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Offline sidblack  
#1 Posted : 20 September 2021 06:24:38(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Hi folks
I know these questions have been asked many times in this forum. I’ve done much research so hopefully won’t be wasting anyone’s time but it takes forever to get things delivered and I want to make sure I’ve got what I need…
I run an analog layout but I’ve ordered the first insider model of 2021 - the E44.5 and as I have an analog layout I know would be limited to basic functions.
I’m thinking of moving from analog to digital.
At the moment my layoutLink to my layout has one transformer for the upper level and another for the hidden station. They are isolated by the central tab. There is a third transformer to power lighting.
P1000569.jpg
If I went digital I can see several ways to go:
1 Buy a mobile station 60657
Digital track connection box 60116
Switched mode power pack 60043
or
2 Buy a digital starter pack 29000
or
3 Buy a digital starter set e.g. 29074 (I’m running eras III and IV)
or
4 Buy a CS3

So some questions:
I imagine I could only run the top level of my layout with one mobile station as the two levels are isolated from one another.

Or could I get the red and brown cables from the two levels that currently go to two separate transformers and join them at the mobile station to control both levels.

Or should I get 2 mobile stations to run the two levels separately?

Or would a CS3 be a better way to go for future although I can’t see my layout getting bigger any time soon?

And to check - To switch from analog to digital mode is it simply a case of taking the existing wires controlling track current (red and brown) and attaching them to the digital outlets of the mobile station? I don’t have the track that contains radio suppressant which I know interferes with the digital system.
Many thanks in advance for your thoughts,
John
Offline H0  
#2 Posted : 20 September 2021 09:43:37(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,343
Location: DE-NW
Hi!
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
Or should I get 2 mobile stations to run the two levels separately?
Two MS2 and two track boxes doubles the available power, but when using mfx this is a bad and impractical idea if mfx locos move from one section to the other. And it's risky, too, if by accident you connect both circuits (loco with two sliders, accident, ...).

The MS2 can deliver 1.9 A track current. Depending on your trains and your layout this is sufficient for 1 to 6 trains running at the same time.
The CS3 can deliver 3 A or 5 A, depending on the power supply.

Maybe just give the MS2 a try and see if you can run as many trains as you like. The CS3 will then be a potential upgrade path.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline sidblack  
#3 Posted : 20 September 2021 10:46:06(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Thanks Tom,
Because of the track configuration I can really only run two or three trains at a time so it sounds as though the MS2 will be the best option. I will be starting with only one (the Insider model when it finally arrives) and build the collection slowly.
Regards,
John
Offline marklinist5999  
#4 Posted : 20 September 2021 11:11:07(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,166
Location: Michigan, Troy
Hi Sid! Good advice from Tom! You layout is compact enough but not boring. The MS2 can run 5 sound locos. So I was told. I upgraded from a 6021 controller to the 29000 set, then a CS3. Only manual operating is possible with the ms2. A cs3 can automate events. I like being able to see all functions and my track diagram on the larger screen. I also needed the extra power for my amount of track. The ms2 is a nice auxiliary control too.
Offline H0  
#5 Posted : 20 September 2021 11:18:13(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,343
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
The MS2 can run 5 sound locos.
If you have older steamers with sound and smoke and light bulbs, running three locos at full speed is already edgy. Interior lights can further reduce this.
Five locos with sound, LEDs, and without smoke should be possible.

Take nothing for granted, try how far you can go with the rolling stock you have.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline dominator  
#6 Posted : 20 September 2021 11:38:24(UTC)
dominator

New Zealand   
Joined: 20/01/2015(UTC)
Posts: 1,176
Location: Kerikeri
Hi Sid. Like you I started out analogue. I have 3 separate circuits so can run digital on one, two or three circuits or any mix separated that I choose. I started off with one MS2 then got another. I then ran one circuit on analogue and the other two separately on each MS2. I then ran the 2 circuits through one track box on the two circuits, but using 2 MS2's. I have converted all passenger coaches to run with led'S BUT in such a way as to be able to run them on either the digital or analogue circuits by fitting bridge rectifiers and resistors where necessary.
I suggest you do the same.

All my switch gear is still run on the analogue system. Have fun.
Northland. NZ REMEMBER 0228 for ä
Offline sidblack  
#7 Posted : 20 September 2021 11:59:35(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
Only manual operating is possible with the ms2. A cs3 can automate events. I like being able to see all functions and my track diagram on the larger screen. I also needed the extra power for my amount of track. The ms2 is a nice auxiliary control too.


