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I suspect that I'm getting some electrical interference when using the universal remote, especially with multiple engines that also happen to be equipped with unused bluetooth capability. Occassional, the engine(s) stop unexpectedly.

The problem may be my cellphone, which is easy to move away.

Any other thoughts? The remote has the most recent software, and I re-paired each engine.

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The unexpected stopping could possibly be due to a lack of sufficient conductivity between some sections of track.  Does this stopping seem to happen more often in one or more places?

If you could provide more details about your power distribution, control systems connected besides LC, and type of track you're using, that would be informative.  Would you also please describe what you've done to diagnose the issue both from the power distribution side as well as the possible RFI you suspect with the Lion Chief Universal remote?

Last edited by SteveH

The Remote has new batteries, and the most recent software (version 1.3). The problem began when I added an engine to button 3.  The engine on button 1 has bluetooth app capability (which obviously I'm not using), while the engine on button 2 does not have bluetooth app capability.

The recent addition to button 3 is a baby Lionel GG1 with bluetooth app capability, and although I'm not using the app, in order to get the engine to link to the remote, the Bluetooth switch on the bottom of the engine must be enabled.

I use tubular 031 track with conventional train operation via ZW and KW transformers.

It's unclear, but there may be some misunderstanding here about how the word Bluetooth is being discussed and how Lionel makes use of Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth is a 2-way wireless data communication signal that allows all kinds of devices to communicate with each other.

The Lionel Bluetooth App is the Control Interface for smart devices which use Bluetooth signals to communicate back and forth with Bluetooth enabled  LionChief series and Legacy Locomotives.

The Lionel Universal Remote uses either a RF or Bluetooth signal to communicate with the Locomotives, depending on which type of signal each particular loco uses.  It's my understanding that the earlier Lion Chief 1.0 is RF; and that LCw/BT, LC+, LC 2.0 and Legacy use Bluetooth signals to communicate with the Universal Remote.

cpasam, thanks for providing some more info.  The issue your trains are having could be a simple fix, but it might be one of many possibilities.  To narrow this down, more detailed answers to the following questions will help.

1. Does this stopping occur on just a few specific sections of track, and if so, have you recently checked to see if a conventional engine is stopping in these same places?

2. How far apart from each other are the power connections to the track?

3. Are there any other control systems in place on the layout (TMCC, Legacy, DCS)?

4. Please specify the model numbers of the 3 locomotives you're controlling with the LC Universal Remote and to which of the 3 address (buttons) on the remote you've assigned them and which of them is stopping.

5. How much did you use the Universal Remote with version 1.3 installed before you added the 3rd Loco,or did you upgrade just prior to adding the 3rd Loco?

6.  Have you tried moving, Powering off, or disabling Bluetooth on other devices like smartphones, computers near the layout?

Thanks, SteveH

Last edited by SteveH

Well, there's one other step that hasn't been mentioned yet and I would suggest you add it to the already growing list.   Follow the steps for "clearing" the locos from buttons 1-2-3, turn off the remote/back on, and then re-add them. See what happens operating the locos.

Who knows? I suspect your issue isn't quite as complex as implied above.

Last edited by johnstrains

cpasam, did you find a solution to this?  I am having the same issue, I'm running Disney and Friends (683979), Polar Express (684328) and Union Pacific (1934041).  When running the trains my Polar Express stops on its own randomly unless I leave the universal remote with that engine selected.  All the other engines work fine even when not selected on the remote.  I am thinking of reloading the firmware, did you try that?  I did try to delete and re add the engines but that didn't solve anything.

I believe the cause is simple.  BLE4.0 has a very limited range of around 20 feet.  When the locomotive loses the connection, it stops.  This is a BT hardware issue, and changing the software isn't going to fix it.

I have done the experiment. I have successfully controlled my Lionel Legacy locomotives from 40 feet away from the far side of my basement. What is the ultimate range of the Universal Remote? Not sure and it may depend on local conditions but I am positive it is much more than 20 feet.

Can't be a range issue for me, my layout is only 4 x 12, so I'm guessing it is all the other electronics I have causing interference. I also picked up rechargeable batteries and try to keep them topped off. That seems to help but not eliminate the issue.  I pre-ordered the base 3 (not just to solve this issue, planning on getting into legacy 😁) so hopefully that will help.

You can be as positive as you like, but reality isn't on your side.  Lionel's BLE4.0 implementation is specified as a 20 foot range, and they're being optimistic I suspect.  They've also buried the BT transceiver inside a diecast shell, that doesn't do anything for it's range either!

While in an isolated environment you may experience more than 20 feet with Lionel's BLE4.0, that's not typical performance.  I have multiple BT equipped Legacy locomotives, and my Universal remote can't control them when I'm more than about 15 or so feet away.  I get the same abysmal range using several current phone models, so it's not just a Universal Remote problem here.  The Legacy models are the 10-wheeler and the Camelback, and I also have the same range issues with my Lionchief+ 2.0 0-6-0T.  Other folks in our club have similar stories, mine is not unique.

You can be as positive as you like, but reality isn't on your side.  Lionel's BLE4.0 implementation is specified as a 20 foot range, and they're being optimistic I suspect.  They've also buried the BT transceiver inside a diecast shell, that doesn't do anything for it's range either!

While in an isolated environment you may experience more than 20 feet with Lionel's BLE4.0, that's not typical performance.  I have multiple BT equipped Legacy locomotives, and my Universal remote can't control them when I'm more than about 15 or so feet away.  I get the same abysmal range using several current phone models, so it's not just a Universal Remote problem here.  The Legacy models are the 10-wheeler and the Camelback, and I also have the same range issues with my Lionchief+ 2.0 0-6-0T.  Other folks in our club have similar stories, mine is not unique.

Universal Remote range is not a matter of positive thinking but of experience. I have done it successfully at over 30 feet... fact and reality... and I am not the only one who has done so.

Seems likely that local conditions play a major role.  Even variations in humidity and temperature, not to mention steel structural members, etc. can affect relatively low power transmissions like these.  Could be that other bluetooth devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. affect signal reliability, but I have no expertise or experience.  Certainly turning off your smartphone bluetooth is easy enough to test.

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