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Controlling Legacy engines without 990 or TMCC remote? sorry in advance if this has already been addressed.

I am sure this has been address, so sorry in advance.

Can I control Legacy and TMCC engines with my iphone and/or  cellphone with a TMCC or 990 remote/base.

aka LCS track, LCS module and iphone/ipad ??

thanks for any help!

Keith Gray

Original Post

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I have the Base 3 on pre order, in the meantime I just use my phone with the Lionchief app to control my legacy engines via bluetooth.  I have an old iphone I just leave on the train table to use for this so I don't have to use my personal phone.  Nothing fancy, apply 18 volts using my transformer to the track, then power up the phone app and connect to the engine.

Also, I have the Lionel universal (orange) remote that I use for my Lionchief Plus 2.0 engines, but that would work for Legacy engines as well.

Yes, you don't have all the legacy features, but the engines work, smoke, blow the horn / bell, crew talk.

You could just go conventional too if you wanted.

Last edited by Jetsafl

Lionel just recently discontinued the cab2 remote and base for the base3. They say it was in the works for about the last five years. I guess with COVID and such a disruptive supply chain for parts,  this only pushed it faster. The cab1L remote and cab2 remote will be compatible with base3.

Since Lionel's announcement of the discontinued cab2. They disappeared from dealers.

@Craftech posted:

Too bad there isn't a DIY version for this problem like there is for DCC (ie:  DCC++ and DCC++EX homemade Arduino devices that use JMRI and Decoder Pro).  It would be a game changer and a lot more trains would sell to those who didn't already have TIU's etc as well as new people to the hobby.

As much as I bemoan the proprietary systems we have in O-gauge, it’s unlikely that people will opt to replace all of the electronics in their fleets of locomotives.

@rplst8 posted:

As much as I bemoan the proprietary systems we have in O-gauge, it’s unlikely that people will opt to replace all of the electronics in their fleets of locomotives.

I'm doing it, decoders are available and cheap compared to ERR or DCS kits, the DCC control system was also readily available and cost less than Legacy or DCS. My fleet is only a dozen loco's so cost is not prohibitive. And PS3 loco's are DCC compatible, too bad Lionel didn't do the same ( as they did with S scale). One can only hope the madness will end and parts can be had again, but I'm future proofing my fleet now, don't feel like waiting anymore.

@Craftech posted:

Too bad there isn't a DIY version for this problem like there is for DCC (ie:  DCC++ and DCC++EX homemade Arduino devices that use JMRI and Decoder Pro).  It would be a game changer and a lot more trains would sell to those who didn't already have TIU's etc as well as new people to the hobby.

John

In theory this is possible using both the LCS API spec (https://www.lionelsupport.com/lcs/ EDIT: This URL is dead after the change to the new support website, emailed them to see if it can be re-uploaded or sent to me), and the RTC API that @SanDiegoMark made to control the TIU via his RTC program (https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...onnection-to-the-tiu). However this would require combining two systems into one, require a TIU-equivalent hardware (For DCS + TMCC), and a 990 w/ LCS Serial, or Base 3 (for TMCC/Legacy), as well as the willpower to not bang your head against the wall developing a software solution to combine the functionality into a usable program while trying to figure out why manufacturers make this as difficult as possible.

Last edited by SirCaptain
@Darrell posted:

My fleet is only a dozen loco's so cost is not prohibitive.

One can only hope the madness will end and parts can be had again, but I'm future proofing my fleet now, don't feel like waiting anymore.

In case it's not obvious many, many people on this forum have far more than 12 in in their collections.

Although not for you, thank goodness, it's cost prohibitive for most.

Mike

@Darrell posted:

I'm doing it, decoders are available and cheap compared to ERR or DCS kits, the DCC control system was also readily available and cost less than Legacy or DCS. My fleet is only a dozen loco's so cost is not prohibitive. And PS3 loco's are DCC compatible, too bad Lionel didn't do the same ( as they did with S scale). One can only hope the madness will end and parts can be had again, but I'm future proofing my fleet now, don't feel like waiting anymore.

Have you factored in the cost of adding sound too?

@c.sam posted:

Is it possible to covert a 3 rail AC system to DCC with sound? Thinking that as our MTH and Lionel locomotive control systems fail, might it be more economical to go that route and perhaps over 5 to 10 years we will have converted our whole roster one by one 'as needed'?

It's absolutely possible. However, I think there are probably some features that may be more difficult to keep working with DCC. Things like blowdown steam, whistle steam, and other "sound effect activated" features.

