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Quick Start Guide

This page summarizes the steps required to install and configure your LCOS installation, and will direct you to relevant pages for more detailed information. The setup process is straight forward, requiring only a few steps to go from initial power up to functional layout objects and processes.

Important Safety Precautions

Lew’s Duino Gear products are for adult use. Children under the age of 14 should be supervised at all times when using these products.

Use good quality power supplies in good working order. Do not use any power supply that shows damage of any kind to its wires or casing. All power supplies in use must be attached to the layout common ground [see Wiring, Power and the Layout Control Bus].

Power supplies should be earth grounded: either through a grounded AC connection, or by running a ground wire from your layout to a metal water pipe or other earth ground.

Make sure your power supply outputs are rated for the power level required to run your layout [see Wiring, Power and the Layout Control Bus].

Lew’s Duino Gear electronics products are static sensitive devices. Be sure to ground yourself before handling LDG equipment or any other bare board electronics product. In high static areas, use a grounding strap attached to your arm or wrist to maintain a continuous ground drain.

16 Steps to a Functional LCOS layout

  1. Download and install the Configurator.
  2. Connect your MASTER to your computer via USB and run the Configurator.
  3. On the main Configurator window, click Network Settings; then select a channel for your layout network. Click Update, then Reboot Node.
  4. Unpack and power up your first CLIENT node. Use a temporary power supply – a 12 volt wall wart with a 5.5mm x 2.1mm plug is ideal.
  5. On the Communications Manager window, click Scan LCOS Network to find the unconfigured CLIENT; select it from the Nodes list then click Connect.
  6. On the main window click Network Settings. Set the radio channel to the channel previously chosen, set the node ID for the client, then click Update. Reboot the client.
  7. On the Communications Manager window, click Node 00 or USB Connect to reload the MASTER. Click Scan LCOS Network to find the client at its new address.
  8. For each additional CLIENT, follow steps 4 through 7 above, assigning a unique address to each new unit.
  9. Next, install CLIENT nodes on your layout. Add DNOU8 boards for output ports, and relays to run your Tortoise or coil turnout motors, and do necessary wiring. Add a PCA9685 servo driver if using servos as turnout motors.
  10. Install the MASTER on your control panel or, if you aren’t ready to create a control panel yet, put it someplace temporary where you can easily connect a USB cable. Connect DNIN8 Digital Input duinoNodes to the MASTER to provide ports for button and switch contacts.
  11. Connect to the MASTER via USB, run the Configurator, navigate to a CLIENT node and configure it in this order:
    • Click Hardware and set the IO boards used by the node;
    • Click Relay Objects to configure any relays connected to an IO board;
    • If block occupancy hardware is installed, click Blocks and configure local blocks.
    • Click Turnouts to configure local turnouts.
    • You can do Routes and Signals now or later. Usually, these items are best left for after basic layout objects have been created around the layout.
    • Be sure to SAVE and REBOOT after every significant configuration change.
  12. Do Step 11 for all other CLIENTS.
  13. Navigate to the MASTER and click Blocks, then Scan Layout to build the master block list. Reorder as desired.
  14. On the Master, click Turnouts, then Scan Layout to build the master turnout list. Reorder as desired.
  15. To create temporary or permanent control panels, click Control Objs. Use Control Objects to link control panel buttons and switches to layout object actions.
  16. You now have a functional LCOS layout ready for basic operation and advanced configuration!


  • Read the LCOS Layout Planning Guide; learn about network structure and addressing, and the rules for distributing nodes on your layout. Plan your node distribution and addressing.
  • Plan and build your Layout Control Bus to power your LCOS equipment and accessories.
  • Download and Install the Configurator (free to purchasers of LCOS equipment) on your computer.
  • Connect USB cable from the MASTER to your computer; run the Configurator to initialize your Master and set the channel for your network.
  • Next, power up and set the network channel and address for each of your Client Nodes, one at a time. Do this before installing the nodes on your layout.

