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Offline bpitchkites  
#1 Posted : 19 February 2024 17:42:29(UTC)
bpitchkites

United States   
Joined: 18/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Indiana, Indianapolis

Hello Marklin Users,

I need help from the experts on the site regarding digital control needs for a new C track I am planning to build. I built a 4x8 Marklin C track layout about 28 years ago. So I have the track from that time to reuse and the transformer and Delta unit .

After much review of the C track plans on the Marklin magazine website I have decided on the plan shown in the 6/2009 issue. Here is the link: https://www.maerklin.de/...ads/MM_0609_Download.pdf` Here are my questions so far:

1. This layout has 2 schattenbahnhofs; since I know very little about train operations I am wondering if I need to have the Central Station or would the Mobile station be sufficient? Especially for operating these switches; it has 9 turnouts. I see that the mobile station can handle the switches and more locomotives than I will ever have. I don't want to be cheap but also don't want to buy the Central station if it is really not need to run 2 or 3 trains (in near future).

2. I have been debating whether to buy a starter set to get the Mobile station plus another train and I can use the track from the set as well. Or do I just buy everything separately? I know the starter sets are marketed as being a good deal, etc.

3. For the referenced layout, do you think I will need a booster?

I know I will have many more questions, but that is all for now.

I do appreciate any help and advice.

Best regards,

Ben
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Offline Martti Mäntylä  
#2 Posted : 19 February 2024 20:31:25(UTC)
Martti Mäntylä

Finland   
Joined: 15/11/2018(UTC)
Posts: 398
Location: Uusimaa, Helsinki
Hi Ben,

In your situation, I got myself various bits and pieces from a German firm called CAN Digital Bahn. With these, I could connect the digital connection box 60113 that comes with the MS2 to a computer and run train control software on it. Minimally, this takes the PC interface box, a few feedback boxes, and a CAN bus connection + power supply box. To control switches and signals I use old-school K83 boxes. I also use a few K84 boxes to control power supply to various parts of the setup so that I can also run analog trains on it.

If you only plan to run just 2-3 trains at a time, you may be able to manage without a booster. Nevertheless, the layout is fairly large so a booster (or better, two) may be needed. Your old Delta box and transformer can actually be used as a digital booster.

Of course, CS3 is a good if pricier alternative. It can probably supply power to the whole layout. In this approach, staying within the realm of Märklin digital architecture (M83, M84, S88, etc.) is the easiest approach.
- 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 marklinist5999  
#3 Posted : 19 February 2024 22:42:39(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 3,231
Location: Michigan, Troy
Yes, the CS3 has a powerful booster in it.
Offline kimballthurlow  
#4 Posted : 19 February 2024 23:35:47(UTC)
kimballthurlow

Australia   
Joined: 18/03/2007(UTC)
Posts: 6,686
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Hello,

I have a C track layout with multiple tracks covering an area of 10 feet by 9 feet.
Running up to 4 trains I never used a booster and had no problems - first with the original Mobile station (MS1) then a CS1 and now a CS3+.
In fact when my old CS1 died, I reverted to the MS1 for about a year with no problems.

Kimball
HO Scale - Märklin (ep II-III and VI, C Track, digital) - 2 rail HO (Queensland Australia, UK, USA) - 3 rail OO (English Hornby Dublo) - old clockwork O gauge - Live Steam 90mm (3.1/2 inch) gauge.
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Offline David Dewar  
#5 Posted : 19 February 2024 23:41:10(UTC)
David Dewar

Scotland   
Joined: 01/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 7,368
Location: Scotland
If happy with the cost then the CS3 will give you more features for the layout. The Marklin book 'Running Trains Digitally' is worth buying.
Take care I like Marklin and will defend the worlds greatest model rail manufacturer.
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Offline bpitchkites  
#6 Posted : 20 February 2024 04:21:14(UTC)
bpitchkites

United States   
Joined: 18/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Indiana, Indianapolis
Originally Posted by: kimballthurlow Go to Quoted Post
Hello,

I have a C track layout with multiple tracks covering an area of 10 feet by 9 feet.
Running up to 4 trains I never used a booster and had no problems - first with the original Mobile station (MS1) then a CS1 and now a CS3+.
In fact when my old CS1 died, I reverted to the MS1 for about a year with no problems.

