DCS Remote Commander

Following on from the introduction of the DCS Commander comes the DCS Commander Remote. Although the name might suggest that it is an accessory to the DCS Commander controller this is not so, the small control box and associated handset that comprise the DCS Commander Remote are a control unit in their own right and currently provide the cheapest method of controlling a Protosound equipped model locomotive via DCS commands. The handset is compact and does not have the range of controls of either the DCS Commander or the DCS TIU handset but it does cover the basic requirements; pushbuttons for whistle or horn, bell, sound volume, smoke volume, coupler release, direction and speed.

It requires a 16 to 20 volt ac or dc input (16 volts recommended for Ho and S gauge) and can handle up to 6 amps, which means that it can power any DCS locomotive up to the gauge 1 Triplex. The Commander Remote only operates on locomotive channel 3 so any locomotive that you want to use with this control should either be fresh out of the box or should be "reset" using a DCS Commander or TIU before being used with the DCS Commander Remote. Double heading or push-pull with one or more helper engines is not possible though the gauge 1 A-A diesel sets will work as a master-slave single control unit. The handset requires two AA size batteries and the remote link operates on infra-red so the handset should have line of sight or a suitable reflective path to the receiver.

For those that have been considering battery operation of the larger MTH gauges there is now the possibility of installing the receiver and a battery pack in an item of rolling stock and feeding the output to the locomotive via a simple two-core cable. For outdoor use my initial concern would be the effective range of the unit and I will report further when I have data for this. [update: I read that the range is only around 20 feet and that the handset has quite a tight beam so to be useful for average outdoor use it would have to be adapted, a radio link with the option of different channels and at least a 100 foot range would be prefereable. If you only need to issue commands when the locomotive is close by and are happy to let the locomotive run on "cruise" when out of range the the unmodified unit should suffice]