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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#1 Posted : 21 February 2022 02:36:26(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,179
Location: CA, USA
Hi everyone,

I'm continuing my brainstorming on LED passenger car lighting. As Dale and others have shown here, a DIY (do it yourself) circuit for this is not that hard to come up with. However, running that circuit car to car with 2 poles of wiring is, especially if you need to uncouple them like I do.

Anyhow, this brings me back to the solution everyone is trying to work around in the first place- Marklin's own kits. My interest in them is that they can use a ground spring per car, and a regular 1 pole current conducting coupler to go car to car, whereas none of the DIY circuits I have seen can do so.

Does anyone know what the marklin kits (or specifically their PC boards) are doing differently?

Thanks in advance for any insights!
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline marklinist5999  
#2 Posted : 21 February 2022 07:00:26(UTC)
marklinist5999

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Location: Michigan, Troy
I think the kits are convenient, but cost more. They include the resistors on the boards. No soldering required.
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Offline H0  
#3 Posted : 21 February 2022 10:57:40(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,568
Location: DE-NW
Hi!
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post
Does anyone know what the marklin kits (or specifically their PC boards) are doing differently?
The Märklin kits simply pass the current from centre rail from car to car, thus a single pole is enough. Drawback: You need the ground springs in every car, adding drag to the train.
Using two poles you need centre rail slider and ground springs only in one coach and pass both poles from car to car. More cables, requires two-pole couplers, but reduces drag.

With DIY solutions you can have it either way. Either avoid ground springs or avoid two-pole couplers. Or go for battery power and avoid slider, ground springs, and power-conducting couplers.
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 kiwiAlan  
#4 Posted : 21 February 2022 14:54:01(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,855
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post

Does anyone know what the marklin kits (or specifically their PC boards) are doing differently?


Marklin have a rectifier on every board, so the lighting unit can be fed with AC or with DC of either polarity.
This means they can get away with one pickup, which is wired through the cars on a single contact coupling, with each car having grounding through the wheels.

With the 'home brew' solutions, unless you put a rectifier in every car you need to wire the DC through two contacts on the coupling between the cars.

If you look at the 73400/73401 lighting PCBs there are two identical units so the PCB can be split in half to use in shorter coaches.

I haven't checked out the circuitry on the new Thunderbox lighting kits, but they have also included a capacitor to stop the lights blinking as grounding problems occur.

Offline Puttputtmaru  
#5 Posted : 21 February 2022 17:00:05(UTC)
Puttputtmaru

Canada   
Joined: 15/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 136
Location: Quebec, Montreal
Have you looked at the Marklin of Sweden video on the DIY way? He uses the Conductive Couplings (20-pack) Märklin E115737:20 so coupling and uncoupling is a no brainer either.

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Offline 1borna  
#6 Posted : 21 February 2022 20:54:31(UTC)
1borna

Croatia   
Joined: 21/12/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,009
Location: Hrvatska
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!
Offline kiwiAlan  
#7 Posted : 21 February 2022 23:18:17(UTC)
kiwiAlan

United Kingdom   
Joined: 23/07/2014(UTC)
Posts: 6,855
Location: ENGLAND, Didcot
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!


Most of the Marklin lighting kits do not have capacitors on them, the 73400/73401 do not have a capacitor, although there are pads where one was designed in, but Marklin decided no to fit it.

The new 'Thunderbox' kits do have a capacitor, but I haven't investigated how it gets charged. Apart from factory fitted units all other lighting kits use tungsten bulbs, so no capacitors.

Offline Puttputtmaru  
#8 Posted : 21 February 2022 23:33:14(UTC)
Puttputtmaru

Canada   
Joined: 15/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 136
Location: Quebec, Montreal
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!


