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New layout: 19 x 13 with 7 x 11 extension (L shape)

  • I have several postwar ZW’s, a new ZW-L, and a new Z-4000 for power supplies
  • I have Cab-1 (TMCC), Cab-2 (Legacy), a TIU w DCS controller, and a TPC 300
  • I am using Lionel tubular track and switches, except the CTA loop which is Super O with two switches.
  • There are 19 switches total (includes two Super O)
  • There will be most of the postwar accessories and several modern accessories 

 

Layout summary:

  • Three loops with connections via switches and sidings (loop 1 connects to loop 2, loop 2 connects to loop 3).
  • There is a separate siding off of loop 1 for the Lionel coal tipple.
  • A spur off loop 1 for an Atlas turntable and Lionel transfer table.
  • An independent elevated loop with a siding for the CTA subway using Super O

 

Personal Note:

  • I’m very comfortable with TMCC
  • I understand using insulated tracks and 153IR to trigger signals/accessories
  • I don’t understand relays other than they are DPDT switches. I’m trying to understand how to wire them to run two trains or more, on one loop.
  • I am comfortable with soldering and fixing postwar. I love the Jim Barrett DVDs

 

My Goals

  • I would like the option to run my prewar and postwar engines, but they are not my main runners
  • I have a majority of TMCC engines and a few Legacy engines
  • With MTH leaving the hobby, I’m contemplated converting my two PS-2 engines to TMCC and just running the PS-1 engines (three) as traditional engines.
  • Is there any advantage in using the TIU?
  • Does TMCC run better with DCS?
  • Does Legacy run better with DCS?
  • Should I just sell my DCS equipment?
  • I have several TMCC modules (SC-1, SC-2, AMC, OTC, AVC)
  • Can/should I use any of my TMCC modules with the LCS iPad option?
  • Do I need to invest in LCS modules and sell my TMCC modules?
  • I’d like to upgrade to Lionel LCS. I ‘m particularly drawn to the iPad option which I feel makes running trains easier (not having to recall engine numbers, switch numbers, route numbers).  I also believe this will be a big draw for young people. 
  • I’m planning on a 14 awg stranded bus with 16 or 18 awg feeders. Do you recommend 12 awg?

 

How would you suggest I wire the layout?  Bus wire vs star wiring?  Separating loops as blocks?  One continuous loop?  How to accomplish two train operation on the Super O loop?   Can you send a drawing or two?

 

I know this is a lot, but I’ve spent weeks reading books (Peter Riddle, David Greenwald) and online articles.  Most are dedicated to either DCS or TMCC.  I haven’t found a great source for LCS.  And even less with iPad experience.  Perhaps I should write up my experience and share it!

 

Thank you,

Richard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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@Windy City posted:

 

 

I know this is a lot, but I’ve spent weeks reading books (Peter Riddle, David Greenwald) and online articles.  Most are dedicated to either DCS or TMCC.  I haven’t found a great source for LCS.  And even less with iPad experience.  Perhaps I should write up my experience and share it!

 

Thank you,

Richard

   

I'm not sure what you mean.  LCS is just an extension of Legacy.  The iPad takes the place of either the CAB2 or CABL.  The components would be the same regardless of what is controlling them.  Maybe I am just misunderstanding.

@Windy City posted:

 

My Goals

  • I would like the option to run my prewar and postwar engines, but they are not my main runners
  • I have a majority of TMCC engines and a few Legacy engines
  • With MTH leaving the hobby, I’m contemplated converting my two PS-2 engines to TMCC and just running the PS-1 engines (three) as traditional engines.
  • Is there any advantage in using the TIU?

For Legacy and TMCC, other than being able to use the MTH app, no.

  • Does TMCC run better with DCS?

Not in my opinion.  The DCS App, if your prefer it< makes some of the functionality easier to remember because of the graphical interface.

  • Does Legacy run better with DCS?

Nope.  While IMO the DCS App does a nice job it has some limitations with Legacy.

  • Should I just sell my DCS equipment?

Can't answer that.  I'm not selling mine.

  • I have several TMCC modules (SC-1, SC-2, AMC, OTC, AVC)
  • Can/should I use any of my TMCC modules with the LCS iPad option?

SC-2 after 2009 will work well.  Some earlier models will miss some commands  For the most part all modules should work.  Other TMCC units will work depending on what you are using them for.

  • Do I need to invest in LCS modules and sell my TMCC modules?

Shouldn't.  Here is a site that might help... Lionel LCS Page

  • I’d like to upgrade to Lionel LCS. I ‘m particularly drawn to the iPad option which I feel makes running trains easier (not having to recall engine numbers, switch numbers, route numbers).  I also believe this will be a big draw for young people. 

The iPad is great for layout control, horrible for running trains.  That's my opinion.  I also believe it is limited to 32 speed steps for Legacy locomotives  @Dave Olson  can confirm.  The best way to run Legacy engines is the CAB2.

  • I’m planning on a 14 awg stranded bus with 16 or 18 awg feeders. Do you recommend 12 awg?

