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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.

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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. 

Last edited by rtr12
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.

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.

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.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn
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.

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"?

Last edited by ogaugeguy

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