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How To Correctly Set The Address Of A Märklin Turnout Decoder

On layouts built using the Märklin C-track or the Trix C-track you can use the Märklin turnout decoders to conveniently install a decoder underneath the turnout. This is great if you are often rebuilding your layout or building a temporary layout. With the decoder underneath the turnout you basically get a wireless turnout.

Depending on the version of your decoder there are a few things to keep ind mind when setting up a turnout on the CS3.

All the turnout decoders have a DIP switch panel that you can use to set the address of the decoder. Depending on the version of the decoder you will need to configure these switches differently.

There are two types of decoders:

  • 74460 (The old one)
  • 74461 and 74462 (The new one)

The 74460 has the DIP switch panel on top of the PCB. This means that you will have to unmount the decoder to set the address.


Märklin 74460 turnout decoder.

The 74461 and 74462 on the other hand has the DIP switch panel mounted in such a way that you can change the address from underneath the turnout. This is a much more convenient solution. 

Another benefit of the 74461 and 74462 is that they support DCC making them more versatile. Below is a picture of the 74462.


Märklin 74462 turnout decoder.

 

The Addresses Of The Turnout Decoder

Both decoders have 10 DIP switches per panel. But the purpose of the switches is very different.

  • The 74460 uses all 10 DIP switches to define the address.
  • The 74461 and 74462 uses only the first 9 switches to define the address. The 10th is used to define the protocol in use (ON meaning DCC and OFF meaning MM).

If you use the address table of the 74460 to set the address of the 74461 or 74462 your decoder will not respond to commands. You need to consult the manual of the decoder type you have to set the address correctly.

Example

Address 1 on the old decoder type will look like this:

Address 1 on the new decoder type will look like this:

As you can see, two very different results depending on the type of the decoder.

 

Setting Up The Decoder On The CS3

The CS3 can help you set the address correctly by showing the position of each DIP switch, but since the CS3 cannot know which type of decoder you are installing these settings might be wrong.

You make sure the information is correct by telling the CS3 which type of decoder you have. On the screenshot below you can see the DIP switch panel under "Coding Switch". We need to make sure that the CS3 knows what decoder type we have.

This is where the Set Up tab comes in. Here you can choose your decoder type and have the CS3 show the DIP switch positions accordingly. Depending on your decoder's product number choose either old (74460) or new (74461 or 74462).

The DIP switches will now be shown correctly. If you change the address the DIP switches will move around to match it. This is very helpful when setting up the decoder.

 

A Word On Mfx

If you have the 74462 decoder you can also use Mfx. In fact I recommend that you do that. Set all DIP switches to OFF, except 10, set that to ON. Then let the CS3 detect the decoder automatically. This way you don't have to worry about adresses at all, just plug and play.

You search for mfx turnout decoders by choosing the Edit menu and select "Discover mfx items".

You will get the option to keep the turnout's existing address, what ever it may be, or to get a new address if needed.

Just select "Get a new address" and hit the okay button. The CS3 will decide the address, so you don't have to worry about it. When the turnout is set up, you only need to tell the CS3 which type of turnout it is (left, right, crossing etc.) and you're done.

Usually you would care about the address because you want to group turnouts together. The grouping of turnouts by addresses is not really necessary on the CS3 because you have other options to sort the turnouts in the article list.

To keep things simple I recommend that you decide on a naming convention for your turnouts and use that to group them instead. It is way more flexible than just the addresses.


The different sorting options for articles on the CS3.

 

Conclusion

Setting up turnouts using DIP switches is actually quite easy, but you need to know that there are two types of turnout decoders and tell the CS3 which one you have. Setting up the turnouts using Mfx is even easier and I highly recommend that if you have the 74462 turnout decoder.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Happy Modelling!