Legacy TMCC2, DCS, and TMCC - Feature By Feature

To see just TMCC2 and TMCC in the comparison, click here.

by D. Railer
updated October 19, 2006

      1. One wire connects to the track in one place
      1. Setup varies from simple to complicated, with special wiring
          arrays and methods advised by experienced users
      1. One wire connects to the track in one place

Troubleshooting Tips
      (See TMCC below)
      "Being one of the early adopters of DCS (way back in April 2002!)
      I learned a lot of things the hard way. There are several things
      I strongly recommend to make DCS effective and fun to operate.
      These DCS Wiring Tips are not intended as the required method by
      which DCS must be wired. Rather, they are suggestions for things
      to look at to maximize the DCS experience if DCS is not performing
      perfectly. Typically, DCS functions just fine right out of the box
      in the vast majority of wiring topologies that O gauge operators
      use when creating their layout wiring schematic.

          1. Locate the TIUs centrally to all points on the layout to which
              they will be connected;
          2. Run 14-16 gauge wire from the transformers to each of the TIU
          3. Run 14-16 gauge wires directly from the TIU outputs to the
              center of each of the areas of the layout that each
              channel supports;
          4. Place a terminal block at each of those places;
          5. Run 16 gauge wire to each track location directly from the
              associated terminal block. DO NOT use a second tier
              of terminal blocks;
          6. Place an 18 volt bulb across each terminal block's inputs (one
              bulb per terminal block). Alternately, lighted Lionel
              #260 bumpers work fine for me, one per TIU channel;
          7. All wire should be either paired (like speaker wire) or, even
              better, twisted pair, to reduce signal loss on the
              longer runs. The OGR wire is the best 16 gauge wire
              I've encountered for this purpose;
          8. Solder all connections to the tracks. If you have the time and
              patience (frankly, I did not) crimp spade connectors
              to the end of every wire that gets screwed into a
              terminal block, unless you use terminal blocks that
              place the wire in a hole and then screw down on top
              of it. Regardless, the intention is to get a very
              tight connection.
          9. Isolate all sections of track that get a DCS signal from all
              other sections of track that get a DCS signal.
              Basically, each becomes a block. Do this by ensuring
              that the center rails of each block are isolated from
              adjacent blocks. It's NOT necessary to isolate the
              outside rails from block to block.
      If you follow the above process I'm certain that you will have a
      much more effective and fun DCS experience."
      -- Barry, DCS Ambassador
      TMCC has some special circumstances which need to be
      recognized and considered. These include wire constructed
      tunnels, overhead tracks, metal bridges, powered metal
      buildings and similar circumstances. These situations
      sometimes present a disturbance in the TMCC signal.
      These TMCC and Legacy Wiring Tips are not intended as
      the required method by which TMCC or Legacy must be wired.
      Rather, they are suggestions for things to look at to maximize
      the TMCC or Legacy experience if TMCC or Legacy is not
      performing perfectly on a particular layout. Typically, TMCC
      and Legacy both function just fine right out of the box and
      in the vast majority of wiring topologies, there is no problem.

          1. Make sure you have a good ground on the Command Base.
              The AC adapter that came with the Command Base MUST be
              plugged into a well grounded 3 prong plug for TMCC to work
              properly. If that is not available, on the 3 to 2 adapter there
              is usually a little tab off the ground prong. Run a piece of wire
              from it to a water pipe or other known good earth ground.
          2. Wire mesh tunnels.
              Chicken wire used in conjunction with tunnels can cause
              a loss of TMCC signal. This can be avoided by adding an
              extra wire along the track, hidden inside the tunnel or
              by ballast, to help keep the signal strength up.
          3. Metal effect of buildings.
              To overcome the metal effect on TMCC just ground the
              metal parts to earth ground. You can get earth ground
              from the center screw a receptacle plate and or your
              water pipe. A metal floor on the bridge will effect TMCC.
          4. Increase signal strength in diesels.
              If you are having trouble with a particular engine, an easy
              way to increase signal strength is to install self adhesive
              aluminum tape inside the cab and all you have to do is lay
              the original antenna on top of it held on by simple scotch
              tape, as long as it makes contact it will greatly increase
              the resistance to dead spots.
          4a. A user's experience with a poor signal on a specific locomotive.
              I added a 2"x3" double thick piece of foil to each diesel
              by taping it to the inside top of the plastic housing.
              A little piece of wire and solder guaranteed a good
              electrical connection between the foil and existing
              antenna. Problem solved on every diesel! I can now creep
              my Odyssey RS11 through the metal tressel bridge blowing
              my horn all the way.