Thanks for this. I would like to automate routes down the track but for the moment will be content with the ms2
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Offline sidblack  
#8 Posted : 20 September 2021 12:05:51(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Originally Posted by: dominator Go to Quoted Post
Hi Sid. Like you I started out analogue. I have 3 separate circuits so can run digital on one, two or three circuits or any mix separated that I choose. I started off with one MS2 then got another. I then ran one circuit on analogue and the other two separately on each MS2. I then ran the 2 circuits through one track box on the two circuits, but using 2 MS2's. I have converted all passenger coaches to run with led'S BUT in such a way as to be able to run them on either the digital or analogue circuits by fitting bridge rectifiers and resistors where necessary.
I suggest you do the same.

All my switch gear is still run on the analogue system. Have fun.


Thanks for the info and the suggestions. Electrical work is not my strong point but I'm willing to learn more about the digital world step by step. I don't think it will be practical to have separate circuits unless I keep my hidden station as analog and the surface level as digital. I guess these things will become clearer when I get my hands on the MS2 and a digital lok and see what happens
Offline kiwiAlan  
#9 Posted : 20 September 2021 14:15:41(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,433
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
I would agree with Tom, et al, that for your layout an ms2 would be the way to go. Just remember that later on you could get a second ms2 to plug into the track box, and with some jiggery pokery additional ms2s can also be used (up to 10 are possible I believe) but you get no additional power from the track box.

However there are ways to use an old Delta control box as a booster, which may be a viable option for you as the layout is already split into two separately controlled sections, if you have problems with the maximum current available from the ms2 track box. But this is an option that can be explored later if need be.

I don't think that getting a 29000 set is useful unless you can use the R2 curves that come in it. I would go with option one unless you have a specific desire for the items in a start set which will again provide a dose of track.

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Offline marklinist5999  
#10 Posted : 20 September 2021 17:25:33(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,166
Location: Michigan, Troy
Alan, Sid, I used my Delta control as a booster with my 6021 unit, and I think it ruined my White large for digital transformer with the black top and no speed control. I had red C track isolators in place, but I wasn't sure they were all correct. My 5 unit ICE 3 may have connected the two blocks because it has a front and rear pick-up shoe. That's the only train I ran on the oval set up on a table. The large blue 6627 trafo. is fine. I'm not certain the white one only needs a new resistor or two. I haven't opened it up to test them.
Sid, you can watch the zoom digital webibars on youtube all about the CS3 by Curtis and Rick, the Marklin dudes who are the Marklin USA deligated digital consultants.
Also the newest book from marklin; "Controlling trains digitally with the CS3" item #03093 may be well worth the $25 or so.
Offline H0  
#11 Posted : 20 September 2021 18:57:18(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,343
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
My 5 unit ICE 3 may have connected the two blocks because it has a front and rear pick-up shoe.
It has slider-switch over and should not bridge two blocks with its two sliders.
Even a single slider can bridge two blocks if no centre-rail rocker is used, but that should not damage the transformer. The transformer should have a tube for overload protection that resets automatically. Later cheap power supplies had resistors that simply burnt out on overload.

I used Delta boosters for a while. I didn't use centre-rail rockers between the circuits powered by the Delta Controls and didn't have any defects.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
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Offline Webmaster  
#12 Posted : 20 September 2021 20:26:50(UTC)
Webmaster


Joined: 25/07/2001(UTC)
Posts: 11,133
I'd say that the venture into digital should be done step by step, so I think an MS2 is the right thing to start with. Then learn and explore the possibilities and ideas you have in mind for the future.

I mean, just to go digital is a big step regarding thought of mind regarding wiring and such if you have an analog layout.. Smile
Juhan - "Webmaster", at your service...
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. [Old Chinese Proverb]
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Offline David Dewar  
#13 Posted : 20 September 2021 21:21:53(UTC)
David Dewar

Scotland   
Joined: 01/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 7,025
Location: Scotland
I would get the Marklin book as said above. This will show the advantages of the CS3 and what it can do. You would need a power pack with it.
Take care I like Marklin and will defend the worlds greatest model rail manufacturer.
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Offline sidblack  
#14 Posted : 20 September 2021 23:10:44(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post

Also the newest book from marklin; "Controlling trains digitally with the CS3" item #03093 may be well worth the $25 or so.