Isn’t that greatCursing . Anyway around it? (Beside taking wagons off the track)
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#9 Posted : 21 February 2022 23:50:52(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,179
Location: CA, USA
Thanks all- great response! Between that and my research, here are the viable options and approaches, plus a few notes/direct answers at the end:

1- Marklin kit. All good except for cost and multiple ground-spring drag
2- "Marklin of Sweden" approach. Similar to Marklin OEM solution, but much lower cost. Con being multiple ground springs (for drag, but also cost as those springs add up, plus you need current couplings)
3- DIY/new circuit approach with hard-wiring between cars: This is the best cost solution, but uncoupling is not feasible. A very cool product here though if you don't need the uncoupling: http://www.symoba-schnie...supp-dateien/tipp105.htm I'd be running with this if I didn't have the need to uncouple.
4- Same as above, but with 2 pole couplers. This might be the best bet for people like me, thanks to this new viessmann solution:
https://www.modellbahnsh...17/gb/modell_394065.html

puttputtmaru/1borna- you can design your circuit against inrush. Dale has published notes on this in his forum threads on the matter.

Kiwialan- the rectifier per coach/board explains it! Thanks!

I fear I am at a point where option number 4 is the best. Yes it adds ~$6USD per coach, against maybe $1 otherwise. (after the initial circuit in the "lead" car), but $7 per coach is a lot cheaper than marklin's kits, offers zero added drag, and (in theory) convenient and functional uncoupling. I'll need to preorder a trial set of the couplings as I also wonder if the magnets are strong enough, and will experiment then. I hope they become available soon...
FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
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Offline Puttputtmaru  
#10 Posted : 22 February 2022 00:01:29(UTC)
Puttputtmaru

Canada   
Joined: 15/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 136
Location: Quebec, Montreal
« puttputtmaru/1borna- you can design your circuit against inrush. Dale has published notes on this in his forum threads on the matter. »

Thanks I will look into it. I don’t have enough running lighted stock yet for it to happen but since I am planning to expand on it I will find out.

I have stocked up already on the couplers so I will go the Marklin of Sweden way. Especially since I do not like to uncouple manually.
Offline H0  
#11 Posted : 22 February 2022 00:40:27(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,568
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: Puttputtmaru Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!


Isn’t that greatCursing . Anyway around it? (Beside taking wagons off the track)
When done properly there should be resistors to limit the inrush current.
These resistors will also prevent elimination of mfx feedback from track signal, so they are really important.

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 PeFu  
#12 Posted : 22 February 2022 04:28:26(UTC)
PeFu

Sweden   
Joined: 30/08/2002(UTC)
Posts: 973
Originally Posted by: H0 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Puttputtmaru Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!


Isn’t that greatCursing . Anyway around it? (Beside taking wagons off the track)
When done properly there should be resistors to limit the inrush current.
These resistors will also prevent elimination of mfx feedback from track signal, so they are really important.


I always add a small and simple function decoder in the pickup-shoe car. It controls a Panasonic DSP1a-L2-DC24V relay. This is a 2-coil 24 V ”latching relay” which implies that I can use a short pulse of decoder F1 to turn the relay ”on”, and a short pulse of F2 to turn it ”off”. This way, bad rail conducting will not turn the relay and the light off.

When the trains are in the ”shadow station areas”, lights are always turned off by my PC software (including engine lights). Lights are turned on when entering visible areas. This looks pretty nice, saves digital power and eliminates the short circuit feature described above (without adding resistors to limit the inrush current).

Smile
Inspired by Swiss railways SBB and BLS | C and K track | CS2 | TrainController Gold V9
Youtube Channel for the Andreasburg-Mattiasberg layout
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Offline H0  
#13 Posted : 22 February 2022 08:09:14(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,568
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: PeFu Go to Quoted Post
This looks pretty nice, saves digital power and eliminates the short circuit feature described above (without adding resistors to limit the inrush current).
Smile
Good.

I remember several club meetings when mfx registration with a Märklin Central Station was no longer possible while a Märklin coach set with factory installed interior lights was on the track. The coach set eliminated the mfx feedback from the track. We placed a sheet of paper under the centre-rail pickup to allow locos to register.
A relay is a more elegant solution. Wink
It is not just about limiting the inrush current, even though that is also an important aspect.

