Sunday, December 2, 2018

2019 Marklin Train Layout

About 25 years ago Dr. Thomas Catherall, Märklin Digital Consultant in the USA, constructed a layout for Allied Trains in Los Angeles. It was totally automated Marklin with signals, trees, trains and buildings. It also had two Fleischmann cog railroad cars going up and down a mountain. When I could, I went back to see the layout. I was mesmerized. It was a world I could control. One day I went to see it and found it had disappeared. I was later surprised to find out it was bought by a UCLA professor. 

From that day to this I have wanted to construct an automated Marklin layout with cool looking locomotives and cars running around a richly decorated environment. I bought a simple starter set and ran it with my elementary school students. The modular layout sat on 5 tables. Each summer I'd cram the tables into my 1985 Honda hatchback and run them to school. I set up the tables and track and let them add buildings, trees, people and make it theirs. The children were very respectful of the expensive locomotives. We had two independent circuits so the trains couldn't collide. After retirement I permanently installed everything in a dedicated room in my home. It took me all these years but I now have five trains running automatically around my 95 square foot layout. Recently I added MSD decoders and 5 pole motors to my favorite locos. I love watching the trains dance around the layout, listening to the chuffing steam locomotives and adding little touches here and there. But sometimes I wonder, is that UCLA professor still running that beautiful layout lovingly created by Dr Catherall?



  2012 Marklin Train from Kent on Vimeo.


Marklin Modular Layout from Kent on Vimeo.


2009 Modular Marklin Train Layout from Kent on Vimeo.


Sound, 5 pole motor, Mfx:

1. SK800 (1950s), MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor

2. V200, 3021, BR 220, MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor (LCFM, metal)

3. Belgium, 37672, MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor (produced 2001 - 2002 DCM motor)

4. BR44, 3047, MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor (smoke, Telex, metal, LCFM, introduced 1964)

5. Streamliner, 3094 , MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor (smoke, LFCM, produced 1970 - 1976)

6. Norwegian 3143 , MSD3 decoder, 5 pole motor, (LFCM motor, produced 1954 - 1969, metal)

Sound, digital smoke: 

7. 37973 UP Makado, sound (4 axles powered, can motor, speed dependent sound, LED headlight)

MFX, 5 pole motor:

8. F800 BR 01, (MLD3 decoder, 5 pole motor (no sound) heavy, bright lights)

Older decoder and 3 pole motor:

9. 3005 BR 23, (PD101 decoder, 3 pole motor)

10. BR81 stock, (delta digital, smoke added, 4 powered axles)

11. BR81 stock, (delta digita)

12. 3319 BR 50 (smoke, most wheels of all locos)

13. 3074 BR 216 Green, (made 1975 - 1991, LFCM motor, plastic, metal frame)

14. 36847 Loony Tunes, (digital, can motor, made in 2006)


Green         7164   three
Belgium     7164
Norwegian 7164

3005           7173 one

F800           7174 two
Sk800         7174

3047           7175 one (got it)

V200          7183 one

Streamlin   7185 one

Makado      206370 three
Br81           206370

Switches and Signals

1.Left back switch
2. Left, front switch
3. Main switch front
4. Right back switch
5. Right front switch
6. Almost front switch
7. blank
8. 8 signal
9. Front switch
10. Right back signal
11. Right front signal
12. Left front signal


1. Signal 8 green, V200 265mph, sound on, lights on
2. S88 1 (beg) Signal 8 (end) red, horn on
3. S88 2 (beg) V200 266 mph, whistle on
4. S88 2 (end) Signal 10 green, Belgiun 205 mph, horn on
5. S88 4 (end), Signal 10 red, Belgium 431 mph, horn on
6. S88 3 (beg), Belgium 205 mph, horn on, station announcement on
7. S88 3 (end), Signal 8 green

