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Modellbahn Digital Peter Stärz
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FAQ

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since 23/03/2005

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FAQ

In case of problems on assembling model railway kits, our FAQ can provide assistance and helps to find possible causes of errors.

The following are questions and answers regarding error correction and giving further advice.

General FAQ

A: General
G: Fundamental points
R: Repair


Product-related FAQ

B: BMDCC - BMMiba - BMMot - Bus interface
D: DHP260 - Decoder update
E: Encoder
I: Interface
K: KS1 - KS-GB - KS-PIC
L: LDMiba - Locomotive decoder
P: Power-packs: calculating the power consumption - PPS3A - PPS6A
R: Reed contacts
S: Servo - SXV-PIC - SUSI interface
W: WDMiba
Z: Central unit ZS1



General FAQ

 
General questions - up 30.08.2010
  1. !!!: Caution: The railway installation must be completely separated from all mains before you start wiring! In so doing you avoid unwanted short circuits and associated damages.
  2. !!: The same as in I applies to SX Bus cables and other wires, if not expressively specified otherwise in its relevant description. Therefore the SX Bus must always be off in order to change cable connections (the central unit is normally separated from the electric circuit, pushing the stop button does in most cases not switch off the SX Bus)!
  3. !: Check the functionality of each kit before its installation into the model railway system!!! For this purpose you only connect the elements really required to your central unit to prevent a possible kit fault from spreading to other model railway components.
  4. Don`t use soldering grease on solder procedures!
  5. A blow torch can be helpful during soldering.
  6. You didn`t find a solution for your problem in the FAQ? Just call us, and we will fix it together!
  7. If you feel uncomfortable with the precise troubleshooting described herein, don`t hesitate to phone us.
 
Repair - up 30.08.2010
  1. In case of kit reparation being unavoidable, we usually charge our customers the difference visà-vis of the finished module.
  2. Keep in touch with us to clear problems and find solutions.
 
General - up 30.08.2010
  • "The LED flashes in irregular intervals.", "It does not work", oder "It sometimes works and sometimes not!?"
    1. The three typical electrician errors have crept in: A defective component was cold soldered in the wrong position.
    2. Check, if all components needed have been fitted correctly and placed in the right position.
    3. Re-check all solder joints please, and resolder joints, which could be defective.
 


Product-related FAQ

 
BMMiba - up 23.04.2014
  • New question: "Up to now I have been controlling Selectrix exclusively by use of SLX850AD. I have a BMMiba and have changed to RMX. Is it possible to use BMMiba continuously, or do I need a new occupancy detector?
    1. It depends on the hardware/software: You can further use the old BMMiba, if the latest software (at least 2.5) is installed. Beyond that you have to adjust your resistance network RN2 (formerly 1k ohm) to 270 ohms to keep it up to date.
  • How sensitive is the occupancy detector BMMiba (maximum resistance, when occupancy signals can still be transmitted) ?
    1. The maximum resistance is approx. 20kOhm.
  • The kit is connected with the central unit via SX Bus: "When turning the bus on (starting the central unit), the LED continuously lights up. The system can not be programmed." or "The LED does not light up as expected on switching the pushbutton."
    1. Those problems should not occur. The PIC is then in most cases broken. Call us please.
  • Faulty occupancy detection: The kit has already been programmed to an address chosen: "There is no occupied signal given on the connected model railway sections, the display is always set to 0."
    1. In the programming mode of the addresses 1 and 2, a response delay and a release delay must be adjusted. It is not allowed to set all bits to 1, so it is recommended to set around 0,1 seconds, i.e. "01010000".
  • Faulty occupancy detection: The occupancy detector always shows an occupied signal for one track section, although there is neither a locomotive nor another consumer on track."
    1. A resistance of approx. 560 ohms is switched between terminal 1 and the track-related terminal.
  • Faulty occupancy detection: The occupnacy detector is connected to the RMX central unit: "The tracks are always being indicated as occupied."
    1. Set the response delay to the value of 50, the dropout delay to the value of 4 (at standard cycle length of 10 ms). These values turned out to be applicable for this central unit.
  • Faulty occupancy detection: The occupancy detector is flickering on the display of the central unit SLX 850 AD without a train being on track.
    1. Set your response delay to the value 31 (/ / / / / - - -) or (1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 ). The release delay is to be adjusted to the value 3 (/ / - - - - - - ) or. (1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0).
  • How do I program the BMMiba?
    1. Professional Central Unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
    2. Digital Central Unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
    3. MÜT MC2004: Programming description when using the MÜT MC2004
    4. Rautenhaus SLX844: Programming description when using the Rautenhaus hand controller SLX844 (exclusively for encoders)
    5. Rautenhaus SLX845: Programming description when using the Rautenhaus hand controller SLX845 (exclusively for WDMiba)
    6. ST-Train: Programming description when using the ST-Train Software
    7. SX-Desktop: Programming description when using the SX-Desktop
    8. Win-Digipet: Programming description when using Win-Digipet Software
  • Is it possible to easily insert a new PIC on an older board having a 24LC01?
    1. It`s no problem, since the 24LC01 remains inside the board.
 