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
Offline mario54i  
#14 Posted : 22 February 2022 13:44:57(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 258
Location: Torino,
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post

4- Same as above, but with 2 pole couplers. This might be the best bet for people like me, thanks to this new viessmann solution:
https://www.modellbahnsh...17/gb/modell_394065.html



I fear I am at a point where option number 4 is the best. Yes it adds ~$6USD per coach, against maybe $1 otherwise. (after the initial circuit in the "lead" car), but $7 per coach is a lot cheaper than marklin's kits, offers zero added drag, and (in theory) convenient and functional uncoupling. I'll need to preorder a trial set of the couplings as I also wonder if the magnets are strong enough, and will experiment then. I hope they become available soon...


These couplers look identical to Ree Modeles magnetic couplers.
I tested 10 pairs of these Ree couplers and they have problems, they lose contact in curves. I'm not the only one noticing this.
I hope Viessman redesigns them, maybe just stronger magnets.


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Offline BenP  
#15 Posted : 23 February 2022 18:15:57(UTC)
BenP

United States   
Joined: 04/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 86
Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
I went one coach-one light route, so only needed to install LED strip (with intensity regulator), parallel capacitor and shoe (metal coaches offer ready ground or wheel insert for plastic coaches). Cost is ~$13/coach (excl shipping).

20220211_080513.jpg

20220211_080100.jpg
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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#16 Posted : 23 February 2022 23:06:01(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

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Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,179
Location: CA, USA
Nice work Ben!

Mario- this is VERY interesting, thank you so much. It means I should try a small set first before buying many... As I look online, they do appear to be the same couplers....

A great review! But unfortunately showing the electrical issues...

FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
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Offline marklinist5999  
#17 Posted : 24 February 2022 00:25:43(UTC)
marklinist5999

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Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,659
Location: Michigan, Troy
Perhaps most couplers have drawbar load limits. Today I ran a container wagon consist total of nine Marklin and Roco with a heavy metal frame Kombirail set semi trailer on a pocket wagon. My Marklin Starlight Express br 101 was towing it. The coupler dislodged from the locomotive's coupler pocket on a grade of about 10 degrees. This ddin't happen earlier with the 36187 Vectron. CS3 speed level was at 56 of 120.
Offline mario54i  
#18 Posted : 24 February 2022 13:38:57(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 258
Location: Torino,
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post
Nice work Ben!

Mario- this is VERY interesting, thank you so much. It means I should try a small set first before buying many... As I look online, they do appear to be the same couplers....

A great review! But unfortunately showing the electrical issues...



This is my experience with Ree magnetic couplers, I've heard others saying they had the same problem.
Power comes from the engine, that runs smoothly at low speed. Curve is R5.
The blue s-bahn coaches whose couplers work are Fleischmann, they have weaker shaft springs, only an elastic wire, not a spring.

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Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#19 Posted : 24 February 2022 20:40:34(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,179
Location: CA, USA
Originally Posted by: mario54i Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: 5HorizonsRR Go to Quoted Post


This is my experience with Ree magnetic couplers, I've heard others saying they had the same problem.
Power comes from the engine, that runs smoothly at low speed. Curve is R5.
The blue s-bahn coaches whose couplers work are Fleischmann, they have weaker shaft springs, only an elastic wire, not a spring.



Thanks for for posting! It looks like they are trouble. (and the fleischmann very good!) I have to do more experimenting...

FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline applor  
#20 Posted : 25 February 2022 07:15:37(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,529
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
I think the best way is the Tams FD-LED kit with 2 pole couplers (either Tams Sk2 or Viessmann, same thing - Viessmann is cheaper)
Decoder and slider in the baggage car. You can still swap consists around etc and turn lights off digitally separate from the loco.

https://tams-online.de/e.../Wageninnenbeleuchtungen
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
Offline 5HorizonsRR  
#21 Posted : 26 February 2022 03:38:30(UTC)
5HorizonsRR

United States   
Joined: 05/12/2004(UTC)
Posts: 3,179
Location: CA, USA
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post
I think the best way is the Tams FD-LED kit with 2 pole couplers (either Tams Sk2 or Viessmann, same thing - Viessmann is cheaper)
Decoder and slider in the baggage car. You can still swap consists around etc and turn lights off digitally separate from the loco.

https://tams-online.de/e.../Wageninnenbeleuchtungen


I've never heard of tams- some nice stuff! Thanks for the tip



FS + SBB Era 2-5 and Vintage Marklin
Offline rbw993  
#22 Posted : 26 February 2022 14:05:55(UTC)
rbw993

United States   
Joined: 19/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 885
Have you looked at Train-Tech, Train-Tech.com. Battery powered using motion sensor to turn on. Just peel and stick to he car roof. No wiring and no drag due to sliders or ground contacts.

