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Offline Cor Sanders  
#1 Posted : 14 April 2024 17:54:53(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
I have been reading for some months now about various discussions on this great forum to make up my mind on how to upgrade my 30 year plus old Marklin loco's and also my 2-rail dc loco's to a modern standard. Modern for me in such a way that everything will work like when I was 12, analogue but also a kind of semi digital.

It is not a problem if one would have grown up with the developments in model railroading in what ever system you grew up with but not so much if you are thrown into the deep end...

I can tell you, the reader, that I understand that the mLD3 decoder option to be the most suitable for me as that will do just what I want. That much I have learned here from some of my new-found friends, with thanks Love

But, and this is the main point of my story today, but what if I have done the work and I find a new or second hand train of my liking. How do I know if the decoder will work on my modernised "digalogue" track system?

So, question, is there an easy to find "sticky" on this forum that some folk have put together that shows what will work together and what not. A bit like the London Underground maps, but then with serial numbers, functions and perhaps even a price indication.
If this is a silly question the please remove it.

Dutch greetings from Wales.
Cor
Offline H0  
#2 Posted : 14 April 2024 18:31:20(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,280
Location: DE-NW
Hi!
MM protocol was developed on behalf of Märklin in the early days of digital MRR.
DCC protocol was developed at the same time on behalf of Märklin.
mfx was developed 20 years ago on behalf of Märklin.

Having these three protocols in modern controllers, you can use anything made for Märklin H0 tracks.
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 JohnjeanB  
#3 Posted : 14 April 2024 19:46:11(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 3,173
Location: Paris, France
Hi Cor
Digitalize or not is evidently a matter of personal choice.
Here a Märklin fan having started in analog from 1961 with M track, a few all-metal locos with a direction relay.

Here is a bit of history on digital
Sounds came around 1969 with "horns" and a rather complicated and expensive system (an AC oscillator would activate a little loudspeaker in a loco).
Then came a power station (6600) to make progressive starts, stops and direction changes. This was in 1983
Then came digital in 1985 (MM1) which was a real progress for multi-train control, then MM2 around 1995 (Bye Bye Alzeimer of locos forgetting their direction of travel and hello 4 fonctions per loco)
Then came around 2005 the sound locos.

I have followed all these evolutions and digital brings really something in this:
- larger layouts with rather simple wiring
- no more a zillion insulated sections to stop a loco where you wish
- access to simple programming of a layout (shunting, forming a train or parking it in a branch track)
- regulated operation: no more relays to increase / decrease voltage uphill / downhill. The loco goes exactly as told.

I still have wonderfull locos of the early 50s (CCS800, DL800, G800, CE800) but what a racket they make, what a current they need (smells ozone everywhere), what a huge quantity of wiring they need.
In those days, to control a loco, you had a separate track loop.

So analog has its charm, especially on smaller layout where decoration is as important as rail operation.

Cheers
Jean
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Offline Cor Sanders  
#4 Posted : 14 April 2024 20:07:13(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Hi Cor
Digitalize or not is evidently a matter of personal choice.
Here a Märklin fan having started in analog from 1961 with M track, a few all-metal locos with a direction relay.


So analog has its charm, especially on smaller layout where decoration is as important as rail operation.

Cheers
Jean



Hi Jean, thank you for your comments, as usual to the point, in particular where you mention "smaller layout". Obviously I missed the developments whilst my riding my motorcycles and helping the wife raising our children. (I tried to introduce trains to them but they have obviously something wrong in their genes as no interest in either trains nor motorcycles Crying ... )

To come back to my point in question, I have been reading quite a number of discussions here to make up my mind as to what to do and although all very interesting there is too much "opinion" and too little "facts". I have read other peoples questions that started whole discussions about what people like or think but no real answer to those questions. What I need is this trafo will work with these decoders but not those, these can do analogue but not digital and visa versa. Like a spreadsheet with columns and lines with "YES" and "NO" what does work and what doesn't. Is there anything like that here on the forum as a "sticky" as that is my question.

Anyway, Perhaps I will be the next train enthusiast riding off into the dark hoping that I have made the correct choices and not wasted my dosh, Glare

For now I will be building on my little modules and see how things run

Cheers,
Cor
Offline H0  
#5 Posted : 14 April 2024 21:14:55(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,280
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Cor Sanders Go to Quoted Post
What I need is this trafo will work with these decoders but not those, these can do analogue but not digital and visa versa. Like a spreadsheet with columns and lines with "YES" and "NO" what does work and what doesn't.
The recent transformers 6646, 6647, 6647x can be used for analogue operation of all Märklin H0 loco decoders and of all analogue Märklin H0 locos
Transformers not rated for 230 V should not be used for early mfx decoders in Europe with a nominal 230 V mains voltage.
Not a spreadsheet, but that's the YES shortlist.

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 Martti Mäntylä  
#6 Posted : 15 April 2024 17:34:25(UTC)
Martti Mäntylä

Finland   
Joined: 15/11/2018(UTC)
Posts: 398
Location: Uusimaa, Helsinki
To adopt digital or not is not necessarily a binary choice.

My setup allows both modes of operation. My switches and signals are controlled digitally (with Märklin K83 decoders), but I can switch the track power of various track segments between digital and analog (with Märklin K84 decoders). I can even run a digital locomotive simultaneously with an analog locomotive when really necessary.

To keep track of my trains, I use contact tracks hooked to CAN Digital Gleisreporter units; note that contact track sensing is independent of what kind of track power is being applied, and indeed will work even if there is none as long as the tracks are connected to the ground potential.

So I use happily both digital and analog locomotives, achieving roughly the same level of automation in both with the help of Rocrail. Several other members of this forum have adopted a similar approach.

