Maerklin Central Station 2 (60215) 101

Maerklin Central Station 2 (60215) 101

By Roger Heid

Technical Advisor: Preben Karlsmark

centralstation_big2

 For Christmas 2013, Santa delivered the new Maerklin Central Station, something that had been on my wish list for quite a spell. After I got over my initial burst of joy, I started to take a closer look at it. At first, I was overwhelmed. I managed to calm down in order to underwhelm myself.

The first thing I noticed, it is a computer; it behaves like one.  You have to boot it up like you do a computer. The display is a touch screen; a plastic stylus is supplied, but you can also use your fingers or use the push button arrays found on both sides of the screen. Additionally, you can also connect a USB mouse to it. There is a cursor arrow on the screen. It also has a connection to a PC.

Take note that, in order to operate the CS2 successfully, you need to have a dedicated switch mode power supply /transformer (Maerklin #60065) which supplies 19V track power, delivering 50 Watts.  If you try to use any other power supply you may be out of luck. So it is.

When you first get it, my advice is to exercise caution and patience. Don’t try to put it into action immediately. Start with studying the first few pages of the instruction manual.  Then plug the power supply 60065 to the CS2 and connect the whole works to the AC outlet. Don’t connect to the tracks yet.

A row of flashing lights under the rather large Stop button/bar is the first sign of life in the machine. Once these lights quit flashing, a rather elaborate screen shows up at the bottom of which you can see a graph bar slowly moving to the right. Hurray! It is booting up. The next screen lets you select the language. German is the default.

Then it prompts you to go through a calibration procedure. Let me tell you this is a very crucial step that needs to be done correctly. The book tells you how to do this. Carefully follow through on this. Failure to do so will cause problems. It can leave the CS2 inoperative. At this point I will refrain from explaining the technical details. Just do what the book tells you to do.

The next step is to connect the whole works to the tracks. One great feature of the CS2 is that it has separate outputs for a program track and the main track system. The CS2 comes with the wiring connections for both. The book tells you how to connect these. It is very easy. The only tool I recommend is a set of needle nose pliers to facilitate connecting the wires to spade lugs located underneath each track section.

Here is a word of caution if you use the old M-tracks.  Some of those had a capacitor installed on the underside, close to either end, soldered between one of the tracks and the center connector. These capacitors, intended for RFI (Radio Frequency Suppression) impose a short to the digital signal. Even only one of these in your tracks will leave the whole system inoperative. Also make sure that all connectors are tight.

Then you will see the screen displaying the two throttles/speedometers. Good!  Slow down, because here is another word of caution!

If, for any reason whatsoever, like getting frustrated, you want to disconnect this beast in order to get back to it later, don’t just pull the plug until you read this. On the top of that screen you will see a section labeled ‘Set Up’. There you select ‘Shut Down’. Now you will see some steam engine sitting in front of a locomotive shed. Wait until the loco disappears and the gate closes. Now you are safe to pull the plug. The CS2 does not have an Off Switch, per se.

By now, you are impatient to see a locomotive run. Here is where I wish to refer you to the instruction manual. It explains this nicely for locomotives that are equipped with an mfx decoder. Just follow the instructions given in the book.

Once an mfx decoder equipped locomotive registers you need to confirm it. Right below the speedometer, there is an icon looking like a wrench. Upon loco registration, a second icon will show up. Touch/click on this in order to put the loco into the ‘Loco List’. Don’t forget to do this.

If you want to add an fx equipped loco you need to do the following. Right next to the red in color throttle knob, there is a button with a locomotive icon on it. Once you push on it the loco list screen will show up. On top of the screen, more to the right side, you see the word ‘Create’. Take it from there, according to instructions found in the book. It works rather well.

Surprisingly, the ‘Loco List’ will hold 255 entries.

The CS2 will drive all Maerklin decoder equipped locomotives, even the old Deltas. It can also handle most NMRA DCC locomotives. It automatically switches between these two protocols. Therefore you can use it in conjunction with a 2-rail track system. However, be advised, it apparently does not  support  the Loconet (Digitrax) protocol.

In order not to exceed certain boundaries within a blog, I will not go any further, for now.

The Maerklin Central Station2 is loaded with additional desirable features, better than ever. It is essentially very user friendly.  All associated dedicated equipment is so easy to hook up and connect. If properly installed and initiated, it is almost foolproof.

More will be explained and elaborated upon by either blog expansion or additional blogs. This blog is intended to get you started.  If you have any questions, please, post them in the Forum under the appropriate topic.

If you are a Maerklin fan, this is a must-have, regardless of the cost.  The CS2 has solved several problems I had encountered before.

 

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