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.