Railway modelling scratchpad

Published 31Aug2016, updated 18Jul019 (comment section)
This page is in group Models. It’s a log: newest at the bottom, except there may be newer entries inside chapters. Like for Mobile Station boxes and firmware revisions

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)

MS and MM

Easy to confuse MS with MM: MSII or MS II = MS2 or MS 2 = Mobile Station II or Mobile Station 2. I think MS2 is most used, so I try to use it here. Anything with MM has to do with the Motorola Märklin protocol, see here. Aside: And analogue (analog) mode is often called conventional mode. No digital pulses there, just AC or DC.

Mobile Station boxes and firmware revisions

MS2 to 3.55

Update 10Jul2019. See Märklin MS2 mit neuer Software V3.55 (in German, English translation here) by Moritz.

It can do 40 locomotives!

I didn’t notice any intermediate steps between 2.5 and 3.55. Hmm..

I must find some friend who has a Märklin Central Station 2 (CS2) so that he can do an online update. Or go to my local Märklin shop and update from just any MS2 that he may have arriving over the summer (of 2019).

I just wonder if anyone has made an Arduino or a Raspberry Pi box for this, with added CAN bus and SW so that we non-CS2 owners could make an online update from there? Would the Märklin server allow it? And then have the older MS2 believe a connection with it was with another MS2, so that we might update from there. But it must be this new box that should have to talk with the old MS2 and detect that its firmware is outdated. Rather large project I assume.. Update: See comment my Moritz (below July 20 2019). BananaPi (or Banana Pi) with CAN interface!

MS2 to 2.5

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.”

Update (16Sep2018): Comment by TEEWolf:  “What I do not understand, why did you bought a 60657 an got only SW version 2.5 and not the actual 2.7?”, see here (in my “Program CV not allowed on 37514 and 37511” thread). The difference between 2.5 and 2.7 seems to be in the blue (other than it may have to do with some problem with 2.5 with the Central Station box), but at least clapcott tried to describe it here.

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.

Updating loco list from Master to Slave on MS2

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)

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.

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 Märklin 37514 (SBB Ae 3/6 II, here) loco went into analogue mode (AC) or if this was the DCC protocol’s fault. See next chapter “Switching off analogue modes with register CV 50 with MS2 – possible?” and skip this below if you just want to  (try to) fix the problem.

However, I have kept the background info here:

And I reprogrammed my MS2 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.

Switching off analogue modes with register CV 50 with MS2 – possible?

Yes! And here is the recipe. Thanks to people at marklin-users.net:

How to set register CV 50 to value 8 with MS2

I did this on 19Sep2018. I have MS2 with firmware 2.5. I have also copied this list to marklin-users.net at Program CV not allowed on 37514 and 37511 – Program CV is striked through on MM2? (19Sep2018)

  1. CV 50 value 8 means that the loco will not run on AC or DC analogue (conventional) lines. From the mfx+ loco’s manual. Disclaimer: Then, hopefully it will not sprint away with fast speed without control. If I ever see my two locos (37514 and 37511, both mfx+ enabled) sprint away again after this, I will update here. (Actually I have up to now only seen 37514 do this anyway..)
  2. Make sure you have a programmed loco card for each loco. It’s so nice to restore the loco to mfx+ afterwards (but of course not required)
  3. Make sure you have a track segment for just this one loco in mind or that no other loco is seen
  4. Place the loco on the track and power the track. Make sure the loco is seen by MS2 (light on/off, it runs etc.) with your present configuration
  5. On MS2 set Protocols to DCC only. I have learned that this is the only protocol that may set any CV register. Also, with this, any mfx+ loco will not register itself as another loco in the middle of the procedure
  6. On MS2 remove the loco. Make sure that you remove the right loco, there is a list that comes up!
  7. Now we want to go DCC for this loco, but just for this short while, so some of the params won’t matter. On MS2 New Loco | Enter Manually | DCC address 3 (supposedly needed to connect the loco to the MS2) (no problem if address 3 already exists)  | “ABC ..”as name is OK | Any symbol is OK
  8. Make sure the loco is seen by MS2 (light on/off, it runs etc.)
  9. On MS2 program CV address 50 to value 8. Easy as that. If it fails rading the value check that the loco is really seen by MS2
  10. Make sure the loco is seen by MS2 (light on/off, it runs etc.)
  11. On MS2 remove the loco. Again, make sure that you remove the right loco, there is a list that comes up!
  12. On MS2 set the protocols to the full list again : “mfx,DCC,MM2”
  13. Find your loco card for this loco and read it to restore the loco. (There’s nothing wrong about keeping DCC only, but I didn’t want to.) You have to be at the loco’s position (which is free now) in the MS2 list, if not that card’s loco will enter the first vacant position. More on loco card usage in the chapter below
  14. On MS2 set the address on the loco to that one that came with the loco card. It doesn’t look like reading the loco card updates the loco
  15. Make sure the loco is seen by MS2 (light on/off, it runs etc.)
  16. Have fun!