1. SK800 280 mph, sound on, light on
2. S88 9 (end) SK800 400 mph, whistle on, Signal 12 red
3. S88 10 (beg) Sk800 280 mph, whistle on, horn on
4. S88 10 (end) Signal 11A green, BR44 280 mph, horn on
5. S88 12 (end) Signal 11A red, BR 44 492 mph
6. S88 11 (beg) Br44 280 mph, bell on, horn on
7. S88 11 (end) BR 44 light on,  Signal 11 green

1. S88 8 (beg) Signal 10 green
2. S88 8 (end) Signal 10 red

1. S88 5 (end) BR 44 401 mph
2. S88 13 (beg) Sinal 12 green
3. S88 13 (end) Signal 12 red
4. S88 5 (beg) Sk800 322 mph

1. LED cand be controlled with an Ardino, Uno
2. To add LEDs to diesel use Viessmann 6006 LEDs warm white
3. MSD5 is with sound, MLD5 no sound
To remove flicker add a capacitor
4. DC sends out pulses but always has full power
AC varies the amount of power making it difficult to go slow
6. Weller makes a soldering iron with variable heat settings for use on circuit boards
7. Tin both sides of items then without added solder attach pieces
8. Best solder is by Kaiser, very thin.
9. Capacitors: need 25 volt, 250 - 100 mf., because Marklin has positive ground and negative power this must be taken into account, short side of led always negative
10. Ball bearings
I've converted about 200 locos with ball bearings and the reason for this was

1.) over time your armature metal shaft will not be compatible with either plastic or the metal motor block, its like stainless steel with ordinary steel.
Märklin has tried for years to fix it but gave up.

2.) the major problem with motors like this is when you have to oil them in time you ruin the brushes and it also ruins in time the armature 3/5 pole separation section.

3.) on the motor block its the same over time it will make a noise whereas you add more oil to the shaft., you will notice on later 3 pole drum motors Märklin added a plastic insert and eventually gave up the small and large disk armatures

4.) by adding ball bearings on both sides you will see the noise level will be less but one major issue oiling the shaft will be a thing of the past, its like a Merry go around, you oil it, the brushes get ruined in time and also your track gets dirty over time from dirt and grime.

5.) another issue with noise is the brush plate itself, Märklin has never fixed this problem either. the brush holder gets stamped onto the brush plate and previously they've put to much pressure on it and the brush holder than didn't sit flat with the brush plate it is in a raised position.

being in a raised position the brushes are no longer in a 90° angle in relation to the armature and this will hinder the motor to run at its full and smooth running operation,

6.) you will never get rid of the metal cogwheel noise and this of course gets amplified through the whole housing and here as well Märklin introduced plastic cogwheels to interrupt the noise level.

So overall it is not just 1 factor but several but with ball bearings at least you've reduced your maintenance on you locos by at least 80%

what I've done with the brush holder lift it up even more and than put a drop of superglue behind it or onto the channel of the brush plate and use an office clamp or a pair of pliers to hold it down for 5 seconds until it sets, my solution would have been to raise the height of the channel so when they press the brush holder onto it it would clip into the raised channel and wouldn't be able to lift itself when the mechanical press is applied to.

I don't thin Märklin will ever go down that pass as they are slowly getting away from this type of motor although they still producing locos with this type of motor.

for the price of ball bearings (China) and the time it takes you to drill 1 hole on your bruhs plate (as all old 3 pole drum armatures had a plastic insert and this in turn by removing it can be replaced straight away with a 4mm x 2mm x 1.5mm ball bearing, sometimes they fit tight and sometimes they could be loose and again just wipe a bit of superglue around the hole on the motor block insert the ball bearing (making sure it goes in straight) and any surplus of superglue has to be removed straight away either with a toothpick or a small end screwdriver (never put to much super glue into the hole). with the new 3D printing brush plate template it would be than much easier to drill a hole into locos motor block which had either the 3 pole large and small disk armatures posted by DA800 under the topic "on my workbench"


10 Wires between cars: