THE LCS THREAD - Post LCS Questions, Info and Updates HERE

here are some specific to the iPad app and the layout sketching feature.

 

obviously, i don't have the WiFi module yet, but i have been fooling around with the layout sketching feature.  it is unclear to me how to get it to expand beyond one page.  does it?  does it expand only horizontally or will it expand vertically, too?  is there a size limitation to the sketching feature?  ideally, i would like to be able to draw my entire layout.  is that feasible?

 

ah, discovered that once i saved a sketch, i had another page available to the right (horizontal).  what about vertical??

Fabulous Forrest at the Brewer Ave & Pacific RR 

My wish list/feedback so far:

1) It would be nice if there was a way to select your layout or sections of track so you could move them as one piece. I had to restart my layout a couple of times because I underestimated the placement of some pieces. A possible solution would be a two finger double tap to select a set of connected pieces and using a two finger movement to reposition them.

2) How will accessories be handled? I'm thinking of those which have their own dedicated controllers such as the AEC Reactor and Gantry crane. 

3) Will there be any ability to run MTH DCS locomotives? I imagine this would be a REALLY low priority but would be nice for those of us who have both brands. 

4) Not entirely LCS related but it would be nice if there were a fill in the blank/drop down menu TurboTax type of webpage where new users unfamiliar with digital trains could input what we have/plan to buy and get a single list of what equipment we'll need to convert from conventional to digital. It can be confusing figuring out exactly what gear you need to run all your trains, switches and accessories. 

5) Separate track piece icons for uncoupling and operating tracks. 

My layout is 5x10. Currently I have 4 remote switches, 2 uncoupling tracks, 2 operating tracks. Expanding it to 8 switches soon with 1-2 additional uncoupling tracks. It's pretty compact but with the LCS app as is you need to be pretty mindful of where you place things if you want it to end up centered on your screen. SCARM has a feature where you can double click and it will highlight all connected sections of tracks so you can move them as one piece. Very handy. 

Thanks Rich for the "LCS thread"!

 

Forrest, some thoughts to your comments:

You can only scroll horizontally.   The concept we have is to create "Action Centers" that represent areas of the layout being controlled, not necessarily the entire layout.  We have seen folks capture their entire layout on one screen view; and those layouts typically were 12 x 16 at most. 

 

We are considering pan and zoom functionality, but just not right now.  The focus in our development group is to get you the WiFi hardware and add accessory controls.  The awesome video Rudy just released, gives a glimpse into the method we are planning to control accessories.  When we finish the Lionel AMC/ARC products (Crane, Log Loader, Culvert loader/unloader) we will add more generic controls for ElectricRR aftermarket accessory upgrades. 

 

You won't be successful to use the LCS app as a track planning tool, the LCS design is not 0-36 or any other scale.  If you compare a design that creates a fixed geometry, such as a reversing loop in LCS; the count of track segments in LCS won't match what Fastrack actually requires.  In order to give the user as much presentation on the limited real estate we created our own scale in the LCS app.

 

I realize editing the track plan in LCS could be improved, we will listen to feedback from the forumites and folks in our test group, and make improvements.  The best advice I can give for the current editor is - it can be fun, and it is a one time event!  Enjoy the process.

 

Thanks to all for the feedback and questions, more videos will be forthcoming to help explain how to get the most from the LCS app; and how it ties into the Lionel ecosystem.  Our layout related products are coming along nicely and will enhance your train running experience!

 

jon

Past Head of Engineering at Lionel LLC (2006-2017)

At 3:45 on the LionelEngineering LCS Intro Video the slide says:

 

Run it from:

  iPad LCS App

  Lionel Remotes

  3rd party Apps

 

Rudy says "New products coming from 3rd party developers"

 

  • Does this mean Lionel is going to open up the Legacy spec to others?
  • What and when might we see from 3rd parties?

 

 

The possibilities seem they could be unlimited.  Could it be possible to transfer your layout from previously drawn plans from other vendors like RR Track, or other graphical software.

Will you be limited to only Lionel track and switches.  What is the size limitation. What is the layer limitations.  Is the WIFI module available?  I would assume it will have a kill switch.  Is there a tutorial available?  Probably way too soon to know the answers.

Buzz

Jon, another quick question. Can the new lcs control boxes be used in a modular environment like the new lionel modular set up at the shows. Assuming one uses the proper connectors at both modular table ends. My thought is the boxes would be mounted under the table for switch and or accs. Control on any given module. Then home layouts could be built to be moved so as to not have to lose what one has invested in time and construction. Not to mention track and various lcs components. I plan to design my layout to have the look and portability just like tw designs builds. I love how there layouts look. Roger is top notch down there in dallas! Thanks!
Originally Posted by Lionelzwl2012:
Jon, another quick question. Can the new lcs control boxes be used in a modular environment like the new lionel modular set up at the shows. Assuming one uses the proper connectors at both modular table ends. My thought is the boxes would be mounted under the table for switch and or accs. Control on any given module. Then home layouts could be built to be moved so as to not have to lose what one has invested in time and construction. Not to mention track and various lcs components. I plan to design my layout to have the look and portability just like tw designs builds. I love how there layouts look. Roger is top notch down there in dallas! Thanks!