Kimball


Thanks, Kimball. I am wondering how hard it is to operate those turnouts in the schattenbahnhofs with the Mobile station? I am trying to visualize hownit would work vs rhe CS3.
Offline Wolfram_Stn  
#7 Posted : 20 February 2024 09:17:24(UTC)
Wolfram_Stn

France   
Joined: 14/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 34
Location: Grand-Est, Alsace
Hello Ben,

first: I can give an opinion, but if you ask to 10 persons you may get 11 answers and not two are similar...

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

After much review of the C track plans on the Marklin magazine website I have decided on the plan shown in the 6/2009 issue. Here is the link: https://www.maerklin.de/...ads/MM_0609_Download.pdf` Here are my questions so far:


Well... I do not like very much the MM plans, they have fundamental fails - in my opinion. But if you know these fails and they do not disturb your railroad fun, it's fine.
What are these fails ?
first, the tiny curves. R1, R2 - have you seen a 141 (282 in american) Steamer in such curves? A 28cm coach? You can see the middle rail besides the car...
second, the very short lanes in the stations. The hidden station is made for trains of 1,20m maximum. That's 4 coaches and an electric locomotive, or three coaches and a steamer. But double rail line, so it's not a branch line...
third, not on all layouts but here it's hard : the spiral on the right with just 10 cm of height between entry and exit, on 1,25 rounds - your locos will scrap the wood above.


Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

1. This layout has 2 schattenbahnhofs; since I know very little about train operations I am wondering if I need to have the Central Station or would the Mobile station be sufficient? Especially for operating these switches; it has 9 turnouts. I see that the mobile station can handle the switches and more locomotives than I will ever have. I don't want to be cheap but also don't want to buy the Central station if it is really not need to run 2 or 3 trains (in near future).


It's clear, the MS2 is not made for switching, it's possible but ennoying. But... you do not want to have automatic effects ? So, why not use analogical commands for your switches? Your switch motors gain in fiability when used on AC - but decoders provide DC.
If you want to switch by digital, then you may think about the CS3 - or about other systems to command your switches that may be connected to the MS2 system.
As long as you make run 3 trains max., you will not need more power than what provides the MS2.

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

2. I have been debating whether to buy a starter set to get the Mobile station plus another train and I can use the track from the set as well. Or do I just buy everything separately? I know the starter sets are marketed as being a good deal, etc.


They are - if you like the train in the starter set. Once you buy a train that will never roll on your layout, the starter set is a bad deal for you.

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

3. For the referenced layout, do you think I will need a booster?


I do not think so. If you needed a booster, you could not use a MS2, since it's not made for feeding a booster.
But if you want to be sure, you may think about separating the electrical circuits as if you had a booster, but you connect all to the same - CS or MS. The day you see that you are at the limit, you will separate the connections and install a booster. Then, with a CS3 or other central.

Never forget: all you may read in forums can enlargen your horizon, may help you to see clear - but may add more fog to your thinkings, too. And finally, it will be only your layout, not mine nor of who may have answered. You need no excuse for not following other people's opinions.
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Offline marklinist5999  
#8 Posted : 20 February 2024 13:08:03(UTC)
marklinist5999

United States   
Joined: 10/02/2021(UTC)
Posts: 3,231
Location: Michigan, Troy
Some are more experienced or knowledgeable about electronics and may use older mobile stations with newer central stations.
I don't. Certain situations may require rectifier and or other modifications to work properly.
A simple fact is that the MS2 can handle up to 5 sound locomotives running at once on a small layout. Large ones require a booster. For operating signals and turnouts, more keying functions are needed on the MS2 than a CS3. The shift button and the arrow and return button. You also have to use the shift button to see all loco function icons. In a CS3, it's all more easily visible.
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Offline bpitchkites  
#9 Posted : 20 February 2024 23:00:55(UTC)
bpitchkites

United States   
Joined: 18/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Indiana, Indianapolis
Originally Posted by: Wolfram_Stn Go to Quoted Post
Hello Ben,

first: I can give an opinion, but if you ask to 10 persons you may get 11 answers and not two are similar...

