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Discussion Starter #1
So my goal is to have a large single track layout around a portion of the house (Lets say 20' x 20') running one engine. I'd like a controller where I'll be able to use a lot of the sound options so I'm assuming I would need one of the following controllers.


I'm not sure if I'm going to start off with Lionel or MTH so I've been looking at both types.

Controllers:
-cab1L and legacy powermaster
- Legacy Command system
- DCS Commander

Looking at the cab1L and powermaster, it appears you can get a lot of the options i'm looking for, but for a little extra ($100) more I think i'd rather upgrade to the legacy command system and not have to worry about upgrading later if I ever decide to get serious in the O gauge layouts.

DCS command system seems like his has a lot of the options I'm looking for although its not a hand held.

Any other options for controllers that I may be missing that doesn't get crazy with the price tag?


Now my power question. What kind of power will I need to run a 20' x 20' layout? I'm completely lost when it comes to this and I get lost with the threads talking about blocks, Amps, Volts, Watts. etc....


Any Help and verification from the controllers would be appreciated.
 

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For one, a 20' b 20' layout should have multiple power drops. That is, the transformer's two wire output is connected (wired) at several places around the track. That's to keep the voltage / power delivery to the engine fairly consistent as it travels around the loop.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For one, a 20' b 20' layout should have multiple power drops. That is, the transformer's two wire output is connected (wired) at several places around the track. That's to keep the voltage / power delivery to the engine fairly consistent as it travels around the loop.
What would you recommend as power sources and size? Would a simple cw-80 work with multiple connection points or would I need something larger? Will any power supply work with both MTH and Lionel?
 

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What would you recommend as power sources and size? Would a simple cw-80 work with multiple connection points or would I need something larger? Will any power supply work with both MTH and Lionel?
A CW-80 would work for a single train. The exception would be a long passenger train with incandescent lights in all the cars. The lighting draws a fair amount of power.
 

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So my goal is to have a large single track layout around a portion of the house (Lets say 20' x 20') running one engine. I'd like a controller where I'll be able to use a lot of the sound options so I'm assuming I would need one of the following controllers.


I'm not sure if I'm going to start off with Lionel or MTH so I've been looking at both types.

Controllers:
-cab1L and legacy powermaster
- Legacy Command system
- DCS Commander

Looking at the cab1L and powermaster, it appears you can get a lot of the options i'm looking for, but for a little extra ($100) more I think i'd rather upgrade to the legacy command system and not have to worry about upgrading later if I ever decide to get serious in the O gauge layouts.

DCS command system seems like his has a lot of the options I'm looking for although its not a hand held. DCS does have a handheld and a app on most phones.

Any other options for controllers that I may be missing that doesn't get crazy with the price tag?


Now my power question. What kind of power will I need to run a 20' x 20' layout? I'm completely lost when it comes to this and I get lost with the threads talking about blocks, Amps, Volts, Watts. etc....


Any Help and verification from the controllers would be appreciated.


imo lionel legacy and mth dcs is the way to go.

you get to see info on a screen that you do not get with the cab1L
 

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The power you need depends on how many engines and lighted cars you run at one time, not on the length of track. As Millstonemike said, you will want to add a drop about every 8 or 10 track sections.

Don’t get a CW-80 if you plan to use MTH engines. They don’t get along with MTH locos. Most MTH engine operator’s manuals have a chart near the back that gives you a list of compatible transformers. With a 20X20 layout and speed control, you are eventually going to want to run more than one engine at a time. I would get something with at least 90 watts.

Personally, I prefer MTH to Lionel. They are priced lower than Lionel for similar products. And if you go MTH, I recommend the full DCS system (MTH PN 50-1001). But be aware that the handheld is soon to be discontinued in favor of their WIFI setup.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I'm taking baby steps and purchasing as I go along. Just purchased the tracks and went with the Legacy Command set. Now i'm back onto the power source. Would a 135W powerhouse be sufficient on this set up? (20' x 13' layout)

Thanks again for the help.
 

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I strongly recommend you go with the 180W PowerHouse. It has a MUCH better circuit breaker, I'm not impressed with the 135W brick. My currently in process layout is 23 x 12 with some yard extensions, I'm figuring I'll need at least three PH180 bricks for the whole thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the tip John. Purchased the 180W brick. Anything else I need besides an engine and rolling stock? I've tried watching the Lionel YouTube video about power supplies and what you need to run, but it just confuses the hell out of me.
 

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DCS command system seems like his has a lot of the options I'm looking for although its not a hand held.
You're looking at the wrong command system. The full MTH DCS is indeed a fully wireless remote control. They have stopped producing the remote and now you have to count on your smart device for the remote portion, a move that I'm not happy with!
Thanks for the tip John. Purchased the 180W brick. Anything else I need besides an engine and rolling stock? I've tried watching the Lionel YouTube video about power supplies and what you need to run, but it just confuses the hell out of me.
If you're running just command stuff, all you need is a transformer (with a good circuit breaker) and the command system. If you have TMCC or Legacy and want to run conventional, the Legacy PowerMaster can be added to support that option.

The MTH DCS system offers conventional operation with the TIU, and of course compatibility with MTH PS/2 and PS/3 locomotives. Without adding a TMCC or Legacy command system, the DCS system can't run TMCC/Legacy locomotives. Many people, including me, end up with both systems as there are command products that each manufacturer offers that you are likely to desire.
 

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I kind of went a different way. Built my own transformer with TPC300, MTH DCS, with PSX-AC for circuit protection. I saved a few bucks and I built a powersupply for my needs. Not to small not to big and I didn't like the price everyone is charging for their supplies.

But with that said I agree with John. The 180w bricks are the way to go
 

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You're looking at the wrong command system. The full MTH DCS is indeed a fully wireless remote control. They have stopped producing the remote and now you have to count on your smart device for the remote portion, a move that I'm not happy with!
It's my understanding that MTH is making one last run of the handheld remote (with a different part number and a few different parts to replace ones that they could no longer source). You can also still get the full DCS system (50-1001) with hand held remote according to the "Find It Locally" tab at the MTH site.
 

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FYI, that "find it locally" tab is very out of date as a rule.
Depends on how well the vendor updates their inventory. Just Trains keeps theirs updated. In the past, Nicholas Smith didn't do such a good job, but lately, I've found their inventory at MTH to be spot on. And recently I found a NOS passenger car from 2004 at a shop in Iowa through the "Find It Locally" tab. I was happily surprised that the vendor actually still had it.
 
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