TCS CS-105 Command Station Bundle

BigJake Sep 18, 2023

  1. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

    I ordered a TCS bundle that includes the CS-105 command station (12V option), and the UWT-50 throttle with the encoder knob option. There are other bundles with different TCS throttle & throttle knob options.

    AFAIK, the CS/throttle bundles are only available directly from TCS' website, and it is discounted below the combined price of CS and throttle. Mine was delivered in 3 days via priority mail (at a minimal up-charge over normal delivery, PA to TX).

    The bundle is offered with either a 12V or 15V, 90W power supply. TCS warns that their warranty is void if other power supplies besides their own are used for their command station. They also offer the bundle, at a higher price, with the UWT-100 throttle. You can also only purchase the power supplies separately. Max track current is 5 amps, and is user configurable. AFAIK, you cannot order the command station without one of their power supplies, so the separate power supply voltage options are for cases where you have different scale layouts operating at different voltages, for which you want to share one CS-105.

    The encoder knob version of the UWT-50 throttle automatically assumes a loco's current speed coincides with the current knob position, whenever you switch to that loco's address. The potentiometer knob version does not. Both have their own dis/advantages. There is a divot on top of the knob for tactile reference.

    I've only gotten to play with it on a temporary circle of Unitrack on the dining room table, since my layout in progress is not yet wired. But so far, I am very impressed! The throttle is easily operated with one or both hands. The setup is intuitive, and there are easy to follow, printed instructions as well. The instructions are also available on their website.

    The throttle itself can operate with either of two different protocols over WiFi: using the JMRI Wi-Throttle protocol, or the LCC-over-WiFi protocol. However, the CS-105 command station directly supports only LCC over it's WiFi interface. There is an LCC throttle app for iPhones, but not one (yet) for Android. All TCS WiFi throttles support either Wi-Throttle or LCC throttle protocols (user-configurable).

    You can also plug an NCE, Ramtraxx or SystemOne throttle, the NCE wireless base station, the WifiTrax WFD-30/31 WiFi Interface (for Wi-Throttle-compatible throttles and phone apps,) or the ISE ProtoThrottle Receiver for NCE Cab Bus directly into the CS-105's NCE throttle bus jack.

    The easiest way to connect a computer running JMRI to the CS-105, is directly via Wi-Fi. The CS-105 can host it's own WiFi hotspot (the default), or connect to your existing WiFi router. Note: The throttle comes ready to connect to the CS-105's default WiFi hotspot out of the box, but can easily be reconfigured to connect to any WiFi host.

    Probably the biggest difference between the CS-105 and other command stations with WiFi interfaces, is that the CS-105 uses LCC protocol over WiFi for throttles, rather than the Wi-Throttle protocol. LCC (wired or wireless) is an NMRA standard, whereas Wi-Throttle is not.

    The CS-105 also has a wired LCC (over CAN Bus) interface for trackside accessories like switch machines, signals, occupancy detection, etc., and comes with two LCC bus terminators.

    RR-CirKits offers a variety of LCC accessories for occupancy detection, signal control, and switch control, as well as a Loconet-LCC CAN bus bridge that can provide LCC access for Digitrax systems, or Loconet peripheral (including throttles) access for LCC systems (like the CS-105).

    The CS-105 supports the RailCom, but not RailCom+, protocol on the DCC track bus. RailCom+ is backward compatible, such that RailCom-compatible command stations can still use Railcom features of RailCom+ equipped locomotives.

    The primary benefit of simple RailCom is that, when it is enabled on the decoder, you really don't need a programming track to program and read back the decoder settings; you can do that on the main, while it and other locomotives are still running. Plus, the readback is much faster with RailCom than from a programming track.

    Overall, I give the TCS CS-105 DCC bundle a big, two thumbs up!

    Note: due to other demands on the dining room table's use, I no longer have the CS-105 system up and running. But that just gives me added motivation to get my new layout wired up so I can run on it anyway...
    James Fitch and Sumner like this.
  2. James Fitch

    James Fitch TrainBoard Member

    Congrats Jake on your TCS DCC system purchase! I am in a similar boat where I have to get my layout wire, which means mostly soldering drops to the track from the bus. I purchased the CS105/UWT100 bundle a few months ago and am looking forward to trying it out this fall/winter.
    BigJake likes this.

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