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

After much review of the C track plans on the Marklin magazine website I have decided on the plan shown in the 6/2009 issue. Here is the link: https://www.maerklin.de/...ads/MM_0609_Download.pdf` Here are my questions so far:


Well... I do not like very much the MM plans, they have fundamental fails - in my opinion. But if you know these fails and they do not disturb your railroad fun, it's fine.
What are these fails ?
first, the tiny curves. R1, R2 - have you seen a 141 (282 in american) Steamer in such curves? A 28cm coach? You can see the middle rail besides the car...
second, the very short lanes in the stations. The hidden station is made for trains of 1,20m maximum. That's 4 coaches and an electric locomotive, or three coaches and a steamer. But double rail line, so it's not a branch line...
third, not on all layouts but here it's hard : the spiral on the right with just 10 cm of height between entry and exit, on 1,25 rounds - your locos will scrap the wood above.


Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

1. This layout has 2 schattenbahnhofs; since I know very little about train operations I am wondering if I need to have the Central Station or would the Mobile station be sufficient? Especially for operating these switches; it has 9 turnouts. I see that the mobile station can handle the switches and more locomotives than I will ever have. I don't want to be cheap but also don't want to buy the Central station if it is really not need to run 2 or 3 trains (in near future).


It's clear, the MS2 is not made for switching, it's possible but ennoying. But... you do not want to have automatic effects ? So, why not use analogical commands for your switches? Your switch motors gain in fiability when used on AC - but decoders provide DC.
If you want to switch by digital, then you may think about the CS3 - or about other systems to command your switches that may be connected to the MS2 system.
As long as you make run 3 trains max., you will not need more power than what provides the MS2.

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

2. I have been debating whether to buy a starter set to get the Mobile station plus another train and I can use the track from the set as well. Or do I just buy everything separately? I know the starter sets are marketed as being a good deal, etc.


They are - if you like the train in the starter set. Once you buy a train that will never roll on your layout, the starter set is a bad deal for you.

Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post

3. For the referenced layout, do you think I will need a booster?


I do not think so. If you needed a booster, you could not use a MS2, since it's not made for feeding a booster.
But if you want to be sure, you may think about separating the electrical circuits as if you had a booster, but you connect all to the same - CS or MS. The day you see that you are at the limit, you will separate the connections and install a booster. Then, with a CS3 or other central.

Never forget: all you may read in forums can enlargen your horizon, may help you to see clear - but may add more fog to your thinkings, too. And finally, it will be only your layout, not mine nor of who may have answered. You need no excuse for not following other people's opinions.


Wolfram, many thanks for your thoughtful and helpful advice! I obviously have a lot to learn!

I am glad you took a look at the 6/2009 layout. I assumed these published layouts in Marklin Magazine were exemplary and were without flaws. Or at least near perfect. I considered designing my own on Wintrack but I really don’t know enough really to do that at this point. So this 6/2009 layout seems to have some serious flaws especially with short station lanes and curves. I liked this one mainly since the shape fits nicely in the room I have and it had 3 levels which looked like interesting action. I am not interested in turntables or industrial settings. I am looking for a mountainous setting with small villages; countryside maybe with vineyards and of course castles and ruins are a must. :)

So maybe I need to go back and look at other layouts and come back and see what you think. Or I could dive headlong into Wintrack and try to come up with my own layout. Opinions welcome on this too.

Your comments on my digital questions are very helpful as well.

Again thanks so much and I will be grateful for any further thoughts.

Regards,
Ben
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Offline David Dewar  
#10 Posted : 20 February 2024 23:41:56(UTC)
David Dewar

Scotland   
Joined: 01/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 7,368
Location: Scotland
Can I suggest Ben that you design and build your own layout rather than use one by somebody else. Using C track it is easy to change as often as you want as you go along. In the end you will be proud that it is all your own layout. I have never used wintrack or any software as it is fun getting C track to go where you want and for me is part of the hobby. As I said buy the Marklin book and you will find lots of information on what can be done digitally. If you get stuck with something then this is the forum to help you.

all best

David
Take care I like Marklin and will defend the worlds greatest model rail manufacturer.
Offline bpitchkites  
#11 Posted : 21 February 2024 02:29:57(UTC)
bpitchkites

