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CV Table For Märklin m83 The Way It Should Have Been

The Märklin m83 (Märklin #60831) accessory decoder is actually a really good accessory decoder. There are, however, parts of the User's Manual that can be a bit confusing to the consumer. This article clears up a few of the problems that I had while trying to understand the decoder.

A model train

The most important features are of course the control of accessories, like point motors and magnetic uncoupler tracks. The default settings somewhat tries to meet this requirement, but one completely, by many people, overseen feature is the decoder's several options for light effects. To take advantage of this, you only need to program the outputs using DCC and the values from CV-table in the manual.

Unfortunately, this is where the manual is a bit unclear. The table in the manual talks about a "button value" and a "switch value". It is a bit unclear to me what this means. Reading an article in the Märklin Magazine did not really help me, but it did give me an idea to just use either button-value or switch-value as the CV value, depending on what you want to happen.

Update: I finally got it! "Button value" means things you can do with a button (e.g. start a flashing light or turn on a lamp). "Switch value" means things you can do with a point (turnout).

This means that sometimes you need to use the "button value" as the CV value, and at other times you need to use the "switch value" as the CV value.

So basically you can just merge the two tables into one. I think a merged table is much easier to understand.

Because of this, I have compiled a complete list of valid CV values for the outputs, where I have taken the guessing part out. I mixed them for you.

The Following CVs Can Be Programmed With The Values From The Table

CV Output Connector
112 Ouput 1 Red
115 Ouput 1 Green
118 Ouput 2 Red
121 Ouput 2 Green
124 Ouput 3 Red
127 Ouput 3 Green
130 Ouput 4 Red
133 Ouput 4 Green

The Possible CV Values Are As Follows

CV Value Description
16 "Period"* is the maximum switch time
17 "Period"* is the minimum switch time
18 Switch time is "Period"* or until end-stop is reached
128 The output is off
129 Dimmer
130 Flashing light 1
131 Flashing light 2 (opposite of flashing light 1, meaning: on when flashing light 1 is off.
132 Emulates flash light
133 Emulates double flash light
134 Random flickering light (e.g. defunct fluorescent light)
136 Zoom (soft switch on and off)
137 Mars
138 Gyralight. Like on American railways
141 Tubes. Emulates fluorescent light when turning on
142 Emulates the behaviour of an energy-saving light bulb

* For at description of "Period", please see the manual.

Every CV can be programmed using PoM. This is very helpful if you have already mounted the decoder.


The m83 decoder is extremely useful when it comes to creating all sorts of light effects on your layout. A long with a digital system or a computer you can create life like effects on street lamps, platform lighting or a tourist taking a picture of a train passing by.

Initially I did not like the decoder, I thought it was too complicated. Now that I understand the CV values, the decoder suddenly became extremely useful. 

Another good part is; that the decoder is cheap as well. If you need a great accessory decoder for your points, uncoupler tracks or lighting effects, you should give the m83 from Märklin a try. I think you will be happy with the results.

Happy Modelling!