 

How would you suggest I wire the layout?  Bus wire vs star wiring?  Separating loops as blocks?  One continuous loop?  How to accomplish two train operation on the Super O loop?   Can you send a drawing or two?

DCS prefers a Star wiring configuration.  TMCC doesn't seem to care.

 

I know this is a lot, but I’ve spent weeks reading books (Peter Riddle, David Greenwald) and online articles.  Most are dedicated to either DCS or TMCC.  I haven’t found a great source for LCS.  And even less with iPad experience.  Perhaps I should write up my experience and share it!

 

Thank you,

Richard

 I'm sure other will chime in.  These are my experiences. 

 

 

 

 

Richard, Marty's answers are based on many years of experience.  I consider him a 'go to guy' on all he answered.

I will say that my 'roster' contains mostly MTH engines, and I have no thoughts of selling any of it.  In fact I just bought a second hand-held controller and a couple thumbwheels and cradles.  I tried the WiFi and while I think it is a great product and is the future in operating trains, it didn't work well for me because of manual dexterity issues.  In a nutshell, my fingers shake enough that I was always hitting the wrong thing.    The firm pushing of physical buttons works better for me.  I only brought it up to show I am not selling any MTH; it will be around for a long while.  Yes, if a PS2/3 board dies in an engine, then I will replace it with a TMCC compatible ERR board.  Each person has to make his own decision there.

Your plan looks like it will provide a lot of train action!!  Others here are better suited than me to pick it apart for even better operation.

I think 14 awg stranded bus with 16 or 18 awg feeders should work well.  I am not using 12 awg on my 11x8 layout with a walk-in to the center.

Separating loops into blocks will aid in finding short circuits in the future, but it works with them all tied together as I have my layout temporarily connected to test got bad trackwork with a variety of engines.

I am aware of it, but am not up on wiring accessories from insulated tracks.  I came from an HO background only delving into 3-rail 8 years ago and am currently building my first 3-rail layout.

I'm looking forward to hearing from others and seeing how your layout developes.  I always learn from these conversations, and find I can add to the discussion as the project progresses.

Thank you.  

I'm still looking for information regarding using the older TMCC modules (SC-2, OTC, etc) with the new LCS.  I want to be certain that I can activate track switches and accessories from the iPad.  I'm also looking for input regarding wiring.  Blocks vs no blocks.  How to wire my elevated loop (commuter line) for two trains on one track with one siding.  I really appreciate the input and suggestions.  God Bless and Stay Healthy ! 

This video might help.  Mike Regan covers a lot of these devices.  The SC-2s will work with Legacy.  There are a few videos in this series that explains some of these modules, using Legacy, in this group.  More Videos from Lionel.  I believe he covers all the modules your are asking about.  They all seem compatible.

Last edited by MartyE
@Windy City posted:

Thank you.  

I'm still looking for information regarding using the older TMCC modules (SC-2, OTC, etc) with the new LCS.  I want to be certain that I can activate track switches and accessories from the iPad.

I'm using three SC-2's with the LCS iPad App. From this app (as well as from the CAB-2 and Lionel's now free iCab app), the SC-2's throw switches and trigger accessories perfectly. As I said above, it's necessary that the SC-2's be from 2013 production onward (with the green screw terminal block connectors). (This was confirmed several years ago in a test I did in conjunction with Jon Zahornacky, formerly Lionel's Chief Technology Officer and principal designer of LCS. One of my SC-2's is a 2013 production sample from Mr. Zahornacky.)

The older TMCC modules would also work just fine with LCS and the iPad App. The only condition is that you'll need one--and only one--Lionel 6-81326 SER2 module in order to connect the older devices to your LCS bus.

I'm also looking for input regarding wiring.  Blocks vs no blocks.

I like having power blocks. They allow me to safely park trains and operating cars, and they make it easier to isolate problems.

How to wire my elevated loop (commuter line) for two trains on one track with one siding.

I'm using SensorTracks to do something like this. You'd need to use Legacy engines with IR transmitters, or in lieu of that, TMCC or early Legacy engines in conjunction with SensorCars.

I hope this is helpful...

 

Last edited by Keith L

I am so grateful for the input and advice.  I was hoping to use my SC-2 and not purchase all new modules.  I will get a SER2,  as these were purchased before 2013.  

 

I'm still looking for help wiring a loop for two train operation.  One train (#1) goes into a siding while the other (#2) loops around.  Then the train (#1) in the siding moves out, onto the mainline, while the first train (#2) moves into the siding.   

Does each independent loop need a TPC (a commuter train loop, a trolley end-to-end segment)? Or can a TPC be "shared"? 

About "converting" a MTH DCS loco to Lionel TMCC ...

I decided to arrange a "brain transplant" of a MTH SW-1500 diesel switcher from DCS to TMCC through GunRunnerJohn, who is a frequent contributor to the OGR FORUM. He did the change-over at a reasonable price, and the "fixed" loco now responds perfectly to commands from my CAB-1.

I did the change-over because the SW-1500 was the only MTH loco in my collection; all the others are Lionel locos with TMCC or Legacy. Further, I didn't own (and didn't want to buy) the MTH control gear for the sake of one loco.

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394
mottlermike10@gmail.com   

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