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Discussion Starter #1
I have a problem with a couple of Fastrack switches I can't seem to figure out, so I want to know if anybody has a similar problem. My layout is all Fastrack with O-36 curves and switches. I'm using Legacy control and a Powerhouse 180. The layout base is 3" thick foam insulation. The problem occurs with two switches in the yard ladder. There are four total yard switches. Switch 1 is the entrance to the yard, and 2,3, & 4 go to successive yard tracks. Switches 1 & 4 work fine: responding to commands from Cab-2.

Switches 2 & 3 do not respond to commands from Cab-2, but they do align when a car approaches from the frog side. I thought that maybe there was a problem with the switch itself, so I replaced switch 2 with another one which tested good on the bench. When it was installed in the yard ladder, it would not respond to commands, and the one I had taken out worked fine on the bench.

I took the yard ladder apart to make sure there was no mechanical issue. When I reassembled it, same situation: 1 & 4 worked fine, 2 & 3 would not respond to commands. Then by accident I discovered that switch 2 would respond to commands if I placed my finger lightly on the roadbed near the frog on the straight leg. If I moved my hand away it stopped responding.

It seemed like some sort of RFI problem, so I tried putting my hand under the switch on the underside of the foam, and this also caused switch 2 to start working. On a whim I tried putting a sheet of aluminum foil beneath the foam and directly under the switch - this caused the switch to obey commands sometimes.

I have 8 switches around the layout, and only these two give me any problem.

Has anybody else encountered this? How did you resolve it?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll give it a try. These two switches are the closest to the 990 base, so I would not have suspected a weak signal. I'll let you know.
 

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That seems to have solved it - thank you very much. I ran a 16 gauge wire from earth ground underneath the two problematic switches and the are responding just fine.

I appreciate your quick response.
 

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Sometimes opening the switches and moving the antenna wire helps as well. For a couple of really balky command switches, I actually lengthened the antenna wire about 8" and looped it around inside the switch.

FWIW, the wire can be any size, #30 works as well as #12 for the earth ground antenna wire.
 

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Just an update: I had a few more switches not responding to Legacy commands. These three are located roughly 40' from the 990 base. Following the suggestions here, I extended the earth ground wire to run under all of the switches. This fixed one of the three. Then following John's suggestion I took the back off of the problematic switches. I found that the brown wire was coiled around the other wires in side the switch. I uncoiled it and routed it so the it is as straight as possible. This seems to have cured the problem.

I am curious now about the range of the Legacy base. I haven't had any problems with the locomotives, and 40' is about the maximum distance from the base - is that too far to expect the switches to work?
 

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The location of the base has nothing to do with the track signal. The signal that is usually the issue is the earth ground that is carried by the grounding wire in your house wiring. The switches should be able to work anywhere a locomotive will work.
 
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