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Everyone. I need some basic help with wiring. I just cannot comprehend all this DCS/TMCC stuff. I want to run both TMCC engines and DCS engines the at the same time. Conventional would also be nice, but I think that will make it more complicated. Here is what I have. Three independent tracks. One ZW Transformer, One newer 22982 ZW  with twin power packs. Two Cab-a controllers, 3 command bases, one DCS controller with TIU. Can someone help me wire this up so  can use put both DCS and TMCC engines on any of the tracks? Just to complicate things, I have already put in switches to turn the command bases on/off so I can run conventional or TMCC.

Thanks. Please make responses as simple and straight forward as possible as I am totally lost on this stuff.

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Let's start with some clarifications.  First, what is the overall size of your layout?  Second, what exactly is a Cab-a?  Did you mean Cab-1 (the TMCC controller)?  What kind of command bases are you talking about? (It's kind of unusual to have 3 bases with just 1 controller.  Once this is known (perhaps by including product numbers for each item) more accurate help will be forthcoming.

Yes, I mean Cab-1. The Base is a Lionel 12969. I actually have two base hooked up to the transformer (one for each track so I can use two remotes rather than addressing each engine. I have a third that I use on a test track with remote. I also have an MTH TIU (Updated in 2018) which I used for the third track. All my lock-ons are home runs back to the controller. I do not mind re-wiring everything to get the most out of what I have. Basically, I want to be able to run all three tracks on either MTH-DCS or TMCC. Pictures attached (layout is about 11'x13'). Disregard the Lionel KW in the photo. I just got a 6-22982 ZW to replace it.

Thanks for the help.




Images (2)
  • 20210304_103559: Reiss Layout Today
  • 20200329_145235: Reiss Layout - Track only

Use one and only one command base for the layout.  You can use multiple Cab-1's but not more than one command base.  The TMCC signal is carried on the outside (running) rails which are also the common side of the electrical circuit (as opposed to the center rail which is the hot side).  Just make sure the outside rails are joined together electrically.

The OGR video on TMCC is very helpful, straightforward, and a bargain considering the time and aggravation it will save:

For DCS, I would recommend Barry Broskowitz's DCS Companion:

Marty you said 3 commands bases, that’s going to cause problems. Are two of them by chance PowerMasters? To control the track power by the Cab-1 rather than the ZW handle?

I understand that you would like to run TMCC/DCS and Conventional on the 3 loops the last question is really on conventional trains do you want to use the cab-1 or DCS remote to control the voltage or leave conventional trains strictly on the ZW?

Got it. Use once command base. I now see why I had issues as I connected the two command base units to the common.

Zhuhl: One is a standard ZW the other has two power masters to the ZW that I will use for power. Since it is not hooked up yet, I am open to suggestions. How do I hook that (or the ZW) up to the track/TIU/Command base??  In other words just to clarify what I have. HARDWARE: I have the two ZW transformers (one traditional one with 2 masters), I also have two Cab-1's with two command bases, one MTH TIU with a DCS Controller. How do I do it without blowing something up????

One last extra thing. Can I run an engine w/PS4 with my current hardware?

Sorry I’ve been wiring a new club layout too and haven’t had time to slap a diagram for exactly what your doing so here’s one I’ve had.

DISCLAIMER: this shows 360W going through the TIU this is NOT recommended as the TIU traces can only handle 10A. This may also have some added features that you simply don’t need and just ignore them. But it’ll be the same set up take one handle of each ZW and run it through the TIU.

Set the variable channels to fixed to allow power to flow through the TIU. If you plan to use the power master feature of the ZW-C then I believe you will need to hook up the common wire from your command base to the ZW-C and the output of the TIU. I believe the TIU will kill the TMCC signal. This will allow you to run any type of engine on any given track at anytime without having to plug and unplug items. Please also know if fixed 1 on the TIU isn’t always powered then you need to pier the TIU via the AUX power port73B7C76E-F72E-4EB0-A64B-8255B1569F32


Images (1)
  • 73B7C76E-F72E-4EB0-A64B-8255B1569F32
Last edited by zhubl

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