Lionel Electronic Control

A quick outline

 Do the various control systems for Lionel trains make your head spin? I know the feeling.   A quick outline of LIONEL electronic controls.

Conventional,  Use the transformer control to vary the speed.  Voltage varies on the track.  Everything before 1994 and many after.

TMCC developed by Lionel NOT compatible with DCC/DCS.    Gen 1 of Lionel electronic control.   Some non-lionel engines also have TMCC electronics in them.  1994-2006 (DCC is the standard for HO trains that run DC power.)

Legacy, Gen 2 of Lionel control.  Works with TMCC controlled engines also.   A few extras for Legacy control engines/cars.  It can run TMCC engines also.  2006 until about 2017.

With a TMCC or Legacy Powermaster addition, you can run conventional engines from the remote.  

With all the TMCC/LEGACY/LionChief and Bluetooth the AC track voltage is constant/high, about 17 volts.  Only conventional engines run with varying track voltage. 

TMCC and Legacy have auxilliary controls for layout switches and lighting.   Also Legacy has a wifi module.  This is where my head spins also.  

Then comes LionChief and LionChief +/Plus.  2013 and on.  Not compatable with TMCC/Legacy.  Each engine comes with a hand held control.  Track power only needed.  LioncChief + allows a "universal" LionChief controller to be used. the universal can do up to 3 engines.   More than a few engines and you need a way to track the remotes.

Current offerings LionChief Plus 2 with Bluetooth and Legacy with Blue tooth.   With Bluetooth you use an app on your phone/tablet and can run the engine.   No base station needed. 

3rd parties sell TMCC/Legacy style electronics and sound systems you can add to an engine.  I have done this on an older conventional engine.  

A lot of us would like an affordable Legacy-Blue tooth board we could add in to an older loco also.  

Now if there was some system that would run them all.  There is a rumor, but no announcements.   Don't hold your breath, but cross your fingers.

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Last update Jan 8 2022