Note that Märklin no longer supports/recommends using its current DIGITAL devices for scale Z. This was not always the case: Around 1987 they included detailed hints how to control Z turnouts, signals, etc. in their book about Digital control, using the same Digital control system as for their H0 scale products with 3-rail AC power. There was even an exhaustive connection scheme for the Z turntable.
Some time later Märklin announced a special version of its Digital control system for 2-rail DC systems, and that it would be available for scale N (from Arnold) and for scale Z later. In the 1988 miniclub catalogue there were three locos announced with built-in decoders for this DC Digital control system. These never reached the market, later Märklin stated that they had technical problems with the heat dissipation of the tiny decoders.
Since then, nothing official was heard of Märklin again about the connection of Z and Digital. This is a pity, because while full digital control with built-in decoders in locos does not seem to be possible yet, other possibilities are interesting enough to be explored!
I am especially interested in controlling my miniclub Z trains with my computer, in two ways:
In their 1987 book, Märklin only dealt with controlling magnetic coil devices of Z (like turnouts, relays, turntable, signals) with their Digital control system.
The advantages of this scheme outweigh that drawback easily:
The Z locos want 8 Volts, the Digital devices need 16 Volts. This is achieved by using a booster (with 10V transformer) to drive the locos via the rails, while supplying usual 16V to the Control Unit.
The settings of the DIP switches (back of the 6050/6051 Interface device) are shown on the right. (For connection of other computers, refer to Märklin's documentation.)
Please note that according to email discussions on the Märklin mailing list for some users all DIP switches have to be in the ON position in order to work correctly. For me, only the setting shown above is OK (tested with three Macs: Macintosh SE 4/40, PowerBook Duo 230 12/80, and Performa 5300 32/1.2G).
Here the PowerBook Duo running HyperCard is connected to the Interface 6050 controlling a H0 layout.
Alaska F7 and Santa Fe F7 (MPEG movie
1.7MB). Some clips of two F7-powered trains, which are controlled by a computer via
Märklin's DIGITAL control system.
The same movie in QuickTime format with CinePak and Sorenson compression (1.7MB) and with original sound is here.
The Digitally controlled BR03 and 151 (MPEG
movie 300KB). The short movie demonstrates the smooth and continuous
acceleration and slowdown of software controlled trains in scale Z.
It is available as a QuickTime movie (1MB) too.
This clip (1.3 MB) shows my Alaska F7 in scale Z in full color!
I built headlights into the 8800 steamer and added lighting to two coaches (8704, 8705) too.
For some QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) object movies of Märklin MAXI (Gauge 1) and Märklin Metall construction kits see my QTVR pages.
Scale Z home page: "Z-World - a place for zed heads"(http://www.z-world.com/) by Pat Smith
Railroading inside the web: Interactive Model Railroading by Heiner Wolf, Konrad Froitzheim
The Märklin mailing list by Fred von Dijk
The WWW-site of Märklin, Inc. (the US-based company)
An interesting German Z project for a layout in a table by Oliver Rasch.
Z Scale Model Railroading by Chris Ozboda, including very good link list to all Z sites.
The European Train Enthusiasts (ETE) Club pages.
The Z-Club 92 Club pages.
Here is a description of Mr. Müller how to build lights into the 8800 steamer.
The "C80prox" DOS control software for Digital by Peter Worboys.
Abbink Tried&True&Trains by Debbie Ames.
Jürgen Freiwald's pages about RR and Digital Control SW
Of course my wife is on the WWW too. See her playing with her Z turntable.
There is a mailing-list about Märklin. To subscribe, send an email message to email@example.com with the following msg body:
Comments and questions to rudolf mittelmann. Last modification Nov 24, 2002.