legacy power brick plug barrel with a male/female adapter that has a wire to attach to the buffer earth ground terminal.

I'd post a picture of the actual unit, but I don't have the prototype board in yet, I expect to have it before York, at least that's my plan.

Attachments

Photos (1)

How large would a layout need to be to need one of these? If I ever get to my expansion plan I will have about 16' x 22' L shape with a yard of about 6' x 16' added on somewhere if I can fit it in. I have only a 6' x 16' layout now and everything works well. Just thinking about getting one just in case. It's also gonna have 2 levels if I ever get to it. 

G3750 posted:

Thanks John!  I will check this out at York.  Where will you be?

I'll be around.  I'll be at the Henning's Trains booth some of the time, but I have to try to spend some money as well.

 

rtr12 posted:

How large would a layout need to be to need one of these? If I ever get to my expansion plan I will have about 16' x 22' L shape with a yard of about 6' x 16' added on somewhere if I can fit it in. I have only a 6' x 16' layout now and everything works well. Just thinking about getting one just in case. It's also gonna have 2 levels if I ever get to it. 

It's not really how large, it's whether you have the specific issue that this will correct.  You'll probably have to build the layout to find out if you have an issue.  I've seen layouts considerably larger that had no issues with TMCC.  Folks like the NJ-HR or Elliot (Big_Boy_4005) here in the forum have layouts the size that will likely benefit from this buffer.

Kinda what I figured. I won't be anywhere near Elliott's or the NJ Hi-Railers size!!

Could you please put me down for one too. Email in profile, but I think you already have it.  

If I need it I'll have it and if not...I'll still have one to fiddle with. 

Once the production run is over, there may be a nice market for any extras.  I'm planning on this being basically a one-time build, like Lionel's BTO process.  

What I'll probably do is make the PCB files and the BOM available if someone feels the need to have one after the initial run is complete.  Given the need to buy all the stuff like the enclosures, etc. in bulk to insure having them, I can't really afford to be stuck with a bunch of extra units.

This seems to be going the way of giving meaning to the saying, let no good deed go unpunished.  I wonder how many guys want one and don't know why.  I'll bet a fair share don't even have a layout.  You're hot right now.  Enjoy your newfound celebrity.   Or at least make a couple bucks off it for the effort.  Nice work and best of luck with the project.

John, I will buy 2 since I'm assuming I will someday finish my layout which is quite large.  One will be a spare.  If it turns out I don't need them because I did such a great job of wiring it (addressing all TMCC issues) I'm pretty sure I will be able to find someone who will buy them.

 

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

That sounds like a plan to me. I can see where you wouldn't want too many left over, but I would imagine there might be some more folks interested when the train season gets going again here pretty soon? You never know though?  BTO sounds like the best idea. That's quite a bit of assembly too, as it looks like there is a good number of items ordered already, with more still coming in! 

Thanks for all the effort you are putting into this too! I appreciate it as I am sure the others do too! And thanks to PLCProf also for helping.

William 1 posted:

This seems to be going the way of giving meaning to the saying, let no good deed go unpunished.  I wonder how many guys want one and don't know why.  I'll bet a fair share don't even have a layout.  You're hot right now.  Enjoy your newfound celebrity.   Or at least make a couple bucks off it for the effort.  Nice work and best of luck with the project.

 I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make.  I don't think this will be a big moneymaker, but I figured this was a good thing that should be at least offered.  Besides, I like the idea that I can give a little money to the American Cancer Society in Dale's memory, he certainly gave us a lot. Also, it's been interesting to solve some of the issues associated with producing it.  I'd be remiss in not mentioning PLCProf and his invaluable contributions to the reverse engineering process.  Since we didn't get anything but the prototype due to Dale's untimely passing, we had to do it the hard way.

I'm going to make sure the documentation is around after the project so in the future it can be produced again if desired.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
 
rtr12 posted:

How large would a layout need to be to need one of these? If I ever get to my expansion plan I will have about 16' x 22' L shape with a yard of about 6' x 16' added on somewhere if I can fit it in. I have only a 6' x 16' layout now and everything works well. Just thinking about getting one just in case. It's also gonna have 2 levels if I ever get to it. 