BMDCC - up 13.12.2010
  • All connected track sections are displayed “occupied” without any train being on the rail. Prior test runs on shorter sections have been concluded successfully...
    1. Very long cables or sections (5m and more) increasingly balance external distortions out and cause a permanent occupied signal. The use of capacitors (33nF) being soldered or screwed between the joint rail connection (central unit/booster) and the relevant sections can solve that problem. The devices can be fitted directly on the terminals or on the resistance network RN2. Look at the example here. This problem no longer occur from BMDCC version v3 onwards.
  • Can I use the occupancy detector BMDCC in the direct analogue mode?
    1. Possible to a limited extent. Because of the galvanic isolation, the warning device BMDCC can be applied within analogue systems using a Selectrix bus for response and to switch the points. That for instance makes sense in connection with a light decoder LDMiba to illuminate a track diagram control panel. The use of BMDCC in the direct analogue mode is furthermore possible, if a voltage of at least 2,5 V is applied to the occupancy detector.
  • How do I program the BMDCC?
    1. Stärz professional central unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
 
BMMot - up 30.08.2010
  • Is it possible to easily insert a new PIC on an older board having a 24LC01?
    1. It`s no problem, since the 24LC01 remains inside the board.
  • Ho do I program BMMot?
    1. Stärz professional central unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
 
Bus interface - up 13.02.2011
  • In the TrainController 7 the TRIX Standard is not listed. Which digital system should be used to ensure a unrestricted functionality of the bus interface and the TrainController?
    1. Choose TRIX Interface 66824. This device also uses the TRIX Standard.
 
Locomotive decoder - up 04.10.2010
  • Do you also equip my trains with locomotive decoders, do you mount them?
    1. No, due to a lack of time we cannot. But we may point you to one of our partners in the near sourrounding who does: Digitalservice Dresden - The Model Railway Service in Dresden.
  • Is it possible to interconnect direction-dependent light outputs of a DHL/DHP-decoder (in order to keep the light always on, whether in front or behind) ?
    1. Yes, BUT consider: Both light outputs must be connected via a diode (the cathode connected to the light outputs, then the anode together).
 
Decoder update - up 13.11.2010
  • You can download an update of the DHP decoders in the download area of this homepage. How do I update the respective decoder?
    1. The file can be loaded directly via ST-Train by use of a FCC
    2. All the other central units as ZS1 are for instance updateable when a specific Update board is applied. We hand it over on request as a loan item. The postal charge of 2.50€ is to be refunded by the customer.
 
DHP260 - up 25.10.2010
 
Encoder - up 30.08.2010
  • It is impossible to change encoder data be use of another device, although it should be feasible according to the description.
    1. It might happen that displays taking too much current are connected to the encoder. Just use LEDs with a series resistor or small light bulbs, which need a rated current of 40mA maximum.
  • How do I program the encoder?
    1. Stärz professional central unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
 
Interface - up 13.02.2011
  • The TRIX Standard is not listed in the TrainController 7. Which digital system should be used to ensure a unrestricted functionality of the bus interface and the TrainController?
    1. Choose TRIX Interface 66824. This device also uses the TRIX Standard.
 