Hardware Installation

  • Install your Master on or near your main control panel. Install Client Nodes in the their assigned layout zones, as described in the Planning Guide.
  • Install I/O boards where the ports are needed. In general, you will need output ports (DNOU8) to run relays, lighting and other digital devices. Locate DNOU8 boards around your layout so that ports are near the devices they control. Locate DNIN8 Digital Input boards on or near control panels.
  • If using servos for turnout motors, locate your PCA9685 PWM driver board so it is equidistant (more or less) from the turnouts. See the Layout Planning Guide for more information about placing PWM driver boards.
  • If using stall motor (Circuitron Tortoise) or coil motor (Atlas, Kato, Peco, etc) turnouts, place a DPDT relay near each turnout motor. See Relays for more information about wiring and using relays with LCOS.
  • Install rail power routing relays — for reversing sections or DC cab control — where needed.
  • If installing the Block Occupancy Detection kit, place the sensor boards so that they are near track feeder locations. Attach feeders and rail bus power to the sensor boards. Test your track to make sure power connections are secure and correctly polarized.
  • Run power and board to board wiring. 3-wire servo cable works well with duinoNode logic and power connections.

Basic Configuration

  • Connect to the MASTER node via USB; stay connected to the MASTER throughout all configuration sessions. CLIENT nodes do not support the USB interface. Use the Configurator’s Communications Manager to traverse the network and connect to Client nodes.
  • When you set or change any configuration item, make sure to save the item, then reboot the node. New configurations take effect upon reboot.
  • On each node:
  • Configure Blocks if using the Block Occupancy Detection system. Block Occupancy detection is a core feature that supports layout automation. With BOD installed, block occupancy can trigger control panel indicators, layout lighting and other objects.
  • Configure local turnouts. You do not need to configure remote turnout monitoring on client nodes unless you are implementing Signals.
  • After configuring Client nodes, return to the MASTER and use the scan tools to scan the layout for blocks and turnouts. This will build the MASTER layout object map for you.

Layout Control

  • The MASTER can support a traditional control panel composed of buttons, switches and indicator LEDs. Each Standard CLIENT can support a local sub-panel, if desired. Buttons and switches are connected to DNIN8 ports.
    • Note: Indicators are usually a property of the devices they represent. On the MASTER, indicator ports are a property of each block and turnout. See Basic Layout Objects, Part 3.
  • The LCOS Control Object :
    • Connects digital inputs – such as buttons, switch contacts, or other ON/OFF switching devices – to individual output ports, relay objects, turnouts, turnout routes or scene objects.
    • Supports multiple event types and event targeting.
    • Binds to virtual port 128 which allows other objects to trigger Control Objects under specific conditions.
  • The LCOS Scene Object:
    • Is a core feature supporting advanced layout lighting and animation.
    • Groups multiple ports, relays and even other scene objects into a single object, allowing a single control command to affect multiple layout objects and lighting sources.
    • Includes options for sequencing how elements are turned on and off, including both linear and random sequencing. The flash effect can create single or alternating flashers.
  • [Coming Soon] If a DNDCC interface node is installed, DCC users can control turnouts and routes from their throttles. See DCC Interface for instructions on configuring DCC turnout control. Additionally, JRMI can access turnouts as rail-connected, non-programmable (via DCC protocols) stationary decoders.

Layout Time and Automation

  • Configure the Fast Clock Server to enable layout time. See About Layout Time and Fast Clock Server.
  • Setup “Time Zone” actions on Clients. Time zone actions help you set scenic elements for different parts (or “zones”) of the day. See Time Zone Actions.
  • Create “Time Triggers” on each Client for actions you want to occur at a specific layout time. For example, a sound module could be triggered at Noon to create a siren or clock bell, or street lights could come on at 7:00 pm every day. For staggered on/off behavior of a group of lights or other objects, group them in Scene Objects and use the Sequential or Random on/off effects.


  • [Coming Soon] Create custom layout clock display nodes with the LCOS Clock Driver kit (free to purchasers of any LCOS product).
  • [Coming Soon] Support custom objects such as turntables with the LCOS Custom Node Driver kit. The driver kit allows your custom node(s) to fully participate in the LCOS Network and take advantage of the remote configuration protocol.
The Configurator >>