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Offline Hubertvanmierlo  
#1 Posted : 04 January 2024 01:26:41(UTC)
Hubertvanmierlo

Australia   
Joined: 23/09/2023(UTC)
Posts: 3
Location: Sydney
Phase 1.pngPhase 2.pngPhase 3.pngHi all, I am planning a new layout, after a long 40-year drought, like so many people are.

With this post, I would like to verify if my ideas will work and assumptions are sound. The model road digital ecosystem is new to me. Despite having done quite a lot of research on the subject there are still questions in my mind, some are fueled by conflicting information I find. I have not seen a thorough technical description of the Maerklin digital system and its components. This is what I am used to as an engineer. Therefore, I am like many, dependent on the info available and the high-level descriptions of the components.

The layout I intend to build is divided over two decks, 500 mm apart, with on top a scenic layout and below a shadow station, connected by a dual-rail helix.
The overall dimensions are (L-Shape) - 5000 mm x 1300 mm and 2300 mm wide on the leg of the L.

I have already purchased most of the C-rail, which has a total length of 104 m, with an expansion option for another 20 m.

- All of the turnouts will be operated via m83 decoders.
- All detection will be done with contact rails and S88 decoders.
- The main controller will be CS3, with a future addition of computer software for sophisticated automation
- I think I will have no more than 10 locomotives running simultaneously when the layout is fully automated.
- All signals will be the modern type with in-built decoders and take power from the track. No signals are needed in the lower deck.
- I intend to introduce m84 decoders (or an alternative (cheaper) brand with similar functionality) and a separate power source for lighting and accessories, which will be done at a later phase.

I want to start with a single CS3 and see whether I need to expand the power supply with booster(s) along the way. I have posted 3 images below, that show what the first 3 stages could look like.

- I want to keep all control elements (CS3, decoders and related power supplies) in a central location and use cabling to reach the track and other equipment.
- I do not think it is an issue to do and have longer cabling, provided that I ensure I use the correct cabling (diameter).
- I will wire up the rail power feeders in such a way that I can add boosters without having to rewire. To do this I will create 4 separate areas, each connected with sufficient feeder wires to a bus. The 4 busses are connected to 2 main busses. This way I can simply change the bus supply connections and divide the power feeds between multiple sources, CS3, and Boosters.
- The contact rails connected to the s88 decoders are wired once and do not need to change when additional boosters are added.
- The m84 receives track power from one of the power busses. I assume it does not matter which one, as the control signals from the CS3 should be able to reach the m84 via either CS3 or Booster.
- I read somewhere that the cabling from m83 to turnout solenoids should be kept short, I assume that this is not true, as those connections only need to carry either power on or off to the solenoid, there is no digital signal carried over those connections. So that's why I should be able to connect them at larger distances (let's say up to 5 meters).

Questions:
1. does the design and the plan make sense and are there any pitfalls anyone can see?
2. (side question) I am in Australia. I note that the 60041 power supplies come in an Australian version. Is the only difference the household power plug provided? I do not see an Australian version for the smaller 36VA power supply 66360, so will I have to use one of those travel adapters to plug it into an Australian wall socket?




Offline PeFu  
#2 Posted : 04 January 2024 07:19:01(UTC)
PeFu

Sweden   
Joined: 30/08/2002(UTC)
Posts: 1,212
I like your plan, it will save a lot of time (and thinking) once you need to expand the powering. However, I would suggest not to keep the m83 decoders in the central location, but close to the turnouts. When you describe your planned layout, it sounds as if there will be turnouts all over the layout? I would plan for a ”m83 decoder power bus” running around the two levels of the layout, with terminals (sugarcubes) on strategic locations. This instead of having additional 4 x 3 = 12 cables running from the central location. For each m83… Adding to this, that you would need thicker cables than the thin Märklin turnout cables for powering approx. 5 meters between a m83 and the turnout.

Smile

(Oh, btw, there’s a typo re. the terminal, it should be a 60145)
Andreasburg-Mattiasberg Bahn is inspired by Swiss railways |Forum Thread |Track Plan |Youtube | C and K track | CS2 | TrainController Gold V10
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by PeFu
Offline marklinist5999  
#3 Posted : 04 January 2024 13:07:28(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 3,198
Location: Michigan, Troy
Yes PeFu, that will save a lot of complicated wiring and lengths. I was sceptical to only use track power for even two M83s because two turnouts are 12 or more feet away from the M 83 but it works fine.
Offline Hubertvanmierlo  
#4 Posted : 06 January 2024 04:13:12(UTC)
Hubertvanmierlo

Australia   
Joined: 23/09/2023(UTC)
Posts: 3
Location: Sydney
Originally Posted by: PeFu Go to Quoted Post
I like your plan, it will save a lot of time (and thinking) once you need to expand the powering. However, I would suggest not to keep the m83 decoders in the central location, but close to the turnouts. When you describe your planned layout, it sounds as if there will be turnouts all over the layout? I would plan for a ”m83 decoder power bus” running around the two levels of the layout, with terminals (sugarcubes) on strategic locations. This instead of having additional 4 x 3 = 12 cables running from the central location. For each m83… Adding to this, that you would need thicker cables than the thin Märklin turnout cables for powering approx. 5 meters between a m83 and the turnout.

Smile

(Oh, btw, there’s a typo re. the terminal, it should be a 60145)




Thanks PeFu for looking at it and your reply. And well spotted with the Terminal item number!

On the lower level, most turnouts are concentrated in a couple of areas, so I could place the related m83s nearby.
Whatever I do, I will have to connect 3 wires per turnout function to the m83. I could connect them to a screw terminal and then a multi-core cable to bring them to the central location. I take your point about the wires needing to be thicker.
The reason for trying to keep all equipment centrally is to avoid having to access them in hard-to-reach locations. My thinking is that once the cabling is done properly, there shouldn't be much need for maintenance in those hard-to-reach locations. Thanks for your food for thought!
Offline Hubertvanmierlo  
#5 Posted : 06 January 2024 04:21:05(UTC)
Hubertvanmierlo

Australia   
Joined: 23/09/2023(UTC)
Posts: 3
Location: Sydney
Originally Posted by: marklinist5999 Go to Quoted Post
Yes PeFu, that will save a lot of complicated wiring and lengths. I was sceptical to only use track power for even two M83s because two turnouts are 12 or more feet away from the M 83 but it works fine.


Thanks, that is good to know. I think there are two parts to the power demand by the M83s:
1. The power used by the m83 themselves (the decoder and the output switching - are these relais or electronic switches)? I have to admit I have not tried to find out how much this is - if it is even published anywhere.
2. The power needed to move a turnout mechanism. As there is always only one at the time being actuated, the number of m83s does not matter.
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by Hubertvanmierlo
Offline marklinist5999  
#6 Posted : 06 January 2024 15:05:23(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 3,198
Location: Michigan, Troy
Yes, essentially they are electronic relay switches. During CS3 events, more than one turnout may be triggered simultaneiously, but they do not require much power, and it is only a milisecond draw. They do read or monitor digital data almost constantly, also low current draw. You may hear subtle beeping as they do.
The S-88 feedback modules are also a switching device more than an actual decoder. They monitor track contact sections, or reed switch activation, send it to the CS3, and that forwards it to the M83's to change the turnouts. The CS3 plus has a built in LAN port for a network cable from S-88's, negating the need for a seperate S-88 adaptor and power supply. The S-88's can be connected in series the same as M83's.
thanks 1 user liked this useful post by marklinist5999
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