More Maerklin DCC Features

More Maerklin DCC features

By Preben Karlsmark


After you have gained some experience with the Maerklin DCC System, you might want to take a closer look at more available options. It is possible to control turn-outs, signals, lights, motors and uncoupler tracks right from either the Mobile Station 2 or the Central Station 2, thus avoiding extensive wiring. All the items listed below can be controlled either from the Mobile Station 2 or the Central Station 2. Just push the button with the turnout icon on it to gain access to the applicable parameters.

Maerklin offers a digital decoder module that installs directly into the turnout. Track power is used to control and operate the decoder, thus the turnout. Individual addresses can be set using DIP switches mounted on the decoder’s printed circuit board. Refer to the user manual.

In order to control all other items you need to have external decoders, also offered by Maerklin. Alas, there are three types of decoders for various types of accessories, namely the 83′s, the 84s and the Braking Module. Below is a list, with explanations:

#1: The k83 is used to control turnouts, signals and uncoupler tracks designed for the Maerklin digital protocol (Motorola). It provides a pulse of current, the time length of which can be adjusted. The default setting is about 200 ms, usually long enough to activate the solenoids in turnouts and signals. If a longer pulse is required you can adjust this in the setting parameters on the Central Station 2, or simply hold the finger down on the screen of the control station. The adjustment process stops when you lift your finger off the screen. This feature can come in very handy when operating uncoupler tracks. That’s when the pulse needs to stay on a little longer in order to facilitate your switching/shifting operation.

You can hook up 4 items, each containing 2 solenoids, so for uncoupler tracks (1 solenoid) you can connect 8 of them to one k83.  (Maerklin # 60830)

#2: The m83 is used for digital control of turnouts, signals and uncoupler tracks, just like the k83, but it can ALSO handle the NMRA DCC protocol. Within the DCC protocol you can control up to 2040 addresses. Otherwise it behaves exactly as the k83. You can hook up 4 items each containing 2 solenoids so for uncoupler tracks (one solenoid) you can connect 8 of these to one m83. (Maerklin # 60831)

#3: The k84 is used for turning on/off 4 independent lights, motors and other items that can be operated by a simple switch. Again, it is designed solely for the Maerklin DCC protocol. When activated it acts like an ordinary single pole switch, not pulsed as with the k83. It also can be controlled from the Central Station 2 or the Mobile Station 2. This item is Maerklin #60840.

#4: The m84 is used for turning on/off 4 independent lights, motors and other items that can be operated by a simple switch just like the k84, but it can ALSO handle the NMRA DCC protocol. Otherwise, it behaves just like the k84. This one is Maerklin # 60841.

#5: Related to m83 or k83, Maerklin offers an item called “Braking Module” (Maerklin # 72442). It is controlled digitally via either m83 or k83, but it can also be controlled in analog fashion by using the 7272/72720 control boxes. This feature is designed simply to command a given locomotive to execute a soft stop, meaning controlled deceleration, when approaching a red signal.

In the old analogue days, a red signal would simply cut off the power to a designated length of track. Once the signal went green, it turned on the full power again. Using the Braking Module you will also, when the signal turns green, get a controlled acceleration, up to the speed the locomotive was set at before entering the red signal. This set-up requires 3 track sections, all insulated from each other. When using locomotives with sound and squealing brake function, the red signal will also activate the squealing brake sound …. really cool !!

This feature is more suitable for an advanced user. A beginner should not immediately worry about this. Just because a feature exists does not mean you have to use it.

As you can see, Maerklin offers quite an array of features. All of this is easily wired and, with some practice, easy to use. More features are available for the sophisticated modeler. For now, this will do.

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