I loosely placed a 20ga wire below a second level loop, under which a certain TMCC diesel was exhibiting classic signal loss symptoms.   The addition of this tiny wire made a marked improvement, and I’m planning on permanently installing it today.  

  I’d like to paint portions of the wire to blend in better with the upper level sub roadbed, mainly gray and/or black.  Will light painting noticeably affect the wire’s usefulness?  I suppose I could go buy black wire, but I like using everything I have without needless surpluses. 

Thanks

Tom

Original Post
gunrunnerjohn posted:

Not at all, it will have no effect.  Insulated wire or uninsulated wire works the same for the earth ground wire.

Thanks once again John...

There’s simply nothing better in life than a clear, concise, and definitive answer about anything from someone who knows what they’re talking about.  

 

Tom

 

FlyPlanes-PlayTrains posted:

  I loosely placed a 20ga wire below a second level loop, under which a certain TMCC diesel was exhibiting classic signal loss symptoms.   The addition of this tiny wire made a marked improvement, and I’m planning on permanently installing it today.  

  I’d like to paint portions of the wire to blend in better with the upper level sub roadbed, mainly gray and/or black.  Will light painting noticeably affect the wire’s usefulness?  I suppose I could go buy black wire, but I like using everything I have without needless surpluses. 

Thanks

Tom

GRJ is as usual absolutely right. We use both insulated and non-insulated wire at the NJ Hi-Railers.

I'm curious.  What do you have this ground wire connected to to supply the ground signal?

 

Hi Chris.

 Part of my process was to research as much about signal issues as possible.  Coincidentally, it was an OGR article about your club in an 8/9 2011 issue, that was a wealth of knowledge.  The author made it very clear about how the TMCC signal propagates, and what it will & wont do.  This, and me struggling to keep up with some of Dale’s technical  writing on trainfacts, had me installing one end of the ground plane loop directly to the earth ground circuit of household AC.  Also not to have the ground plane loop connect to itself, or cross over itself,  came up on many discussions.  

Interesting was the fact that N.J. Highrailers had early on discovered that motive power can be quite cantankerous, with some locomotives refusing to play nicely even after ground planes, copper foil, and antennas reworked inside the engines.  I’ve already noticed this as my ABA century sharknose set breezes through the layout effortlessly, and the C420 will buck, blink, and stop in several areas.  This engine is receiving a copper rod antenna upgrade today, just to hedge my bets.

Thanks!

Tom 

One of the inherent problems with a 455KHz signal system is the size of the loco mounted antenna compared with the signal wavelength. This is called aperture which means the ability of an antenna to capture significant signal. I have extended the antenna length in one problem loco by wrapping it around inside and it did seem to improve somewhat.

Oh! I remember the big old console AM (535-1605KHz) radio at home when I was a kid. It had a removable hardboard cover on the backside (to enclose the big radio chassis) and on that cover was a wound AM antenna. It was wire glued to the hardboard in a rectangular spiral. At those low frequencies coil-type antennas work to gather signal.

Lew

 

All photos are mine unless specifically noted otherwise.

 

Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

Hi Tom, I wrote that article. Some of it has changed over the years as we learned more about TMCC. The foil under the track is no good. The wire over the track is still the best way to go. Telephone poles are just the right height for this. Adding antenna to a diesel engine works too. I use # 18 solid wire about 6" long or however long your diesel is and hot glue it to the inside roof of the engine. If your layout is really big then you need one of Gunrunner John's boosters. Good luck.

Jim D.

  Thanks for all the great info guys!  My layout is quite modest, only a 10’ X 16’ X 16’  U shape.  I was able to camouflage the ground plane wire under the upper level, which is directly above the problem areas noted earlier.  

I’m inclined to think it’s the particular locomotive, as my other TMCC engine has no issues whatsoever anywhere on the layout. 

I didn’t realize winding an antenna several times around a locomotive’s insides would work, and I’ll add that later this week.  The foot long copper rod I soldered to the capital I shaped “reflector” antenna is ok, and fits within the shell-but only just barely. 

 

Tom

I just hot glue the loops to the roof inside, so it being stiff isn't a huge factor.   I once tried a really large coil of #30 wire-wrap wire for the antenna, about 50 feet.  It was a pita to get it all laying on the roof and secured, and I didn't see any operational difference.  However, when I took a DC reading on the R2LC receiver signal strength pin, I did get a nice increase in signal over the standard antenna on the bench.

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