Command Control Systems for "S"

Hello again,  I'm in need of some info (help) of the command control systems available in S.  Again, I am kinda just starting out with S although I have run S with DC power in the past.  I'm trying to decide whether to go with AC or DC power this time.  So, I would like your opinions on which system and power options you guys like and why.

Thanks,  Rick

 

Original Post

They are TMCC & Legacy by Lionel for their modern S Engines equipped with them, DCC for some locomotives equipped for it. DCS by MTH that will run Lionel TMCC  engines and the F3, which is their only engine so far in S.  FlyerChief, the new Lionel system, operates both on AC and DC.  

Gilbert, most older Flyionel products use AC with transformers.  American Models run on AC and DC if equipped, but no operating system.  

The big question is are you going to be HiRail or Scale?  This makes a huge difference in what you will buy and operate.   

Roundhouse Bill,  I plan on using hi-rail wheels.  Only because the flanges on the scale wheels are hard for me to see when putting cars on the track.  I don't see what the wheels have to do with it for S.  Aren't they (hi-rail and scale wheels) both insulated?  Therefore, you could use either wheel set for AC and/or DC.  Right?  Or am I missing something.

Rick

The wheels don't care what the power source is.  What's inside the locomotive does.  As to command control, other than Linoel's FlyerChief, there's Lionel's TMCC/Legacy, MTH's DCS and DCC. 

Lionel's recent Legacy locomotives are DCC compatible as are MTH's DCS locomotives.  While neither system offers all the functionality of a dedicated DCC decoder, the basic DCC functions are there along with a couple of options.

Rusty

Rick, 

I think that you are asking for simple answers to questions that are complex.  There are so many variables. The best thing would not be to look for your answers from this site or others that are similar.  You would do best to locate people with layouts in your area and go visit a few so you can see your choices and get several opinions.  

Yes, I agree with Roundhouse Bill, unfortunately I don't know anyone in my area that's into S.  I would have to wait until Greenbergs train show and that isn't till July, I think.  I know there is a Pittsburgh, PA S gaugers club.  I may have to try and reach out to them.

Rick

I agree with several of the posts above, see if you can visit a couple of layouts within a reasonable distance. You don't have to limit your visit to an S gauge layout, there are probably O gauge layouts using the TMCC/Legacy systems and you might even find an O gauge or HO gauge layout in your area running DCC. I am thinking that you would like to see a comparison of the two systems to find your preference in how they operate. I have seen only a few layouts running DCC and a few including my own that use TMCC/Legacy, I just found the Lionel systems simpler to operate, I probably give some things up but enjoy the ease of operating with Legacy.

Ray

The biggest problem I see with Lionel's Legacy/TMCC and MTH's DCS is that they are both proprietary systems designed to make you a slave to their respective manufacturer. If you have other company's locos (say American Models or imported brass) that you wish to convert to your chosen system, it is both difficult and costly to do, even if you can manage to get the electronic components to do so. You are also at the mercy of the manufacturer should they decide to change their respective systems in the future. Neither the big L or MTH are producing enough variety of equipment in S scale to warrant pledging your allegiance to either of their systems. Since both the Legacy and DCS locomotives will also work with a DCC system, and there are many DCC systems out there, all of whom are compatible with each other thanks to a set of standards overseen by the NMRA, and used in all scales from N to G, that is what I would recommend as to an operating system. Even the FlyerChief system engines can run on a DCC powered layout (though they must use their own dedicated controller or BlueTooth app with either a cell phone or tablet) transparently, making them truly universally acceptable additions to any layout, whichever power system is being used.

Bill in FtL

With the use of a Powermaster the Legacy system is also capable utilizing the remote function for operating traditional/standard AM, SHS and Gilbert AF engines on the same track as Legacy but not at the same time. Operation of traditional locomotives is much smoother. 

 

Rich

Rick,  The Pittsburgh S Gaugers are a group of nice people and I'm sure they would be happy to help you.  They also maintain the Sam Powell layout at Tri-Town Area Historical Society in Dawson, PA.  It's truly worth a visit.

Additionally, the Spring S Spree is taking place May 11-12 in Dayton, Ohio.  It's a good drive from where you are, but they will have several club display layouts with different types of operation, clinics, and a good number of vendors.  Hope this helps.

Interestingly enough I think the majority of layouts on tour at this year's NASG convention will be DCC.  I like and utilize conventional, Legacy (TMCC), and DCC on my layout with provision for switching back and forth.  Don't have DCS or so far FC.  Very much doubt DCS ever, and now that Lionel has signaled more Legacy engines coming, maybe not FC either.  But each to their own.  They're all plenty of fun.  Just that you might want to design your layout with more than one in mind - initially or eventually.  

David Horn

Precision Flyer Repairs

 

 

Thanks guys,  all great info.

MIKEAA,  I've always wanted to attend an S spree.  I think Dayton is only about a 4 hour drive (one way).  That's not too bad.  I think that's where the Air Force museum is and I've been there before.

As of now, I'm leaning toward DC power with DCC (eventually) with hi-rail wheels (easier for me to see when putting cars on the tracks). 

Again, THANKS to everyone.

Rick

Rick, one of the items not mentioned is how the signal gets to the engine to operate in command control. With DCC or DCS the signal goes through the track, through the wheels and into the decoder. So if you have clean wheels you will have a clean signal, dirty wheels dirty signal.

With TMCC/Legacy the signal goes through the rail but instead of progressing through the wheels it goes into what we call the tunnel effect on the rail. The signal forms like a tunnel around the track and then picked up from an antenna and then into the electronics. It doesn't care if you have clean or dirty track you will always get a clean signal. 

Either system has its good and bad points but as a side note, you can buy DCC decoders from several manufactures and TMCC components are available from Lionel and ElectricRR Company.

Hope this helps.

Ed Goldin

Lionel Authorized Repair Station

Authorized ERR Dealer

Member TCA & NASG 





 

 

Sgaugian posted:

Interestingly enough I think the majority of layouts on tour at this year's NASG convention will be DCC.  I like and utilize conventional, Legacy (TMCC), and DCC on my layout with provision for switching back and forth.  Don't have DCS or so far FC.  Very much doubt DCS ever, and now that Lionel has signaled more Legacy engines coming, maybe not FC either.  But each to their own.  They're all plenty of fun.  Just that you might want to design your layout with more than one in mind - initially or eventually.  

Dave - For Rick's benefit and my interest, are DCC decoders easier to install in say an American Models diesel than TMCC control + sound boards?

Rick - As someone who went through the same decision process 2 years ago, I'd be happy to discuss what I have learned if you'd like.

Rick, I have installed TMCC in just about every engine American Models has made and some are more difficult than others. To fit both TMCC and Sound most of them need to have the motor mount milled down and motor moved 1/8". This allows the room to make an "L" bracket for the sound board and a "U" bracket for the TMCC electronics.

DCC electronics is much smaller in size and I guess it all depends on what you like and as mentioned before you can run both TMCC and DCC and Lionel is making engines that will run on both. Here are two pictures of TMCC and sound installed in a American Models RS3 and RS11. 

Ed Goldin

Lionel Authorized Repair Station

Authorized ERR Dealer

Member TCA & NASG 





 

 

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