KS1 - up 30.08.2010
  • The occupied signal does not work with a resistance of 10 k ohms – it is permanently occupied.
    1. This is a typical problem of the Viessmann occupancy detector 5233 for instance. Adjust the detector resistance of 10 kOhm to a value of 10 to 500 ohms.
 
KS-PIC - up 20.06.2011
  • The reverse loop module KS-PIC switches permanently back and forth when driving on one sensor track.
    1. The double-sided isolation is objectionable at any point; in most cases on the other sensor track! This problem often occurs, if the disconnection points have been “flexed” afterwards. The chippings produced by that process frequently cause unwanted, hardly visible bridges on the disconnection points. This can be corrected by post controlling the device and cleaning the area around the disconnection point via vacuum cleaner.
    2. The cables are too thin! The longer your cables (for sensor tracks) are, the thicker must its cross-section be. If a cable is approx. 4 m long, the cross- section should for instance be 0,75mm². When using digital systems, thick cables are always better than thinner ones.
  • How do I connect a Viessmann 5233 occupancy detector to the reverse loop module KS-PIC?
    1. Viessmann specifies in the technical drawings the red wire to be distributed along the track sections and the brown wire to serve as a common cable. Selectrix uses (read our descriptions also) a blue wire, which is distributed to the tracks and a red one as common cable.
    2. The port designation is fixed as follows:
      Viessmann ColourMeaning Selectrix Colour
      red track sections blue
      brown common pole red
  • I use a combined system of a turning loop and railroad triangle. How can I connect the KS-PIC? It does not work as described in the instruction!
    1. It must be assured that the longest train always fit into turning loop section (the orange part in the drawing). Thereby it`s important which train type should drive over the turning loop section: If it must be possible to have the locomotive turned but the train left, a very short turning loop section ( as long as the longest locomotive) is sufficient. Look at the figure below:
    2. The picture shown under this chapter illustrates a modified connection of a railroad triangle: Trains for instance go from A to B and from A to C but will never go from B to C, but locos should be able to do so to turn at this point. The turning loop section can for that purpose be kept very short to save space.
      triangular junction having a KS-PIC
      This is even possible, if the railroad triangle owns a correspondingly long arm. The turning loop section can be arranged there.
 
KS-GB - up 30.10.2010
  • The reverse loop module KS-GB switches permanently back and forth when driving on one sensor track.
    1. The double-sided isolation is objectionable at any point; in most cases on the other sensor track! This problem often occurs, if the disconnection points have been “flexed” afterwards. The chippings produced by that process frequently cause unwanted, hardly visible bridges on the disconnection points. This can be corrected by post controlling the device and cleaning the area around the disconnection point via vacuum cleaner.
    2. The cables are too thin! The longer your cables (for sensor tracks) are, the thicker must its cross-section be. If a cable is approx. 4 m long, the cross- section should for instance be 0,75mm². When using digital systems, thick cables are always better than thinner ones.
  • How do I connect a Viessmann 5233 occupancy detector to the reverse loop module KS-GB?
    1. Viessmann specifies in the technical drawings the red wire to be distributed along the track sections and the brown wire to serve as a common cable. Selectrix uses (read our descriptions also) a blue wire, which is distributed to the tracks and a red one as common cable.
    2. The port designation is fixed as follows:
      Viessmann Colour Meaning Selectrix Colour
      red track sections blue
      brown common pole red
 
LDMiba - up 09.09.2011
  • How do I connect signals having more than 2 aspects to the light decoder LDMiba?
    1. We recommend to occupy one of the 16 outputs for each lamp used. In so doing it is possible to control each lamp via one bit on the SX-Bus. By use of a computer program all bits on the bus and the corresponding signals can be adjusted as required to have your model railways run. The single aspects may always be freely selected.
    2. You may alternatively use your own circuits to deduce the signal aspect from a specific bit combination. That would save light decoder outputs but involves a great deal of wiring work, and there is more space needed. You can for instance use circuits by Kai G. Schneider.
  • How to program the LDMiba?
    1. Stärz professional unit ZS1: Decoder Programmer for Windows
    2. See Downloads for programming LDMiba
 