It's not really how large, it's whether you have the specific issue that this will correct.  You'll probably have to build the layout to find out if you have an issue.  I've seen layouts considerably larger that had no issues with TMCC.  Folks like the NJ-HR or Elliot (Big_Boy_4005) here in the forum have layouts the size that will likely benefit from this buffer.

In my case, I have over 3000' of track spread out over 1900 square feet. I'm guessing a bit here, but I would say that if you have less than 1000', your layout probably shouldn't need one.

That said, there could be track configuration issues which might make the booster necessary. I agree with John, build the layout first. If everything works, great. If not, try some of the other well documented fixes first. If you are still having trouble, it would be a good idea to build the signal strength test car, and map the layout with it, then go for the booster.

For the record, even the booster has not solved all of my problems. I still have a number of engines that don't like certain spots, but the booster has made it possible to run most of the engines over the entire layout.

It would be a good idea to put that in your profile.  That way it's not in a public post that anyone can scan, you at least have to be a member to view member profiles.

Would there be an advantage using this on a layout that's currently working okay so that it'll already be installed for future layout expansion or can too strong a tmcc signal be harmful having a detrimental, adverse effect causing problems and issues on a layout, sort of like "anything done to excess or too much of a good thing can be bad for you"?

ogaugeguy

LCCA


 




Don, if you look back, you'll see that what is going to happen is I'm going to send out a group email to all that expressed interest and give them a chance to make a firm commitment.  That will allow me to order the proper amount of parts and not have a pile of expensive and unused parts.

gunrunnerjohn posted:

Don, if you look back, you'll see that what is going to happen is I'm going to send out a group email to all that expressed interest and give them a chance to make a firm commitment.  That will allow me to order the proper amount of parts and not have a pile of expensive and unused parts.

John, knowing how at times some forumites have posted they would buy things and then when it's available - they don't follow through, since you aren't yet certain of what the cost will be, might I suggest you require a partial, nonrefundable, upfront deposit when they commit to buying one, sort of like a pre-order. Otherwise, you might possibly find yourself with a sizable amount of "I want one"s which go unclaimed and unbought.

ogaugeguy

LCCA


 




ogaugeguy posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Don, if you look back, you'll see that what is going to happen is I'm going to send out a group email to all that expressed interest and give them a chance to make a firm commitment.  That will allow me to order the proper amount of parts and not have a pile of expensive and unused parts.

John, knowing how at times some forumites have posted they would buy things and then when it's available - they don't follow through, since you aren't yet certain of what the cost will be, might I suggest you require a partial, nonrefundable, upfront deposit when they commit to buying one, sort of like a pre-order. Otherwise, you might possibly find yourself with a sizable amount of "I want one"s which go unclaimed and unbought.

That's part of the plan.  Since the parts cost for this unit is over $50 before any work goes into it, that's probably in the ballpark of what that deposit will be.  After the run is finished, the design files will be available for anyone that wants to fabricate one themselves.

ogaugeguy posted:

Would there be an advantage using this on a layout that's currently working okay so that it'll already be installed for future layout expansion or can too strong a tmcc signal be harmful having a detrimental, adverse effect causing problems and issues on a layout, sort of like "anything done to excess or too much of a good thing can be bad for you"?

 I don't see any advantage to installing one on a properly working layout.  I don't know that it would do any harm, but I don't have any actual data to back up that belief.  My feeling is you install this box is a last resort after you've run grounding wires and insured your track and connections are in good shape.  The major issue this solves is for large layouts with lots of track, there is excessive capacitive coupling to earth ground, that causes the amplitude of the TMCC signal to be too low for reliable operation.  The box is a low impedance buffer that is capable of driving high capacitance loads without losing amplitude.  It also provides some amplification of the signal voltage.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
ogaugeguy posted:
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Don, if you look back, you'll see that what is going to happen is I'm going to send out a group email to all that expressed interest and give them a chance to make a firm commitment.  That will allow me to order the proper amount of parts and not have a pile of expensive and unused parts.

John, knowing how at times some forumites have posted they would buy things and then when it's available - they don't follow through, since you aren't yet certain of what the cost will be, might I suggest you require a partial, nonrefundable, upfront deposit when they commit to buying one, sort of like a pre-order. Otherwise, you might possibly find yourself with a sizable amount of "I want one"s which go unclaimed and unbought.

