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Dinamo / MCC

Author: Walter Pohler

The following text has been translated from the Dutch manual with the permission of Leon van Perlo (NL).

What is Dinamo / MCC?

Dinamo / MCC is one of Leon van Perlo (NL) Developed, comprehensive system for controlling and securing model car operations. On the basis of a reliable block protection (comparable to the model railway controls) cars can be controlled in their speed and with their lighting equipment.

In addition to the central unit and a PC, an addressable decoder per vehicle is required for this. The cars are under the control of a computer program. The computer program processes position reports from the vehicles and controls the cars accordingly. The direction of the vehicles is controlled either on the basis of the Faller Car System (®) or the Mader Magnet Truck System (®).

How works Dinamo / MCC?

The streets of the model layout will be equipped with an invisible transmission system hidden under the street surface. The transmission system is extremely simple and only consists of 2 copper strands that are laid parallel to the guide wire. The vehicle decoders are equipped with a receiver that inductively receives the signals transmitted by the control center via the transmission system.

FCS model with built-in decoder (Photo: Leon J.A. van Perlo)

Dinamo / MCC does not work with infrared transmitters and receivers and is therefore completely insensitive to infrared interference radiation (hall lighting, system lighting, cameras, ...). In addition, the streets will be equipped with position sensors. In principle, the position indicators are reed contacts that are attached to the guide wire and operated by the vehicle's steering magnet.

What software does Dinamo / MCC work with?

The currently easiest and cheapest way is to use the open source control software ROCRAIL. In addition, the protocol of the interface to the hardware is disclosed. It is left to other software developers to implement the proprietary Dinamo / MCC protocol.

Functions of the vehicle decoder

  • Addressing: up to 4095 addresses
  • Control of the motors with so-called cruise control (load regulation)
  • Slow starting and braking with different characteristics
  • Control of driving lights, taillights and brake lights
  • Control of standard LED (also white LED) from standard battery voltage 2.4V
  • 2 extra functions for free use
  • Emergency stop when leaving the route
  • Sleep state of the controller if the send signal is missing
  • Wake-up of the controller when the transmitter becomes active again
  • Battery control
  • "Programming-on-road" - possibility to configure and tune the decoder
  • Works with battery voltages between 1.8 and 4.5 volts

What is needed?

For the car model control on the home system, a cost-effective controller UCCI was developed which contains all the necessary functions. The UCCI controller takes care of the communication with the PC, the control of the transmission system, the reading in of the position indicators (reed contacts) and the control of optional OM32 controllers. Optional OM32 controllers switch electromagnetic switches, light signals, ...

UCCI assembly (Photo: Leon J.A. van Perlo)

The UCCI solution described cannot be expanded. The Dinamo 3.x is therefore available for larger systems.

To start with UCCI (max. 2 transmission loops / max. 128 responses) you need:

  • A UCCI controller and a power supply 7.5..9V / 2A
  • optionally one or more OM32 modules for turnouts, signals including power supply for the turnouts
  • One MCC decoder per car including receiver coil
  • Reed contacts for the position reporting of the vehicles
  • A handful of 1N4148 diodes or a few SWDEC connection boards for the reception matrix of the reed contacts.
  • Of course, the existing or newly purchased vehicles must be equipped with the decoders and LEDs.
  • A PC with a serial interface or a USB interface including an interface cable
  • Appropriate software e.g. ROCRAIL

Much more information can be found on the Internet at:


The largest model railway system (scale 1:87) in the Netherlands


Questions from Walter Pohler (IGM Kaarst) to the developer Leon van Perlo (NL) at the Rail 2008 in Houten / NL:

What does UCCI mean?

UCCI stands for USB Car Control Interface. If you speak it coherently - Öcki -
off, it corresponds to the Dutch meaning for child (baby). A way to clearly identify the new assembly in the Dinamo system.

Is there a distance control available?

No, there is no distance control as with DC-Car ®. Our application case (RAILZ Miniworld), which is treated primarily, does not require any distance control.

