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Discussion Starter #1
I know very little about this topic. I am intrigued by the possibility of running multiple trains simultaneously through independent controls. My locomotives are both steam and diesel; AF, American Models, and River Raisin.

Please direct me to good and reliable information as to installation and cost. Pros and cons would also be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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I am not sure from your post what you want as an outcome and how much you are willing to spend.
First off, if some of your engines are River Raisin, DC track power is required for conventional operation. That is ok because all the Gilbert and American Models engines will run on DC. All conventional and FlyerChief American Flyer by Lionel will run on DC. There are a few early Legacy engines that require AC. The AM and RR engines need about 1.5A/engine, or about 20VA each in DC. The Gilbert engines vary from 2.5A to 4A/engine, in DC that is 30VA to 50VA per engine, plus the lights in the cars.
There are three ways to run multiple engines independently with remote controls. The first and easiest is to have a separate loop of track for each train you want to run. Then the easiest way to remotely control the track voltage for conventional operations is with a Legacy Cab1L or Cab2 base plus a PowerMaster. This requires no modifications to the engines.
The second is to use DCC. Many S scale operators use this. It works well for the AM and RR can motored engines, not so much for the Gilbert engines. There are some decoders that work with the 3 pole open frame universal motors but they are limited, most S scalers replace the original motors with can motors. The cost will vary by engine and if you do all this yourself or pay someone to do it. Plus a DCC system is required. If you have someone do it all for you including replacing the motors and programming each DCC entry figure about $150/engine. This cost does not include adding sound.
The third way is to use Legacy. This will require converting existing conventional engines to TMCC using the ERR boards. This system is designed for the high amperage demands of S gauge engines including large smoke units. You will need a Legacy base. Any transformer of sufficient wattage will work for track power. There are people who specialize in converting AM and RR engines to TMCC/Legacy. Figure about $350 per engine including sound, smoke and electrocouplers. They also do the Gilbert and AF by Lionel engines. For info, I chose this approach for my layout.
Let us know what questions you have, we will provide answers as best we can.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am not sure from your post what you want as an outcome and how much you are willing to spend.
First off, if some of your engines are River Raisin, DC track power is required for conventional operation. That is ok because all the Gilbert and American Models engines will run on DC. All conventional and FlyerChief American Flyer by Lionel will run on DC. There are a few early Legacy engines that require AC. The AM and RR engines need about 1.5A/engine, or about 20VA each in DC. The Gilbert engines vary from 2.5A to 4A/engine, in DC that is 30VA to 50VA per engine, plus the lights in the cars.
There are three ways to run multiple engines independently with remote controls. The first and easiest is to have a separate loop of track for each train you want to run. Then the easiest way to remotely control the track voltage for conventional operations is with a Legacy Cab1L or Cab2 base plus a PowerMaster. This requires no modifications to the engines.
The second is to use DCC. Many S scale operators use this. It works well for the AM and RR can motored engines, not so much for the Gilbert engines. There are some decoders that work with the 3 pole open frame universal motors but they are limited, most S scalers replace the original motors with can motors. The cost will vary by engine and if you do all this yourself or pay someone to do it. Plus a DCC system is required. If you have someone do it all for you including replacing the motors and programming each DCC entry figure about $150/engine. This cost does not include adding sound.
The third way is to use Legacy. This will require converting existing conventional engines to TMCC using the ERR boards. This system is designed for the high amperage demands of S gauge engines including large smoke units. You will need a Legacy base. Any transformer of sufficient wattage will work for track power. Tfor whahere are people who specialize in converting AM and RR engines to TMCC/Legacy. Figure about $350 per engine including sound, smoke and electrocouplers. They also do the Gilbert and AF by Lionel engines. For info, I chose this approach for my layout.
Let us know what questions you have, we will provide answers as best we can.
Wow! This information is fantastic. I will need to read it three or four times to absorb all of it. For what it is worth, the RR locomotive (A-B-A units all powered) were converted for AC operation. I am going to pursue this but I must admit, the cost is a real issue. We are talking about a dozen locomotives.

Thanks for your response. It is greatly appreciated.
 

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It is possible to do conversions yourself for a lot less but I have better things to do with my time. Some of the conversions involve things like milling the chassis to reposition motors.
I have had 25 of my AM engines converted to TMCC/Railsounds, about 1/3 added Electrocouplers and two AM steamers now have modern fan driven smoke units. I had my engines done in batches of 3 to 4 over three years. Frankly that was about Ed's capacity that allowed him to keep serving all his clients.
You might have the only RR engines converted to run on conventional AC. Most RR buyers are S scale operators with code 100 or code 80 track, seems about half use DC and half use DCC.
I evaluated DCC plus a German tablet based layout control system. The DCC was to be full feature with sound and smoke. The estimate from the professional layout firm who has done both was less to use LEGACY plus the LCS than the DCC option. I had a chance to operate an HO layout that used the German tablet layout system. It worked well but the programming time involved was high for a complex layout. With LEGACY and LCS there is almost no programming required. I know you are not currently thinking about LCS but keep it in your mind as a future option. It is easy to set up a simple LCS on your own.
 
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