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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, A strange thing has happened to my AirWire 900 throttle. Normally, the range is terrific (100+ ft), but recently it went to crap without an obvious explanation.
It now has about 10 ft range at best.

So a couple of things came to mind. First I replaced the four AAA batteries in the TX. No help. Then I thought it might be the RX, so I tried several different AirWire receivers, and one QSI / G-wire as well. Same for all. I also have one of the older TF1300 throttles (the one without the LCD). It works fine. So I think the problem has to be the AirWire 900 TX.

Any ideas? I am curious if anyone else has experienced this. Absent an easy fix, next step is shipping it back up to CVP for repair I suppose. I don't mind using the old TX (actually has a nicer feel to it in many ways), but it is a pain to change frequencies! Thanks.

Steve H.
Cypress, TX
 

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Mine did that after a battery change, but it was a bad battery in a new pack of duracells. (for the record duracell sent me a new pack of batteries just on my word it was bad). A few mistakes I have made is having it on the wrong freq. or having both TX on the same freq. and both powered on. They end up fighting with each other and the 1300 usually ends up winning. If everything else is working save the TX, I would assume it is the TX as well. Send it back for repairs. Their turnaround time is usually not bad.
 

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Check the antenna connection on the circuit board. If you tighten the antenna with a little too much force it can pull the connector loose on the board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. I will give the antenna connections a thorough look tonight.

Paul - It concerns me what you say about over-tightening the antenna. With the 1300, I am frequently opening it up to change the frequency, to the extent that I have been thinking about cutting a door in the back of the case for easier access! I will be more careful in the future. The 900 has only been opened a handful of times, although I now recall that I did open it the day it stopped working so well.
My son (7) had set it on the ground next to where he was sitting, moving dirt (as 7 year olds do). I was concerned some had gotten into the case so I opened it and blew out the dust (not much there, so don't think it contributed in any way). It was after I re-assembled it that I first thought there might be a problem. It did not occur to me that it was the TX at the time, so It was several more run days before I was sure there was a problem, changed batteries, tested, etc. So I wonder if I didn't over-tighten it at that point. Hmmmm ...
PaintJockey - I have the same problems as you keeping the dang things set to the right frequencies and locos!
You can end up re-programming the whole dang fleet if you're not careful!! I recently typed up a little table with a list of receivers and their associated loco numbers, frequencies, and dip switch settings (for the 1300), including a reminder how to set freq and number on the 900, because I can never remember the sequence. I printed it and taped it to the back of each TX with packing tape. Much lower level of incidents (and frustration) since then!

Thanks,
Steve
 

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I no longer have an AirWire setup, and when I did, I only had the one. But I am curious as to why you have to change the frequencies all of the time? I don't remember how many locos you could address running on the same frequency, but I thought it was quite a few.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are right, Del - I believe there are up to four digits for receiver numbers. However, the instructions explicitly warn that using the same frequency for multiple receivers will result in interference between transmitters. So I have play it safe. It lowers the risk of doing something really stupid like inadvertently running the wrong locomotive off a shelf or some such thing!

I went out and had a look at the antenna. It appears to be firmly soldered to the board, at least as best as I can tell. See photo below. Looks like next step is pack it off to CVS.
 

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Unless you see an obvious crack in the solder joint between the 3 mounting "points" and the circuit board, I would send it in.

On changing frequencies, every transmitter needs to be on a different frequency? If that is so, I would understand that you would changing frequencies if you start mixing locos between transmitters.

I know you stated this, but are you sure? Sounds like a pain in the butt.

Regards, Greg
 

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I just checked the manual for the T9000 Throttle. It states that each throttle (AirWire's term for the transmitter) should be on a different frequency. So, assuming you have one transmitter and a bunch of receivers, there shouldn't be any need to be changing frequencies all the time, unless you are visiting another layout and there is a frequency conflict. Am I missing something here?I just hate to see you hacking up the transmitter case if it isn't necessary.
 

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I believe he stated (in th e1st and 5th posts) he has 2 throttles, a 1300 and a 900 which would sort of explain it, and thus my question just before yours.

Well, the question of 2 different frequencies is answered, and it's most likely easier to match the throttle to the loco than open up the loco to change it's frequency.

Regards, Greg
 

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I have been watching this thread with interest because I have been having the same problem with my t 9000. I look at it this afternoon and took the back off to see if I had any soldering problems or cracks. Mine is fine on all those parts. So I did the range check like you would do in model airplanes take the antenna off and see how far you can go until you loose control. I got about 13 -20 feet in my basement. I think that is pretty good when you consider 20 feet I was going through a wall. While doing this check I had the back off the throttle.

Called Al last summer and ask him about my problem and he said to make sure the antenna is screwed down to make sure that the center post is set right. With this knowledge and this thread I have look closely at my throttle and have done some observation to it. The guts of the throttle slip into the case and you attach the antenna after it comes out of the hole in the top of the case. The length of thread is .175 long and the cup side of the antenna is .165. What that means is that only .010 is making contact with the center wire. Now I took the guts out and measured the length of the antenna lug and it measures .245 in length and you can screw the antenna almost all the way down the lug with just a little gap left.

