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Occasionally and especially recently with the purchase of MTH Tooling, I will come across posts hoping Lionel will integrate DCS into their locomotives.

For those of you with that dream, I am here to burst your bubble. At 47:57 in the latest Ryan and Dave show, Ryan Kunkle Director of Production at Lionel bragged about bringing 3 different control systems to the Rail King Genesis rather than the one "dying control system".

This not so veiled attack on DCS from a prominent higher-up at Lionel makes clear the company wants nothing to do with DCS – and likely never did. I have seen similar jabs in the past particularly with the star wiring required to operate DCS.

MTH did so much for this hobby, I wish Lionel officials had some more hubris. I don't know whether this is some machismo rivalry thing, but to me the comments are pompous and unnecessary.

If Lionel really wanted to kill DCS, Legacy would have been the operating system in Atlas for years. But something tells me Lionel didn't want that either. For me, I plan on continuing my use of DCS, and I raise my cup to cheer on its new life as its own company. What do you think?



SEE THE DAVE AND RYAN SHOW HERE:

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I think it’s a shame that egos, corporate pride, and corporate greed have resulted in 3-rail operators being forced to use several different, unwieldy, and incompatible digital control systems. It’s a system of forced brand loyalty, and it is very short-sighted.

The HO scale manufacturers realized a long time ago that what was best for long term survival of everyone in the business was to adopt a standard digital control system (the NMRA Standard DCC System) across the board.

Sadly the die is now so firmly cast in three-rail that we’re stuck with systems that are loaded with silly gimmicks and far too many buttons on the controllers, but are very short on reliability, easy installation and basic functionality for just running trains.

Last edited by Rich Melvin

I never thought there was a chance of Lionel doing anything with DCS, they have exactly zero incentive to do so.  AAMOF, it's probably negative incentive for them to even consider DCS.

While it would have been great to have a single command system across the board in O-gauge, I've learned to live with reality.  The poor souls that rail against reality are just fooling themselves and working on an early ulcer.  It simply ain't gonna' happen.

Why in the world did anyone think Lionel was going to do anything with DCS? Seriously?  Lionel has Legacy and it works quite well with their trains.  MTH has DCS and it works well with theirs.  I never thought for a moment that Lionel would do anything with DCS.  MTH and Mike Wolf still own it and it is exclusive to them and their licensees.

I heard the comment and personally thought it was uncalled for and petty.  As far as control systems I am predominately Legacy but have DCS and use it and enjoy how it operates my DCS trains.  I think the 2 camps are silly.  We should be one camp who enjoy different control systems or both.  Our hobby is too small to be like this.

Let's be clear here, MTH has also made comments in the past about Legacy and TMCC so it's not all one sided which is a shame that these 2 companies even have to stoop that low.  As far as either one moving to a DCC standard that ship has sailed for anything made previously from Lionel.  Maybe in the future.  Flyers seem to be DCC capable.  Yes MTH did include this in PS3.

The last few days on this forum have been an embarrassment with the way some of these threads are going. The 2 camps nitpicking and making sly trolling comments.  Wow maybe Ryan is the least of the offenders.  This board was like this years ago and it seemed to have settled down for a long time but it seems like we have some new folks that want to make snide remarks just so they can bait people and boy do they take it.  Too bad.  Like I said we are too small of a hobby to bicker about how we enjoy running our trains.  Jeez be happy we still have O Gauge.

Last edited by MartyE
@SeptaTony posted:

Occasionally and especially recently with the purchase of MTH Tooling, I will come across posts hoping Lionel will integrate DCS into their locomotives.

For those of you with that dream, I am here to burst your bubble. At 47:57 in the latest Ryan and Dave show, Ryan Kunkle Director of Production at Lionel bragged about bringing 3 different control systems to the Rail King Genesis rather than the one "dying control system".

This not so veiled attack on DCS from a prominent higher-up at Lionel makes clear the company wants nothing to do with DCS – and likely never did. I have seen similar jabs in the past particularly with the star wiring required to operate DCS.

MTH did so much for this hobby, I wish Lionel officials had some more hubris. I don't know whether this is some machismo rivalry thing, but to me the comments are pompous and unnecessary.