Will there be a handheld controller?

Example: button >>> controller >>> interface >>> UCCI

It is not currently being considered. The goal of the development was a purely computer-controlled solution. However, since the protocol is disclosed, it is up to everyone to expand the system accordingly. With such an extension, individual vehicles would then be controllable by hand.

How many responses can UCCI process?

A maximum of 128 responses can be processed with UCCI. In addition, the modular, expandable Dinamo 3.0 solution can be used with the TM-CC controller. This solution supports 2048 responses per system.

Will other model railway control programs be able to control Dinamo / MCC?

If necessary, ask other software manufacturers whether they are ready to implement the protocol. In addition, the protocol is disclosed. All the necessary commands are explained in the DINAMO INTERFACE manual 3.0.

Are the commands for changing variables (CV) also described there?

Yes, the CV (CV based on DCC) are also described there.

Can the MCC decoders also be installed in cars or small vans?

Unfortunately not at the moment because of the size of the decoder. We are working on smaller decoders; available in about a year. Since the receiving coil is extremely small, it should also be suitable for small vans. Further miniaturization is likely to be necessary for cars.

Why doesn't Dinamo / MCC use the DCC protocol?

In our view, DCC is not a very effective protocol. Since cars and trains do not drive in the same lane, we decided to develop a proprietary protocol with optimal performance for the model cars. It's more reliable and easier to decode.Another reason is the possible interferences between model railways and car controls, especially at level crossings.

Wouldn't a simple BASIC program be able to control the cars?

In principle yes - but Rocrail is available free of charge and can also control the model railroad. As already described, all required commands are explained in the interface specification. In addition, no commands are required.

Are interference from the use of magnetic tape as a guide for the vehicles to be expected?

No, magnetic tape has not been tested by us either.

Are there any kits available for UCCI, ...?

Unfortunately, no.

What does cruise control mean and are 15 speed steps sufficient?

Cruise control stands for cruise control system.

The back EMF of the motor is constantly measured, fed to a PID controller, which compares the setpoint and actual value and makes any necessary corrections. In principle, it is therefore more of a load control.

In our experience, 15 speed steps are completely sufficient.Inside the decoder there are further stages that optimize starting, braking and load control.

Is electricity also consumed in sleep mode (vehicle standstill)?

Yes, an average of 500 µA (Wedkro-ampere). That means, after approx. 300 / 0.500 = 600 hours a full battery of 300mA is empty.

What is the average travel time of the models?

This depends, among other things, on the type and weight of the vehicles and the battery capacity. On On Rail 2008, our demo vehicles with a standard battery (240mAh) achieve an average runtime of between 6 and 8 hours.

What is the current starting price (March 12, 2008)?

A UCCI and two MCC decoders currently cost € 160.00 plus postage / shipping.A single MCC decoder currently costs € 45.00.

Is a price reduction for the MCC decoders to be expected?

Unfortunately not yet - the number of units is not yet sufficient.

SWDEC connection boards, what are they used for?

These boards are used for the feedback of the location information and currently cost € 17.00. The assembly is so expensive because the Phoenix Contact connectors used already cost € 7.00. The unassembled circuit board costs only € 4.00.

Other required accessories:

  • Diodes
  • Ribbon cable
  • Power supply
  • LEDs and small resistors (1 / 8W) for the cars
  • If necessary, the OM32 decoder at a unit price of

(everything available from Reichelt or Conrad)

Why are the resistors for the vehicle lighting not located on the circuit board?

Because the resistances
    a) the battery voltage used (2.4..4.8V) and
b) depend on the number of LEDs per output.

Do the prices quoted already include VAT?

Yes, all prices include 19% VAT. However, our current prices (internet shop) must be taken into account.

Can servos also be switched with OM32?

Unfortunately not - we are working on a solution.

Has the OM32 control been disclosed and if so, where?

Yes, available on request or in the Dinamo User Group.

