Railway modelling scratchpad

Published 31Aug2016, updated 5Jul2018
This page is in group Models.

My “layout”

I have other things to do than attempting at real layouts. But this packed and extended table top is a source of much joy (press for 7MB full resolution):

Fig.0 – Model railway “layout” Øyvind Teig (Oct2017)

(I have some older layouts here, and here – and even here from 1962)

Mobile Station boxes and firmware revisions

As of Feb2016 Mobile Station II firmware version 2.5 is the most recent. I have actually ordered a new Mobile Station, called 60657 – it is now dark. So I get two different colours.

I asked marklin-users.net community forum also about upgrading from the newer to the older, see Upgrading between Mobile Station 60653 and 60657. I got a reply there, but also from “service at maerklin.de”:

Me: Is it possible to use 60657 (2.5) to upgrade 60653 (1.81)?

service at maerklin.de: yes, this should be possible. But the 60657 will ask you for this update only one time

Me: Does this mean that 60657 will send its 2.5 to a 60653 max once? So if I need to upgrade two 60653 with 2.5 then I need to move 2.5 from the just updated 60653 to the second 60653?

service at maerklin.de: if you put two MS 2 for the first time together to a connection (or connector) box, and one of these MS 2 has the software version 2.5 and the other an older one, then the MS 2 will offer an update for the other one. But if you don’t start this update, this offer will not appear again.

Update: “H0” writes on marklin-users.net that “A single MS2 can upgrade any number of other MS2s, not just one.”

I have now got my 60657. (By the way, the English Instruction manual’s front page still says “60653” while the other languages’ have been properly updated. Bad proof reading). I used the new to upgrade from Mobile Station II (version 2.5, black, 60657, MS2 in the display) updating a Mobile Station (version 1.81, gray, 60653, MS in the display I think) . This worked perfectly well. It’s the new, black unit that must be entered into programming mode. I noticed that if I entered programming mode in the old, gray unit it seemed to offer a downgrade to 1.81 of the newer. If this really is so, I feel it rather strange. And “scary”. But this is even more scary:

Märklin Mobile Station 60653 catastrophic upgrade

I took my now updated gray unit with 2.5 to work to upgrade an even older unit with 1.3.

Mobile Station II (MS2) updating a Mobile Station (MS) seems to have little error handling. (I think both are Mobile Station 2, even if the display doesn’t reflect this). The result was a dead old Mobile Station. Don’t do it!

Upgrading Märklin Mobile Station 60653 (it failed)

Fig. 1 Version 2.5 and 1.3 (press for fullpixel)

Here are the versions. Left “MS2” version 2.5, righ “MS” version 1.3. The plastic protector on the left is to try to keep grandchildren away from those buttons. I wish all setup was password protected.

Upgrading Märklin Mobile Station 60653 (it failed)

Fig. 2 Version 2.5 tries to update 1.81 to the old 1.3

Here I try to push 1.81 on the left over to the right. So the left must still have the 1.81 file(?) I really wanted 2.5 to go across, but maybe 2.5 did have that much checking not to allow it?

Upgrading Märklin Mobile Station 60653 (it failed)

Fig. 3 It seems to work

It started downloading the file from left to right and the right went darker. After a while it died.

Upgrading Märklin Mobile Station 60653 (it failed)

Fig. 4 The old died

When I tried to repeat the left said “No appropriate update file found. Trying again it would say version 0. To me this looks like a mess. I am a computer programmer myself and I think that Märklin has failed on this. There’s too little initial control and error handling. It may be that this was just bad luck, the old unit just happened to die at that time. But I doubt it.

We had to buy a new, 60657 for work. Is there a way to recover the died Mobile station?

I posted also this chapter on the marklin-users.net community forum page mentioned above.

Connector boxes

The old connector box (or connection box or track box) is called 60113 and is gray (here). I have it. The newer, black version is called 60116 (here). Are they equal? (Aside: also see below.)

60657 slave and 60653 master, both 2.5

Error in 2.5: Loco said not to be in list when it partially was

On two of my locos, when picked up from the primary’s list on the secondary, the secondary erred with info that the loco didn’t exist there any more. I saw that there were some invisible chars at the end at the master. Which, I couldn’t tell. When I edited on the master side to have explicit white space at the end, it was imported ok on the slave. On the master it had said “MÄRKLIN green..” and and the slave “MÄRKLIN green”. The dots indicated the difference. These names shouldn’t have diffed. After the fix they were equal.