I think that's a great suggestion. I've got a 5 euro gift voucher from the Märklin shop (woohoo!) so I can put it towards that.
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Offline Johnvr  
#15 Posted : 21 September 2021 07:54:55(UTC)
Johnvr

South Africa   
Joined: 03/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1,238
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Hello Sid

The important part about digital for a layout such as yours is that you should have no isolator blocks anywhere in your layout (*except signal stopping blocks) and you should run the whole system as one integrated circuit. Eliminate the concept of separate controls for separate sections of track. With the Mobile Station and/or Central Station, you will be able to control any train on any part of the layout. BigGrin

Furthermore, you can usually connect 2 x Mobile Stations into one track connector box, so that 2 x people can operate a layout together.
Or, if using a Central Station, you can plug a Mobile Station into the Central Station and have two controllers operating the layout.

A little information about Automation :
If you want to run an automated layout, where signals change and trains stop and go, switch tracks, etc, then you need to plan for this at the layout construction stage. Blink
You will need to insert circuit tracks or contact tracks at strategic locations around the layout, develop a system of block control with isolators separating sections of the layout for feedback purposes (ie feeding back whether a section of track is occupied by a train or not), and you will need a Central Station 2 or 3 to get most value out of automation.
If you are using a Mobile Station, then you would be able to do some limited automation by have circuit tracks/contact tracks connected directly to M83 or M84 to switch signals and turnouts, but then this is done with physical hardware and you won't have the added benefit of software for complex automation which the CS provides (for example, if this condition, then do that function .., or delay timing ..., or repeat sequences, etc)

PS >> I took a look at your layout construction thread topic and I really like the way in which you developed the staging yard and above ground scenes.

Regards
John



Offline sidblack  
#16 Posted : 21 September 2021 11:01:33(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Hi John,
Thanks for your comments. I know that you're well advanced in the use of automation and have read some of your posts in that regard. Yes, I won't be able to automate this layout without contact tracks etc. My access to the hidden station now is virtually nil so I have leave it as is, as you say it needs to be set up in the planning and construction phases.
Maybe you can answer these questions for me.
The analog signals that I use work by isolating the track so I understand that I'll need to leave them on green for the ms2 to work.
As the hidden station is isolated from the main layout by a tab (in a difficult place to access) then I thought I could join the red cables from both sides of that tab which would lead to it being neutralised and all would work ok. Would that work?
Regards
Sid
Offline Johnvr  
#17 Posted : 21 September 2021 17:12:54(UTC)
Johnvr

South Africa   
Joined: 03/10/2010(UTC)
Posts: 1,238
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
Hi John,
Thanks for your comments. I know that you're well advanced in the use of automation and have read some of your posts in that regard.
BigGrin

Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
Hi John,
The analog signals that I use work by isolating the track so I understand that I'll need to leave them on green for the ms2 to work.


Operating in analog mode, your signals probably cut the power to a section of track where you want the train to stop and when you change the signal to red.
In digital mode, you can leave it like this. It will have the same effect in digital mode as it currently has in analog mode.

Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
Hi John,
As the hidden station is isolated from the main layout by a tab (in a difficult place to access) then I thought I could join the red cables from both sides of that tab which would lead to it being neutralised and all would work ok. Would that work?
Regards
Sid


Yes, that will work, and it will be an easy solution.

One more explanatory note about digital :
You can operate your trains in digital mode and still keep your signals and turnouts operated by the switch box in analog mode from your old analog transformer.
BUT make sure that you have no connections ANYWHERE on the live side where you connect digital wires to analog wires (the center track red wires)
It's actually ok to connect the electrical ground side between digital mode and analog mode, but I would avoid it if possible.
(for example, if you wanted to run electric trains from overhead catenary in analog mode and steam trains with slider in digital mode)

At some stage in the future, you can upgrade your signal and turnouts to digital operation by purchasing the very useful M83 box.
Then you will be able to switch the signals and turnouts from your Mobile Station.

It is also worth remembering that you can connect M-track 5146 Circuit tracks to automatically switch signals and turnouts.
Many of the early Märklin automated layouts did exactly that, in order to run trains in an automated layout, and that was long before digital.

Regards
John

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Offline sidblack  
#18 Posted : 22 September 2021 00:43:23(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 135
Location: Canberra
Thanks to John and others for the sound suggestions and advice. I'll start by getting a mobile station and await the Insider model (how long away is that??) to test them both out.
Cheers everyone.
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