If Lionel really wanted to kill DCS, Legacy would have been the operating system in Atlas for years. But something tells me Lionel didn't want that either. For me, I plan on continuing my use of DCS, and I raise my cup to cheer on its new life as its own company. What do you think?



S.T.,

You seem to be enjoying raining on someone's parade.  I say this because your posting contains a huge dose of drama.  However, I'm not sure that either side in this "war" is actually a party to it.

Owning a number of products from both manufacturers, and loving them, and being mostly satisfied with both DCS and TMCC/Legacy I have no vested interest in either side "winning".

From my vantage point then it looks a lot less dramatic.  I see simply benign tolerance, one for the other, being practiced on both sides.  With all due respect, are you sure that there's actually a real tussle underway and that it's worthy of the drama?

Mike

I'm like those who have already posted here, I can embrace any of the manufacturers and their products.  I started into command control with DCS, but later bought a refurbished TMCC base and controller from GunrunnerJohn even before I had a TMCC or Legacy engine.  Now I own one with TMCC, 2 with Legacy, and one to be upgraded to ERR.  I still like my DCS because I'm used to it and have about a dozen engines with PS2 or PS3, but TMCC/Legacy are nice too.  One thing nice about embracing both systems, If I'm invited to someone else's home or club, I can operated either system if they only have one.

I think this is long settled history and folks have made their choices to use one system, both or neither.  Nothing that happens in the next few years is likely to change this one iota.  Ryan was probably engaging in a little bit of humor, but with a nugget of truth.  DCS's future is less certain than it was when MTH was a full line, full speed ahead train company, so it's also a little marketing hype.  Hubris means excessive pride, so wishing Lionel to have more of this is probably not what was intended.  I think humility is the asked for quality and it's always in short supply in the world.

My take on Ryan's comment, having witnessed the train wars and control system conflicts of the last 20 years is this is pretty mild stuff and not to be taken too seriously.  Nothing Ryan or Lionel does or doesn't do is, in any case, going to affect the successful transition of DCS/PS3 to whatever is envisioned by the new company.  There is exactly zero chance Lionel would choose to install PS3 or PSx in its locos.  If MTH/DCS Is Us were to make their technology accessible to third parties, I'm sure Lionel would think about enabling TMCC/Legacy/LionChief to control PS3 and PS3 locos in command mode.  That hasn't happened in the first 20 years of DCS, but who knows. Stay calm and carry on.

Last edited by Landsteiner

S.T.,



From my vantage point then it looks a lot less dramatic.  I see simply benign tolerance, one for the other, being practiced on both sides.  With all due respect, are you sure that there's actually a real tussle underway and that it's worthy of the drama?

Mike

hey Mike,

No animus here. I run both legacy and dcs and think there’s good and bad in both.

Did you watch the clip?

The point of this post was to call out behavior I thought was really ugly.

@Rich Melvin posted:

I think it’s a shame that egos, corporate pride, and corporate greed have resulted in 3-rail operators being forced to use several different, unwieldy, and incompatible digital control systems. It’s a system of forced brand loyalty, and it is very short-sighted.

The HO scale manufacturers realized a long time ago that what was best for long term survival of everyone in the business was to adopt a standard digital control system (the NMRA Standard DCC System) across the board.

Sadly the die is now so firmly cast in three-rail that we’re stuck with systems that are loaded with silly gimmicks and far too many buttons on the controllers, but are very short on reliability, easy installation and basic functionality for just running trains.

100% agree we'd all be ahead if 20+ years ago Lionel and MTH just adopted the DCC standard every other scale uses. But 3 rail has to be special.

Also people complaining about the cost of having both systems are being a bit silly. 10 years ago the cost to have both Legacy and DCS on a layout would be about $550, so the price of one locomotive. When someone with 100 locomotives and a large layout complained about the "cost" of the other system it was basically a brand loyalty argument.

"100% agree we'd all be ahead if 20+ years ago Lionel and MTH just adopted the DCC standard every other scale uses. But 3 rail has to be special."