I believe so.   The modules plug together, no screw terminals or remembering what color wire is what!  And you could cut the cable between the plugs as long as you keep the cable wires properly connected.

 

The LCS module interconnect (PDI bus) has: 9VDC @ 1.5A, Common, Serial TX, Serial RX, Allocate signal.  The RX/TX baud rate is 115k.  The 9VDC power supply can be augmented in long chains of LCS modules on larger layouts.  (once you have about ~25 modules, in addition to ~25 IR sensors you need to have more juice!). 

 

 

 

 

 

jon

Past Head of Engineering at Lionel LLC (2006-2017)

Jon

 

This is awful (grin).  I am a prewar guy!  Now it looks as though I am going to be pulled into the 21st Century.  This looks like awesome stuff.  My HO club was DCC but using the switches from the handhelds was too difficult so we used conventional toggle switches.  This looks like a winner.  Well done!  I look forward to seeing a Demo at York

 

Al Galli

Jon:

 

If you're crunched for resources you should look into doing an internship or co-op with Computer Science department at your local university. I've done this with several small companies and it's a win-win for both parties. You get an affordable (or even free!) resource and the students get valuable job experience that will make them stand out to employers come graduation time. Students - at least the smart ones - are clamoring for internships these days. 

Thanks jon, very usefull info. How far along are the lcs boxes? Amc2 asc2 ect. Are they in production and planed for sale by middle of next year. If this info is company secretive until launch I understand. Thanks again! I used to get frustrated when I could not afford the latest engine or control pieces. Now I am glad I had to wait. Looks as though my train money will be spent on new lcs/legacy components. Can't wait to get these new toys!

The IR sensor track is in production, delivery is hard to call, but I hope within a couple of months.  Don't quote me on that - I don't track production that closely, but I am hopeful...

 

The WiFi is about to enter production.  The ASC2 right behind it.  The AMC2 - I am still designing this one, but I hope to have a design ready by year end.

 

The most important is the WiFi module, IMHO; as the LCS app needs the module.  I am working on an early access program to get a limited supply of WiFi modules available.  More on how to participate within the next 30 days...

jon

Past Head of Engineering at Lionel LLC (2006-2017)

Jon, if we have things like fasttrack tmcc switches and the gantry crane with tmcc or any lionel accsessory with tmcc built in. These do not need the asc2 and amc2 correct? They already communicate with the legacy base right. Thew new control boxes basically handle the same functions as there icc counterparts right.motor control, switch control,ect. Just with new terminals. As for the dat and com cables they have been replace correct. now the boxes will use the wifi signal to communicate with the legacy base am I right on this one?

Lionelzwl2012, you basically have it correct in your understanding.  There are some exceptions though, which I will try and explain. 

 

The original BPC and ASC, etc, have very complicated commands (by button presses) from the cab1, which was all that existed when those products were designed.  The Legacy system takes a different approach to control, for example you can get throttle commands on ACC IDs. 

 

As such, the LCS iPad app will not send the correct command sequences to the BPC, ASC, etc.  With the Serial interface (SER2) you will still be able to use the older tech with the cabs, but the iPad may not support them directly.

 

This is why we had to create the ASC2, BPC2, TPC2, AMC2, etc.  The newer Legacy commands make for a nicer user experience, and the LCS iPad will leverage this new capability.  An exception is the switches (TMCC capable); these use a simplified command sequence and are system wide compatible.  

 

I realize that some folks may be quite unhappy that some of the older ICC controls boxes won't be supported under LCS.   The problem goes quite deep, even the ICC controls boxes don't have consistency!  Pick an older BPC (pre Lionel) and the BPC of current design, and they operate differently.  With time, we may be able to support them by configuration on the LCS iPad app.  For now, some limits are going to exist.

 

jon

Past Head of Engineering at Lionel LLC (2006-2017)

Originally Posted by Chris Lord:

 

Rudy says "New products coming from 3rd party developers"

 

  • Does this mean Lionel is going to open up the Legacy spec to others?
  • What and when might we see from 3rd parties?

 

 

 

If I understood Jon correctly at York last year, Legacy commands cannot be sent through the comm port of the base and the chip that supports it. Perhaps the 3rd party apps will be TMCC only or DCC

I actually thought the DCC mention was intersint. I know the AF Legacy engines support DCC, but so far the O-Gauge engines do not

 

-Chris

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