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Introduction to Lionel's Layout Control System (LCS) WiFi

Introduction to Legacy Command Control System (LCS) WiFi System. This page will touch on the folloing subject:

Overview    Installing Video   How It Works  What do I Need  FAQ'S   LCS APP Help Manual in pdf form


Operate locomotives. Throw track switches. Control lighting and accessories. Track the location of compatible locomotives as they cross key locations on your layout. And do it all from your existing Lionel CAB Remotes and an Apple iPad®, iPhone™ or other smart device.

LCS doesn’t replace your existing Lionel Legacy Control system. It adds to it! LCS is a modular system, meaning you can start with just the pieces you need today and expand tomorrow. Some of the system’s key building blocks include the LCS WiFi which connects smart devices to your layout, the SensorTrack™ which reads location and other information from compatible locomotives, the ASC2 and BPC2 relay controllers which let you connect traditional trackside accessories, remote operated switches, lighting and track power blocks.

Overview



The LEGACY Layout Control System (LCS App) is an iOS app that lets you create one or more Custom Control Panels representing your layout. Layouts can include curved and straight track sections, left and right-hand switches, uncoupling tracks and more. Once you’ve created a Custom Control Panel, the LCS App lets you control your layout in concert with your other Lionel remotes. The LCS App also allows you to modify details of your Lionel engine’s setup and lighting options.

Requirements


You will need an LCS WiFi module (6-81325 ) to use LCS App. If your layout includes and Lionel Command Control Locomotives or Accessories, a Lionel Command Base is required. The Command-1L set (6-37147) may be used and the LEGACY Command Set adds additional functionality (6-14295, v1.52 or higher required).

Operation


To begin using LCS App, you must first use the EDIT page to create a “Custom Control Panel” representing all or part of your layout. A switching yard is a good place to start. Include switches in all the places they exist in your real layout, and assign the same TMCC ID numbers to corresponding switches on your virtual layout. Then do the same for optional uncoupling tracks or block power assignments.

SAVE your virtual layout screen and you are returned to the OPERATING page. Touch switches and they toggle between turnout and through. Tap an uncoupling track section to fire, or hit the power block control icon and see track section highlight or go dim.

Visit the ROSTER page (Legacy Base required) to see and edit details of each LEGACY Locomotive, including roadname, roadnumber and lighting options.

 For operation information, please visit our LCS App Page or download the  LCS APP Help Manual in pdf form

INSTALLING

Installing Lionel’s new Layout Control System fulfills the LEGACY promise of integrated locomotive and layout control.

Watch this video to see how easy it is to install. How to Video -Installing Lionel's Layout Control System (LCS) WiFi

 

 

 

 

 

How Does it Work?

LCS Cable Hook up


As you know, your Lionel Cab remote sends commands to your Legacy Base. In turn, the Base talks to locomotives using a one-way radio signal. LCS control modules work in parallel.

Spread across your layout, LCS is a very modular system. You can pick and choose just the components you need, adding more as your layout grows. The only required component is the 6-81499 - LCS Power Supply with DB9 Cable. This cable provides power for the control electronics of each LCS component in your installation.You need just one of these for each LCS installation. When you add a second and subsequent LCS device to your installation, you’ll need additional LCS PDI cables (see below). Each piece of LCS hardware is cabled to the next in a daisy-chain fashion, using these cables, which are available in 1’, 3’, 10’ and 20’ lengths.


The initial LCS product line includes:

  • SensorTrack 5” Fastrack section reads data from compatible locomotives
  • WiFi Connects WiFi devices such as Apple iPad™ to your layout
  • LCS App Free iPad application to create custom LCS control panels LCS App Download 
  • iCab App ($tbd) One-handed control of your trains from an Apple iPhone™ or iTouch™
  • ASC2 Switch and accessory controller
  • BPC2 Block power controller
  • SER2 Links older Lionel serial products (TPC400, etc) to LCS, serial current booster, provides additional DB9 serial input/output
  • LCS System Cabling -Links LCS modules to each other and Lionel Command Base
       6-81500 -LCS 1’ to 1’ PDI cable
       6-81501 - LCS 3’ to 3’ PDI cable
       6-81502 - LCS 10’ to 10’ PDI cable
       6-81503 - LCS 20’ to 20’ PDI cable

are cabled one to the next and can operate switches, lighting, accessories and track power blocks. LCS is bidirectional, meaning modules can both send and receive commands. They can also send commands back through your Lionel command base.

TrackLink vs LCS PDI white on gray

 

Command Base Radio (orange in fugure to left) runs the locomotives and other command products, one way commanication only.  LCS PDI cables (blue in diagram) connect modules for bi-directional communication.  An LCS device can send commands via the base to locomotives, switches and /or accessories.