Some history for you young folks.  When TMCC was developed in the early to mid-1990s there was no DCC equipment on the market that could handle 5-10 amperes of current and it was hellaciously expensive. You needed multiple boosters to supply a layout because power and command signal are integrated with DCC. Not so with TMCC, which functioned independent of the power supplies and thus was much more cost effective and well suited to high current AC open frame motors as well as modern can motors.  Neil Young and the team developing TMCC wanted to make sure they could adapt 100 years of Lionel locos and their ancient technology to more modern command control.  Sure enough, at least two companies (Ed Bender's Train Brain and Bob Krivacic's Engineer on Board (EOB) marketed by Mike Reagan's Train America Studios) sold and installed aftermarket TMCC command modules for existing non-command locos.  A great success story.

At that time 1996-1999, Mike Wolf was dismissive of command control and said unflattering things about Lionel and TMCC.  Take my word for it or search the web.  Then he started losing sales and started developing PS2 and DCS, the latter of which arrived in 2002, the former in 2000.  At  that point, MTH apparently chose not to license TMCC, so it was MTH's call not to use TMCC, not Lionel's as far as is publicly known and they had many reasons for not doing so.  For much of the decade 1996-2006 MTH and Lionel were engaged in what might have been a life or death corporate struggle. No one won.  Lionel, for various reasons, probably mostly selfish, licensed TMCC, but not the later Legacy system. Atlas, K-Line, Weaver and 3rd Rail all chose to license TMCC in about 2002 or slightly later.

That's why and how we don't have DCC as the standard in 3 rail O gauge, not because of a conspiracy on the part of Lionel and MTH to annoy us . Firstly there were substantial technical and cost obstacles, and then there was intense corporate competition that made it unlikely that the two major players (Lionel and MTH) were going to co-operate in any way, shape or form.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@SeptaTony posted:

Occasionally and especially recently with the purchase of MTH Tooling, I will come across posts hoping Lionel will integrate DCS into their locomotives.

For those of you with that dream, I am here to burst your bubble. At 47:57 in the latest Ryan and Dave show, Ryan Kunkle Director of Production at Lionel bragged about bringing 3 different control systems to the Rail King Genesis rather than the one "dying control system".

This not so veiled attack on DCS from a prominent higher-up at Lionel makes clear the company wants nothing to do with DCS – and likely never did. I have seen similar jabs in the past particularly with the star wiring required to operate DCS.

MTH did so much for this hobby, I wish Lionel officials had some more hubris. I don't know whether this is some machismo rivalry thing, but to me the comments are pompous and unnecessary.

If Lionel really wanted to kill DCS, Legacy would have been the operating system in Atlas for years. But something tells me Lionel didn't want that either. For me, I plan on continuing my use of DCS, and I raise my cup to cheer on its new life as its own company. What do you think?



SEE THE DAVE AND RYAN SHOW HERE:

You asked for my opinion.  Here’s my opinion:

DCS has five years.  After that it will be gone. There will not be enough volume to support it.  Personally, I don’t care one way or the other.  I’m new to O scale.  Last year I was all set to buy MTH trains and then the announcement came. I’ve been in the manufacturing sector and understand what it means to wind down a business.  MTH has an obligation to supply parts for their products for 48 - 60 months after production.  After that period of time they are free to go their own way.  

Atlas cannot save DCS.  Atlas may not be able to save itself.  In 15 years, if current attrition rates remain the same there will be 60% fewer people participating in this hobby.  Lionel knows this, Mike W. knows this.  They may tell you otherwise but the market is shrinking year over year.  

This is my opinion and I stand by it but, I will not argue about it.

After seeing this video, I see no mention of  DCS. I'm not sure what the issue is. BTW, thank you OP for posting this video. 

BTW , check out Lionel's Facebook page. They have posted a short video to the song "I'm so excited." What is really cool is that the video has some great shots of Lionel 's new office space.  The office space looks new, very sharp, spacious, modern with touches of orange and blue.

@Rich Melvin posted:

I think it’s a shame that egos, corporate pride, and corporate greed have resulted in 3-rail operators being forced to use several different, unwieldy, and incompatible digital control systems. It’s a system of forced brand loyalty, and it is very short-sighted.

The HO scale manufacturers realized a long time ago that what was best for long term survival of everyone in the business was to adopt a standard digital control system (the NMRA Standard DCC System) across the board.

Sadly the die is now so firmly cast in three-rail that we’re stuck with systems that are loaded with silly gimmicks and far too many buttons on the controllers, but are very short on reliability, easy installation and basic functionality for just running trains.