All in all, I think that digital operation is wonderful, but it is flexible enough to also accommodate analog locomotives, adding a great amount of value also to them. Having said that, I have converted a few analog and especially DELTA locomotives to full digital, but in general I find that a well-functioning analog locomotive gains quite little from the conversion.

If I had a multilevel layout with grades, I might think differently, because the load balancing that comes with digital (with c90 and beyond) would simplify the operations on a hilly ground immensely. To me it is the most important value added by digital.
- Martti M.
Era III analog & digital (Rocrail, CAN Digital Bahn, Gleisbox/MS2, K83/K84), C & M tracks, some Spur 1
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Offline Cor Sanders  
#7 Posted : 15 April 2024 19:17:40(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
Originally Posted by: Martti Mäntylä Go to Quoted Post

My setup allows both modes of operation. My switches and signals are controlled digitally (with Märklin K83 decoders), but I can switch the track power of various track segments between digital and analog (with Märklin K84 decoders). I can even run a digital locomotive simultaneously with an analog locomotive when really necessary.

.


Thank you Matti for your explanation. I do understand that digital is brilliant although I don't see for me the point to go "full digital". What I want to do is nibble on the digital edges as it were. I want to make my 2-rail dc trains work on my Marklin layout and I understand that digital (mLD3) decoders can do that.

But now my problem that is still not answered: There are quite a number of these mLD3 decoders, all with their own specific purposes. So, is there a detailed list like a spreadsheet that make the decision easier and safer?

But not to worry as I will post something here when I find it, eventually. I am not the only one that is puzzled by the many options Confused

Thanks for your comment though Matti

Cor

Offline kiwiAlan  
#8 Posted : 15 April 2024 20:27:36(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 8,124
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: Cor Sanders Go to Quoted Post

But now my problem that is still not answered: There are quite a number of these mLD3 decoders, all with their own specific purposes. So, is there a detailed list like a spreadsheet that make the decision easier and safer?


I think you will find that all the mLD/3 decoders are the same, the only difference is in the interface connection.

One comes as a 21 pin mtc plug on decoder, and comes with a matching back plate that you do all the connections on.

One comes with an NMRA 8 pin plug that is designed to plug straight into a loco that is already fitted with an NMRA 8 pin socket.

One comes with wire leads for soldering straight into the loco.

I think there are another couple of options as well.
Personally I would suggest you get the version with the 21 pin MTC connector. as it makes replacing the decoder easy without needing to resolder anything. It also makes it easy to change to a sound decoder if desired.

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Offline H0  
#9 Posted : 15 April 2024 20:30:41(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,280
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Cor Sanders Go to Quoted Post
I want to make my 2-rail dc trains work on my Marklin layout and I understand that digital (mLD3) decoders can do that.
You can also achieve that with ESU or TRIX or Uhlenbrock decoders. But you still have to rewire the locos for three-rail operation and maybe replace the wheelsets to get them going on Märklin tracks.

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 Cor Sanders  
#10 Posted : 15 April 2024 21:47:05(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Cor Sanders Go to Quoted Post
I want to make my 2-rail dc trains work on my Marklin layout and I understand that digital (mLD3) decoders can do that.
You can also achieve that with ESU or TRIX or Uhlenbrock decoders. But you still have to rewire the locos for three-rail operation and maybe replace the wheelsets to get them going on Märklin tracks.




Thank you for your message.

Do you have manufacturers part numbers for those components that will do the job as that is what I am after.

Cheers,
Cor?
Offline Cor Sanders  
#11 Posted : 15 April 2024 21:49:58(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
Originally Posted by: kiwiAlan Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Cor Sanders Go to Quoted Post

But now my problem that is still not answered: There are quite a number of these mLD3 decoders, all with their own specific purposes. So, is there a detailed list like a spreadsheet that make the decision easier and safer?



One comes as a 21 pin mtc plug on decoder, and comes with a matching back plate that you do all the connections on.

One comes with an NMRA 8 pin plug that is designed to plug straight into a loco that is already fitted with an NMRA 8 pin socket.

One comes with wire leads for soldering straight into the loco.

I think there are another couple of options as well.
Personally I would suggest you get the version with the 21 pin MTC connector. as it makes replacing the decoder easy without needing to resolder anything. It also makes it easy to change to a sound decoder if desired.

Thank you KiwiAlan, that is info that I can do something with.

Cheers,
Cor

Offline Cor Sanders  
#12 Posted : 16 April 2024 13:20:02(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
Whilst reading the responses from various forum members I still continue to search the web and found this little gem.
I think that this is the sort of information that helps little old noobs like me on my way.

https://www.bogobit.de/decoder/dectype.html

If there is more of this about then please send me links of them so that not only I but perhaps someone else can benefit from it.

Thanks everyone in advance.

Cor
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Offline Cor Sanders  
#13 Posted : 19 April 2024 22:16:22(UTC)
Cor Sanders

United Kingdom   
Joined: 08/04/2024(UTC)
Posts: 18
Location: North-West Wales, UK
An update regarding my progress making up my mind.

¬ After reading more comments, ideas and advice on this forum I have decided to purchase a used Marklin digital trainset. It's about 20 odd years old and is the model with the Delta decoder. I have to admit that after receiving a bit of tlc and oil the train runs really nicely, in particular the electronic reversing is fab. So from that point of view I am sold to digital even if I will probably only ever use it in the simple analogue way.

¬ I am contemplating the need for all the D trains I have that will need modifying to Marklin 3-rail, perhaps I could just sell what I don't "need" and buy one or two used or new Dutch model Marklin units.

In the meantime I continue designing layout options on AutoCad and building the modules.

Thank for the info given here and the private chats.

Cor
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