Friday, 2 May 2014

Going Digital

Well what a busy month or so. I am still studying for my Masters degree and working full time so I still have limited time working on the layout since last post. Over the Easter break I did take down the M-Track layout and set up the C-Track, mostly and gave it a run. The track is much nicer with better control and far less dead spots or derailing lumpy bits :). The final piece I need (the double slip) arrived yesterday which made me very happy indeed. Hopefully tonight I will get a chance to add in the track and complete it. If I do I will take a couple of photos.

I did have time to do some online shopping though and also to do some research and thinking about going digital which makes up the body of this post.

Going Digital

 The change from analogue to digital is pretty scary. I posted on the Marklin Users Forum asking for some advice in how to update my locos to run digital and got some excellent help. Some advice I was given that seems pretty good:

  1. Transformers

    • Your old blue transformers are not safe for digital. The reverse pulse is likely to burn out the board and possibly damage your controller.
    • The white AC transformers **should** work OK. I will have to see. I run a 66470 32VA 230 Volt Safety Transformer currently but with the new Mobile Station digital controller I bought there is an 18VA transformer pack included. I have yet to find out how many locos and accessories could run off the 18VA though.
    • To start with you can run your accessories on the old AC transformer and just digitise the track. This is what I am doing.

  2. Motor Conversions

    Digital systems use a form of DC current to power the layout. More accurately it uses digital frequency modulation to send data through the tracks. Since AC power runs at a fix frequency (50-60Hz?) that means the digital power will cause the analogue lcocs lights to flash. Another thing is that the AC system would vary the voltage to regulate speed. An analogue loco running on a digital layout will run at a fixed speed uncontrollably. While Marklin AC motors are designed to run even on DC (meaning you could just install a decoder and remove the reversing unit) for them to work, they don't work well at lower speeds. Installing the 5 pole upgraded motor gives quieter and smoother performance.

    There are 3 types of AC motors in Marklin analouge locos. These are described in the table below.



    Marklin Motor Conversion Kit

    Full Kit (Motor and decoder)

    DCMDrum Commutator Motor60941 High-Efficiency Motor Conversion Set60760 Digital High Efficiency Propulsion Set
    SFCMSmall Flat Commutator Motor60943 High-Efficiency Motor Conversion Set
    LFCMLarge Flat Commutator Motor60944 High-Efficiency Motor Conversion Set
    includes both armature types (7 tooth and 8 tooth versions) and 2 different motor face plates

    To understand more about motor conversions, there is a great article here . Also, to find out what type of motor your loco has try this site: Helmut Kern's locomotive page

    DCM motor upgrade kit
  3. Decoders

    There are an array of decoders available. I am not an expert on any of them so go to the Märklin Digital entry in Wikipedia for more info about the types of Digital systems Marklin released. Note that the newer decoders support all of the formats release from about 1990 onwards. Just know that every loco will need one and the more modern it is the more functions it will support. Some will even allow the lights to change on the loco depending on what direction it is running. Many support sound and operating steam generators and more. Note that there is usually room on the chasis for the decoder when the reversing unit is removed.

    Marklin Delta controller 6604 (not mine)

    What I just procured: MARKLIN mobile station 60652 + transfo 18VA + 24088

    TD101 decoder
    -This is the documentation saddly at this momment in spanish :
    -The youtube instalation video is :
    -The technical service and suport is
    -The facebook webpage is:

  4. Lights, signals and switches

    I will cover these at a later date as I haven't done anything with them yet.

New Buildings

I found a great seller on eBay (Station500) who sold me the following buildings from Germany and sent them out very quickly. Nice seller and nice building models to support the tank repair depot theme:
11356 Auhagen HO Kit of a Coal bunker

120152 Faller HO Kit of a Store Shed
120164 Faller HO Kit of a Gantry Crane
120211 Faller HO Kit of a Trackside buildings and Equipment shed
120264 Faller HO Kit of Recycling depot


  1. Gday Kim may i inquir as to what you plan to do with your M track please???

  2. thanks Kim i got to the email today sorry for the delay have explained in my reply thanks peter