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Offline DasBert33  
#1 Posted : 21 November 2021 15:01:15(UTC)
DasBert33


Joined: 21/01/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,224
Location: Mortsel, Belgium
Hi all,

Recently I decided to demolish my layout and put all my trains in their boxes again. It was my largest layout ever, but that also turned out to be its weakpoint. It was too big to finish and to make good progress on in a reasonable amount of time. Furthermore it could not be moved outside the room anymore without demolishing. So now I am thinking, if I ever do a new layout, of possibly creating a smaller modular layout, specifically aimed at small locos (think E69, T3, glaskasten etc...), but with the option to expand if I ever get the motivation again.

That raises some questions:

1. Are there any good modular standards documented to create modules for 3 rail? It would be nice to be able to combine to a bigger layout with other module makers around (if the coronacrap rules allow it that is).

I have a lot of Ctrack left from my old layout. I like it, but the big downside IMHO is the lack of flexible track. So I would like to try to create my own with the help of my 3D printer. (see also this https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4763268)

2. Which (2-rail) flexible track has the same or most similar rail profile and material as Ctrack to be used as flexible track in combination with C track?

The small locomotives I mentioned earlier tend to have issues with contact, due to small amount of wheels and low weight. Especially some non-Marklin ones. I still would like to use feedbacl for automation though. For that reason I am considering to use current sensing feedback contacts (through the middle studs), instead of GND sensing contacts on one of the 2 rails as is mostly done in the 3-rail operation.

3. Does anyone have experience with current sensing feedback in combination with a Marklin environment (decoders/mfx/...)? Does it work without issues or are there things to take into account?

Any feedback appreciated.

Bert


Offline marklinist5999  
#2 Posted : 21 November 2021 15:06:25(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,170
Location: Michigan, Troy
Check the Piko 2 rail bed formed track. Of course the Trix 2 rail track is like Marklin 3 rail C track. Roco may also make some. I don't know if the Atlas or Kato bedded tracks are like it.
Offline Alsterstreek  
#3 Posted : 21 November 2021 15:57:21(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Portugal   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,218
Location: Southwesternmost
The Modelleisenbahnclub MEC Barsinghausen e.V. in the north of Germany once developped a "Nord-Modul" standard for Maerklin H0, which can be found on the website of MRR club in the south of Germany: http://www.mec-stetten-donau.de/nord_modul.pdf

Besides, there have been attempts to integrate "Puko" FREMO module standards (https://www.fremo-net.eu/about/mailinglisten/einzelne-modulsysteme/fremo-puko/) and Maerklin MiniMax module standards (https://www.stummiforum.de/t149320f170-MiniM-x-Modulnorm-MiniMax-f-r-M-rklin-Module-Norm-und-mehr.html).

Rail profiles:

Maerklin C track: code 90 = 2.3 mm
Piko: code 100 = 2.5 mm
Peco: code 75 (1.9 mm)/83 (2.1 mm)/100 (2.5 mm)
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Offline DaleSchultz  
#4 Posted : 21 November 2021 16:22:52(UTC)
DaleSchultz

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,920
I suggest you look for the nearest modular model train club that uses Märklin, and if you like the people there, then go with whatever their standard is,
or,
make you own standard that matches the track you have and have fun making modules that you can join together as needed.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
Offline mrmarklin  
#5 Posted : 21 November 2021 17:00:37(UTC)
mrmarklin

United States   
Joined: 27/10/2004(UTC)
Posts: 855
Location: Burney, CA
ETE has modular standards. Www.ETE.org.
From the People's Republik of Kalifornia
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Jay
Offline kiwiAlan  
#6 Posted : 22 November 2021 00:15:51(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,436
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: DasBert33 Go to Quoted Post

1. Are there any good modular standards documented to create modules for 3 rail? It would be nice to be able to combine to a bigger layout with other module makers around (if the coronacrap rules allow it that is).


The links others have provided should fill the bill here, but i would emphasise talking to local MRR club members. It would be frustrating to choose one standard only to find that when you get a chance to connect to another layout they use a different incompatible standard.

Also getting involved with a local club will give you additional help to make a larger layout. There is usually someone with the carpentry skills and the machinery to make accurately cut and dimensioned module frames which will get you started a lot quicker. Then there is also often someone well versed in the electrics side of things who can help in wiring and diagnosing electrical problems. Then there will probably be a bunch of guys only too willing to help with scenery, anything from making lots of trees to laying static grass. It all helps to get things done in a reasonable time scale.