Well said!

I have both systems and enjoy them both.  I do like Lionel's Cab-2 handheld better, but that is probably because I have large hands.

It took the HO community years to standardize on one system, and I believe it was more important in that scale because there were multiple competitive incompatible systems, not just two compatible systems.  Command Control was first developed in 1964, with multiple systems in use by 1978.  However, it wasn't until 1994 when they came up with the current DCC standard.  I believe one reason Lionel went their TMCC route was DCC couldn't handle the O gauge electrical requirements.

TMCC was around years before DCS, so why didn't MTH negotiate with Lionel for that system?  When DCS finally came out, TMCC was well established and for Lionel to move to DCS would have orphaned all their earlier stuff.  DCS looked great on paper, and that is why I bought it.  However, I find I only use maybe 25% of its capability.

You do need both systems if you want to run MTH and all the other manufacturers TMCC based trains.  My layout is TMCC controlled with the TIU connected to run DCS engines.  I do need both handhelds because MTH never released its code.  Those of you with MTH controlled layouts are a little better off because you can control Lionel trains though the DCS handheld (thank Lionel for that).

I use to do bicycle club races and the animosity between those that used the Campagnolo components and those that used Shimano components was unreal, and it is the same here.  And it is just not DCS vs TMCC, it is MTH vs Lionel.  Some of you picked a side and will never change.  And I haven't even added in the conventional worshipers.

We have two compatible systems (three if you count conventional), and it is not going to change.  Your complaining has not changed anything in 20 years and it will not now.  Pick one and stay with it, or go with both like many have.  Then enjoy the hobby.

Last edited by CAPPilot
@Landsteiner posted:

"The point of this post was to call out behavior I thought was really ugly."

Consider yourself fortunate that you didn't have to read the advertising copy or lawsuits of yesteryear (broadly speaking between 1996 or so and say about 2008).  This is a walk in the park with close friends by comparison .

Thank you for putting this into perspective, I’m glad to hear things have improved. @MartyE mentioned mth folks has said similar things in the past. I had no idea, but I’d like to think I would have disapproved.

I actually didn’t expect this post to blow up like this. Nor am I “trolling” anyone. I own equally as much Lionel as I do MTH. I’m glad there are any options at all.  The video just rubbed me the wrong way.

Egos? Corporate pride?  Corporate greed?  I’m not trying to be argumentative, but those are some very pointed and personal accusations (these weren’t mega companies - they were closely held - such accusations clearly attach to readily identifiable people, not “faceless corporations”). Are you sure a universal solution for all scales was turn-key for O gauge in the early ‘90s and was shunned purely for such nefarious reasons?  Maybe so, I wasn’t around until much later, but the guys leading the companies at the time seem to be remembered more fondly than as you suggest. Again, not being argumentative, just surprised to hear this take. I always understood it to be a Beta vs VHS thing.

Last edited by Rider Sandman
@SeptaTony posted:

Thank you for putting this into perspective, I’m glad to hear things have improved. @MartyE mentioned mth folks has said similar things in the past. I had no idea, but I’d like to think I would have disapproved.


Of course, as would any reasonable person.  Both technologies have their pros and cons, thank heavens they operate alongside one another reasonably well.  There’s no room for bashing by the manufacturers, it will just alienate 50% (roughly) of their customers.

I actually didn’t expect this post to blow up like this. Nor am I “trolling” anyone. I own equally as much Lionel as I do MTH. I’m glad there are any options at all.  The video just rubbed me the wrong way.

Same here.  I own and operate both brands and both control systems.  I like them both and I like both brands.  But that isn’t going to stop me from calling a spade a spade when MTH releases a Military themed item in lime green or when Lionel paints a steam engine pastel green.

@SeptaTony posted:

Thank you for putting this into perspective, I’m glad to hear things have improved. @MartyE mentioned mth folks has said similar things in the past. I had no idea, but I’d like to think I would have disapproved.

I actually didn’t expect this post to blow up like this. Nor am I “trolling” anyone. I own equally as much Lionel as I do MTH. I’m glad there are any options at all.  The video just rubbed me the wrong way.

Tony my comment weren’t aimed at you. The last few days though have been an uptick in folks just trying to get a rise out of people.

