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My layout is not that big but I have some legacy engines and questions. It seems I don't need the full legacy system but I would like better control. Can I lash up two locomotives with the cab1L, can I run dcs with it.
What does the cab2 do that the cab1L can't.

Dave
 

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What does the cab2 do that the cab1L can't.
Well for one, send real Legacy commands.
If you have any legacy engines, or might possibly ever buy a Legacy engine, or even TMCC items like cranes and so forth, the advanced menu displays that change the button icons of the CAB2 pretty much pays for itself the first time you use it.
Let's get real for a minute. The street price on a Legacy lite setup is $225 or more (CAB1L and CAB1L Base). Cab2 should set you back around $300 $350
We are talking $125 price difference or less.
This is the main control system for your trains, accessories, and future items.
Can I lash up two locomotives with the cab1L, can I run dcs with it.
#1 yes even Legacy lite and even oldschool CAB1 support lashups. That's not a Legacy only feature.
#2 I have no idea where you are going with this question "can I run DCS with it"? I could take that to mean can you concurrently install BOTH Legacy/TMCC and DCS, and the answer is yes TMCC sends it's signal over radio frequency, DCS sends it's signal in the power through the rails hence they do not interfere. If by chance you mean can you control an MTH engine via DCS signal, using ANY Lionel remote- the answer is no. If you mean can you use a Lionel powermaster, Lionel track power controller, or a ZW-C or ZW-L TMCC controlled transformer to run an engine under conventional controls and vary the track voltage and apply controlled DC offsets- yes, but again, that's a complete end to end system of multiple extra components. Yes, technically, there is a cable that you can connect a DCS TIU to a Lionel TMCC or Legacy base, and that allows the DCS remote to send Lionel commands from the DCS remote through the TIU, through the cable, through the Legacy or TMCC base, that then transmits the TMCC/Legacy command to the Lionel TMCC or Legacy engine.

So you might be asking, what does my money really get me?
The old bare minimum- Cab1 system TMCC, uses 27MHz between the remote and the base so like oldschool RC cars, you have to extend the long poke your eye out antenna on the remote to get any range from the base.

Cab1L (AKA Legacy Lite) and matching CAB1L base (both are blue not grey like the previous CAB1). They use 2.4GHz between the remote and the base so no more pulling out an antenna and breaking it or poking someone's eye out. Additionally, the CAB1L base is then compatible with Lionel's LCS (Layout Control System) which there are tons of sensors and modules, and even a wifi unit that works with Apple phones and tablets to install the LCS app and you can control all those accessories, switches, engines, use the sensors and so forth. The CAB1L base is required for this and the older grey CAB1 base will not work or properly communicate with the LCS application. Again, the reasons for wanting a CAB1L system are the 2.4GHz remote communications which is MUCH more robust and compatible with a lot of expansion and upgrades. However, it's not true Legacy. You are not getting the quilling whistle/horn slider, you don't have the brake slider, you cannot send the advanced commands to say control Legacy lighting features like the color change class lamps on recent engines. One good thing is that the CAB1L remote can and will talk to a full blown Legacy base should you later get full blown legacy as a second additional remote control. A lot of guys at the local train club did this and bring their own blue CAB1L remote to the club so that we have more remotes for the possible 8 tracks we can run. Again, in one way, it's a good investment and it's not bad in the bigger picture of a total system.
But, there is also that pesky fact that it's not hugely cheaper than full blown Legacy.

Legacy gives you everything CAB1L does, but now you have the remote with button icons that change specific to the item you are running rather than remembering that #1 is volume up, #4 is volume down, #2 is crew talk, etc... This really pays off when you get into a legacy engine and see all the lighting and control features. Even more so, accessories like the TMCC/Legacy cranes, and all the other cool specific items like railsounds diner cars and freight cars, again, not having to remember or find that plastic overlay over the buttons is a real boon. Also, Legacy systems, Lionel has so far been providing warranty repair for any Legacy remote or base regardless of age.

Finally, just a comment. I've got both collections of MTH and Lionel, tens of thousands of dollars in both. This idea of controlling everything with one remote- it's just not reality.
Yes, the way the commands are setup, and licensing and other legal factors, it made it such that in command mode (not conventional) an MTH DCS remote or the DCS app can control and knows how to send Lionel TMCC and some limited Legacy commands. The reverse is not true. A Lionel remote cannot send DCS commands- mainly because MTH didn't license it and Lionel probably isn't super interested in adding it if they could anyway. Their answer is buy Lionel. Yes, technically, there is a limited subset of convetional control bell and whistle/horn sequence commands included in the feature sets of TMCC controlled powermasters, and basically the ZW-C and ZW-L are powermasters packed in a transformer housing.

