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Base3 Wi-Fi Connection​

With the Base3’s built-in Wi-Fi, you can operate your model railroad using devices such as smartphones and tablets. Wi-Fi works with the Cab3 APP for Android and iOS devices and also the LCS APP for Apple iPad. The Base3 can create its own independent Wi-Fi network or join an existing one. Up to 10 Wi-Fi devices can be connected at once.

The B3SU (Base3 System Utility) can aid in configuring the Base3 Wi-Fi to your home or club network. To download and learn more about B3SU, click here.

Note: This page will explain how to configure your Base3’s Wi-Fi using a PC and the Base3 System Utility. For information on configuring the Base3 Wi-Fi using the Cab3 APP, click here.

Base3 Wi-Fi Configuration

Configuring Your Wi-Fi Connection #

The illustration below shows the switch and push-button on the Base3 that assists in configuring the Wi-Fi connection.

  • B – WPS ENABLE push-button
  • C – Orange Wi-Fi Connection status indicator
  • D – Green Wi-Fi Activity Indicator
Base3 Wi-Fi Buttons

Note: When using “Join to Network” mode, you may experience control lags due to latency in the network when the network is experiencing heavy traffic.

Access Point Mode #

This section explains how to connect to the Base3 using the B3SU. For instructions on how to connect using the Cab3 APP, click here.

Access Point mode creates an entirely new network, with a SSID of “Lionel Base3 – NNNN”. The “NNNN” represents the last 4 digits of the Wi-Fi Radio’s MAC address which is unique to each Base3.

To select “ACCESS POINT” mode:

  1. Slide the “ACCESS POINT / JOIN to NETWORK” switch to “ACCESS POINT”.
  2. Connect your PC to your Base3’s Wi-Fi network.
    • Your PC must be equipped with Wi-Fi to connect to the Base3. The B3SU will not connect to the Base3 using the USB cable.
  3. Launch the B3SU. It should connect to the Base3 automatically as indicated on the status bar at the bottom. If it does not, click “Configure” at the top, click “Communications”, and make sure the Base3’s IP address is set to “”. Then click “OK”.

Join to Network Mode (WPS) #

If your Wireless Router supports “WPS” (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), then you may add the Base3 Wi-Fi to your home network. Now your smart device or PC can seamlessly access the internet and run your layout. However, if your home network is busy, you may experience latency (slower response to your commands) when using the JOIN to NETWORK mode of operation.

To select “JOIN to NETWORK” mode:

  1. Slide the “ACCESS POINT / JOIN to NETWORK” switch to “JOIN to NETWORK”.
  2. Press and hold the “WPS” push button on the Base3 for 2 seconds. The orange “L” logo LEDs on the front will flash in an alternating fashion.
  3. Press the “WPS” button on your wireless router. The devices will negotiate a secure connection.
  4. Be sure your smart device is connected to your existing Wi-Fi network.
  5. Launch the B3SU. Click “Configure” at the top, click “Communications”, and click “Search”. Once the B3SU finds the Base3’s new unique IP address, it will connect. Click “OK”.

Note: If the B3SU fails to find the Base3’s new IP address, you may need to log in to your Wi-Fi router and search for the Base3’s IP address under the DHCP client list. See your Wi-Fi router’s manual for more information.

Note: If a WPS connection is made, the green activity light will come on for 3 seconds and then turn off.   If the green activity light does not come on and the “L” logo lights stop sequencing, the WPS pairing failed. You may try again by pressing the WPS on the router then on the Base3, and watch for the green light.  After trying the sequence several times and the pairing is not established, the “L” logo lights will flash rapidly.  The “Gear” button can be used to stop the flashing of the “L” logo lights.  Power cycling is required in this situation to reset the Wi-Fi system.

Join to Network Mode (without WPS) #

If your wireless router does not support WPS, you can still connect your Base3 to your network using the network’s SSID and password. This section explains how to connect it using the B3SU. For instructions on how to connect using the Cab3 APP, click here.

  1. Slide the “ACCESS POINT/JOIN to NETWORK” switch to “ACCESS POINT” and power the Base3 on.
  2. Connect your PC to the Base3’s Wi-Fi network.
  3. Once connected, open the Base3 System Utility, and go to the “Wi-Fi Settings” tab.
  4. Click “Get”.
  5. Enter your network’s SSID and password. Click “Set”.
  6. Flip the “ACCESS POINT/JOIN to NETWORK” switch to “JOIN to NETWORK”.
  7. Connect your PC to your Wi-Fi network.
  8. Your Base3’s IP address will have changed once on the network. If the B3SU does not automatically find and connect to the Base3, click “Configure”, “Communications”, and “Search”. Once the tool finds a valid Base3 IP address, click “OK” and the connection will now be made. It is recommended to record this IP address to make it faster to connect using the B3SU or the Cab3 APP.

