Skip to main content

With black friday sales coming, can you replace the boards to get legacy so I can run these 2-8-4 berkshires from my DCC system. Has anyone done this yet, has anyone considered it yet. I can replace the wheel sets on the tender, forward and trailing trucks with scale wheels. With the two middle drivers flat, could you shave down the front and rear drivers just enough to go through scale switches. I have a love for Berkshire engines even though the Lackawanna never had any, but I want five of these steam engines with legacy sound. What is your thoughts, I can pick up two flyer chief engines for the price of one legacy. I would think all you have to do is change the boards, the road names are coming off so I can make my own railroad on just the steam engines. 

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I think it's going to involve a bit more than changing the boards.  In any case, I thought the Flyer Legacy boards already did DCC.  What models are you talking about, the basic Lionchief type electronics?  If so, it would involve a WHOLE lot more to graft the Legacy board package in!

When you ask questions like this, I have the same 'ol request, exact model numbers please!

If you want to run the S gauge Berkshire with DCC by far the easiest and most likely cheapest way is to buy the Legacy version. It will run DCC out of the box. I have a Flyerchief Berk, did not care for it, so it was converted to TMCC using ERR boards along with a lot of separate parts. It does not run on DCC. FlyerChief uses a wired connector between the engine and tender, TMCC and Legacy use wireless. The cost of the conversion to TMCC was more than the difference in cost between the FlyerChief and Legacy engines. I am reasonably certain all the Legacy components are not available from Lionel to do a full Legacy conversion of a FlyerChief engine.

@Norton posted:

As someone with no experience with DCC, if you plan to run it with DCC why not just install DCC? Hard to believe Legacy is less expensive.


I got the answers I was looking for, I just thought that I could unplug the chief boards and plug in the legacy boards. But that is not the case, and to install DCC sound decoder to keep the smoke unit is not cost effective or cheaper than just buying the legacy berkshire.

Thanks for all of your responses.

I know you have your answers, but for further info, Legacy boards are not sold to the public. Secondly, you would be very disappointed if you bought a Flyerchief Berk converted it to DCC and then compared it to a Legacy Berk. Legacy Berks are fantastically detailed scale models (except the flanges of course) while Flyerchief locos are at the toy end of the spectrum. As always, this is no criticism of Flyerchief fans, but rather trying to match products with what Pete has stated about the type of railroading he is interested in.

@Norton posted:

Lionel has been selling their Legacy boards for a few years now. Actually started selling their first generation boards nearly ten years ago

Well that is very interesting to say the least. When I first came into the hobby a few years ago, I fell in love with Legacy and immediately started exploring how I could customize non-Legacy S scale locos to add this functionality. I was told consistently by several experts that you could install ERR's TMCC boards, but that Legacy boards were not available for custom installations. I then did many TMCC installations in non-Lionel locos. Over time, I tired of the limits of TMCC and the small selection of railsounds boards and switched to doing DCC customizations. In that time, I have never read or heard mention of anyone selling Legacy boards or of anyone doing a Legacy custom install. In fact to the contrary, I saw the market go crazy when ERR closed its doors and we almost lost the ability to buy TMCC boards. I can't imagine why people would have cared about losing access to TMCC boards for custom installs if Legacy boards are readily available for such.

I would love to know more. After reading your post I ran several searches on OGR, on Lionel support/replacement parts page as well as broad Google searches, but found nothing. Can you give me any other leads such as the name of a dealer who sells them or the name of anyone who has custom installed a Legacy board?

Last edited by Chuck K

You can get the boards directly from Lionel. The website is Replacement parts.

There are 3 generations of Legacy and apparently the newest releases have a 4th generation but not much information about those yet.

1st generation around 2008 used a R4LC and DCDS with Railsounds 5.5. Boards look identical to Odyssey but with different code.

2nd generation is RCMC with Railsounds 6 or Railsounds Lite.

Then RCDR and BEMC  with Railsounds Lite which I believe is what is used in Flyer as well as some O scale. I have not worked on any Flyer so someone else will have to confirm.

Search the forum on Legacy Upgrades for threads on doing this. Examples of all three generations are described.

Keep in mind there are no kits and minimal information on wiring the boards. You will have make all of your own wiring harnesses. Had you inquired a few weeks ago you could have gotten the parts at half price. Now you have to wait another year to get that deal.


One correction, I don't believe Railsounds 6 was used with the RCMC.  The RCMC changed the serial protocol for talking to the sound card and the sound card also had any "memory" removed.  Things like the bell function are controlled for each ding from the RCMC as opposed to just starting and stopping the bell with a serial command.  This information came from Jon Z., the designer of the RCMC, so I'm pretty sure it's accurate.  This is also why you can't get the new RS-Lite Legacy sound cards working with the older Legacy R4LC board.  Try swapping Legacy tenders from newer RCMC equipped Legacy engines with older tenders from the pre-RCMC equipped engines, you'll see that while many functions work, others don't.

Interesting Pete, I wonder if they did special code to support it.  I know I can take my RS6 equipped Legacy T1 Duplex tender and try to use it with any newer locomotive with the RCMC and it doesn't function properly.  That's specifically what I was asking Jon about when he described the changes in the RCMC operation over the R4LC for early Legacy.

While that combination may be customized to work, I wouldn't take it to the bank that you can use RS6 with the RCMC as a general rule.

@Norton posted:

Well I do know a Railsounds 6 board won't work with a Legacy R4LC. I suspect if you find a Railsounds 6 board it would have to be driven with an RCMC. Sounds like a RCDR wouldn't work either. I haven't come across too many engines with RS6 boards anyway.


Pete, you know something that Lionel doesn't know!  I have the Legacy Lionmaster T1 Duplex, it has a RailSounds 6 board and the Legacy RCDR.  That's the tender I was doing the experiments with.

Legacy LionMaster PRR T-1 Duplex 4-4-4-4 #5511 Parts Breakdown

While it works with the RCDR, it doesn't work with the RCMC equipped locomotives, I tried a few.  However, I am able to take the T1 Duplex tender and using a Legacy R4LC-C03 in my test board feeding the optical link to the tender, I can drive it and get all the sounds properly rendered.

I don't pretend to know all the in's and out's of the compatibility, much of this stuff is discovered by tinkering with various combinations.

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.