Maerklin Central Station 2 (60215) 103

Maerklin Central Station (60215) 103

By Roger Heid

Technical Advisor: Preben Karlsmark

centralstation_big2

 

In Blog 102, I mentioned that the Power Transformer 60101 (220V Euro version only) is the one that actually delivers 5 Amps. Digging deeper into this, it is revealed that Maerklin recommends this only for use with their Gauge 1 and the G-Scale. They warn that using it with HO-Scale may cause problems.

A combination of long and thin in diameter wiring, which imposes an undesirable resistance, in conjunction with poor connections within the track system, may cause the short circuit sensor of the CS2 to fail, namely not being able to detect a short circuit, possibly resulting in overheated wires (potential fire hazard) and damage to decoders. This is their reasoning, in a nutshell.

Now, take a close look at the wires that come with the CS2. They are quite hefty to start with. If you stick to this wire gauge and have solid track connections, you should not have any problems. A number of Maerklin users have successfully used the 60101 SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply) without any problems, simply by observing and complying with the electrical wiring and connection requirements, namely using a heavier gauge wire than the flimsy stuff from the past analogue days. I already stocked up on thicker wires for things to come.

Here it comes to mind that the outlet for the Programming Track only delivers 1.2 A, at the most. Keep that in mind. It is designed to program only one locomotive. It delivers enough amperage to program any locomotive you can buy, from any maker.

As a reminder, I want to advise you to use a completely separate power supply/transformer for all electrical consumers not connected to the track system, such as street and building lights and such. The power connected to the tracks should only feed power to locomotives, their decoders and loco and rolling stock lighting.

Now, here is another CS2 feature I really like. MU (Multiple Unit) operation. What is this?

Let’s take a look into real world train operations. If one locomotive does not provide enough traction power, a second loco is needed, possibly even more. These locos will most likely be upfront to pull the train in unison. On some occasions, a helper engine is attached to the rear of a train, assisting to negotiate a steep grade, for instance. Once on top of the hill or mountain, the helper engine will be disconnected. You see, in the real world, MU consists are employed quite frequently.

Obviously, all locomotives deployed in an MU consist must have identical or very similar running characteristics. In order to avoid serious problems, acceleration and speed must both be in synch or very close to each other.

I have three identical steam engines; all are the same model number, and therefore have the same address.  In real life, I have seen all three pull trains in a hilly area. The train I saw in real life I duplicated on my layout.

In an analogue system, this is never a problem. All you have to do is to set all three locos on the track, turn up the power, and hence, they will run.

The arrival of the digital system made this issue somewhat problematic. If you put three engines with the same address on the tracks there may be an address conflict, most likely causing none of them to run. Actually, this depends entirely on which DCC control system you are using. But then, using three engines with different addresses will not allow you to run the locos by using just one throttle. No dice! Even if you had three throttles, how would you be able to keep them in synch? This could be very difficult to do. Good Luck!

Incidentally, the CS2 (60215) allows you to simultaneously run three or more locos having the same address. You can only control individual functions of the loco assigned to the throttle. In order to control functions of either of the other two locos, you need to call them up individually. This is too tedious for me, let me tell you. I think this takes the fun out of the whole works.

In my loco inventory, all locos are assigned different addresses. I can randomly choose any locomotive for any situation, thus eliminating the possibility of an engine to start running when it shouldn’t. However, I do like MU consists. I already programmed three of them.

This is where the CS2 provides this nice feature ‘Create MU Set’. How do you do this? Actually, this is quite easy.

Go to the screen where you see the two throttles. Next to either of the big red throttle knobs you will see the buttons with a loco on it. Tapping on the one you choose will bring up the loco list. On the upper right corner of the screen you will see the word ‘Create’. Touch/click on it. Then you select ‘Create M.U. Set’. Now follow the prompts to enter your selected locomotives. Just be careful and take your time. You may wind up having to do this again. Patience is a virtue. Obviously, as mentioned above, the locomotives you select should display very similar running characteristics in order to avoid tension and friction problems. It only makes sense. I have three of these MU Consists in my system. I enjoy the heck out of it. It makes realistic train operation easy and fun. Once programmed you will find all available functions displayed on the screen. Nice, isn’t it?

But wait, there is more. Let us say, the MU set utilizes three engines. You can take any one of them out. The other two will still run. Take out the other one, the remaining engine will still run. The ones you took out you can assign to the other throttle and run them separately, respectively. This allows quite some flexibility. Isn’t this great?

Of course, the CS2 (60215) has  more features.  We will take all this in stride, one thing at a time. For now, this is enough for this blog. More will follow.

If you have any questions, please post them on the Forum under the appropriate topic. Thank you all.

Happy Railroading!

 

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