Power-packs: Calculate your power consumption - up 02.03.2011
  • How can I know how much power my model railway system will consume, and how many boosters I need? Are there reliable methods to determine the power consumption?
    1. 1. Locomotives: Locos can be calculated as per the decoder inside. Reference values are for instance between 0.3 A and 1 A, depending on the track gauge and motorization used.
    2. 2. Wagons with a LED- illumination: A LED lamp will consume on average about 10mA. If there are several LEDs in a wagon connected in parallel, the power consumption multiplies itself in accordance with the number of lamps. The LEDS are connected in series within the in der flicker-free light strip, and therefore each wagon needs an amount of energy between 6 mA and 42 mA only once (considering the setting of light strip).
    3. 3. Wagons illuminated by light bulbs: One model railway light bulb consumes up to 100 mA. If a trains consists of 8 wagons each having 2 bulbs connected in parallel, the power consumption increases in worst case up to so I = 100 mA x 8 x 2 = 1,6 A.
    4. 4. A precise calculation of your expenditure of energy can be made by measuring each train. You can for this purpose connect a customary ammeter to the DC circuit or even use the functional expansion of the traction current display in combination with our power-packsor with the professional central unit ZS1.
 
PPS3A - up 15.02.2011
  • The red LED does not light up in case of a short-circuit. The yellow one turns off, instead (lamp blinks slowly). The supply voltage the breaks down. After revoking the short-circuit, you can switch the central unit on and off with the booster beginning to operate again.
    1. The transformer does not produce the electricity required! Just buy a trafo providing a performance of at least 70W as for example our trafo T1470 for power-pack PPS3A generating 14 V output voltage . .
  • Is there a housing available for the power-pack PPS3A?
    1. No, and there are good reasons for that: The power pack is generating heat (depending on the power consumption on track) when in operation. That heat must be dissipated to avoid a heat accumulation destroying the power pack. This is why the power pack for instance is not allowed to be installed between polystyrene materials.
 
PPS6A - up 15.02.2011
  • Is there a housing for power-pack PPS6A?
    1. No, and with good reason: Depending on the power applied (power requirement on track) the power-pack produces heat, which must be dissipated to avoid a heat accumulation damaging the power-pack. This is why the power pack for instance is not allowed to be installed between polystyrene materials.
 
Reed contacts - up 06.03.2011
  • Is there a decoder available for SX, which can be connected with impulse-contacts (e.g. reed contacts)?
    1. You can use the occupancy detector BMMot: In that case a galvanic separation between the impulse-contacts and the SX bus has been achieved and up to 8 impulse-contacts are connectable to a BMMot.
    2. It is alternatively possible to work with a pushbutton module TEM: The inputs are then not galvanically isolated but can be joined with up to 16 impulse-contacts per TEM.
 
Servo decoder - up 18.06.2011
  • Is it possible to simultaneously set two servos on the servo decoder with the same button? There should not be set Servo 3 and 4, but e.g. 1 and 3 or 1 and 2 or 2 and 3.
    1. The following applies to decoder modules having switch inputs: You can of course regulate two (or more) outputs using the same pushbutton. If you e.g. want to set output 1 and 2 together, the relevant buttons need to be connected in parallel at input 1 and 2 in your combination desired. You naturally always need 2 buttons to distinguish between both positions (left/right). This is also shown in the illustration being part of the description.
    2. The following applies to decoder versions having an SX connection: You can of course assign one address and the associated bit to 2 (or more) servos. It is therefore possible to switch for instance several outputs by means of a track control panel and using the same buttons.
  • Do I necessarily need the programming mouse to set my servo decoder (stop position, speed, etc.), or can I do it via software too?
    1. Yes, you need the programming mouse to adjust your servo positions, since there is no other possibility to make such settings without the mouse. We deliberately gave up the idea of different ways to control the servo decoder in order to keep this as easy as possible. We offer one setting option for all decoders no matter, if you choose a device including an SX Bus or another decoder version. Up till now there is no software or anything like that.
  • The servo "Modelcraft ES-05 JR" is listed in the servo decoder description. Did you test this servo, and would you recommend to use it?
    1. Yes, we have tested the ES-05 JR and use it ourselves to operate the demonstration railway. The device operates very reliably, so we can really recommend it.
 