I have kept the background info here, but if you succeeded with the above it may not be necessary to read this:

In order to keep DCC on the Roco 78494 (discussed here) and avoid the 37514 sprinting away (if this was really not DCC’s fault but the fact that it saw analogue mode); instead of switching off DCC altogether I learned that analogue modes could be switched off on my two mfx+ models (37514 and 37511 (Seetal-krokodil / Seetal crocodile SBB De 6/6, here)) setting of CV 50. This is in the booklets (here) and the value is 8 to swicth off both DC and AC analogue modes. But how should I do it? In the thread (above) a user had said that “MM only allows functions f0-f4. DCC allows for many more functions”. But I couldn’t figure out how, so I called on the Märklin forum:

..but I have not been able to make it work. If I configure the 37514 and 37511 with DCC it will allow register 50 to be set in the menu, but when I try to change it the MS2 is not able to read register 50 and it stops. The locos refuse to be addressed any way (won’t run or set the lights etc.), so I guess this is the problem? Update 16Sep2018: I will try a new tip in the thread: “When you disabled mfx protocol and want DCC to program locomotives decoder you must first call up locomotives new adress 3.The adress 3 are DCC standard number to call up locomotive.”

However, with the Central Station it seems different, doesn’t it:

Can lococard 60135 store many locos?

Can lococard 60135 store many locos? – – Mobile Station II 60657 / 60653 backup?

The general answer seems to be “no”. One loco per card with present MS2 SW. That’s the only backup there is. Also, there are cheaper cards to buy. Search for 60135 on marlin-users.net. But they wouldn’t have “Märklin” on them.. I bought some; a pack consists of five 138911 locomotive cards. With no usage description. But it seems like they are easy to use. Disclaimer, from my own inferring:

  1. When you have a loco that you want to store for the first time, go to the loco in the menu, then just insert the card if it’s empty or new. It will say there is an error. Fine. Don’t do this later on, as you will only get a copy in the first vacant position (if there is any). Then you have to remove it from that position
  2. Store the loco setup to the card. Remove the card
  3. If you later want to change, like the Loco Symbol, first go to the loco and then insert the card. You then get up the card’s loco (that is the same as this, but the last stored) and then change the symbol while you have the card in. Then store the loco, now with the new symbol
  4. When you insert a card it will fill it into the next vacant position if it’s not the loco you are editing. In other words, it may be smart just to number the cards with a label from 1-11. corresponding to the position on the MS2

MS2 has 1-10 active locos and one extra for loco card

Observe that the Mobile Station 2 MM2 version 2.5 has space for 10 active locos! The 11th cannot be saved, as it is meant for a locomotive from a loco card. Update: 3.55 (above) takes 40 locos!

Storage display shelf as a siding yard

Fig.6 Shelf for vacant stock (press for more detail)

I bought these shelves at the local shop Kremmerhuset here in Trondheim in January 2019. It’s called Johanna and is their product 21310 (standard disclaimer). It measures 70*12*12 cm and is made of welded and painted steel (black or white). The bottom is a welded steel plate. This is a “China product” that Kremmerhuset has picked up there, so I have no international url for it.

I discovered that the length was exactly three Märklin 24229 track. They are 229.3 mm, and I only had to remove a small piece (a “tap”?) on the track. Since its base is 40 mm there was exact space for three lines. I bored holes in the shelf bottom and screwed the track in place. This was harder than I thought. I placed all 3 by 3 tracks upside down and used transparent foil paper and marked the holes. This would then become a nice template for boring. But it’s not symmetric, so place the paper the correct way! (I ended up with a set of holes for nothing in one of the shelves!) I also found some exact screws in my tiny screw box. However, my local shop Trønderfrim (same disclaimer) had a similar box where we found the rest.

I made cable railings from a tape that is used to wrap boxes for transport, made from glass fibre and plastic I think. I had a box for some of that, too. I managed to find two strings in my string box (!?) that tighten them well in place. You can see them on the bottom shelf’s far end. They are not fastened any other way.

Norwegian: sveiset stålhylle for oppbevaring av rullende materiell til H0 modelljernbane, kjøpt på Kremmerhuset i januar 2019 (standard disclaimer). Passer for tre spor med tre Märklin skinner 24229 i hvert spor. Skrudd i underkant gjennom hull i stålet, boret gjennom en mal i transparent foliepapir. Rekkverket er pakkestrammebånd (stroppebånd, strappebånd) i glassfiber med en strammefjær i hver kortende. Jeg har pekt hit fra Stålhylle på veggen som sidespor i norskmjforum.no

2 thoughts on “Railway modelling scratchpad

    1. aclassifier Post author

      Thanks Moritz! Now, what would you recommend and not recommend, when using the BananaPi? Not recommend MS2 firmware update, obviously? What is needed (to do?) with the BananaPi to make firmware update feel like a recommended thing to do?

      A translation of your blog note is at Construction of a BananaPi CAN interface for the use of the Märklin track box as the headquarters

      It is very interesting, but the solution looks rather complex made from many pieces, not developed in concert. I have two MS2, that’s all – no CS.


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