@CAPPilot posted:

I have both systems and enjoy them both.  I do like Lionel's Cab-2 handheld better, but that is probably because I have large hands.

It took the HO community years to standardize on one system, and I believe it was more important in that scale because there were multiple competitive incompatible systems, not just two compatible systems.  Command Control was first developed in 1964, with multiple systems in use by 1978.  However, it wasn't until 1994 when they came up with the current DCC standard.  I believe one reason Lionel went their TMCC route was DCC couldn't handle the O gauge electrical requirements.

TMCC was around years before DCS, so why didn't MTH negotiate with Lionel for that system?  When DCS finally came out, TMCC was well established and for Lionel to move to DCS would have orphaned all their earlier stuff.  DCS looked great on paper, and that is why I bought it.  However, I find I only use maybe 25% of its capability.

You do need both systems if you want to run MTH and all the other manufacturers TMCC based trains.  My layout is TMCC controlled with the TIU connected to run DCS engines.  I do need both handhelds because MTH never released its code.  Those of you with MTH controlled layouts are a little better off because you can control Lionel trains though the DCS handheld (thank Lionel for that).

I use to do bicycle club races and the animosity between those that used the Campagnolo components and those that used Shimano components was unreal, and it is the same here.  And it is just not DCS vs TMCC, it is MTH vs Lionel.  Some of you picked a side and will never change.  And I haven't even added in the conventional worshipers.

We have two compatible systems (three if you count conventional), and it is not going to change.  Your complaining has not changed anything in 20 years and it will not now.  Pick one and stay with it, or go with both like many have.  Then enjoy the hobby.

I’m excited that Lionel will be making some the former MTH locomotives.  I have avoided buying them because the company is going away and I wasn’t going to invest $300-400 on a DCS (dying control system) just to run a couple of locomotives.  Now those locomotives I wanted may be coming with LionChief Plus 2.0, which has 99% of what legacy can do in a smaller non-scale format.  

@RixTrack posted:

You asked for my opinion.  Here’s my opinion:

DCS has five years.  After that it will be gone. There will not be enough volume to support it.  Personally, I don’t care one way or the other.  I’m new to O scale.  Last year I was all set to buy MTH trains and then the announcement came. I’ve been in the manufacturing sector and understand what it means to wind down a business.  MTH has an obligation to supply parts for their products for 48 - 60 months after production.  After that period of time they are free to go their own way.  

Atlas cannot save DCS.  Atlas may not be able to save itself.  In 15 years, if current attrition rates remain the same there will be 60% fewer people participating in this hobby.  Lionel knows this, Mike W. knows this.  They may tell you otherwise but the market is shrinking year over year.  

This is my opinion and I stand by it but, I will not argue about it.

Well said from a neutral perspective. As for Ryan of Lionel: It’s safe to say that he has a better feel for where the O gauge market is right now and where it is going than 99% of OGR posters. If Ryan felt comfortable saying it in a public setting, it’s because he believes it to be true.  

I use both DCS and Legacy.  IMO DCS is way better, and I run my Lionel trains with it most of the time.  To hear the Lionel folks make such arrogant comments, ****es me off.  Lionel has more than 3 ways to run their trains now, which are incompatible and down right stupid.  They should not be throwing stones in a glass house.  Maybe Lionel should try to figure out a way to make $2000 engines work when you open the box for the first time.  That would be more productive.

I use both DCS and Legacy/TMCC.  I find that Legacy is much easier to setup and use on both my home layout and on my club's layout than DCS.  Legacy/TMCC is also more reliable on my layouts.

I can't tell you how many times I get the dreaded "engine not found" or "engine not on track" DCS messages.  "Engine not on track" is especially frustrating because the engine is sitting on the track right in front of me.  Both my club layout and home layouts are star wired for DCS and I use BCRs in all my PS-2 engines.  

I applaud people that have great success using DCS but that isn't me.  Legacy/TMCC engines sometimes have problems.  I can usually trace those problems to a poor antenna or ground that I can fix.  When a DCS engine is "not found", however, I have no clue how to fix it.  My locomotive fleet is about half Legacy/TMCC and half DCS.    

I wish that the 3-rail community had a standard command control system that was used by all the manufacturers.  NH Joe

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