TCS WiFi Command System

Some of the products displayed on this page are currently under development. The feature lists below may not complete, and images may not accurately represent the final product. For in-depth overviews of each product and the features they offer, please visit their respective product pages (as they become available).

Overview


Since our founding in 1999, TCS has been dedicated to continuous innovation in the DCC market. We brought several major features to the table with our sound decoders, many of which remain unrivaled to this day, and we aim to have the same success with our new WiFi command system. Our objective is to bring modern advancements in technology to the model train market, making your layout smarter, more convenient, and more connected than ever before! The new WiFi Command System from TCS is being built on the backbone of the robust and universally recognized WiFi communication standard. By not inventing our own proprietary communication method, we leave our products open to communication with many other manufacturers, and open up expansion possibilities beyond just what is available from us. For example, imagine hosting an operating session with modelers the world over, each of whom could control a real train on a real layout in real time regardless of where they are! Through WiFi and internet connectivity, plus advancements in video cameras and streaming services, the relative ease of this becoming a reality for anyone is drawing near!

In-The-Field Updates


Each product in TCS' WiFi Command System can be updated over WiFi through our new Graphical User Interface (GUI) - the TCS D.E.P.O.T. (Desktop Engineering Programming and Operations Tool). We plan to support software updates periodically for the years to come, meaning your throttle, command station, or other TCS WiFi Command System products never stagnate. It is also not a requirement to return your devices to us for critical software updates, guaranteeing that you never have any down-time waiting for long, complicated, and inconvenient return processes. Any new features, improvements, bug fixes, etc. will always become available to you through a quick update process with D.E.P.O.T. To learn more about the updating process with TCS D.E.P.O.T., Click Here.

Command Station

The TCS command station brings DCC to the modern era by leveraging recent technology and industry developments. Layout Command Control (LCC) and RailCom® support enables consistent bi-directional communication between your locomotives and peripheral devices.

The TCS command station also includes out-of-the-box support for wired throttles via an on-board RJ-11 connector. You may use this connector to interface with several different kinds of wired throttles, including NCE, Lenz, SystemOne, and more! Support not only includes literal hard-wired throttles, but also wireless systems such as those offered by NCE, or third-parties such as WiFiTrax. The TCS CS-105 command station is rated for 5 Amperes of continuous current, but can be throttled back via user configuration to suit your needs. Especially for smaller layouts and scales, the system can still supply all of your Z, TT, N, and HO locomotives without boiling their shells! For lager scale enthusiasts in G and O scales (narrow gauge variants included), add-on boosters will keep your workhorses steaming ahead no problem!

CS-105 List of Features:

  • Separate outputs for Mainline and Programming (service mode) tracks
  • User-configurable Short Circuit Detection
  • 5 Ampere maximum Continuous Current Rating (add-on Boosters Available)
  • One RJ-11 bus for wired throttles or peripherals
    • Up to 62 Cab Bus (NCE, Ramtraxx, and SystemOne) Throttles and Accessories (via RJ-11)
    • Up to 31 XpressNET™ (Lenz, Roco, ZTC, etc...) Throttles and Accessories (via RJ-11)
  • One RailCom detector
  • One dual-RJ45 Header for LCC Communication
    • Support for LCC/DCC Data Transmission Over LCC
    • Up to 400mA per-port supplied by the CS-105 itself
  • System settings are fully-configuable via TCS WiFi Throttles
  • Configuration also available through Smartphone, Tablet, or PC via WiFi
  • Unlimited WiFi Throttle Connections Through Auxiliary LCC-enabled WiFi Base Station(s)
  • Up to 4 LCC WiFi Throttles via on-board WiFi when used in Access Point Mode
  • Up to 260 Locomotives and Consists
  • Intelligent Stack Management
  • DCC Programing on the Main (with CV read-back via RailCom)
  • DCC Direct and Paged Mode Program Track Programming
  • Support for Märklin/Motorola Protocol Decoders


JMRI Integration
With the TCS command station at your disposal, integration with JMRI has never been easier. You can use JMRI PanelPro to configure settings for your TCS Command Station and Universal WiFi Throttle. You can further set up and maintain custom configurations for different connection modes. TCS plans to also include further support for JMRI such as the ability to load your roster from JMRI (including custom names and information given to locomotives within JRMI).

Programming Options
Take advantage of several different programming options with the TCS Command Station. RailCom programming on the mainline allows for live CV read-back without the need for a dedicated programming track! Or, you may use an isolated programming track to use Direct or Paged mode programming. The TCS CS-105 Command Station does not require an add-on "programming booster" for programming operations, unlike some command stations offered today, and older-generation systems available in the past.

When programming a decoder, the TCS throttle can display information about the CV down to the individual bit, giving users the ability to further understand and visualize CV's, and manipulate them at the bit level, which is especially useful for CV's used to configure multiple options, such as CV29 or CV61. In addition, when using a TCS throttle, you may press the Help button after entering a a NMRA standard CV number to display a "plain text" explanation of the CV and what it does.* TCS is striving to offer the most user-friendly programming interface possible, while not compromising the operational capabilities in favor of "simplicity."

*note: TCS is not liable for discrepancies in programming as a result of manufacturer-specific deviations from NMRA standards.