Regards,
Roger
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Offline mike c  
#23 Posted : 26 February 2022 17:40:14(UTC)
mike c

Canada   
Joined: 28/11/2007(UTC)
Posts: 7,421
Location: Montreal, QC
The Maerklin lighting kits are designed to fit Maerklin models. They come with fittings to mount on the inside of the model unlike others which often have to be stuck on the underside of the roof.

It is noticeable to me that many lighting kits do not light the entry/gangway vestibules. I would also like to see a system where you could have switchable lighting for compartments but dimmer but constant lighting for the corridors and washrooms. I have seen some kitbashed units where this was retroactively modified and it looked much better. LEDs, unlike classical bulbs, should allow for easier addition of such features.

I like the concept of the Rapido Trains Easy Peasy Lighting Kits (Battery) with activation wand. I have not yet seen this in operation with Maerklin models

Regards

Mike C
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Offline mario54i  
#24 Posted : 27 February 2022 21:01:38(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 258
Location: Torino,
Originally Posted by: mike c Go to Quoted Post


It is noticeable to me that many lighting kits do not light the entry/gangway vestibules. I would also like to see a system where you could have switchable lighting for compartments but dimmer but constant lighting for the corridors and washrooms.


Something like this ?



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Offline BenP  
#25 Posted : 01 March 2022 00:07:53(UTC)
BenP

United States   
Joined: 04/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 86
Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
Originally Posted by: mike c Go to Quoted Post
The Maerklin lighting kits are designed to fit Maerklin models. They come with fittings to mount on the inside of the model unlike others which often have to be stuck on the underside of the roof.

It is noticeable to me that many lighting kits do not light the entry/gangway vestibules. I would also like to see a system where you could have switchable lighting for compartments but dimmer but constant lighting for the corridors and washrooms. I have seen some kitbashed units where this was retroactively modified and it looked much better. LEDs, unlike classical bulbs, should allow for easier addition of such features.

I like the concept of the Rapido Trains Easy Peasy Lighting Kits (Battery) with activation wand. I have not yet seen this in operation with Maerklin models

Regards

Mike C


Put a little white paint on selected LEDs for dimming and you have varied lighting in a car. Not damaging to LED.

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Offline BenP  
#26 Posted : 10 March 2022 05:15:08(UTC)
BenP

United States   
Joined: 04/02/2021(UTC)
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Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
Originally Posted by: BenP Go to Quoted Post
I went one coach-one light route, so only needed to install LED strip (with intensity regulator), parallel capacitor and shoe (metal coaches offer ready ground or wheel insert for plastic coaches). Cost is ~$13/coach (excl shipping).

20220211_080513.jpg

20220211_080100.jpg


My effort evolved. I installed conducting couplers to connect power from one shoe to all cars. The advantage of plastic cars is absence of ground, except at metal wheels. Just make sure to use a seperate feed for couplers and not tap rectified power from the LED strip.

