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I'm a bit of a newbie. I started last year with a Lionel Mickey's Christmas O-Gauge. This year I added a second loop with a Berkshire this year. The second loop is connected to the first loop with 4 switches. I have the remote switches but it still requires you to be on the floor to switch them. I was thinking of moving to wifi control next year but wanted to see if anybody else had any experience with running the LCS on WiFi.

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If you have a Legacy base and the LCS WiFi module, then the Lionel LCS App on an iPad works great.  (the App will run on just about all iPads).  You build a representation of your layout in the App and the switches throw with a touch on the screen.

Now for the spoiler ... you are adding Legacy control but the Mickey's train set will not receive commands from the Legacy base.  The Berkshire might, if it is a "Lionchief Plus 2.0" model.

The Legacy + LCS WiFi is a pricey step up in layout control.  If you can accept wireless vs. WiFi control, the original TMCC Command Base  or 1L base will control switches from their hand-held remotes.

Note that Fastrack switches come in two versions: "Command" remote switches that receive TMCC commands with no additional parts and wiring needed; and earlier remote switches that will need an additional switch controller (the LCS ASC2 or SW-2) wired to the switches.  For a floor layout, I would convert to the "Command" version of the switch and avoid a mess of wires.

There have been OGRForum discussions in the past months on using inexpensive wireless relay controllers for accessories and switches.  There are Bluetooth controlled relays too.   If your switches are the non-command versions, the relays may be a solution for throwing the switches without spending a lot.

But getting back to the WiFi ... the LCS App is fun to use and if the Legacy Base and LCS WiFi are within your budget limits, go for it.

I found the LCS either using the iPad or Cab 2 works great.  I have Legacy, the WiFi module, the ASC2 module for one of my older switches, and 3 command switches .  I also have the STM2 to display the switch position on the iPad.  When using the iPad to fire the routes as shown in the video it seems to be a fixed quick throw.  The Cab 2 I can delay the throw of each switch.  I found both the ASC2 and the command switches are very responsive.  I can fire them in routes or individually.

The first video is a route thrown from the iPad, the second from the Cab2.  Notice the difference in throw rate.  I've setup several routes to throw so I can run inner or outer loops and different sidings.  All the switches align properly to each scenario.  The last video is a route thrown again from Cab2 but you can actually see the switch throw plus the LCS modules processing the commands.  Ignore the dryer sounds LOL!  If you have any other questions I'll do my best to answer.

Last edited by MartyE

My Mickey Train is a LionChief train. So it has its own remote or can be controlled by the app. control by the App is superior in many ways but obviously the handheld is nice because you just pick it up and go.

The Berkshire is a new LionChief 2.0 locomotive (2019 catalog new). It didn't come with a remote so we just use the app.

The LCS app or Cab controllers (mind you I have no firsthand experience) don't seem to me to add much in terms of control for my setup. Obviously it can't control my Mickey train and most of what LCS can do can be done in the LionChief Bluetooth app.

From reading the documentation it does appear the WiFI module can be used to control the switches on the track without any other command controllers (i.e. legacy, 1L). I would still need the ASC2 and STM boxes. Obviously the downside is that adding wifi capability just for switches is going to cost about $400. I would like to know if that setup works and while the manual seems to say it does, Lionel isn't very clear about much of this stuff.

The other problem I have is that I'm on the floor with my setup. Running wires is difficult. I wound up drilling holes in the sides of a couple straight pieces of fastrack so I could run the switch cables underneath them to the inside of the track.

Here's my setup. Still working on the snow. (need to put it down first next time).


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Videos (1)

The 6-81499 LCS Power Supply with DB9 Cable serves two purposes:
- it provides 12v DC power to the PDI bus, and
- it connects the PDI serial communication channels to the Legacy Base's Y cable (IIRC this is a non-standard pinout).  (If no one can post the pinouts, I'll get to that later today).

This thread discusses use of Lionel's PDI cable Joiner to inject power into the PDI bus and the cable pinouts I used before the Lionel part was available.

You can use WiFi in NO BASE mode and communicate with ASC2s on the PSI bus to throw switches.  However, for Fastrack remote switches, you need a TMCC Base (or Legacy Base) to output the track signal to the switches.  Use a SER2 and a null modem cable to connect the LCS to a TMCC Base.  I have used the Lionel LCS App to throw switches as discussed in this thread.

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