LCC Integration
LCC Bus connections on the command station allow for direct interfacing with LCC layout devices and modules. You can communicate with any LCC system to control switches, adjust layout lighting, and anything else that the LCC bus is connected to.

You can read more about LCC on the DCC Wiki.

RailCom® Integration
RailCom enables bi-directional communication between the command station and decoders. This allows for read-back of CVs while programming on the mainline. The inclusion of RailCom opens up significant opportunities for future features and expansion.

RailCom® is a registered trademark of Lenz Elektronik, GmbH

Physical Throttle Compatibility
The TCS Command Station is cross-compatible with current hardware from other manufacturers. It currently includes support for up to 62 NCE, Ramtraxx, and/or SystemOne Throttles and Accessories via the on-board RJ-11 connector. The connection supports all NCE cabs such as the Power Cab, Pro Cab, and also NCE wireless throttles! The RJ-11 connector can alternatively support up to 31 XpressNET™ (Lenz, Roco, ZTC, etc...) Throttles and Accessories!

The TCS Command Station Prototype:

CS-105 Side A
CS-105 Side B

 

Boosters

Add-on boosters will be available for larger layouts, scales, and clubs that require additional power; however, the TCS command station may also be used with other manufacturers’ command stations and boosters through an LCC adapter cable.

The TCS booster will also be available with the same current-limiting user options as the command station.

Below is an example of a "layout" set up with the TCS WiFi Command System.

Connecting the TCS Booster

 

Universal WiFi Throttle UWT-100

You can leave the cords, dongles, and IR controls at home! The TCS UWT-100 operates completely over WiFi, keeping you mobile and focused on the job at hand. Designed with ergonomics in mind, the throttle is comfortable to use ambidextrously. The UWT-100 features a recessed rotary encoder thumbwheel, intuitive printed-on function keys for convenient heads-up operation, and a large backlit LCD screen. Our large display presents information in an easy-to-understand way. Full-text, human-readable menus and in-throttle “help” eliminate the need for confusing, long-winded technical manuals or the need to memorize complex button combinations. The User Interface of the UWT-100 was thoroughly scrutinized to ensure your user experience is enjoyable. Eight programmable buttons offer access to your functions easier than ever. Two AA batteries power the throttle for many hours of continuous use, and the calibrated battery level display guarantees you won’t be caught unprepared. When left idle, the throttle can be configured to automatically turn off, or can be powered down manually.

UWT-100 introduction
UWT-100 in use
UWT-100 ergonomics
UWT-100 convienience
UWT-100 Universal
UWT-100 Upgradable with DEPOT software

Interested in giving the TCS DEPOT tool a try? Head over to the DEPOT page to learn more and download a copy for yourself.

We recorded an informational session about the UWT-100 Universal WiFi Throttle at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in January of 2020. Get the inside scoop by watching the video below:
 

 

Universal WiFi Mini-Throttle UWT-50


A compact throttle is also in development as part of the TCS command system. The Mini Throttle UWT-50 does not compromise on the features offered in its larger counterpart, but comes with a streamlined package and a smaller price tag.

The Mini-Throttle is an intelligently-resized version of our TCS Universal Wifi Throttle. Though designed with a smaller profile, smaller screen, different buttons, it retains the full functionality of it's larger counterpart. The throttle uses WiFi to communicate wirelessly with your Command Station to control your trains, trackside devices, and other connected systems. Like the UWT-100, this Mini-Throttle (UWT-50) is compatible with both LCC and the WiThrottle protocol, meaning you can use it like you would any smartphone controller - but there's so much more it can do!

This throttle is designed to be the most ergonomic "operator's" handheld on the market, not only in the feel, but also in the feature set. Convenience in operation is also ergonomics, after all! The case is cylinder-shaped to fit the human hand, and is functionally identical no matter if you're left or right-handed. The smaller profile is easy to handle, especially for your children and/or grandchildren (aka "special guest operators")! Unlike the larger throttle, this unit has one large, horizontally-mounted throttle knob for controlling your speed, and many features. The UWT-50 will feature options for either a rotary encoder with detents (small tactile 'clicks' as your rotate), or a more traditional analog potentiometer! The UWT-50 also has two three-position push-button toggle switches on the sides of the unit. These are fully remappable by the user and make operating trains with one hand both intuitive and enjoyable. 

These units bring streamlined operation essentials right to your fingertips, and are the perfect addition to clubs and home layouts with an emphasis on operations.

For users interested in the haptic feedback of a physical knob, and/or the familiarity with throttles from "the good ol' days," The UWT-50 will be available in analogue potentiometer and digital rotary encoder versions. This straightforward unit will be club-focused and perfect for operations.

The UWT-50 does not compromise on any of the features, either! Unlike many other "mini" throttles on the market today, which compromise on the feature set in order to fit into a smaller space, the UWT-50 still packs all of the features of the UWT-100 including:

  • Large LCD Display
  • Full-text Menus
  • Four Separate Programmable "Softkeys"

TCS Mini Throttle Prototype Rendering:
 

UWT-50 Rendering (11/21/20)


For even more info on the Universal WiFi Throttle, visit our Throttle FAQ:

 

Check Out Our Interview with the WiFi Command System Development Team:

 



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