The Ultimate Guide to LCC/OpenLCB

Model railroaders know what they want, where to buy the best hobby supplies, what they expect the electronics they use in their layouts to do and how they expect them to perform. Automation and accessories, simplifying operations, and having better control over lighting and dispatching are some things that OpenLCB and LCC can help with. As layouts get more complex and traditional control systems are unable to keep up, they are ready to take your entire layout into the future. OpenLCB is expected to be in control for the next two decades.

A newer part of OpenLCB is Layout Command Control (LCC), which controls the functions in your layout that don’t have anything to do with your locomotive. For instance, it handles signals, layout lighting, and turn-out routing.

Overview of LCC’s Purpose

The purpose of the newer LCC standard is to lighten the load on your throttle network. This means that signaling, routing, lighting and other operations are not related to controlling your locomotives. It’s a separate, generic control, a bidirectional bus that sends and receives data.

Because LCC is a NMRA Standard, you can mix and match compatible devices from different manufacturers. Overall, the purpose is to free up most of the DCC for locomotive control while channeling everything else to LCC for more efficient use and better performance.

Open Local Control Bus (OpenLCB) was developed as an open-source standard for model railroaders and it is used in tandem with your DC or DCC train control system. It works well with less wiring and is powerful enough for large layouts as seen in clubs and museums.

Why Was LCC Developed?

In the early 1990s, the DCC Protocols were created, and at the time, the developers did not look far enough into the future. Unforeseen were the demands for multiple engines, signal controllers and systems, sound, and track detection. These problems lead to congestion on the network and delay commands being transferred to where they are needed.

LCC is more advanced and will make control of your entire layout easier and allow simpler integration, even as you grow. Adding new devices is a flash without the need to change configurations. No worrying about board numbers, command codes or addresses. All of that is handled by the newer protocol.

How Can You Use LCC to Improve Your Model Railroad Layout?

Because LCC is not directly dependent on DCC, you can it on analog or AC layouts. It is also not locked into the specific brand of DCC system you use. LCC and OpenLCB have the power to make your model railroad layout better and more efficient.

The benefits of LCC are many —

  • Plug and play system – limited technical knowledge needed
  • No addresses to configure or remember – easy to put things together
  • Simple user interface – no extreme jargon and ease of use.
  • Future proof for growth – you can combine it with other systems and brands
  • Self-describing nodes – the system helps you set it up
  • Investment is a good value proposition

OpenLCB and LCC are the future of model railroading, and the future is now. Do you want to upgrade your systems and make your hobby more fun? Micromark has all the electronic hobby supplies you need to get it done and can help with any guidance you may need.