A new way of controlling model railroads by modelers for modelers.

The OpenLCB™ project is developing an easy but sophisticated network for model railroad control using today's technology.

It is the basis for NMRAnet / S-9.7 Standard bus.

This website describes OpenLCB, a developing Local Control Bus (LCB) used to control model railroad accessories. It is designed to make set-up of simple and complex layouts easier. It is not meant to replace DCC, but rather work along side it. It makes your operator consoles, CTCs, and accessories more effective by bringing everything together into one system. Your investment in DCC, CTC, signals and turnouts is protected. Cabling and connection is simple and low cost --- and usually pre-made but can be DIY assembled needed. Bus wiring consists of a single network cable and a single power supply cable. Configuration is simple and easy to manage.

To see how this works, look at the second video on this page – which shows how things are actually programmed. The third video shows some more-complex programming. You can re-use things you have, like signals, BOD's, turnouts, train ID sensors, RFID, structure lighting and the like, but connect them in ways you never thought possible, to achieve full prototypical accuracy and detail. Add complex new technology easily, such as sound effects, TV in structures, timetable signs in stations, outdoor video displays, structure lighting fully controlled and much more as time goes on. Hopefully different manufacturers will support a common standard and so the range of products available will grow.

Follow our Progress at the:

From small ... to big ... to huge,

OpenLCBTM will help you do what you want to do most: run your railroad.

It is Easy to use: Whether you want to do simple setup by just pushing buttons on boards, or use a full-featured configuration tool, OpenLCB makes setup easy.

It protects your investment: From your first two boards through huge modular layouts, OpenLCB equipment will grow with your railroad, and you can still connect and use your legacy equipment.

It is simple to expand: OpenLCB equipment can be added without worrying about ID conflicts, without keeping track of complicated address assignments, and never being forced to go back and reconfigure equipment – all while working with your existing model-railroad controls.

Quick Peaks:


November 2012: All the DevKits have been allocated. We are contemplating another promotion, and would appreciate suggestions. For those that missed the DevKit, you can assemble your own by obtaining the parts from RailStars.com and TCHTechnology.com. Please contact the egroup, or openlcbdevkit@gmail.com for more information. Thanks for your support!

July 2012: The first two documents of the NMRAnet Standards Suite were formally accepted by the NMRA Board at the annual NMRA meeting, this year in Grand Rapids.

March 2012: The DevKit is available and shipping is starting. The cost (co-pay) is $50 + shipping. Please contact openlcbdevkit@gmail.com for more information, or to apply for one.

December 2011: A DevKit is in active development. The NMRA will purchase some of these for development / demonstration of NMRAnet.

Fall 2011:
At its July 2011 meeting, the NMRA Board decided to proceed with NMRAnet / S-9.7 based on OpenLCB designs.

July 2011: The OpenLCB group did two OpenLCB clinics at the NMRA 2011 convention in Sacramento. We've posted the slides from the clinics if you couldn't be there. We've also got a page of movies, photos and diagrams from the day's worth of demonstrations we did at the NMRA 2010 convention in Milwaukee.

June 2011: Demonstration of a prototype OpenLCB throttle available on YouTube.

April 2011: Follow us on Twitter! It's the easiest way to hear about OpenLCB advances as they happen.

November 2010: Check out the videos on our OpenLCB YouTube channel. See demonstrations that are almost as good as being there!

What we're doing:

OpenLCB is being developed through an open, community based process. You can follow our documents as they develop, check out our prototype code, and if you want to take part.

Welcome to the project! We all benefit by working on this together. Questions and comment can be directed to the egroup: OpenLCB

How to get started:

There is prototype hardware is based on:

* the AVR-based Arduino platform at Hobbyists, including:
* LEDunino, a ATMega328-based compatible from Silicon Railway;
* Railroad Shield from SPCoast;
* Io Developer's Board, an AT90CAN -based compatible from Railstars,
* Io:duino, an Arduino-compatible AT90CAN-based board also from Railstars
used as a platform for a throttle and a command station, and its associated
* CMDArduino, a library for a Command Station, from Railstars;
* the new DevKit from Railstars / NMRA.

* PIC code based on the CBUS platforms is here

Other Efforts

CBUS is a CAN-based layout control bus being developed by MERG.

The NMRA has an effort to create an “NMRAnet” layout control bus standard. OpenLCB is being proposed for that. Currently, the NMRA is focusing the NMRAnet discussions on a common standard for CAN physical layers. For more information on OpenLCBs work on NMRAnet, our NMRA proposals section.

Past discussions have taken place on the NMRANETWG and MRRLCB Yahoo groups.

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