Originally Posted by: DasBert33 Go to Quoted Post

I have a lot of Ctrack left from my old layout. I like it, but the big downside IMHO is the lack of flexible track. So I would like to try to create my own with the help of my 3D printer. (see also this https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4763268)

2. Which (2-rail) flexible track has the same or most similar rail profile and material as Ctrack to be used as flexible track in combination with C track?


Your thingiverse link gave me a 404 error, so there is something wrong with it (worked out what it is, the closing bracket is part of the link). As to track I would suggest using Peco Code 83 with Weichen-Walter pukos. He makes pukos to suit all sorts of manufacturers track. Whatever you do, DON'T use the Peco contact strip. It looks absolutely ugly.

Don't have any direct experience with the issues you see with small locomotives.
Offline tonyfh  
#7 Posted : 22 November 2021 11:24:46(UTC)
tonyfh


Joined: 17/04/2004(UTC)
Posts: 100
Location: Netherlands
Hello Bert, all,

Bert, are you aware of this group: https://m-track.org
As far as I know they only want you the ends of your modules to be compatible and the through electrics of course.
In between you are free to build what you like.
They use K-track as far as I know but there are transition tracks available from Märklin.
You could send them an email for information in case you like to know more.

If I remember correctly I have seen a module group on a Dutch train show that uses C-track, alas I cannot remember the name of this group.

I use current sensing detectors all be it not in combination with decoders, I only drive digital (6021), switching etc. I do the old way with relais and the old style signals.
My setup works in digital and analog operation.

Hope this helps, greetings, Tony.
Offline DasBert33  
#8 Posted : 22 November 2021 18:00:54(UTC)
DasBert33


Joined: 21/01/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,224
Location: Mortsel, Belgium
Thanks all for the info, much appreciated. As for the local model rail clubs here, most of them model mainly in 2rail. They often have a few 3rail members too, but I have not seen any modules with them yet. Mostly it is M-track based nostalgia layouts. Kind of strange, as most of the 2nd hand stuff sold here in Belgium is Marklin (and no, they are not all converting to 2rail ;) ). So I will probably aim for one of the standards listed above. I hope to also find good instruction on how to create a good module underside, including folding legs.

For the rails it would be ideal if another manufacturer does code 90 rails. This website: http://www.flexgleise.de/ seems to have offered rails at some point but has now stopped the business. There should be others I would think no? I wonder whether code83 would work for Marklin (like Peco/Tilig Elite) or is it really too low? It there a good alternative to Peco contact strips? All options are open on this topic, I have seen a good custom stud implementation in a local MRR magazine using brass nails. (but a lot of work too).

About the current sensing detectors, does anyone have experience with the ones from Digikeijs?

Thanks and best regards,
Bert


Offline DaleSchultz  
#9 Posted : 22 November 2021 18:57:53(UTC)
DaleSchultz

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2006(UTC)
Posts: 3,920
unless you are really looking for extra challenges, I would stick with Märklin track with Märklin rolling stock.
Dale
Intellibox + own software, K-Track
My current layout: https://cabin-layout.mixmox.com
Arrival and Departure signs: https://remotesign.mixmox.com
thanks 2 users liked this useful post by DaleSchultz
Offline marklinist5999  
#10 Posted : 22 November 2021 21:05:14(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,170
Location: Michigan, Troy
Originally Posted by: DaleSchultz Go to Quoted Post
unless you are really looking for extra challenges, I would stick with Märklin track with Märklin rolling stock.


Especially with a substantial amount of C track already.
Offline kimballthurlow  
#11 Posted : 23 November 2021 00:19:50(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 6,130
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Originally Posted by: DasBert33 Go to Quoted Post
Hi all,

Recently I decided to demolish my layout and ...

I have a lot of Ctrack left from my old layout. I like it, but the big downside IMHO is the lack of flexible track. So I would like to try to create my own with the help of my 3D printer. (see also this https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4763268)

2. Which (2-rail) flexible track has the same or most similar rail profile and material as Ctrack to be used as flexible track in combination with C track?
...

Any feedback appreciated.