TIP of the IGM: If necessary, you could use the very good modules from WWW.SERVO-ANTRIEBE.DE with DCC control - ROCRAIL is multi-protocol capable

Is there telephone support?

Regular support should be provided by the Dinamo User Group. I.Telephone support is also provided in particularly difficult cases.

Will there be a distributor in Germany?

Not necessary at the moment.

Will there be a reference object or demonstration model in Germany?

Possibly at the IGM Kaarst?

How are CVs (address, ...) changed for the vehicles?

A configuration program is supplied, but you can also create it yourself. The interfaces are open.A list of all CVs can be found in the MCC-Dec manual.

Is there an interface on the decoder for software changes?

The PIC controller can be reprogrammed via a 5-wire interface with a standard PIC programmer PIC-16. Software updates are posted on the Internet and can be accessed there. It is also possible to carry out software updates with us. When installing the decoder in the vehicle, an update socket should be provided. The wiring is to be carried out as follows:

A 6-pin socket strip with a 2.54 grid is to be used as the update socket!To avoid incorrect insertion, we use a 6-pin interface. Pin 2 only serves as a guide pin. We will describe information about this in detail in the manual.

Due to the application RAILZminiworld, Rotterdam, program errors in the decoder can be largely ruled out. So you get really tested decoder software.

Is there a function for blue lights, speed cameras, spring lights, flashing lights, ... .. in the MCC?

Each MCC controller has 2 function outputs (on / off), which can put additional LEDs / controllers and sound modules into operation. The functions of these additional controllers (e.g. of the AtTiny type) can then be very diverse. Example: fire brigade module, construction vehicles, ...

Do these modules still need electricity - even when the vehicle is parked?

Yes, but it can be switched on and off via a MOSFET, which brings about the stand-by mode. The standard on / off switch is then used for longer downtimes. A circuit diagram for this can be designed at short notice.

Finished flashing modules cost up to € 15.00 as a kit. Why have these functions not been implemented in MCC?

Well, the system has only just finished. Expansion requests from users are unavoidable - only our development capacity is limited.Incidentally, an Attiny12 with flying wiring is sufficient.

Do you already have inexpensive additional modules?

Not yet.

What does battery control mean? Do the vehicles automatically stop somewhere or can they still reach an emergency stop (charging station)?

The battery management consists of a measurement process that compares the battery level with a voltage reference. The method is also used in engine control.

If the battery voltage falls below a configurable value, an alarm mode is triggered and the speed is reduced to approx. 30%. At the same time, the ALARM LIGHTS (front light) on the model car flash (visual indication). Configuration is possible through CV setting.

The speed of the vehicles can now be measured in a predetermined route section and compared with the target value. If the speed of the vehicle is below the target value, a route to the charging station can be set. However, this feature is not yet available in the ROCRAIL software.

The transmission system consists of a 2-wire loop. How can this loop be guided over modules? Are stub lines allowed? Do the wires absolutely have to be led to the module edge? How should you proceed with branches?

The distance between the transmitter system and the receiver loop on the vehicle can be up to 3 cm. To avoid unnecessary interference, this distance should not be exceeded. Examples for laying the transmitter lines are described in the UCCI manual.

How many loops are possible and what lengths are allowed?

2 loops via UCCI, 128 loops via Dinamo system. In Railz Miniworld, cable lengths of 50 m per loop are used.

Aren't these loops also jammers (receivers) at the same time?

The signals only reach 3-10cm above and next to the road. EMC tests showed that there was no interference with radio / TV / GSM / etc. gives.

Admittedly, the system is certainly not suitable for beginners, but the question: Why do you disclose the entire documentation of the interfaces?

The DINAMO 3.0 interface was documented and disclosed to give software developers of model railway controls the possibility to implement DINAMO / MCC in their software. The focus of our development is on the hardware for model railways. That is why we only supply hardware tools for testing the hardware.

All prices and information without guarantee from the author / translator or IGM Kaarst.

Current prices at

© 2008 IGM Kaarst