Just keeping this forum moving. Thanks for all of the replies...
I just ordered a USB-Isolator for $99. It won't get here for awhile. Later experience last season showed me that I could definitely generate false starts and finishes on my Timy by connecting or disconnecting external monitors or printers from my laptop. I can make this happen even when the Timy is not hooked up to my main timing cable that runs up the mountain. Therefore, the "blinky-box" or the Tag "line conditioner" do not seem to be things that will work in my case.
Also, I just went and changed the USB power management on my two computers.
I used this link for my XP laptop:http://www.ehow.com/how_521027...b-power-options.html
I used this link for my 7 laptop:http://www.sevenforums.com/har...sb-power-output.html
These two fixes make more intuitive sense to me than other things I have suggested.
The USB Suspend Select thing definitely sounds like one of my issues: dropped connections between Timy and PC which is restored if I unplug and replug the cable.
The USB-Isolator website definitely describes what I'm experiencing. I'm less concerned with isolating my Timy from the mountain and more concerned with isolating it from the other electronics in the building.
Apologies to Dirk, but I'm a tinkerer. If not me, who? If not now, when?