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Plastico universale AC/DC  -  Il plastico nell'armadio  
Il mio Plastico universale AC/DC
AC/DC  Universal layout

 

I am building an universal layout in order to run DC locos and Marklin locos on

the same track system without modifying the locos in any way.

The reason is that I am an experienced modeller in DC system ( 25 years ) and

now to something new I want to enter the fantastic Marklin world but I also

want to use again my moreless 100 DC locos .So I have decided to build

an universal layout .

 

 

Feature list

 

- 2 rail system and 3 rail system on the same layout

- no modifications of locos and rolling stock

- use of the same power supply system (optional)

- very simple modifications on the track system

It must be noticed that it’s impossible to operate AC and DC at the same time!

 

System choices

 

After reading Marklin Magazine C Gleis Spezial  book ( Marklin catalog No 188987) in

which  the author Markus T. Nickl explains very well all the tips of the C track ,

I decided that this was the right track system for my purpose.

 

The rasons of this choice are the following :

 

- Ready ballasted track

- Profile height  2,3 mm (code 90 ) . It’s a good compromise between realism and operation

- Easy insulation of the rails . This is a must for DC operation . Tracks are designed to be insulated for AC automatisms ; there are two jumpers for each track section that can be cut using nippers .Refer to Marklin Magazine C Gleis Spezial for this matter.

- Metal frogs . This is very good for DC operation  and digital operation  both for DC an AC.  At this point  I had the problem  to insulate the turnouts  and  feed the frogs  for DC operation.; so  I bought  a turnout   to study  the easiest solution.

 

 

How to insulate and feed Marklin C  turnouts  for DC  operation

 

After some experiments  I  found  a  quite  simple solution .

To have  always good performance  mechnical  and electrical  modifications are required .

In order not to destroy  the marvellous  Maklin turnouts mechnical modifications  are very simple  and so it’s  better to work  on electrical  wiring .

First of all it’s necessary  to cut  the  two metal connections  between the points of

the turnout  and the outer rails; to do this I use Dremel  tool equipped  with a very thin  disc saw.

I can assure that the cuts are moreless  invisible  and that the mechnical integrity   is the same as before. At this point  you have obtained a so called “power routing turnout “absolutely the same from the electrical point of  view , as a Peco electrofrog turnout .( see Peco catalog  for this point)

 

 

Now it,s necessary to feed  the frog according  the position  of the turnout ( you have to change the polarity  of the  frog   when  you  change the position  .Generally  it’s a very  simple operation if the switch machine is equipped with auxiliary contacts ,but unfortunately  Marklin switch machine has no this option .So to feed  frogs   I have connected the coils of two monostable relays  between  blue wires and brown wire in order to have a perfect syncronisation  with the coils of  the motor and the coils of the relays

You can do this because Marklin switch machines are equipped   with  power shutoff switches.

Connect  the frog  to  the center pin of  the relays   and the DC supply  to the “ normaly open “pins  of the relays according  the  polarity  of the outer rails  .In case of short  simply reverse  the polarity of  DC feed . Now  everything  will work  in the right way .

 It must be noticed that:

- Turnout motors must be supplied  with  15V  DC  because  the low voltage relays are designed for DC operation .

- DC coil resistance of the relays should be 700- 800 Ohms.

 It’s very easy to find this kind of relay in every electronic shop and the price is not expansive

 ( I have paid them  2.5 Euros each ).

- In my layout I use only normal turnouts  , so I don’t  know exactly  how  to operate on double slips and 3 way  turnouts but I think it shold be very simple because these turnouts seem to be already  insulated.

 In any case I suggest to refer to  this book for all tips concerning DC wiring :

 Andy Sperandeo - Easy model railroad  wiring – Kalmbach  Editions.

 

 

 

Using the same power supply system for DC and AC operation.

 

The worst enemy of every model railroader  is the the space ; infact I had no sufficient

space  to install other two DC trasformers in my layout .

The solution was to use an electonic step relay  in order to use the 24 VAC pulse supplied by Marklin trasformers  to reverse the polarity  and to rectify the AC variable voltage.

Hag and Roco has these devices ready to run ; they are designed  to transform DC lococ

for Marklin system . I have purchased  two devices by Hag  ( 25 Euros each) and I have simply connected them between Marklin  trasformers  and the rails when I use DC locos:

everything works in the right way .

It must be noted that these devices are designed  to operate directly  on a DC motor so

to have a good overload protection  I use the  Marklin device No.74046  in series between

Hag  reverse unit and the rails.

 

 

Conclusions

 

Till now I have made some test using old Fleishmann and Hamo locos because

they are equipped with high flange wheels ; I am very satisfied : they run very well on the turouts !

So now  when I want I use  DC  and AC  locos  in the best way .