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So, I'm trying to get into DCS for cheap as I will only have a few engines for a long time, thinking of using the DCS Commander which can store 10 engines.

I think it outputs DC power, so can only run PS2/PS3 and I have a couple of questions.

1. Can it be powered with the brick from a z1000?

2. Will lighted passenger cars work fine on it without being damaged? E.G. ex MTH Madison cars from Atlas?

I am still relatively new to the hobby and would appreciate the help, thanks!

Last edited by NorthEastTrainFan
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Yes, can be powered with AC, however- note, short circuit protection can be better or worse with some transforrmers.

Lighted passenger cars work fine.

Note- this may be an entry level device and that's the problem- limitations. The App self limits what functions work with DCS explorer and beyond the 3 engine limit. Highly suggest you understand the app does not allow upgrade license features compared to a full blown WIU and TIU or WTIU.

OK, i have that version too ad it is limited.

Yes, can be powered with AC, (example Z brick) but rectified to DC for output.

Many Lionel items are AC- especially certain sound cars, even new ones. A normal LED or incandescent car lighting should be fine.

Has not had a firmware update for a very long time. Many newer MTH features thus are not in the firmware.

Cannot do lashups (MU)

Very current limited

Basically his was designed for HO, and then more or less dropped and no support. It feels like very early and thus limited version of DCS before more features got added. zI generally would no recommend this for O scale and eventually the function limitations and lack of support or firmware updates may not give you every command or setting access especially in certain more recent engines with more features.

Last edited by Vernon Barry


The commander works by plugging in your power supply to the appropriate Input connections on the back of the unit. Variable inputs (both AC and DC) can be used with any AC or DC transformer. Fixed inputs from enclosed power supplies (like the “brick” found in M.T.H. Z750 and Z1000 transformers) can also be used by plugging the brick’s barrel connector into the Input barrel connector port

Another option for DCS on a budget is the Remote Commander. You can only control one engine at a time but it gives you the basic functions with a wireless remote control.

2021-05-14 15.14.572021-07-09 14.40.10

It was made for ready-to-run sets with the power going from a Z-750, 1000 brick, through the RC to the track. Mine is wired in "passive mode" which means the two wires are connected to the track and the RC gets powered without transformer power needing to run through it. The remote is line of sight to the RC so I mounted it to the front of my layout.



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  • 2021-05-14 15.14.57
  • 2021-07-09 14.40.10
Last edited by RSJB18


Most of the locos in my modest collection are Lionel, but I own ONE MTH loco with PS-3. I installed a REMOTE COMMANDER as the cheapest way to provide control of that MTH loco.  It works OK, but I must be aware of the line-of-sight aspect. My layout is an L-shaped platform (15 x 19 feet) in an L-shaped room. There are locations where line-of-sight isn't possible, so I just move to another place in the room.  Somewhat inconvenient, but do-able.

The MTH REMOTE COMMANDER system isn't immediately responsive to commands like Lionel's TMCC, but it is what it is ... a bargain basement system -- affordable and good enough for me.

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394

I used it for quite a few years on a 5x10 layout.  I was very happy with it.  I only ran 1 train at a time.  I liked how simple it was to use.

I now have the full DCS system but use very little of all that it has to offer.   I probably enjoy working on the layout as much as running trains.  I think I would still be pretty content with the Commander.

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