My Märklin Mobile Station 2 does not include a programming track feature. I have to do all my programming on the main line. This can get ugly when I have more locomotives on the track during a programming session, since all the locomotive- and accessory decoders will apply any changes I send their way. Suddenly all of my decoders could have the same address and make a mess. We can't have that, now can we...
With the Märklin Digital system I have some options, one being to buy a Central Station 2 that have the programming track feature. BUT I could also create my own simple "programming track" using a contact and some wires. In this article I will show you what I did.
Note: This setup will of course work with any type of digital system that you may have. Also, you can use any type of contacts and plugs that you like.
For this setup I used:
- A Märklin contact box (p/n 72730)
- Two distribution strips
- Various plugs in different colours
Plugs and contact boxes just makes setting up easier, especially if you build temporary layouts like I do. You can buy plugs and contact boxes from various manufacturers. Brawa produces plugs and coloured distribution strips. I stick with Märklin's plugs because I like the design of the contact boxes and because Märklin accessories, in Denmark, are easier to come by than Brawa or Viessmann for that matter.
The setup can quickly be a mess of wires, but I think you will get the general idea.
The idea is to take a good length of track where the layout is connected to the railbox and make that our programming track. This track will be isolated from the rest of the layout.
I power the rest of the layout through the contact box, which allows me to turn off the power to everything else before a programming session. You must remember to include any accessory decoders you may have, since they will receive the digital commands as well.
Make sure the railbox is connected directly to the isolated track. Make sure the rest of the layout is connected to the railbox through the contact box.
If you have any accessory decoders, they must also be connected through the contact box. Here my Lenz LS110 is powered through the contact box.
Some plugs allow you to easily join more plugs.
You can connect the return wire the way you normally do.
You should now be able to switch of the rest of the layout and safely program your locomotive.
The WinTrack figure shows how to create the setup on a 2-rail layout.
If you need a small programming track, but your digital system does not support it, try using a contact box. I think you will be happy with the result.
Tip: If you do not need your programming track to be part of your layout, you can use a switch that redirects the current to a completely isolated track. That way you are absolutely sure that you will not accidentally program another decoder.