United States   
Joined: 18/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Indiana, Indianapolis
Originally Posted by: David Dewar Go to Quoted Post
Can I suggest Ben that you design and build your own layout rather than use one by somebody else. Using C track it is easy to change as often as you want as you go along. In the end you will be proud that it is all your own layout. I have never used wintrack or any software as it is fun getting C track to go where you want and for me is part of the hobby. As I said buy the Marklin book and you will find lots of information on what can be done digitally. If you get stuck with something then this is the forum to help you.

all best

David


David,

I think your advice is excellent. Even my wife thought I should design my layout myself, and without software!! I mean, how are you even doing that without software. Do you have a template? I realize layouts were designed without software prior to computers.

Well, I do respect your opinion on this and I would be proud to design myself but I just feel clueless and might make a lot of mistakes unless I do a lot more research on how long the platforms should be, radius for long consists etc. Maybe I am saying I am lazy! Lol.

I am going to do some thinking on this. Thanks again for making me think.

Best regards,
Ben
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Online H0  
#12 Posted : 21 February 2024 08:42:09(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,300
Location: DE-NW
Hi!
Originally Posted by: bpitchkites Go to Quoted Post
I am glad you took a look at the 6/2009 layout. I assumed these published layouts in Marklin Magazine were exemplary and were without flaws. Or at least near perfect.
I have been a member of the Insider club for seven years and it came with a compulsory magazine subscription.
In my humble opinion, those layouts are usually "more of the same": figure of eight, R1 curves, only two or three tracks in the shadow stations, short platforms.
Long story short: They do not appeal to me as I'd like to have longer platforms, a minimum radius R2, and more tracks in the shadow stations.

They may be perfect if you only want to run short trains.
Usually they are not prepared for future expansions.

Using software for layout planning has some advantages: You can see how many pieces of each track type you will need.

Maybe look at the catalogues from the last five years or so and check what is the longest train you would like to own and run on your layout.
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 David Dewar  
#13 Posted : 21 February 2024 11:20:50(UTC)
David Dewar

Scotland   
Joined: 01/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 7,368
Location: Scotland
Ben you don’t need software for anything in model rail. Build a baseboard an d draw on paper what you would like. Then lay some C track and it only takes minutes to have an oval then add sidings. Then see where you want a station etc. That is a start from where you can add or start again. If you try software you may find it difficult if you want to run a railway with it. make sure you have the control you want by just running a loco round an oval before anything in else. Remember this is an expensive hobby but I feel it is important to start with the best control items then you can build layouts. I would not rely on software to build and run a layout which is more a computer hobby than running trains. However this is just my view and not all will agree.

David
Take care I like Marklin and will defend the worlds greatest model rail manufacturer.
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Offline Wolfram_Stn  
#14 Posted : 23 February 2024 18:55:59(UTC)
Wolfram_Stn

France   
Joined: 14/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 34
Location: Grand-Est, Alsace
Hey,

you will not fight about the sens of using planning software, will you ? David has given an advice, Tom has given an other advice - and you both are right, everybody from his point of view.
But in the end, Ben will have to decide what he will do. And whatever he will decide, none of you will win or lose by Ben's decision.

David, some are good in "creation from 0". Others need to make plans. Drawing on a paper will never be as exact as planning with a software that in same time calculates the real space (the other day I saw a drawed plan in H0 with a 100 mm radius...), the number of rails, the acclivities, some can describe the wooden construction... and they permit to imagine the landscape to realize.
If you are imaginative, not to need help - be glad. ;)
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Offline bpitchkites  
#15 Posted : 23 February 2024 19:43:34(UTC)
bpitchkites

United States   
Joined: 18/02/2024(UTC)
Posts: 5
Location: Indiana, Indianapolis
Yes, I have gotten good advice from all. It has helped avoid making some big mistakes with regard to platform lengths and curves radii. So I have abandoned the layout I previously referenced. I may end up doing a hybrid taking ideas from track plans and merging together, if possible.

I am looking at Wintrack trying decide whether it is worth it and wondering how much time it will take to get up to speed.

Thanks again, gentlemen.

Ben
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