Bert


Hello Bert,

I am an avowed fan of Märklin C track, and not without reason.
I have built layouts, modules, and Club facilities in 2 rail HO for over 60 years.
Flexible track is marvellous stuff if you have plenty of time and patience, and you wish to have prototypical curves of 10 metre radius etc.
(A typical mainline radius can be 1.6km, = 18.5 metres in HO).
So long as you don't mind the mess with glues and ballast etc. etc.

You also asked about sensing and feedback of which I know nothing.
But I do know that at least Märklin offer some control which other model companies do not.
For operational enjoyment and the realisation you are not building a museum quality model train set, you are far better to stay with C track.
I started with Märklin in 2005 and have not looked back.

Kimball


HO Scale - Märklin (ep III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail (USA and Australia) - 3 rail (English Hornby Dublo) - a few old O gauge.
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Offline kiwiAlan  
#12 Posted : 23 November 2021 00:54:05(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,436
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: DasBert33 Go to Quoted Post
I wonder whether code83 would work for Marklin (like Peco/Tilig Elite) or is it really too low?


Well, the difference is 7 thousandths of an inch (around 0.2mm). It should take too much effort to chamfer the ends of rails on C track to match if you find the height difference too much. Another alternative would be to pack to bottom of the rail joiner (which you will need to use to connect to C track) with a o.2mm brass shim to push the track up slightly.

Originally Posted by: DasBert33 Go to Quoted Post

It there a good alternative to Peco contact strips? All options are open on this topic, I have seen a good custom stud implementation in a local MRR magazine using brass nails. (but a lot of work too).


The only real alternative i have found are the Weichen-Walter pukos I mentioned earlier. These come as etched nickel silver strips that you solder to brass straight slot screws, then lay split cork road bed each side, which after ballasting looks like the picture on the page I linked to. The whole process is illustrated on that page.

Note that when you get to the shop they have different items for different codes of track, along with seperate strips with raised pukos for points.



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Offline DasBert33  
#13 Posted : 23 November 2021 16:34:09(UTC)
DasBert33


Joined: 21/01/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,224
Location: Mortsel, Belgium
Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post


Well, the difference is 7 thousandths of an inch (around 0.2mm). It should take too much effort to chamfer the ends of rails on C track to match if you find the height difference too much. Another alternative would be to pack to bottom of the rail joiner (which you will need to use to connect to C track) with a o.2mm brass shim to push the track up slightly.


I think the 0.2mm difference can easily be compensated by the 3D printer. Thanks for pointing out the weichenwalter solution again. The plan is to use a printed, flexible trackbed instead of the proposed cork, with my own C track adapters at the end, and with foreseen holes for the pukos.

Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post

The only real alternative i have found are the Weichen-Walter pukos I mentioned earlier. These come as etched nickel silver strips that you solder to brass straight slot screws, then lay split cork road bed each side, which after ballasting looks like the picture on the page I linked to. The whole process is illustrated on that page.

Note that when you get to the shop they have different items for different codes of track, along with seperate strips with raised pukos for points.


Will definately try this I think, the mention that code83 track works with all types of wheels has me convinced. Will only do it for the flextrack now, for switches I will use regular Ctrack ones.

Offline PacoM  
#14 Posted : 24 November 2021 16:40:43(UTC)
PacoM

Spain   
Joined: 20/08/2020(UTC)
Posts: 34
In order to use Peco flexible track last year, to combine with C and M Märklin track, the dedicated pukos were not available, and they are suitable only for a hard trackbed. I found an easy and cheap solution, by sticking in the middle a steel cable for gear change in bicycles (1,1 mm diameter) with very small drops of Araldite using a toothpick. The following pictures, though of poor quality, provide a good idea of the look on foam, on a bridge and with ballast, as well as the transitions with the Märklin track.Via Peco en foam PB240214.jpgVia flexible en puente PB240208.jpgVia flexible a M PB240209.jpgVia Peco en balasto PB240215.jpg

Edited by user 25 November 2021 12:12:37(UTC)  | Reason: ordering picture and mispelling

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Offline PacoM  
#15 Posted : 24 November 2021 16:49:06(UTC)
PacoM

Spain   
Joined: 20/08/2020(UTC)
Posts: 34
One picture missing (I think) Via flexibe a C.jpg
Not scandalously unprototypical if you have a look at these photographs of real modern high-speed tracks in SpainEntrevias-.jpg
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