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.
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
The Possible CV Values Are As Follows
|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|
|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)|
|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.