LCOS – The Layout Control Operating System

The Layout Control Operating System (LCOS) is a comprehensive and extensible model railroad layout control system for all scales. LCOS is “locomotive control agnostic,” meaning it works alongside any locomotive control system you use. LCOS is suitable for all layouts, big or small, indoor or outdoor. It is the first truly universal layout control system.

LCOS nodes are intelligent devices that process complex messages, are configurable in the language of model railroading and perform a wide variety of layout tasks. The Configurator App allows you to configure and manage all of your nodes remotely. The only time you need physical access to a node is when you want to change connections, or when you want to apply a firmware update.

The basic building block for layout control is the Layout Control Node (LCN), a hardware assembly with LCOS firmware preloaded, plus an nRF24L01+ radio and connectors for peripheral devices. LCN’s come in two main versions: the MASTER, and the CLIENT.

LCOS requires a minimum of 2 nodes: one Master and at least one Client. The Master provides top level network routing and gateway services, and can support an extensive master control panel. One or more Clients provide services on the layout, communicating with each other and the Master.

The system can support up to 781 Clients distributed across a large indoor space or, with enhanced radios, an outdoor space extending up to 4000 ft radius from the central Master.

For a detailed look at LCOS, see A Guide to the Layout Control Operating System. When you are ready to prepare to install LCOS on your layout, review the LCOS Layout Planning Guide for guidance and tips for planning a successful installation.


Getting Started

LC1 – LCOS Layout Starter Kit

The LC1 LCOS Starter Kit provides a foundation for LCOS installations, and is a complete solution for a small layout [see LCOS Layout Planning Guide]. The kit includes one LCNM Master node, one LCNA Standard Client Node, one LCBD4 Block Detection kit, one DNIN8 Digital Input duinoNode and one DNOU8 Digital Output duinoNode.

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LC2 – LCOS Layout Foundation Kit

The LC2 Layout Foundation Kit is an advanced starter kit for larger layouts. The kit includes one LCNM Master node, two LCNA Standard Client Nodes, two LCBD4 Block Detection kits, two DNIN8 Digital Input duinoNodes and four DNOU8 Digital Output duinoNodes.

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LCNA – Standard LCOS Client Node

LCNA Client Nodes are the layout workhorses of the LCOS System. Every layout will use one or more Client Nodes placed strategically around the layout to provide local services and functions. Each client can handle block detection for up to 8 blocks, manage up to 8 turnout motors and up to 16 signal heads.

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LCMS – LCOS Master Node

Every layout requires one Master node. The Master node manages the layout network, supports a primary control panel, and supports the node configuration system. It also provides gateway services to external systems.

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LCBD4 LCOS Client Node Block Detection Kit

Add Block Detection to a Client Node. Kit includes 1 x DNCTA Interface board and 2 x DNCT2B Block Power Distribution/Detection boards to manage 4 blocks. Add up to 2 more DNCT2B boards to manage a total of 8 block on a Client Node.

DNCT2B Block Power Distribution/Detection Boards

Distribute & monitor track power (DC or DCC) to 2 blocks. Add up to 2 of these boards to the LCBD4 kit to manage a maximum of 8 blocks on a single Client Node.

I/O Boards

DNIN8 Input duinoNode

The DNIN8 Input duinoNode extends Arduino functionality by providing standardized digital input ports for buttons, switches and digital sensors. Each board supplies 8 input ports, and multiple boards can be chained together to provide up to 256 digital inputs!

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DNOU8 Output duinoNode

The DNOU8 Output duinoNode extends Arduino functionality by providing 8 high current digital output ports. You need this board if you want to run more than a handful of lights on your layout, or you want to run relays, motors or other inductive devices. Multiple boards can be chained together to provide up to 256 digital output ports!

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