It's simply best to control each type with their remote respectively IMO.
Last, I really recommend everyone investigate LCS as I think it's amazing and doesn't get enough coverage as to what you can do with it for layout and accessory control. Yes it can get expensive, yes there are rules around what works, yes, it's an Apple only app not ported to android, so you need/want an Ipad, but even an old school refurb Ipad works and becomes this awesome touch panel control screen for your layout. I will say the flipside, I would not run trains from the LCS app, even though you can, the remote is better. Use LCS for layout and accessory control and live the good life and enjoy running trains.
 

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Another point, I know there seems to be a shortage of Lionel Legacy 990 sets new at dealers and even Lionel. Because of the warranty policy that Lionel so far has been covering any Legacy remote and base, I personally see no issue in buying a used set. Just throwing that out there in the pricing model when comparing a CAB1L set to a 990 set.
 

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Also, some other facts:
Lionel and dealers sell the CAB1L remote and the CAB1L separately or as a bundle often at the discount over the single remote or base price. In other words, some searching says a remote is more than $125 and the base is roughly $125, however you can buy a "set" for less than $250.
Conversely, Lionel does not offer the Legacy CAB2 and matching Legacy base separately. The only way to buy it is at a 990 set.
Now yes, you can buy the expansion set, which is another CAB2 remote, and a dedicated charging base, but there is no way to buy (unless used or a dealer splits one) just a legacy base.

Why that matters:
If you buy CAB1L set, you save a little money, but it's not a huge amount.
However, when you go to upgrade to full legacy, you could still use the remote CAB1l with the new Legacy base as a second remote, you just no longer need the CAB1L base and then you could sell that off.

Just trying to give you as much information as possible, explain why it's not a dead end road to buy a CAB1L set, but it's not some huge cost savings over just going legacy from day one.
In the end, I'm saying bite the bullet, buy Legacy. It's worth it, you will enjoy the features, you already have Legacy engines as an investment, now get the control system and enjoy their features.
 

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Cab1L sends real Legacy commands, just not all of them. You won’t be able to activate all of the special steam effects with a Cab1L. No train brake option either. You can quill the whistle though and whistle steam will work as its generated by the whistle function, not a special key.
Best to get a Full Legacy system and if you want to add more remotes a Cab1L is a good option. The Cab1L will communicate with your Legacy base directly.
That said I know I use my TMCC Cab1 90% of the time when running trains since it can change speed and blow the whistle or horn.

Pete
 

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Cab1L sends real Legacy commands, just not all of them.

Pete
I'm curious on this and need to investigate this more myself.
Based on experience:
If you take a CAB2 and set it into Legacy mode for a given ID, and then attempt to set the ID (Engine in Program) or pretty much do anything on a TMCC engine that ONLY understands TMCC flavor commands, it doesn't work because all commands, even the set ID command are sent in a Legacy format and the engine doesn't respond.

So then on a CAB1L you have no way of setting type for a given engine ID and yet obviously, you can run TMCC all day long, set ID and so forth.
This makes me think one of the statements below are true:
Cab1L sends both versions, TMCC and Legacy for commands. Further, that could be some specific common ones or all commands?
In order to verify this, I would have to use serial monitor or capture serial data from a Legacy capable receiver and analyze it.
Or
It's possible that Legacy commands can be sent (why the base is compatible with LCS) so while the CAB1L remote doesn't specifically send Legacy commands, the CAB1L base is capable but then must get a Legacy format command from another device like LCS across the serial port.
 

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The engine features are stored in the base. Thats how you can address an engine ID in any remote including iCab and the engine responds. So you may not be able to setup and new engine in Legacy or TMCC mode with a Cab1L, one of the many things you want a Cab2 for, you can move it at 200 speed steps if thats how it was setup in the Legacy Base initially.

Pete
 

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The CAB1L reacts to nothing in the command base as far as engine settings.

For example: You have a TMCC engine with the TMCC ID of #10. If using the CAB2, you define it as having Legacy control, then try to control it with the CAB2, it won't move. However, if you just pickup the CAB1L talking to the same Legacy command base and address engine #10, it'll run perfectly normally. The engine will totally ignore the settings in the Legacy command base and run perfectly normal using the CAB1L.
 

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The Cab1L does not react to the base, the base reacts to the Cab1L. No two way communication.
Jet implied a Cab1L doesn’t send Legacy commands in part because you can’t select the various speed steps using the Cab1L only with a Cab2. Since that information is stored in the base the engine will run on whatever the base was programed with when setting up the engine.

Pete
 
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