      1. By TMCC ID#
      2. By the entering road number on the side of the engine and
      3. By scrolling to a BIG NAME and selecting
      4. By toggling between present and last engine
      1. By scrolling to a name, (you may need glasses), then
      2. By toggling between present and last engine.
      3. By entering a two digit engine #
      1. By TMCC ID#

Whistle horn
      1. Provides a real-time adjustable horn control that is a variable
          lever operated by user, allowing engineer-controlled
          whistle horn blows just like a real train, with precise
          control for signaling in different situations
      1. Press a button and a whistle sound plays with no additional
          control other than off, on, and duration
      2. Hold the button down for a variable length "tail" on the horn
          or whistle
      1. Press a button and whistle sounds vary differently depending
          on how fast the engine is going

      1. Single rings controlled by user
      2. Continuous warning sound on and off
      1. Continuous warning sound on and off
      1. Continuous warning sound on and off

      1. A real-time multi-position sprung lever control for boosting
          speed, holding that speed, adjusting it, or returning to
          original speed by letting go of the sprung lever, with
          realistic laboring chuffs on steamers and labored rpm
          changes on diesels (prototypical amount of rpm levels)
      1. A button that keeps increasing speed, smoke and chuff rate at
          a pre-set rate until you release it for steamers, or
          until you change it back for diesels (10 steps)
      1. A button that keeps increasing speed as long as it is held down.
          When it is released, engine returns to original speed

Independent Engine Brake
      1. Provides a real-time adjustable multi-position sprung lever for
          braking speed, holding the new speed, adjusting it and
          returning to original speed by letting go of the sprung
      2. Brake sounds change in intensity according to user position of
          brake lever
      3. Velocity throttle braking at a realistic rate based on momentum
          settings and engine speed without using a lever or
      1. A button that brakes speed at a realistic rate based on the
          actual speed
      2. One brake sound that loops, persisting until the engine stops
      1. A button that keeps braking speed as long as it is held down.
          When it is released, engine returns to original speed
      2. One brake sound that loops, persisting until the engine

Train Brake
      1. Train Brake trims overall speed maximum
      2. Adds more laboring effects
          Not available
          Not available

      1. Multifunction direction control stops train in forward with
          braking sounds
      2. Press again while moving for heavy braking with labored
          brake sounds
      3. Press again when stopped for direction change
      4. User selectable to reverse directions with first press
      1. Press a button to change directions
      1. Press a button to change directions

      1. Velocity throttle for exact control of speeds in 200 approx
          1/2-smph increments
      2. Change speed super coarse to super fine, by velocity control
      3. Velocity Throttle Sequenced Control feature allows operator
          control of Crew talk dialog sounds, Whistle, Horn, Bell,
          Blow down effects and Braking sounds without using
          anything other than the Throttle
      1. Thumbwheel in 120 1-smph increments
      2. Limited control over rate of speed changes
      3. Rapid speed change by combination commands of pressing
          direction button and scrolling speed (no direction change)
      4. Sequence feature not available
      1. Relative control of 32 speed steps
      2. Sequence feature not available

Display while running
      1. Large display with speed graph and big numbers that is easily
          readable at a glance and gives you the whole picture
          of forces acting on the engine; Train Brake drag,
          Commanded speed, and Target speed
      1. Smaller numbers. No graph. You may need glasses according
          to user forum posts.
      2.True scale mph (patent protected) **
      1. Not available

Official Railroad speeds
      1. 5 official railroad speeds available in the custom control panel
          with matching dialog from tower to engineer and back
          Not available
          Not available

      1. Provides lash-ups with a TMCC locomotive in 32speed step
      2. Provides lash-ups with new generation TMCC in OEM
      3. Provides lash-ups with other Lionel Legacy locomotives
      4. Legacy locomotives all run at the same speed from the same
      5. Does not support lash-ups with a DCS locomotive
      6. Provides lash-ups with TMCC2 retrofitted locomotives
      1. Provides lash-ups with any DCS locomotive
      2. DCS locomotives all run at the same speed from the same
      3. Does not support TMCC lash-ups
      4. Provides lash-ups with DCS retrofitted locomotives
      1. Lash ups with other like locomotives
      2. TMCC locomotives do not all run at same speed from same