The hole on my case is not drilled in the right place it is offset just a little and it has made the case warp a little because of this. I'm thinking that the hole should have been in the right place and maybe the antenna lug should have been place farther out on the board so that it might stick out of the case and the antenna would contact the center wire much better.

I have no way of checking the range right now but I think if you were to take off the case and screw the antenna all the way down you may notice a big difference in you range. If that is the fix please let me know I would love to give Al a call on this matter and find out what he suggest to do about it. I would hate to spend the money on shipping and repairs to find out all they did was make the hole bigger so the antenna would go through case and seat the right way, instead of the way it does now.

I think the problem is the antenna is not seating itself the right way because of the thickness of the case. And the fix is making the hole in the case the size of the antenna base.

If you try the range test and find it works for much longer range please let me know.

By the way my throttles number is 1272 so I guess it was made just before yours and I wonder how many more are having the same range problem?

Just a new note I make the antenna and it take me 2.5 turns to remove it with the case on and being tight, with the case off it take m almost 5 turn to seat the antenna tight I do believe this is the problem, the antenna is just seated right. If this is the problem than I know how I will fix it, Just make the hole bigger.

Joe
 

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Be sure to stand to the north
 

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All of the above posts are right, I just received a second throttle T-9000. My other throttle only has a range of about 45ft. On talking to Al yesterday, we had discussed several things. I had forgot that he told me to remove the antenna, and pull out the transmitter insides, and then screw the antenna on and see if any difference. I remembered what he said and did so the throttle took on a NEW life, very good control, and everything works splendidly. What you need to do is observe the hole in the top of the case. I took an exacto knife, and made the hole a little bigger, letting the antenna screw down minutely tighter or closer on the board that was the trick. Antenna was not seating properly. Now to go outside (blizzard going on here) and test for range. So check the hole on the case, and make it bigger to allow for antenna to seat properly onto the airwire transmitter board if you are having problems, or at least try it, with the case off and just try the transmitter board with the antenna screwed on without the black plastice case see what happens!!!!!!! The Regal
 

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I have a T9000 that is probably from one of the first runs. The connector for the antenna fits into the hole and where it sits is about 2/3 of the way through the plastic case. Also,I have one of the newer antennas for it and I noticed that the plastic at the end of the antenna extends about 1/32 past the threaded brass insert. The plastic could easily be filed down to remove that extra 1/32.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks all. Went out this evening and tried a couple of things. First did a continuity test on the soldered connections and the outer and inner contacts on the co-axial hub for the antenna. Continuity was good. That doesn't mean its necessarily soldered to the board, but it seems solid.

Next I tried threading the antenna without the case as recommended. I did not see any improvement. I studied it a bit and I can see where it could make a difference with or without the case, but that must not be the problem here. Next I tried swapping out for the TF1300 antenna (shorter). Still no change. For good measure, I went back and tried the TF1300 by itself and confirmed a much greater range.

So I guess the next step is to send it in. Appreciate all the advice.

Greg - The reason I mess with the frequencies is we often run two trains at once. I try to convince my son (7) to run the same ones from the day before, but he likes variety!

Thanks,
Steve
 

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FYI, CVP said not to swap the shorter antenna for the longer one. They said it would mess up the transmitter. I suspect that a short test would not cause a problem but extended use could.
 

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I added the selector switches to my locos to change freqs. That way I dont have to change the TX's all the time. The only other option you may have is to reset all the facory setings then see what range you have.. If I remember correctly there is a code you can put in to reset it, though that may be for the RX. I'm at work right now so I can't look it up.
Terry
 

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I've tried all of the above the case WAS preventing the antenna from screwing all the way down took a dremal and hollowed out the hole a bit so antenna seats properly. Distance went from 3ft to 20ft which is like my newer throttle. Al says, and others that I should be getting 100ft + range Whatz up?????? Any ideers or suggestions as Paul tuttle would say. I have shut down my wifi, have a 2.4 GHZ phone (they say that wont bother it) Went to back of yard like one fellow suggested still 20 ft?????? Oh also srewed antenna on without black plastic case thats where i found out antenna is not seating. both throttles run two trains only 2 on freq 0 and 2 on freq 3 Yuk still no range but both are similar or the same????? The Regal
 

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Posted By blueregal on 03/30/2009 1:42 PM
I've tried all of the above the case WAS preventing the antenna from screwing all the way down took a dremal and hollowed out the hole a bit so antenna seats properly. Distance went from 3ft to 20ft which is like my newer throttle. Al says, and others that I should be getting 100ft + range Whatz up?????? Any ideers or suggestions as Paul tuttle would say. I have shut down my wifi, have a 2.4 GHZ phone (they say that wont bother it) Went to back of yard like one fellow suggested still 20 ft?????? Oh also srewed antenna on without black plastic case thats where i found out antenna is not seating. both throttles run two trains only 2 on freq 0 and 2 on freq 3 Yuk still no range but both are similar or the same????? The Regal




How are you determining your range? In my limited experience with AirWire, the speed control range was great (100 ft.+), but the sound control with a Phoenix 2K2, while running the loco, was horrible (
 
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