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As I was trying to get my MTH caboose with lantern-waving figure to activate and work, which I could not figure how to do with DCS (evidently it needs an operating track section) I thought "why the heck can't MTH and Lionel make moving figures work in various applications? The first answer I thought of, well, they struggle to get things made and fixed. But wait, some people say there are no QC issues, so maybe my QC experiences are isolated.

So why not? Is it too challenging to engineer? Wouldn't moving figures in various applications attract more people to the hobby, and more importantly, be fun for us train nuts .

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This case is not a QC issue, but a design/cost issue. Making an accessory operate mechanically is relatively inexpensive (e.g., an operating track section--basically a solenoid or motor in the accessory in many cases).  Getting an accessory to operate using command mode DCS or TMCC/Legacy requires a radio receiver and additional circuitry, etc. in addition to the motor/solenoid, which is comparatively expensive.  That's why Lionel command control accessories run at least $100 more than similar conventional accessories.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@Paul Kallus posted:

As I was trying to get my MTH caboose with lantern-waving figure to activate and work, which I could not figure how to do with DCS (evidently it needs an operating track section) I thought "why the heck can't MTH and Lionel make moving figures work in various applications? The first answer I thought of, well, they struggle to get things made and fixed. But wait, some people say there are no QC issues, so maybe my QC experiences are isolated.

So why not? Is it too challenging to engineer? Wouldn't moving figures in various applications attract more people to the hobby, and more importantly, be fun for us train nuts .

Paul, I think it may be a matter of what you're looking to model on your layout.

Personally, I've always been fascinated with scale animations, in part because of the "shock value" to the observers of seeing something that is typically just a static display momentarily come to life and simulate activity. In fact, my latest project is an animation showcase of sorts, using a variety of veteran animated displays (most of which had issues, hence were relatively inexpensive!) which I am in the process of repairing and/or enhancing:

Waiting in the wings for repair and/or installation are an animated tree swing, a moving hot air balloon ride (which will span my two layouts), and an animated refueling station. So far, all of the animation is on the layout rather than the rolling stock, and since almost all of my rolling stock is pre- or postwar conventional, I haven't even tried to tackle the questions you raise, but the obvious issues with providing power and control signals to equipment within the space constraints posed by rolling stock interiors (moving around the layout, to boot!) would IMHO pose significant (but probably not insurmountable) challenges, whether to the OEM or the hobbyist tinkerers, like us. Good luck, in any event!

"When Lionel TMCC first came out wasn't there a module to operate conventional operating accessories?  Why must each accessory be "smart"?  Why not send a signal to a module that would turn the accessory on and off?"

Yes, the Switch and Accessory controller

https://www.lionel.com/product...-controller-6-22980/

Don't think it would easily operate a functioning car however, but works for trackside accessories, or anything that can be wired for separate power from the track.

MTH made (?makes) a similar device that works with the TIU called an AIU.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@Paul Kallus posted:

As I was trying to get my MTH caboose with lantern-waving figure to activate and work, which I could not figure how to do with DCS (evidently it needs an operating track section) I thought "why the heck can't MTH and Lionel make moving figures work in various applications? The first answer I thought of, well, they struggle to get things made and fixed. But wait, some people say there are no QC issues, so maybe my QC experiences are isolated.

So why not? Is it too challenging to engineer? Wouldn't moving figures in various applications attract more people to the hobby, and more importantly, be fun for us train nuts .

As L.S. points out you need a receiver that works with your particular Command system. TMCC/Legacy or DCS. Lionel and ERR used to offer them with their RxLC and mini commanders. Now no more except for ERR’s R4LC. Not sure MTH ever offered a compact device for simple functions. Most all DCC decoders can do that though. You can get RF transmitters and receivers to do that but it would be a separate control device either handheld or phone/tablet.



Pete

Last edited by Norton

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