SXV-PIC - up 30.08.2010
  • The Rautenhaus manual controller SLX845 does not work in combination with the mobile station. The controller is displayed but can not be operated.
    1. This is a specific technical problem between the manual controller and a previous series of the mobile station track boxes, which is not caused by the active multi- distributor SXV-PIC. Consult the track box manufacturer please to have the broken one replaced with a new box.
  • The track box causes in connection with the active multi-distributor problems on the programming of or with assemblies of other manufacturers.
    1. This problem occurs, if the track box and the assemblies of other manufacturers are not compatible. Look here to read a test report. .
 
SUSI interface - up 25.10.2010
  • Where are on the 21 pole interface the connections for the SUSI interface?
    1. The port designation is as follows (shown as example on the Dietz SUSI module):
      Colour on the Dietz Module Meaning Terminal pad (21 pole interface)
      red plus 16
      grey data 6
      blue clock 5
      black GND 20
 
WDMiba - up 22.02.2011
  • The assembly kit is connected with the central unit via SX bus: "The LED lights up continuously after turning the bus on (central unit is in the start modus). It is not possible to program the model railway system" or "The LED- lamp does not light up as expected after pushing the button".
    1. This should not happen, but if so, the PIC is probably defective. Please contact us via phone.
  • How do I program the WDMiba?
    1. Stärz professional central unit ZS1: Decoder programmer for Windows
    2. MÜT MC2004: Programming description when using the MÜT MC2004
    3. Rautenhaus SLX844: Programming description when using the Rautenhaus manual controller SLX844 (explicitly for the encoder)
    4. Rautenhaus SLX845 Programming description when using the Rautenhaus manual controller SLX8445 (explicitly for WDMiba)
    5. ST-Train: Programming description when using the software ST-Train
    6. SX-Desktop: Programming description when using the software SX-Desktop
    7. Win-Digipet: Programming description when using the software Win-Digipet
  • Can I easily arrange a new PIC on an older circuit board equipped with a 24LC01?
    1. Yes, its possible since the 24LC01 remains on the board.
  • The latest Märklin K- track- point- mechanisms and Minitrix drives have the undesirable property to rebound on switching, if a higher voltage (approx. 16V) is applied, although they have a limit switch system integrated. That property can destroy the transistors and the limit switches.
    1. Use a lower voltage of about 12V and free-wheeling diodes please.
  • I have separated my model railway system into two "areas" (central unit and booster), and each area has 12 points. Do I need 3 or 4 point decoders (2 devices for each area, since one decoder can “operate” a maximum of 8 points) ?
    1. The supply voltage of the WDMiba does not depend on the track voltage applied in the booster area. The most effective is to use an individual transformer for the WDMiba. According to the power requirement of the point mechanisms, one trafo can be taken for several WDMiba. It does not matter, which booster area the points belong to, they can be connected to any WDMiba device, so 3 of them are sufficient.
  • New question: When I turn on the power supply of the point decoder WDMiba, the points seem to be set randomly. Why does that happen, and how can I avoid it?
    1. The point decoder recognizes the power supply started. He writes the last recorded position of points on the SX bus in order to have the connected digital command station received that data. If the digital station is switched on initializing processes take place. It depends on the digital station, if the last positions of points reported by the point decoder WDMiba to the SX bus will be considered within the initialization process. Our professional central unit ZS1 naturally includes the positions of the track points. The central unit RMX 950 (PC) does not consider the reported point positions when being switched (status as of: 22.02.2011). If that device is used, all points must be controlled to ensure that they are in the right position.
 
Professional central unit ZS1 - up 30.08.2010
  • Which model train control systems support the Professional Central Unit ZS1?
  • Which model train control systems support the Digital Central Unit ZS2?
  • What about other programmes?
    1. The list shown above exclusively contains programmes, which have been tested 100% successfully by us in interaction with the digital central units. Do you know other programs able to support our components, please let us know, and we`ll add them to the list! We have developed the ZS1 and will of course put the respective components at your disposal for test or reference purposes, if desired.