Here’s where it all comes together: LCS can operate your locomotives as well as your layout. For example, a module like SensorTrack™ can make a loco to blow a grade-crossing signal as it passes. And the LCS WiFi module connects devices like an Apple iPad® or iPhone™to your layout so you can easily operate switches, locos and more.

Speaking of WiFi...


The two most common ways to run an LCS system are with Lionel hand-held remotes alone, or a combination of CAB remotes plus WiFi devices such as an Apple iPad™. The LCS WiFi module and Lionel’s free iPad LCS App are not required for LCS—they just make it more fun!

To run LCS using only CAB remotes, you need a Lionel command base. This could be either the Cab/Base-1L, or for full functionality, the LEGACY 990 base with Cab-2 remote. Then, when you’re ready to combine the power of your hand-held remotes with the flexibility of the LCS App, add the LCS WiFi module and download the free LCS App for your iPad™. For one-handed locomotive operation, check out this preview of the upcoming Lionel iCab app for locomotive control on an Apple iPhone or iTouch device. There are also independent LCS Partners hard at work creating their own exciting products for the LCS system.



TIME FOR ACTION


Now you’re ready for action. Pick features from the table on What Do I Need? to see which LCS modules are appropriate for your layout. Check out the full-blown  LCS example system diagram in pdf , but remember—LCS is modular. Start with just the components you need today, knowing you can expand your LCS system as your layout grows.

WHAT DO I NEED?

LCS is a modular system. The parts you need are determined by what you hold in your hand to run LCS (Lionel CAB remotes and/or WiFi devices) and the actions you want to create on your layout. There’s one LCS component that must be included: the 6-81499 LCS DB-9 Cable with Power Supply. You just need one per layout. It provides power to multiple LCS modules and links them to your Lionel command base.

Use the table below to help choose the additional LCS products that make sense for your layout. Pick an action from the first column. Then read to the right to see which LCS module that does that job.

Action
LCS Product
On/off control of 1-8 lights, uncoupling tracks or basic accessories ASC2 running in Accessory mode
Thru/Out control over 4 remote switches. Lionel, Ross and other switch manufacturers supported. ASC2 running in Switch mode
Control up to 8 track power blocks BPC2
Operate wired TMCC accessories such as 24114 Gantry crane SER2
Control TPC-300, TPC-400 and other older Lionel serial devices. SER2
Update Cab-2 remotes with info from passing locomotives SensorTrack, LEGACY base, Cab-2 remote
Triggers preset or custom actions on passing locomotives SensorTrack
See real-time location of compatible engines on your layout SensorTrack,LCS WiFi, free LCS App

 

 

6-81639 LCS Accessory Switch Controller 2 (ASC2) — Coming Soon!


The LCS ASC2 (Accessory Switch Controller) lets you connect traditional switches, uncoupling and activation tracks, accessories and lighting to your LCS system.
LCS ASC2 module aug 20 2013
(preliminary product photo)

The ASC2 can be configured to “switch mode” or two types of “accessory mode” operation. When configured in switch mode, an ASC 2 operates up to four remotely operated switches from Lionel and other manufacturers. The ASC2 has eight Normally Open relays, with four banks of two complementary outputs. One pair of relays will activate the “THRU” position with one set of contacts, and the other set of contacts will activate the “OUT” position. Each relay is rated at 20 amps. The starting TMCC “SW” address (0-96) is user configurable and the next three switches are assigned the three subsequent IDs.

When configured in accessory mode, up to eight lights, uncoupling tracks or basic on/off accessories can be controlled. Accessory mode is configured as 8 normally open relays, split into two banks of four. Each of these two banks has a common terminal feed.

Two addressing schemes are supported in accessory mode. In “single address,” the user sets a single TMCC “ACC” ID (0-99) for all eight relays. In operation, the user selects that ID, then hits numeric keypad 1-8. This will pulse the relay to that numbered-relay for one second, then shut off. This is ideal for uncoupling track activation.

In “eight address” mode, the user sets a starting TMCC ACC ID for the first relay and the remaining seven are assigned subsequent TMCC IDs (up to ID 99 for the last relay). To operate, a given relay is addressed. Then, pressing the AUX1 key activates that relay as long as the key is held. AUX2 toggles the relay on or off, useful for operating lighting.

The ASC2 can be operated from Lionel CAB remotes and/or the LCS App+LCS WiFi. In all operating modes, the ASC2 is connected to the LCS system using an LCS PDI cable. This carries commands as well as power for the ASC2’s control electronics. An additional AC power source is required for relay operation. This external AC can come from your track power or an accessory transformer (sold separately).

One 6-81499 LCS DB-9 Cable with Power Supply (not included) is required per LCS installation.

 

6-81640 LCS Block Power Controller 2 (BPC2)— Coming Soon!


The LCS BPC2 (Block Power Controller) lets you control track power blocks from your Layout Control System.
LCS BPC2 module aug 20 2013
(preliminary product photo)

The BPC2 switches up to 8 AC track power blocks. It is configured as 8 normally open relays, split into two banks of four. Each of these two banks has a common terminal feed. This allows for two power districts and 8 blocks. Each individual relay is rated for 20 amps.

