LCC Control Bus Systems
As of early 2016 commercial products based on the LCC standards have begun to become available. I’ve set up this page to record my notes on these. Note that this is not intended to be either current or comprehensive. It’s a list of things that catch my eye as potentially interesting for my use, and may omit perfectly good products simply because they don’t fit my needs.
All early systems are event-driven and do not include or use any of the more complex management options as far as I can tell.
Note: I am not listing Ethernet cables here. While these are often available from manufacturers, any significant scale of use will benefit from buying these from an electronics provider (or buying bulk cable and custom-making your own). Any “Ethernet” or “cat 3” cable will work fine for LCC; it doesn’t need to be one of the pricier “cat 5e” varieties.
The following computer interfaces are known.
RR-CitKits LCC Buffer-USB (US$70, bus-powered; also available as part of a Starter Kit, pricing uncertain)
This is an opto-isolated USB interface similar to their earlier LocoBuffer-USB for Loconet. It requires a powered LCC bus, although it only draws 10 mA. Two indicator lights (for power and bus-fault) are provided. This is sold in a starter kit along with a 1 Amp 15 Volt bus power adapter (the LCC Power-Point, US$25 if sold separately) and a set of RJ45 bus terminating plugs.
These are often characterized as I/O lines, and basically provide the ability to sense if a circuit is open or closed (thus detecting switches and other things that close circuits) or as outputs to drive low-current devices such as LEDs. They are often used as intermediaries to control external boards that perform higher-current functions such as throwing turnouts or driving multiple-LED signals.
RR-CitKits Tower-LCC (US$70, bus-powered)
This provides up to 16 input or output lines via two 10-conductor ribbon cables that also provide power to attached devices. This is bus-powered, and will draw 20 mA in addition to any power provided to attached devices.
Signals and Signal Controllers
The following LCC-based or LCC-compatible signal controllers are known, which will work with any commercial signal unless otherwise noted:
RR-CitKits 4ASD-4 (US$23, bus-powered and used with the Tower-LCC)
This adapter works with the Tower-LCC to drive up to four heads, each with up to four different aspects, for one signal using the 8 signal lines in the Tower ribbon cable. The Tower-LCC is apparently responsible for translating events to signal aspects. Bus power load is not specified.
This is apparently only for directly connecting color-position and position-light signals, and an additional ribbon cable with a “Fan Out Board” is needed for other types. I need to study this more.
RR-CitKits SBD-4 (US$18, bus-powered and used with the Tower-LCC)
This adapter works with the Tower-LCC to drive up to four searchlight signal heads using either three-lead or two-led bi-color LEDs. Bus power load is not specified. LEDs must be connected via a ribbon cable.
The following LCC-based or LCC-compatible turnout motor controllers are known:
RR-CitKits SMD-4 (US$29, bus-powered and used with the Tower-LCC)
This adapter works with the Tower-LCC to drive up to eight low-power Stall Motor turnout controllers (nominally 100 mA each, max 200 mA). It has a separate power input for the actual motors, and only draws bus power (via the Tower-LCC) for its own electronics. Bus power load is not specified. Motors must be connected via a ribbon cable (four motors per cable).
RR-CitKits SCSD-4 (US$33, bus-powered and used with the Tower-LCC)
This adapter works with the Tower-LCC to drive up to eight solenoid coils, including capacitive-discharge dual-coil switch machines (there’s a fire-hazard warning in the manual about using it with non-capacitive-discarge devices that will draw high power for an extended period). It can operate coils with peak loads up to 400 W, although continuous load current needs to be kept below 1 A. Bus power load is not specified. Switch motors must be connected via a ribbon cable.
Note: it’s unclear if Kato turnouts would qualify as “capacitive discharge type” since they don’t use any kind of capacitive discharge. These may be the problematic kinds of switches it is warning about.