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Once again I preface this post with an apology if it has been discussed already, as I searched but did not find any posts:

The only train I have is a Lionel Legacy R-27 subway set, with the 990 remote controller and Legacy Powerhouse. I don't have an O gauge transformer. I just acquired an MTH R-1 subway set, and I don't want to do anything that will fry its electronics. Can the R-1 be run like a Legacy set? I'm afraid to put the R-1 on the track and power it up with the Legacy controller only to see smoke pour out of the set (and not the "good" smoke, either!)

If it has to be run in "conventional" mode, can I do that with the Legacy remote? Or do I have to buy a transformer?  I am still a complete newbie with respect to O gauge three rail. Thank you for any advice.

Last edited by West Side Joe
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WSJ -  IMO You have 2 options:

1. a DCS Remote Commander in order to run the subway off the brick. I assume you do not want to go full blown DCS, which would give you access to the neat features of the set. Word of warning on using the Remote Commander - if the engine is not at a factory zero setting, it will not respond to the Remote Commander. Needs to be reset with DCS. I have never been successful with the transformer button sequences - of course since you don't have one this is a mute point.

2. pick up a Z1000 set (or Z750) as an alternative to give transformer control. Will allow you to run post-war engines.  Looks like this is the lowest cost option below $100.

Lionel controls are not backward compatible with DCS, although it is possible to control Lionel engines through a Lionel base and the MTH TIU and DCS app. (not full featured however)

UPDATE:  forgot about the legacy powermaster option - that you be your best option - cost seems to be even with the Z and you stay with your Lionel system.  

Last edited by ScoutingDad

The legacy controller will not run the R1 since it uses dcs. To run the R1 conventionally, you will need a legacy powermaster and feed 18v into it. The legacy power master is addressed by the legacy base unit and can vary the track voltage to allow conventional running. 

What are using as a power supply for the current engine you had? What powers the 990 system?Legacy requires constant 18v on the did you get power to the track? If you go the legacy powermaster route, you will have to make sure that the 18v constant voltage source is not on. You could prob wire the power source to the legacy powermaster and when not running conventional, just keep the output power at 18v on the power master.

Yes. This is what I have. A Legacy 180W Powerhouse, a Legacy Powermaster and a Legacy Base. Thank you for that reference to the manual. So it seems I shouldn't have to change anything in my current control / power setup.

I'm sure I'll find the answer to one more question in the manual, but I'll ask it here anyway: do I need to set the CMD / Conventional switch on the Powermaster to Conventional before running the R-1?

Last edited by West Side Joe

OK, the MTH R1 is on the track. Here is my setup: Legacy Powermaster, CMD/Conv switch set to "Conv", Legacy Cab2 controller. I turn on everything, call up the Powermaster on the Cab2, and press Aux1  9 per the Powermaster manual on page 20. This turns on the track power and the R1's lights and sounds. I can control some features like the couplers and the horn. But as soon as I press the Cab2's direction control or the big red speed control knob, the track power turns off.

After starting the track power, I also tried calling up an unassigned engine number, at which point the Cab2 displayed "CAB1 Mode" on the display. But then there was no response from pressing the direction or speed controls.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Last edited by West Side Joe

Well, I feel like such an idiot. I finally figured out how to control the R1.  Ramping up the voltage sufficiently, stopping, going into neutral, reversing direction, alternating between the train brake and the throttle, it's so totally different from what I'm used to with analogue DC control.

I'm sure that with DCS the R1 runs as smoothly as the R27 does with Legacy. With conventional control it runs OK.  And the station sounds are positively charming.

Sorry to have been so ignorant as to how AC works. It's been about 62 years since I had a conventional control Lionel train! Thanks for bearing with me.

Last edited by West Side Joe

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