Note: Alternatively, you can look up the Base3’s IP address by logging into your router and looking at the DHCP Client List.

Wi-Fi Indication Lights #

The Base3 has 2 lights related to the Wi-Fi system.

The orange “L” logo light indicates the Wi-Fi connection status. The “L” will be off when no clients have connected to the Wi-Fi. When one or more clients have connected to the Wi-Fi, then the LED will turn solid ON.

The second is the green light bar. This flickers when there is Wi-Fi activity.

Changing the Wi-Fi Channel #

In most installations, it will not be necessary to change the Base3’s Wi-Fi channel. However, if you suspect your Base3’s Wi-Fi is in conflict with another nearby Wi-Fi network, you may improve performance by changing the Wi-Fi’s channel. This is done using the Wi-Fi configuration menu in the Cab3 APP or the B3SU.

Wi-Fi Channel Frequency List #

The following table lists the standard 2.4GHz channel frequencies. If you know the frequency of a device you think may be in conflict with the Base3’s Wi-Fi, use the table to choose which frequency may best solve the interference issue.

Channel NumberLower Frequency
Center Frequency
Upper Frequency
2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Channel Frequencies

TMCC Frequency List #

You can also change the TMCC remote channel to help alleviate interference issues. When the Base3 is in “ACCESS POINT” mode, the Wi-Fi channel will automatically be changed to whichever channel best operates with the TMCC remote channel. When the Base3 is in “JOIN to NETWORK” mode, the Wi-Fi channel must be changed manually.

The following table lists the TMCC remote channel frequencies in the Base3. Use this as a guide to select the best channel if you are experiencing interference issues.

TMCC Channel NumberChannel Frequency
Base3 TMCC Remote Channel Frequencies

Wi-Fi Configuration Lock #

Setting a Lock Code on the Base3 Wi-Fi will prevent any changes to the Wi-Fi configuration including SSID, Password, Channel, and the unlock code itself, until a successful unlock request is made.

The lock code is “0000” by default, which is unlocked. Use the B3SU to set a Lock Code.

Wi-Fi Config commands:

GET will return all config data, including any lock code that was set.  This allows the B3SU to recover the code in case it is forgotten and then a recovery can be made using the code.  The Cab3 APP will NOT display the code that is returned if the unlock code is non-zero. The code can only be recovered using the B3SU.

SET will check the lock code to be non-zero, and if so then check if a prior unlock request was made.  If the unlock request was not made or was unsuccessful, updates to the config settings are ignored.

General operation: 

Once a lock code is set, a specific request to unlock the interface must be sent and the request must have the correct unlock code.  Without this sequence, changes to the config settings are not allowed.

The unlock grant is per connection, so one user may open the access, but other users must also enter the unlock code for them to be able to change the settings. 

Closing the connection from the client will relock the access and upon reconnection of the client, the unlock code must be reentered to allow changes to be made to the settings.

B3SU Wi-Fi Config
B3SU Wi-Fi Config

Note in the B3SU screenshot above, the Code has been set to ‘1234’. Once set, this code must be entered in the B3SU or in the Cab3 APP to both view and edit the Base3’s Wi-Fi configuration settings. Setting the Code back to ‘0000’ will unlock the settings at all times.

Wi-Fi Troubleshooting #

Q: Base3 Wi-Fi isn’t working and the LIONEL lights are flashing?

A: If the Wi-Fi switch is set to AP mode, the Base3 will try to initialize in the AP mode.  If the Wi-Fi does not initialize properly, the Base3 will flash the breath lights, and additionally the orange “L” logo lights will flash rapidly.  The Base3 will need to be serviced to correct this type of problem as it indicates a hardware error.

Q: Base3 is in Network mode and I’ve entered my SSID and password, but it isn’t connecting?

A: If the Wi-Fi switch is set to Network mode, and the Base3 was previously paired to a router, and the Base3 cannot establish connectivity with that router, the “L” logo lights will flash rapidly.  The breath lights will not flash, as the Base3 is operating normally.  The “Gear” button can be used to stop the flashing of the “L” logo lights.

  1. Check that you’ve correctly entered the SSID and password.
  2. Make sure the AP/NETWORK switch is in NETWORK.
  3. Try resetting the power to your router.
  4. Try power cycling the Base3.

Q: How do I clear a Wi-Fi router from the Base3’s database?

A: If the Base3 has previously been paired with a router and this is no longer desired, the user can clear the SSID and Password pairing by holding the WPS button before turning on the Base3.  The “L” logo lights and the green light will flash alternately.  Power cycle the Base3 again to establish normal operation.

Updated on January 24, 2024