What’s in a Roco box?

  • Box: Roco Boxcar (BLS) #76832 printed in text on the outside
  • Inside: Roco “Schenk Vins” (SBB) #66201

My most memorable car I bought in 1960 with my grandfather. It was a gray Märklin 4605. That car, plus two Roco 76832 would have been very close to giving me the perfect memorabilia train set. Whatever arrived in the box someone who didn’t know my grandfather wouldn’t care about. So, I can forgive Roco for taking a chance on this one! (I think I was the first to discover!?) But, model trains (or whatever, really) isn’t only about plastics. It’s much more important!-) But now I have another story to tell. Why the cars don’t really add up in that train set. Only almost.

PS. My first search for “Roco 76832” on eBay showed that there’s at least one seller out there who hasn’t discovered!

How to fix a derailing Märklin M track switch

Press picture for full pixel:

Fig.5 Fixing a loose tongue on Märkling M track turnout

I still buy and use Märklin M track. Recently I bought some more switches from eBay. One of them derailed my locos! I also had another turnout that has failed every now and then.

(Aside: See My Fleischmann 396071 DR-Baureihe E 60 on how I have been wrestling with it.)

Then I discovered that the guard(?), the tiny metallic tongue was quite loose! See 1 above, it shows how it’s fastened underneath. I assume that over the years it got loose. Or worse, due to production margins in Göppingen when I grew up these switches may never ever have been a hundred percent. Sounds strange, but the “white gap” (above) was much wider than on my other turnouts.

The operation of the switch goes like this: When the loco is turning left the part a of the guard shall press the wheel and axles to the left so that the right part won’t hit b. The loco did hit and climbed b and derailed.

It’s possible to repair this. Since the white gap was too wide and the guard was too loose I dismantled it and made the slots in the metal wider (with a metallic file). I also cut the slot in the fastening paper(?) underneath with a scalpel to make space for the filing work. I cut the metal so wide that I could press in two layers of paper, but this would depend on how far you need to move the guard out. I used the insulation paper you will find in any broken power supply if you open it, I always keep some. But any good thick paper would do. And there’s nothing that needs to be insulated here. In picture 2 you’ll see the paper tongues sticking up. Then in 3 I have leveled them down. Underneath I just twisted to fasten the two metal tongues, as they used to be. Now both the paper and the guard sit firmly.

I have never seen the guard by the straight track have any such problem. I guess it’s because the rolling doesn’t change direction there.

Since now a is precisely defined and the white gap is narrower, the locos and the cars have started to run smoothly over the switches. At any speed.

Norwegian: Hvordan reparere gamle Märklin M-skinne (metallskinne) penser (sporveksel) som sporer av? Ved å flytte den ene tvangsskinna nærmere ytre, venstre skinne når man svinger til venstre. Jeg filte rett og slett bredere festespor og fylte etter med noe tykt, hardt papir.

Updating loco list from Master to Slave on MSII

MSII = MS2 = Mobile Station II, search for “MSII” above.

See https://www.marklin-users.net/forum/posts/m553568-Updating-loco-list-from-Master-to-Slave-on-MSII#post553568 (Sept2017)

Update 1, 29Oct2017: I have ordered a new black connector box 60116 since I only have the old gray 60113 – and I don’t have the circuit diagrams to study to see if such a replacement may be useful. However, it seems like the my new black Mobile Station II 60657 and the old gray 60653 don’t talk together. And they should, also according to the post above.

Update 2, 29Oct2017: However, when I informed about this at marklin-users.net forum Stefan Unholz told that he had seen the same and that he thought it helped to erase all the locos in the slave first (it’s called “Free Loco”). I did and it worked! Here’s a collage of what I did. In the end, loco by loco, the slave’s loco list became equal to the master’s. Thank you, Stefan!

Fig.6 Getting loco config from master, be sure to delete all locos first (press for fullpixel)

Märklin 37514, SBB Ae 3/6 II SW update?

Does my loco need updating since it sprints away some times?

It turned out to be a matter of whether the loco went into analogue mode (AC) or if this was the DCC protocol’s fault. And I reprogrammed my MSII to drop DCC and do only mfx (and mfx+) and MM2. That included setting up my Roco 78494 that was the only one I ran with DCC to do MM2 instead.

But quite a lot of readers of marklin-users.net community had seen this problem of locos just starting to sprint off under no control.

See Märklin 37514, SBB Ae 3/6 II SW update? – Does my loco need updating since it sprints away some times? (July2018)

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