20220308_172243.jpg

Edited by user 10 March 2022 13:20:32(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline BenP  
#27 Posted : 05 June 2022 02:38:26(UTC)
BenP

United States   
Joined: 04/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 86
Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
After learning to add led strips and conducting couplers for interior lighting, l decided to tackle tail lights.
I found small tower leds in red. Drilled 2mm holes in carriage that fits narrow top of led. The location of holes is usually marked by fake, painted lights.
I replaced the wires with thinner, more flexible wire, and soldered to rectified power of the led strip.
The tail lights are 12V, so 5V from strip reduces brightness just enough. Note that I opted for smaller leds than more common 3mm tubes, as those make lights too big.
The pin leds are individually glued in drilled holes and the result is great.
20220604_165535.jpg
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Offline marklinist5999  
#28 Posted : 05 June 2022 14:51:21(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 1,659
Location: Michigan, Troy
The Easy-peasy battery ones from Rapido would work for me well with Roco cars on 3 rail tracks without changing wheel sets. They have a magnetic switch. There are none to be had though.
After researchiung the cost for the led strips, resistors, current pickups, and couplers, it is just as economical for bi-level coaches at least to get the kits from Marklin.
Offline JohnjeanB  
#29 Posted : 05 June 2022 15:16:48(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 2,080
Location: Paris, France
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!

Hi
I have quite a number of illuminated cars (20 or more) with a small power supply (SMD components including a capacitor) and my CS3 / 60101 do not detect anything bad.
Sure it is better not to use oversized capacitors (what is the need for 10 s power back-up).
Just my 2 cents' worth
Cheers
Jean

My layout videos
latest vid
hump yard
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Offline BenP  
#30 Posted : 05 June 2022 18:33:30(UTC)
BenP

United States   
Joined: 04/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 86
Location: Michigan, Ann Arbor
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: 1borna Go to Quoted Post
You should know that if you have a lot of light wagons on the track, when you turn on the digital station, there is an instantaneous overload due to the charging of a large number of capacitors, which the station reads as a short circuit!

Hi
I have quite a number of illuminated cars (20 or more) with a small power supply (SMD components including a capacitor) and my CS3 / 60101 do not detect anything bad.
Sure it is better not to use oversized capacitors (what is the need for 10 s power back-up).
Just my 2 cents' worth
Cheers
Jean



Same here.
CS3+ hardly notices lights on startup (20+ carriages and 6+ lighted trains). I use 470 uF capacitors, which hold power for a ~sec. Enough to stop flickering.
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Offline Mark5  
#31 Posted : 11 June 2022 07:46:31(UTC)
Mark5

Canada   
Joined: 29/01/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,290
Location: Canada
Originally Posted by: mario54i Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: mike c Go to Quoted Post

It is noticeable to me that many lighting kits do not light the entry/gangway vestibules. I would also like to see a system where you could have switchable lighting for compartments but dimmer but constant lighting for the corridors and washrooms.


Something like this ?
[.....]


Mario, looks great!
How do you control the varied change? If you use a decoder, as I would guess, can you tell us how much work or how many functions you set?
DB DR FS NS SNCF c. 1955-65, fan of V200, electrics and steam... so hard to narrow down...
...signaling systems, yard traffic and shunting, Sommerfeldt catenary,
and station architecture (esp. stations from 1920-70).
In process: a new modular layout, track planning and drawing benchwork.
Email anytime or chat live: https://discord.gg/jAEKyTWQPQ
Offline mario54i  
#32 Posted : 12 June 2022 12:42:13(UTC)
mario54i

Italy   
Joined: 28/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 258
Location: Torino,
Originally Posted by: Mark5 Go to Quoted Post


Mario, looks great!
How do you control the varied change? If you use a decoder, as I would guess, can you tell us how much work or how many functions you set?


Thanks Mark
It's DIY.
Basically a function decoder with (up to) 29 independent LED outputs plus 3 amplified outputs for corridor and tail lights, in the shape of a light strip.
Software takes care of deciding which light is on or off, some are always on (e.g. restrooms), each coach behaves independently.
Offline H0  
#33 Posted : 12 June 2022 18:06:07(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 14,568
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
I have quite a number of illuminated cars (20 or more) with a small power supply (SMD components including a capacitor) and my CS3 / 60101 do not detect anything bad.
Sure it is better not to use oversized capacitors (what is the need for 10 s power back-up).
It is good to charge the capacitor through a resistor to prevent disturbance of mfx feedback on the track signal.

At a club meeting we had a Märklin coach set with factory-installed lights - and mfx registration of new locos worked only with a sheet of paper under the slider of that coach set.
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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