If we limit the conversion to direction, speed control, smoke, whistle, bell, engine sounds, electro couplers, and lighting there's no reason it can't be done.

@c.sam posted:

Is it possible to covert a 3 rail AC system to DCC with sound? Thinking that as our MTH and Lionel locomotive control systems fail, might it be more economical to go that route and perhaps over 5 to 10 years we will have converted our whole roster one by one 'as needed'?

Keep in mind that DCC and AC track operation are totally incompatible.  If you're running DCC, none of your AC locomotives can be on the tracks, ditto for DCC locomotives during AC operation.

@c.sam posted:

Is it possible to covert a 3 rail AC system to DCC with sound? Thinking that as our MTH and Lionel locomotive control systems fail, might it be more economical to go that route and perhaps over 5 to 10 years we will have converted our whole roster one by one 'as needed'?

This is my plan, 3 rail DCC works just fine. I'm starting with my conventional loco's, and will do my CC loco's as they fail.

@rplst8 posted:

Have you factored in the cost of adding sound too?

Yes indeed!

Cruise commander = $150

RS commander = $125

total for ERR = $275

Soundtraxx Tsunami2 DCC sound decoder = $165

8 Ohm speaker = $10 or less

total for DCC with sound = $175

Plus the decoder has:

9 prime movers

40 horns

14 bells

plus aux sounds, over 50 sound effects available, and over 20 lighting effects.

Both systems use Back EMF for speed control.

Keep in mind that DCC and AC track operation are totally incompatible.  If you're running DCC, none of your AC locomotives can be on the tracks, ditto for DCC locomotives during AC operation.

This is an issue, this is how I deal with it:

20221130_082942

This ensures I don't put both on the tracks at the same time.

But yes, you can not run them at the same time. My cross overs are fully isolated so I can run DCC on one and AC on the other, just can't cross over! Don't touch those switches LOL!

Also I paid less than $400 for my DCC system and use a $30 18v 10 amp regulated power supply found on Amazon.

For steamers I will use GRJ super chuffer's to run the smoke units, most likely with his Chuff generator where able.

Attachments

Images (1)
  • 20221130_082942

A great big NO!  DCC uses the track power to send the commands, so it's a unique waveform that is used on the tracks.

Don't quite understand John, does the AC current somehow negate the digital info in the electricity?  MTH's system sends digital info through the rails doesn't it? I plead complete ignorance in this!

Last edited by c.sam

A great big NO!  DCC uses the track power to send the commands, so it's a unique waveform that is used on the tracks.

The NCE 10 amp system can use your existing AC power supply. My 8 amp Digitrax system will not, it needs a DC power supply. The DCC signal is a square wave a/c supplied to the track. It will interfere with DCS, TMCC will work but will overheat coil couplers so still not a good idea to mix them.

@Darrell posted:

The NCE 10 amp system can use your existing AC power supply. My 8 amp Digitrax system will not, it needs a DC power supply. The DCC signal is a square wave a/c supplied to the track. It will interfere with DCS, TMCC will work but will overheat coil couplers so still not a good idea to mix them.

I've tried TMCC/Legacy several times with DCC on the rails, we'll have to agree to disagree on the definition of "work"!  In addition, lots of stuff doesn't work right with the DCC waveform on the rails, triac based motor drivers, the smoke regulator modules, and as you say, couplers.

While you can use an AC input to your NCE, it ends up regulating it to DC and then generating the track DCC waveform, so you're really just using the AC as a raw power source, it doesn't come anywhere near the rails.

To get back to the original poster:

The 990 command base and handheld remote were discontinued by lionel. If you have a 990 base I believe you can find a device that allows controlling that via wi fi (LCS WiFi). 990's are  ridiculously expensive used, since Lionel discontinued them but doesn't have the replacement (yet).

All legacy engines can be run conventionally but of course lose most features.

Some later legacy engines support bluetooth, which means you can control them via the Lionchief universal remote, or via the Lionchief App. Earlier ones alas require a legacy command system.

Base 3.0, the replacement for the 990, is still not available 2+ years  later, last I heard was maybe next year. The Base 3.0 is kind of a 'bring all the folks together', it has a wifi interface that using the Lionel App, can control legacy engines of all kinds. Base 3 can also control lionchief and lionchief 2.0 engines, as well of course as TMCC engines. Base 3 won't have a remote associated with it (I don't know if the 990 remote will work with base 3, I don't think so), it is entirely app based.

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