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DCC with a Lionel O scale locomotive?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Synecdoche, NY
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DCC with a Lionel O scale locomotive?
Posted by Bernie on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 8:32 AM

I recently came into possession of two Lionel locomotives.  Now, these aren't antiques or anything -- they are fairly new locomotives that came sealed in original factory packaging.  One is a SD70MAC and one is a Amtrak P40 or P42 (I'm not sure which, it's labeled a Genesis by Lionel).  The instruction manuals (big honking novels -- I'm seriously impressed!) say they are compatible with LIONEL LEGACY control systems, TrainMaster Command Control, Bluetooth, and even respond to voice command.  Very impressive!  The problem is my current layout is HO with a MRC DCC system (I also have an NCE Power Cab lying around somewhere under my layout).  Will these locomotives work with conventional DCC?  Or do I need to buy Lionel's proprietary command system?  At the moment, I have no O scale track to test them out on.  I plan to buy some.

I would like to add that I know this isn't the right forum for this.  My train isn't a "classic toy train."  But I had posted this same question in a DCC forum and was told that was the wrong forum and that I should have posted my question in Classic Toy Trains.  So here it is.

 

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Posted by 8ntruck on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 11:06 AM

If the locomotive has a Bluetooth option, you should be able to download an app on your phone or tablet to run it.  You will need an 18 volt a.c. power source to run the locomotive.

I've got TMCC and Legacy equipment, but I have never tried anything with Bluetooth.

Good luck.

  • Member since
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  • From: Synecdoche, NY
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Posted by Bernie on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 3:16 PM

Okay.  Thanks.  The only thing I've ever used Bluetooth for is to connect my headphones to my MP3 player. 

Question for you:

Between TMCC and Legacy, which is the more modern system and most like using DCC?

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Posted by Bernie on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 5:57 PM
Here's an update. I've been in correspondence with Lionel today over this issue and have learned that they discontinued their Legacy 990 Control System because they're coming out with a new and superior Base3 control system next year. I was able to pre-order the Base3 system, but it won't come out until 4Q 2023. So I'll have to wait a year before I can run my Lionel trains.
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Posted by Laurastom on Saturday, October 29, 2022 2:37 PM

Unfortunately Lionel apparently did not give you the comlete list of alternatives. Any Legacy engine can be run in conventional control mode. Next, the O gauge Legacy engines have Bluetooth providing TWO MORE alternatives. One is download the Lionel App and run it from your phone. It provides the same functionality as the 990 Cab2/Base2 system. The second is buy the 6-83071 Universal Remote, retail price $54.99. It controls up to three Legacy (or LionChief Plus) engines.

There is no reason to wait for the Base 3. I have one of those on order as well, but have a 990.

That leaves track power. The DCC track power should work as long as there is at least an 8A booster. Legacy runs fine on any voltage between 15V and 18V. The S gauge Legacy engines in fact run on DCC because Lionel included software to translate the DCC command into a Legacy command. The O gauge engines do not include this DCC functionality.

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  • From: Synecdoche, NY
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Posted by Bernie on Sunday, October 30, 2022 11:22 AM

Thanks!  That's good to know.  I don't want to run my trains from my phone -- I want actual tactile buttons and a speed knob!  I was able to buy a brand new 6-12929 TMCC base and CAB1 set on eBay for relatively cheap and a 135W power brick a few days ago.  That should let me run my two locos in something akin to DCC.  If that all works well, I might cancel the Base3 pre-order, or I might still get it.  I denno yet.  Since my main "prototype" model railroad is HO, I don't want to jump into O scale in a big way, but maybe I do want to set up something a little more permanent than a Christmas tree oval.  I'm still weighing my options and looking at available "railroad space."  For now, I want to see how things pan out before I commit either way.

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Posted by bobhwalker on Monday, October 31, 2022 7:05 PM

Here is an interesting option to consider since you are familiar with DCC based on your HO involvement. SoundTraxx recently announced Blunami, a wireless DCC decoder. It is controlled from a smart device app which is free to download. You would have to remove the factory installed electronics and replace it with the Blunami decoder. The result would be control over your OGauge engines via DCC with all of the DCC features you are probably familiar with. I have done this successfully a number of times with good results.

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  • From: Synecdoche, NY
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Posted by Bernie on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 8:22 AM

Thanks!  I'll keep that in mind. :-)

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