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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have two circa 2002 K-Line Pennsylvania #913 steam switchers. They both operate correctly on my home layout in TMCC mode. On my friend's much larger layout, one of them loses reception of the TMCC signal after traveling a short distance down the main line where several other TMCC locomotives operate correctly. The second #913 does much better, but also eventually also loses reception and stops. Does anyone know what the cause of this reception loss could be? A bad radio board or disconnected antenna? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Maybe it is time for an upgrade to more recent ERR control boards? Help!
 

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Actually, this is not that uncommon. I have a pair of K-Line A-5 switchers, and they were losing the TMCC signal under my second level. My K-Line Trainmaster also had the same issue. This is due to a weak signal because adjacent tracks were shielding the signal. FWIW, all my other TMCC/Legacy stuff had made it fine around the same tracks with no issues at all. For whatever reason, the K-Line models seems to be more picky about the TMCC signal.

The usual cure is to run an earth ground wire near the offending locations on the layout. I put my earth ground wire under the second level and all is well. Once the earth ground was run (indicated by red arrows), all the K-Line engines went around with no problems. I used a #30 wire-wrap wire centered under the top deck. The wire can be any gauge, it carries microamps of current for the antenna signal.

560720
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited by Moderator)
Actually, this is not that uncommon. I have a pair of K-Line A-5 switchers, and they were losing the TMCC signal under my second level. My K-Line Trainmaster also had the same issue. This is due to a weak signal because adjacent tracks were shielding the signal. FWIW, all my other TMCC/Legacy stuff had made it fine around the same tracks with no issues at all. For whatever reason, the K-Line models seems to be more picky about the TMCC signal.

The usual cure is to run an earth ground wire near the offending locations on the layout. I put my earth ground wire under the second level and all is well. Once the earth ground was run (indicated by red arrows), all the K-Line engines went around with no problems. I used a #30 wire-wrap wire centered under the top deck. The wire can be any gauge, it carries microamps of current for the antenna signal.

View attachment 560720
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok! Thanks so much, John. When you say "earth ground," do you mean the ground terminal on the transformer or perhaps a ground wire running from the ground peg on the AC wall outlet? Sorry I'm so uninformed... 🚂
 

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I'm talking about the ground from the house wiring, that's the "earth ground" we speak of. That is actually the signal that is received by the TMCC antenna. Remember, the track must NOT be grounded for TMCC to work properly, the transformer secondary must be isolated from the building electrical ground for TMCC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your wisdom John. I will run a house wiring ground wire today beneath the affected Fastrack main line and hope for a good result. I shall post the results here soon.
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm talking about the ground from the house wiring, that's the "earth ground" we speak of. That is actually the signal that is received by the TMCC antenna.

Update: John, I ran a 16 gauge wire directly from earth ground in a nearby wall socket around beneath the Fastrack main loop of the layout. The installation of this wire helped the K-Line 0-4-0 Switcher stay connected to the TMCC signal for a longer distance from a starting location near the MRC Pure power 275 watt transformer and Lionel TMCC cab-1L where it runs fine, but it eventually still loses the signal. I plan to take the shell off the engine to look for a loose antenna wire or other problem. I assume the handrails on the boiler are the antenna? My K-Line Pacific #2488 (upgraded to TMCC by you) has no problem anywhere on the layout. Thanks for a great job on that engine! Question: would upgrading to current ERR control boards solve this problem? If so, what model ERR board would be appropriate? It seems that upgrading wouldn't be too hard since the antenna, speaker and chuff switch were already installed at the factory. Thanks for any further comments or advice.
 

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Update: John, I ran a 16 gauge wire directly from earth ground in a nearby wall socket around beneath the Fastrack main loop of the layout. The installation of this wire helped the K-Line 0-4-0 Switcher stay connected to the TMCC signal for a longer distance from a starting location near the MRC Pure power 275 watt transformer and Lionel TMCC cab-1L where it runs fine, but it eventually still loses the signal. I plan to take the shell off the engine to look for a loose antenna wire or other problem. I assume the handrails on the boiler are the antenna? My K-Line Pacific #2488 (upgraded to TMCC by you) has no problem anywhere on the layout. Thanks for a great job on that engine! Question: would upgrading to current ERR control boards solve this problem? If so, what model ERR board would be appropriate? It seems that upgrading wouldn't be too hard since the antenna, speaker and chuff switch were already installed at the factory. Thanks for any further comments or advice.
Other than checking the internal wiring and the antenna connection, I'd consider swapping the R2LC with a known good one. That's really the only factors that normally affect TMCC reception. The R2LC's go bad at times, and the small pile of them in my broken board box will attest to that fact. That would be my next test, replacing the other stuff isn't going to change TMCC signal reception.
 
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