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

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 173
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
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Offline H0  
#2 Posted : 20 September 2021 09:43:37(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,245
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: 173
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
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Offline marklinist5999  
#4 Posted : 20 September 2021 11:11:07(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 2,997
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: 15,245
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: 1,194
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: 173
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: 173
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: 8,054
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: 2,997
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: 15,245
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: 11,161
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: 7,326
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: 173
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: 1,269
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: 173
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: 1,269
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: 173
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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Offline sidblack  
#19 Posted : 23 November 2023 08:01:47(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 173
Location: Canberra
Well it's been over two years since I asked these questions.
In the meantime I've moved my controls to a different part of the layout which took a long time, but it's all working fine now in analog mode.

I got myself a Digital Starter Set 2900 with MS2 and some track. That all works fine. However, when I finally hooked up my upper level to digital the MS 2 constantly switches back to STOP mode after a few seconds.
The engines are recognised by the MS2 and start to move but then the STOP comes on. I can turn the STOP off and the Loc moves again but only for a few seconds until the STOP comes on again.
I'm guessing that it doesn't like something in my setup.
All I've done is connect the red wire from the track box to the power circuit of my upper level and the brown to earth. I've not turned on the transformers at all (even the one controlling lights).

Then I've disconnected the MS2 from my layout and reconnected it to my test track and it's working fine in that scenario.

So my guess is that the STOP light comes on because there is some kind of short on the layout but my layout is working fine in analog mode.

Any suggestions on where to look?

Offline hxmiesa  
#20 Posted : 23 November 2023 08:31:20(UTC)
hxmiesa

Spain   
Joined: 15/12/2005(UTC)
Posts: 3,518
Location: Spain
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post

Any suggestions on where to look?

Frustrating... ;-)

First of all, remove noise-suppressors from your old track.
Second, remove all rolling stock except one loco.
Third, be systematic; Divide your track into sections, and add them one by one until you find the culprit.
(If you add more rolling stock, do it the same way; one by one)

Although the transformers are not turned on, they should be disconnected from the layout!
Best regards
Henrik Hoexbroe ("The Dane In Spain")
http://hoexbroe.tripod.com
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H0
Offline H0  
#21 Posted : 23 November 2023 08:51:33(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,245
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
So my guess is that the STOP light comes on because there is some kind of short on the layout but my layout is working fine in analog mode.
Capacitors block DC but allow AC to pass. The capacitors in the feeder track are designed for 50 or 60 Hz. With the frequency of the MS2 (about 8000 Hz) they absorb a lot of energy, leading the MS2 to detect an overload once or twice per minute.

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  
#22 Posted : 24 November 2023 00:28:27(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 173
Location: Canberra
Originally Posted by: hxmiesa Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post

Any suggestions on where to look?

Frustrating... ;-)

First of all, remove noise-suppressors from your old track.
Second, remove all rolling stock except one loco.
Third, be systematic; Divide your track into sections, and add them one by one until you find the culprit.
(If you add more rolling stock, do it the same way; one by one)

Although the transformers are not turned on, they should be disconnected from the layout!


Thanks Henrik,
Are the noise suppressors in the feeder tracks? It's been 10 years since I installed them and really can't remember if there were any in there at all.

I've removed everything with a slider (e.g. carriages with lights ) from the layout and of course all other loks.
I'll disconnect the other transformers to see what happens.
I'm not looking forward to spending all that time getting under the layout and back up again but it should lead to increased flexibility!
Offline sidblack  
#23 Posted : 24 November 2023 00:30:48(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 173
Location: Canberra
Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
So my guess is that the STOP light comes on because there is some kind of short on the layout but my layout is working fine in analog mode.
Capacitors block DC but allow AC to pass. The capacitors in the feeder track are designed for 50 or 60 Hz. With the frequency of the MS2 (about 8000 Hz) they absorb a lot of energy, leading the MS2 to detect an overload once or twice per minute.



Thanks for the suggestion Tom. So then do I remove the capacitors from the feeder tracks?
Offline H0  
#24 Posted : 24 November 2023 08:50:08(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,245
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: sidblack Go to Quoted Post
So then do I remove the capacitors from the feeder tracks?
Forgot to mention that detail, but yes, remove them or replace the feeder track for the type without capacitor.
There should be only one track with capacitor per circuit with analogue operation. Forbidden for digital operation.
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
UserPostedImage
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Offline sidblack  
#25 Posted : 29 November 2023 07:56:32(UTC)
sidblack

Australia   
Joined: 09/05/2012(UTC)
Posts: 173
Location: Canberra
Thanks Tom! It wasn't much fun tracking down those feeder tracks. There were six in total but I hadn't put them where I had indicated on my original track plan. Also 4 of them were deeply embedded into scenery and one was in a tunnel.
The end result is that I had checked 5 of the feeder tracks and found 2 capacitors. My test train now ran for about 40 seconds before the STOP came on so I knew I was making progress. From underneath the layout I could see where the wires for the last feeder track emerged but after careful measuring I found that it was not directly under the track but under some scenery. It took a while to find the exact track and it was firmly embedded in the scenery. IMG_4202.jpeg

That guy with the wheelbarrow got quite a shock. It was an effort to dig out the track but success - 1 more capacitor found.
IMG_4204.jpeg
So three capacitors in total!
Now a test run has been successful and the STOP function doesn't come on unless I activate it.
So thanks to the Forum (especially Tom) for solving this for me. There's a bit of work to be done now in repairing scenery and checking the alignment of the track but I hope to show some videos of my digital loks running soon (including a newly arrived Scotsman...)
Cheers from a newly minted digital convert
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