So, what's an "interface" ???  Simply put, it's a box that enables the Märklin digital system to be controlled by a computer.  The minimum configuration to control trains by a computer is an interface (6050/6051) and a central unit (6020 Central Unit, 6021 Control Unit or a 6022 starter set Central Control). There have been 2 interfaces on the market, the 6050 and the 6051.  These are both identical, except the fact that the 6051 also includes a serial cable and a diskette with demo programs. Some early 6050:s might be different, due to firmware bugs.  There was also a 6023 Central Control-i available for educational purposes, it had a built-in computer interface.

If you have some skills in programming, or buy a commercial control program, you don't have to get all those extra boxes Märklin are offering, e. g. 6040 Keyboard, Control 80f and 6043 Memory, since the functionality of these boxes can be realized in computer software too. The interface also accepts the input from the 6088 feedback modules, so you don't have to get the 6043 Memory unit especially for this.

You will of course also have to have access to a computer to use the interface.....    The computer must also have a RS-232 serial communications port so you can connect it to the interface. This is the same type of port you connect your stand-alone Internet modem to. Software is available for PC-type computers, both for DOS and for Windows. I think there is some software for Apple-type of computers too. To look for details on the most popular control programs, visit the links mentioned on our link page.

This page describes the basic hookup of the interface.

The cable

You need the cable supplied with the 6051. It consists of a cable with a DIN-connector to plug into the interface and a 9-pin connector to plug into your computer COM-port. If you have a wide (25-pin) COM-port in the back of your computer, you must get a 9-pin to 25-pin serial plug adapter at your nearest computer or electronics shop. If you have a computer that doesn't have an industry-standard communications port, take a look at the Märklin USA link a bit down on this page.

The DIP switches

There are 4 little DIP-switches in the back of the interface. These control how communication is set up to the computer. 

Switch Affects ON means Off means
1 TD Negative logic Positive logic
2 RD Negative logic Positive logic
3 CTS Negative logic Positive logic
4 TTL level TTL level RS-232 level

For an ordinary PC-type computer, the pictured setting is correct:

If you have got the 6050 interface, you only got the DIN-connector with it, and have to make your own cable..  A good reference for making cable connections for different kinds of computers, and also DIP-switch settings for a number of computers can be found at Märklin USA.


Connecting the unit

Logically, this is just another "control" like Control 80F and must be connected to the right side of the control unit. Since it only has a connector on its left side, it is quite obvious that you can only connect it as the rightmost unit.  

Connecting the s88 feedback module(s)

The feedback modules are connected to the connector in the back of the interface. Since it is possible to connect the cable the wrong way (using a bit of force), I guess it is time to point out that the cable should be connected with the cable wire pointing "downwards", both on the 6051 and the s88. The blue cable marking should be to the right, if seen from above. I feel a little warning is also in place (especially if children want to help you...).  Do not mix up the Booster cable (5-wire) with the s88 cable (6-wire), since the Booster cable also fits... 

You can have up to 31 feedback modules connected in the chain, but since computer readout and data evaluation can be rather costly performance-wise - the fewer you can get by with, the better.

Programming examples
  (N/A yet) 

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