That's part of the plan.  Since the parts cost for this unit is over $50 before any work goes into it, that's probably in the ballpark of what that deposit will be.  After the run is finished, the design files will be available for anyone that wants to fabricate one themselves.

ogaugeguy posted:

Would there be an advantage using this on a layout that's currently working okay so that it'll already be installed for future layout expansion or can too strong a tmcc signal be harmful having a detrimental, adverse effect causing problems and issues on a layout, sort of like "anything done to excess or too much of a good thing can be bad for you"?

 I don't see any advantage to installing one on a properly working layout.  I don't know that it would do any harm, but I don't have any actual data to back up that belief.  My feeling is you install this box is a last resort after you've run grounding wires and insured your track and connections are in good shape.  The major issue this solves is for large layouts with lots of track, there is excessive capacitive coupling to earth ground, that causes the amplitude of the TMCC signal to be too low for reliable operation.  The box is a low impedance buffer that is capable of driving high capacitance loads without losing amplitude.  It also provides some amplification of the signal voltage.

Any gain control in the design? 

I'm in for the deposit, just say the word when you get further along.

Chuck TCA LCCA ARRL BMWMOA

No gain control, the buffer is a fixed 3:1 gain.  That's where all the testing has been, and trying to make sure nothing bad happens at all gains on all layouts would be a lot of testing.  Dale did a lot of work on the design and tested it in a number of locations.  Unless someone comes up with a good reason to change it, I'm sticking with his basic design.  We added some monitoring and tweaks, but the basic design is all Dale.

There's always version 2 if there's a reason, but I think just getting the signal there is the key requirement.

micp125 posted:

John, 

Please put me in for one. Likely the Club will opt for one as well.!

Thanks for your dilligence.

I would, but there's no email in your profile.

leapinlarry posted:

Would this booster help with adding Lionel's wifi operating system? My layout us 36 by 17 and is a winding 5 level layout...all Legacy Command...Thank You 

The WiFi and the booster are totally different areas of operation, it shouldn't help or harm the WiFi operation.  It's strictly to improve the TMCC/Legacy track signal.

Ron_S posted:

John,

Your going to be at the DCS users group dinner/get together Wednesday evening?

I get to York on Thursday Morning.  I'm thinking on stopping at the Round-The-Clock Diner for the breakfast that Peter organizes there.  I will be at the Legacy meeting on Friday morning.

We're slowly marching on.  This looks to be the "final" board configuration.  As soon as I get prototypes and do a full and final test of the design, I'll be ready to proceed.  This also represents the proper style terminal block that will be used for connections.  Note that the terminal block is now represented as the correct Euro style that I'll actually be using.

TMCC Signal Booster 3D 2017-09-30

Attachments

Photos (1)
micp125 posted:

John, 

Please put me in for one. Likely the Club will opt for one as well.!

Thanks for your dilligence.

"micp125@optonline.net". I found that there are 2 places in our profiles where ones email need be listed. Thanks again. See ya next week.

Doug

Never Forget

Doug Burrell

Coordinator

Independent HiRailers,Eastern Division.

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

micp125 posted:

"xxx@yyy.net". I found that there are 2 places in our profiles where ones email need be listed. Thanks again. See ya next week.

Doug

Doug,

While some folks have no problem putting their email in an open forum, I'd recommend you keep the email address in your profile where it is only available to other forum members.  I might be over doing it on limiting my personal data; due to the recent hacking of several domains probably all the bad guys have all my data anyway.

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

gunrunnerjohn posted:

We're slowly marching on. 

John,

While you do not have a firm price yet, I'd like to send you the estimated payment for my two boosters (one for future use).  This would help defray your costs while completing this great project.  I have your address.

 

Ron

 

TCA, TTOS, NCT, LCCA, PRRT&HS

 

Volunteers don't get paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!  Author Sherry Anderson

Add Reply

Likes (14)
BlBillboardskysouthernaznjbillTed SJohn MitchellDave GarmanNBGTAlan Mancustexastrainsmilesrschessie1971Mark BoyceRoger WassonBig_Boy_4005


OGR Publishing, Inc. PO Box 218, Hilliard, OH 43026 330-757-3020
www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
×