The BPC2 may be configured as either a TRack or ACCessory device with IDs from 1 to 91. You set the starting address of the first relay and the remaining relays are automatically assigned the next seven ID’s (up to ID 99 for the last relay).

To operate, first address the device (TR or ACC plus ID#). Then, send an AUX1 command to latch that relay on and an AUX2 to switch it off.

The BPC2 can be operated from Lionel CAB remotes and/or the LCS App+LCS WiFi. The BPC2 is connected to the LCS system using an LCS PDI cable. This carries commands as well as power for the BPC2’s control electronics. An additional AC power source is required for relay operation. This external AC can come from your track power or an accessory transformer (sold separately).

One 6-81499 LCS DB-9 Cable with Power Supply (not included) is required per LCS installation.

Frequently Asked Questions



What is LCS?
Does LCS Replace my existing TMCC equipment?
Is LCS an iPad App?
What is iCab?
What do I buy to get started?
What components are available?
How do I hook it up?
Can I still use my ASC or TPC?
Can I use my Android device to run LCS?

What is LCS?


LCS stands for Layout Control System. It’s a way to connect control devices (like an iPad or Lionel remote controllers) to operate a model train layout, including switches, accessories and track power. LCS can also run locomotives.

Does LCS Replace my existing TMCC equipment?


No! It complements it. LCS works with a Legacy Command set or the CAB-1L/Base-1L system. It’s also possible to use LCS in a non-TMCC environment, such as a layout that exclusively uses conventional locomotives, or a different control system, such as DCC.

Is LCS an iPad App?


No. LCS is a system of which the iPad App is just one part. An Apple iPad(™) is not required to use LCS--it just makes it more fun! You can also use the Lionel CAB-1L, LEGACY or iCab remotes to operate LCS.

What is iCab?


iCab is a Lionel App that runs on Apple iPhone and iTouch devices. It provides the core features of a Lionel cab remote, plus the most popular features of the Legacy CAB2 remote. (coming soon, price TBD).

What do I buy to get started?


LCS is a very modular system. You can pick and choose just the components you need, adding more as your layout grows. Each LCS installation requires one 6-81499 - LCS Power Supply with DB9 Cable. Then, you’ll need a Lionel Base and remote (either LEGACY 990 or the thrifty “1L” system) and/or the LCS WiFi module. From there, the parts you buy depend on what you want to do on your layout.

What components are available?


The initial LCS product line includes the following:

SensorTrack
ASC2
BPC2
SER2
LCS App
iCab App
WiFi


How do I hook it up?


Each piece of LCS hardware connects to the next in a daisy-chain fashion, using pre-made cables available in a variety of lengths. The first LCS component in the chain connects to the command base (LEGACY or Base-1L, if present).

What is the LCS PDI Bus?


The Layout Control System bus is a bi-directional, high speed serial data bus. It uses a “packetized data interface” which allows multiple modules to communicate together on a single cable. LCS PDI Cables link LCS modules, carrying commands and status info in both directions. The LCS PDI cable also carries operating power for each module.

Where is LCS getting its power?


LCS uses its own external power supply, a 120VAC plug-in adapter. This external power is passed through the LCS data cable. You can run dozens of LCS devices from this supply. LCS devices which output switched or variable AC track voltage have an additional power input, drawing operating current from your track or other accessory transformer.

What’s up with the LCS WiFi “NO BASE” switch?


If you’re not using LCS to control Lionel Locomotives, you don’t need the command base. In this case LCS WiFi would be the first link in your LCS chain. This is what the “NO BASE” switch on LCS WiFi is for. You might choose this type of installation if you are exclusively running conventional locomotives, but want iPad control over your switches.

Can I use my ASC or TPC with LCS?


Yes. Using LCS Serial, you can connect all your older Lionel 9-pin serial devices to LCS and operate them from your Lionel remote. LCS SER2 has plenty of serial drive current to run your older Lionel serial products. No serial booster is required.

Can I use my Legacy Y cable instead of an SER2?


No. The purpose of the Legacy Y cable is to connect an original Trainmaster Command Base to a Legacy system. LCS WiFi and older serial product such as the TPC both require to a female DB9 serial connection, and there is only one such connect available, even when using the Legacy Y cable. So if you currently have any older serial devices (TPC, BPC, ASC, ARC, AMC, etc) and want to add any LCS product to your system, an SER2 is the solution.

Can I use my Android device to run LCS?


While Lionel has no immediate plans to release an Android version of the LCS App, we have provided the LCS specification to a number outside developers. Any enterprising company or individual hobbyist will be able to write their own LCS-compatible software! Third party developers’ code can be fully LEGACY compatible, including control over the Quilling Whistle and other LEGACY-only features.

 

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