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I run conventional on a layout wired for cab control. I have a several 3rd Rail locos with ERR Cruise Commanders with TMCC capability. I have another 3rd Rail loco with a dead TAS board. I bought an ERR Cruise Commander board to replace it based on advice received here, but I have no way to program the "feature code" it needs.  This is all intro.  I'm wondering if I want to get a Lionel Base 3 and phone app to actually run my TMCC locos (although I have many not so equipped).

I have two kinds of questions. First, what am I missing by not running TMCC?

Second, what else would I need to get besides the Base 3 and phone app?  For example, Where does the juice come from and how much of it is there? How do you add more to run multiple locos?

TIA

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TMCC and Legacy are fantastic control systems. They are easy to set up and use. The other advantage is that you can walk around your layout and watch trains run while using a wireless remote, phone, or tablet.

To run TMCC locomotives with what you have currently, you will only need the Base-3/Cab-3 App, at least 1 Cab-1L remote (optional, if you want a physical remote or more instead of using the app), and a single wire to the outside rails of the track. That's it. You could also hunt down an old TMCC Remote/Base on the secondhand market; that shouldn't be hard to find.

Since you run conventional mostly, Legacy Powermasters are a possibility for running conventional equipment with the Base-3/Cab-3/Cab-1L. You will need Powermaster Adapter Cables to connect conventional transformers to the LPMs. You will need one of each per track transformer handle.

As for command-control of accessories and switches, I would recommend Lionel's Layout Control System (LCS) or a few of their old SC-2 controllers. The Base-3 will control all of those devices.

@Ken Wing posted:

.... For example, Where does the juice come from and how much of it is there? How do you add more to run multiple locos?

TIA

Not sure what you mean by "juice" for additional locos.  The transformer provides a constant AC voltage to the track, and TMCC controls each engine.  For running multiple engines, you need to have a power supply that can handle the amount of amps that the engines draw.

@Ken Wing posted:

Second, what else would I need to get besides the Base 3 and phone app?  For example, Where does the juice come from and how much of it is there? How do you add more to run multiple locos?

The "juice" comes from where it always comes from, the transformer.  None of Lionel's command systems from early TMCC on provided any power to the track.

I remember trying to figure this all out.  A few details.

You need either the phone app  or a  Cab1L control   I would start with the phone app and see if it is acceptable.

1 Base 3    It connects to the outer rail, ground with 1 wire.   It has a separate wall plug for its power, but no track or accessory power.   The control signal is transmitted along the outer rails.   The signal wire can be connected in parallel to many independent track sections.  1 Base 3 can run all the sections of track you would desire to have.

For running TMCC, Legacy or Lionchief engines, track votage is set to 18V.   Use the app to run the engines.

For conventional engines, you can still use the transformer. 

Option  1  Add a Legacy Powermaster  using your old  transformer.  An adapter cord is needed. 

Why do many of us us legacy Powermasters also?  Protection for the newer electronics and the ability to run conventional through the app or control from anywhere in the room.   You also have a kill switch through the app or control from anywhere in the room.

The legacy powermaster takes input power from a transformer and outputs power to the track. It has another single wire to the BASE3.  A Legacy Powermaster allows the app/control to adjust the constant input 18V from a brick or transformer to run conventional engines at varying voltages for track power.  Set it to max power for TMCC/Legacy or Lionchief.   

For each section of track you want to run independently in conventional mode you will need a legacy powermaster and power to it.

Option 2  Add a Power brick for track power  and a Legacy Powermaster.  Eliminate traditional transformer for track power.

Many of us have gone to the 180W brick power supply for better short protection for the electronics.  They are smaller, quieter and easier to mount, stack and position on/under layouts.   I have 2 sections of track I run individually.  I use 2 bricks and 2 Legacy Powermasters.   You could have many sections and could address all of them, 1 at a time, through the app.

More Legacy Powermaster details.

The Legacy Powermaster has a switch for CMD 18V direct, or conventional, which is varying voltage.  I always leave it in conventional.  No use having a powermaster if you lock it into CMD mode forever.   

You configure the Legacy powermaster and assign it a track ID.  That is how you address it from the App as track 1, 2 etc.

If running accessories, you will still need to keep a transformer for the Accessory 12-14v power.   No accessory bricks that I have seen.   

To check my understanding:

With Base3 and Cab3 app (when available), I would be able to use my existing 275W Type Z to put 18VAC to the rails, and run several TMCC-equipped locos independently over the whole layout, remotely from my phone.

Controlling conventional locos remotely requires additional investment in a Legacy Powermaster for each track block.

Do I have it?

@Ken Wing posted:

To check my understanding:

With Base3 and Cab3 app (when available), I would be able to use my existing 275W Type Z to put 18VAC to the rails, and run several TMCC-equipped locos independently over the whole layout, remotely from my phone.

Controlling conventional locos remotely requires additional investment in a Legacy Powermaster for each track block.

Do I have it?

That is correct Ken!

@Ken Wing posted:

To check my understanding:

With Base3 and Cab3 app (when available), I would be able to use my existing 275W Type Z to put 18VAC to the rails, and run several TMCC-equipped locos independently over the whole layout, remotely from my phone.

Controlling conventional locos remotely requires additional investment in a Legacy Powermaster for each track block.

Do I have it?

If using a postwar transformer, add TVS diodes and a faster circuit breaker to prevent damage to the electronics of your TMCC / Legacy locomotives.  This applies whether you're running them in command or conventional mode.

Last edited by Mallard4468

So the Base3 will have a 120Vac power plug and not an external transformer or 'wall wart'?

This would make it difficult for say people in the UK or Australia to use.

As long as it works with 50hz, just a simple 220/110 transformer will do the trick.  There is the issue of the earth ground, but I can't imagine that Lionel didn't consider that before releasing this product!  Many products intended for overseas use have a 110/220 universal power supply, that would then just require an adapter plug.

Last edited by gunrunnerjohn

So the Base3 will have a 120Vac power plug and not an external transformer or 'wall wart'?

This would make it difficult for say people in the UK or Australia to use.

Based on the internal component photos available on the FCC Website, the Base3 uses a Mean Well IRM-60-12 power supply. The operating supply voltage is 100 to 240 volts in the photos and is expected to operate within 85 to 265 volts. However the label on the bottom of the Base3 says 115 volts and 60 Hz, it does not specify anything above that voltage or outside of that frequency range. I suspect one would be okay using it in different countries and Lionel may have variants of the Base3 available in different countries with different plugs and corresponding labels with little to no internal component changes.

Last edited by H1000

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