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Spoke to a Marklin user a few days ago and mentioned that the big issue with Marklin DCC is that when he turns the power off on his 80 train 3000ft layout all the train decoder chips loose their setting and have to be reset when power is back up which he said was a pain. He has had to create sidings that are permanently powered with a trickle current to make sure chip memory is not lost.

His set up requires around 100 amps of power to run everything and things get very hot as a result hence the need to power down when not in use.

So what happens to other systems when power is turned off?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE So what happens to other systems when power is turned off?

Several years ago I had quite a bit of contact with a Marklin DCC layout. There we no problems similar to this at all. The Marklin DCC system performed flawlessly.

 

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Hi MMD
When I trun off my Prodigy Advance system, so long as its the base units power switch thats turned off and not the wall socket, all the previous setting are remembered. So at switch on everything is as before, including the clock settings.

Can't comment on other system though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is more of a general question and not really Marklin specific.

When power is turned off what do you normally have to do when power is turned back on?

The Marklin user above had lengthy discussions with the UK Marklin importer Gaugemaster about this and he definitely claimed that he had to reprogramme locomotives each time power was turned on. He came up with his own solution to avoid having to do this as described. He accepted that the Marklin DCC control unit was relatively basic when compared with other full spec units.

He was a Marklin 3 rail addict and would absolutely never use 2 rail DCC. His view was that Marklin 3 rail DCC was a much better engineered solution for DCC use with, for example, return loops being very simple by comparison with 2 rail DCC which requires modules. In our chat he accepted Marklin was very expensive. He admired the well engineered products and this outweighted cost (for him).

He was not particularly a German outline enthusiast and did have more of an interest in British outline also having a large Hornby Dublo 3 rail collection However for him the operational side of running a model railway and the science behind it far outweighed the appearance of the rolling stock and scenery.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Hi Gary, I asked a Marklin dealer and here is his response:
QUOTE Not sure what this person refers to in terms of "Losing memory". If he is referring to having to re initiate each address for all 80 locomotives, that is correct as with any system, DCC or Motorola. Its not that the function settings change or load or delays or speed settings change within the decoder, they remain as either programmed or hard coded, depending on what decoders he has and it sounds like he may have a lot of older decoders.

When one turns the power off on any system, you will always have to "Call Up" your loco on the Controller. Now, the only exception today is the new MFX Technology where the controller is automatically advised of all MFX locomotives on your system when you turn it on, assuming you have no more then 10 for the Mobile Station and no more then 80 for the Central Station.

My layout plans are done and it will have some 185 locomotives on it. Will be interesting to see how this will work out as I have a combination of both non and MFX locs.

With my Fleischmann I have no problems turning it on or off. You just need to call up each locomotive on your controller and all of the settings were as before. Marklin runs the exact same way except for the new MFX decoders which actually report to the controller which I think Railcon will do in the future. So I think something else is going on with his layout or you may have misunderstood him.

Oh and I just came back from a show where there were a number of Marklin layouts and the new track with the small center studs is very good and you don't even see the third rail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
He is talking about reinitiating each address for 80 locomotives.

That is a pain for him and his large layout when he has to go through the same routine every day!

Hence the standby siding situation.

Is this really the same for every system?

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Definitely a problem - that I'm sure can be fixed.

On my older Arnold DCC controllers, there was a button battery inside the unit that held certain configuration in memory. Not much, but setting like language, speed steps and time format etc. I think modern units use Flash memory for that these days. This shouldn't affect the individual loco decoders though.
 

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Dear All,

As far as I know, all modern NMRA compliant decoders store all the settings in flash memory (or the equivalent) and remember the CV settings (except those designated as Dynamic/Volatile), no matter what you do to the power. I would be very surprised to hear that the Maerklin decoders do anything different. The only thing I could think of, is that the Command Station is sending a factory reset command to every decoder during the start-up procedure.

This is not anything those of us using NMRA compliant equipment need worry about. In my case I have been using Zimo decoders (MX63 and MX64) with a Roco Lokmaus for 2 years and never had this problem or seen it reported on any of the DCC forums I monitor.

Regards
John Russell
Vienna, Austria
Home of Zimo and CT Electronic (Tran)
 

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QUOTE (Brian @ 24 Aug 2006, 09:21) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi MMD
When I trun off my Prodigy Advance system, so long as its the base units power switch thats turned off and not the wall socket, all the previous setting are remembered. So at switch on everything is as before, including the clock settings.

Can't comment on other system though.


To me at least I suspect that it may be a similar problem.

Or, it may be that when powering off all the boosters (there must be quite a few if the layout has 100 amps floating around !) some sort of surge/spike is getting onto the track & corrupting the decoders somehow. The only solution I can think of would be to put a swich or relay into the booster to track/bus wiring (one for each booster/power district) so that DCC power is switched off "cleanly".
Same again on power up - switch on the boosters - wait 5/10 seconds & then "hit the switches". Thinking about it it may be the power up thats causing the corruption, rather than the power down.
(Thats one of the reasons that audio amplifiers connect the speakers to the ouput stage after a delay - to allow the electronics to stablise).

There was a similar problem with one of the ZTC units that was cured in this way.

best regards
Brian
,
 

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That's what I am thinking as well. The dealer I talked to also thought that maybe this person had old decoders that were erasing themselves and that Marklin decoders work the same way as anyone elses except for the new feature noted on MFX decoders where the decoder tells the central station about itself similar to Plug & Play devices on a computer I guess.
 

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I've never experienced this problem with my Digitrax super chief, and DB150 booster. We never had that problem either with my mates layout with a similar setup with four boosters. A 100 amps is a lot of power !
5 times more than a home welding machine !.
Some early decoders were erractic in performance. I stress this is in the early days of DCC. I remember one problem we had with some old MRC decoders you could only program them once ! Some of those early decoders were really difficult on occassions. I think I was the first person to every fit a decoder in a Farish Standard four tank (1996). Then I found the decoders supplied by ZTC would'nt accept CV1. This pleased me no end as I had four tanks and they could'nt be all loco 03!. This was one of the first ZTC 214's . Funny as Digitrax had the similar problems with their first mico decoder. I stress modern MRC and ZTC are a much better products. My decision to dump all my N gauge stuff came about because of my desire to retain DCC without the diffulties of trying to fit huge decoders (then) into N gauge loco's.
 

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You are all talking the same langauge as this Marklin man as he mentioned having boosters around his 3000ft layout which takes a train 8 minutes to circumnavigate. He will be well known to Gaugemaster as he has been in constant contact for over 10 years to get answers to various issues that his mammoth layout has experienced and is probably the UK's biggest marklin customer.

I had to whisper when his wife turned up as she had no idea of the cost of his hobby and all she was aware of was the regular deliveries of brown packages and never questioned anything. I simply said to his wife when I made a slip up that Marklin was just a shade more to buy than the very cheap and common British Hornby and that Marklin was Hornby for Germans!

It just seemed very odd to have to reset everything each time the power was turned off.

Happy modelling
Gary
 

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I think there must be something wrong with this guys system as this is not normal for any DCC system. It doesn't happen with my Roco system and I really don't think it would happen with the current Maerklin system unless it was damaged in some way.
 
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