Custom Control panel
      1. A touch-screen control panel is customized for each locomotive
      2. Changes automatically as each new loc is addressed
      3. Different panels for steam, diesel, electric, custom panels
      4. Animated icons for RPMS and chuffs
      5. Animated icons for smoke effects
          Not available
          Not available

Record / Playback
      1. Record and play back sequences triggered by any key sequence
      1. Record and playback sequences
      1. Record and playback available with extra hardware

Conventional Control
      1. 200 speed steps with graphic display
      2. Compatible with MTH Proto
      1. Less than 32 speed step control
      1. 32 or 200 speed steps

      1. Controls every LIONEL conventional or TMCC train ever made
      2. Controls MTH in conventional with 200 speed steps
      3. Control features of TMCC2 locomotives only accessible from
          TMCC2 CAB2
      4. Provides lash ups with all LIONEL TMCC locomotives (1&2)
      5. Provides full sequenced control fro TMCC2 locs
      6. Provides custom control panels for each locomotive
      1. Controls DCS locs
      2. Controls all conventional locs but with less than 32 speeds
      3. Controls TMCC1 locs with no lash ups (no train addresses)
      4. Controls TMCC1 locs with less than 32 speeds
      5. Controls TMCC2 locs with no lash ups (no train addresses)
          (DCS users attempt lash-ups by forcing engines to be
          programmed with the same TMCC ID#, resulting in loss
          of individual control of warning sounds, poor control
          of coupler firing and loss of individual control
          crew-talk tower-com dialogs)
      6. Controls TMCC2 locs with less than 32 speeds
          a. Limited control of whistle bell etc
          b. No access to variable whistle
          c. No access to variable brakes
          d. No access to variable boost
          e. No access to Legacy Velocity Throttle Sequenced Control
          f. No access to direction features
          g. No control of automatic laboring effects/sounds 32 levels
          h. No custom control panels

Downloading from internet
      1. Not required
      1. Necessary to download sounds and system upgrades

DCS has a lot of extras like playing a CD through your train, talking through your train from a microphone in the controller or an external mic, full control over individual sound volumes, Doppler effect, fully-programmable subways and trolleys and custom sounds that you download from the internet. ProtoCast, ProtoDispatcher, and clickety clack effects. These effects cut off other engine sounds when in use. Other DCS info that can be accessed in various system menus includes, chronometer, odometer, tripometer, battery readout, engine volts, track signal. Most of these features are found in the "back pages" of the DCS system

TMCC2 has a control mode "Velocity Throttle Sequenced Control", where the train speed, whistle, bell, crew-talk, brakes direction, start-up, shutdown and blow-down effects are controlled prototypically by using only the throttle. Another "extra" worth mentioning here is a "Feedback Effect" that shakes the remote when your train is laboring hard or braking with a lot of force. TMCC2 Legacy's "back pages" include Engine Specific Sequence Tuning, Route throw speeds, Engine Type information for custom control panels, battery monitoring, compatibility and readouts.

** MTH's patent protected scale mph readout is a nice touch, although it is hard to see without glasses as some hobbyists have noted. Lionel Legacy uses a speed graph. You can also read the speed steps numerically (large numbers) if you select that mode of viewing. A combination of the graph and numbers is also accessible for viewing while operating.

In summary, at this point it seems obvious that Legacy and DCS are two systems designed to get the best out of each of their manufacturers locomotives. While Legacy places a lot of emphasis on operator involvement through real time interactive sounds and controls, DCS focuses on statistical details about the engine for review by an interested operator. Both systems provide good low speed control that is even, with the 200 speed steps of Legacy potentially offering more resolution and smoother transitions through speed steps, as well as both finer and more coarse speed control from the throttle, while the DCS patent protected SMPH feature is prototypical.

Note...We know that not all features of either system are represented. DCS users who are more familiar with that system can add to the DCS list of features in this document by contacting The same goes for TMCC users. We will add those as they come well as anything new we learn about Lionel Legacy.

We do not guarantee the accuracy of these descriptions. They are meant for discussion only.
D. Railer CCA,

Thanks to Barry, DCS Ambassador for his contributions to this document.