I am attempting to help solve a friend's problem occurring with a 5-rail (O gauge/Standard gauge) loop of track on his layout. We are attempting to operate using Lionel's TMCC control with O gauge locos. They do not respond to the Cab 1 except for an occassional whistle. (The loco's lights flicker indicating a response to the Cab 1 commands but the engines will not move.) The sound comes on with track power-up, indicating they are not sensing a TMCC signal. The same TMCC command center operates trains normally on the layout's regular O gauge track and MTH locos operate normally on the 5-rail O gauge/standard gauge track. I am wondering if the extra rails on the 5-rail track are creating enough interference to cause the problem with the TMCC signal. We would appreciate any input you may have,

Thanks,

JPThut

Original Post

You are correct. 

If all four wheel rails of the track ae getting the TMCC signal (the two standard gauge wheel rails in addition to thee two O gauge wheel rails), then all four rails are getting the TMCC signal at the same time, and trying to broadcast it straight up.  When that happens with the TMCC signal the radio wave is being pushed flat by the two closely spaced wheel rails, and the signal is never getting into the antenna on the TMCC board in the locos.  It also happens when you have two parallel O gauge tracks, or a multi-level layout when one track is directly overhead of another one. The flickering headlight is the "tell-tale" that a clear signal is not making it into the antenna of the locomotive. 

The only fix that I know of is to keep the AC Common (with the TMCC signal) out of the standard gauge rails when you are operating the O gauge trains, and vice versa when you are operating the Standard Gauge trains. 

Jim Barrett
OGR Backshop Foreman

The antenna does not receive the TMCC signal from the rails, so I'm having a problem with that description. 

The outside rail half of the TMCC signal is carried directly to the board through the wheels and on to the board.  The antenna receives the air part of the signal that is radiated by the earth ground (3rd prong of the house wiring).  The fix in this case is likely to be adding some earth ground wires to increase the strength of the earth ground signal.  This has been widely discussed at some length in the forum.

I can say that too much of the track signal can cause issue with reception, but the best way to help that is better earth ground signal.

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