Command Station Index



ZIMO model 2000 MX1




Bought back in 2002, mainly to power our HOm show layout and to get a start on matters DCC.


It did a nice job together with the STP (Sperrer) software and the required ZIMO hardware to allow for fully automatic traincontrol at shows.





A lot of water flowed under the proverbial bridge, progress on the garden layout was slow and in the meantime there were plenty of changes i.e. progress in the DCC sector was in constant flux. Quite often there were announcements that sounded very promising but delivery on those promises was a different story. 


ZIMO’s delivery dates were/are at best approximations. The minimal traffic on our layout was, for many years, handled by the MX1 and a trio of throttles, MX21, MXZL and MX31FU.


This was far from the ideal we had in mind. Plug-in throttles do a nice job on a smallish indoor layout with good sight lines. A completely different situation in the garden, especially if the layout is linear point to point around several corners.


One could use the ACER A100 tablets, in conjunction with the Train Controller software, accessing a server that TC generates via WiFi, but Freiwald’s SmartHand software was far from smart enough to have reliable operation without latency problems.  


Then occurred  two developments. First ZIMO’s announcement of the MX10 command station with all the features one had been pining for and were finally to be implemented. Very, very good news!


Less welcome was the rapid degeneration of my health in 2010/2011, which resulted in a very unwelcome slowdown that required some serious rethinking. Question: Continue in a limping fashion with the MX1 or go full bore for the MX10? ZIMO’s tardiness with development and delivery left enough time to give all of the thinking lots of percolating time. 


By 2016 the new MX10 had been on the market for some time and the worst of the “undocumented” features had been resolved i.e. time to buy. My friend “Turi” was at that time also ready to retire from the importing/distributing business and still had a MX10FU to offer — at a very fair price.


However the actual install and implementation had to wait until 2017. Lots of new stuff to learn




What happens with the MX1 and accessories? That show layout is still in storage; one day the MX1 together with the required hardware and STP will see action as will the HOm rolling stock.










The wait after the announcement of the new command station was like going to purgatory — long, very long, extremely long.


But all the extra features meant a “must have” purchase.  ZIMO had finally seen the light and was planning to make the unit very flexible`. For our purposes that would allow using most of the old hardware (MX31 series cabs) together with the tablets and Smartphones via a WiFi link directly to the command station.


Since DCC, despite the hype from the manufacturers, is not as straight forward when it comes to “marrying” software and hardware across several product lines, it turns out to be quite a learning experience. With the temporary “solution” now up and running. 


As is noted in the chapter on the throttles it has been a long development with quite a few false starts and changes in direction.


Since Freiwald’s Train Controller software is still not updated to be fully compatible with the MX10, dispatching and full fledged CTC control may happen some day but until such time we have a work around. It is strictly according to the KISS principle.






The KISS principle features visual observation of the train positions via our 1080p IP cams. The dispatcher observes those on a TV monitor which also displays the simplified track plan which allows not only emergency stops, but permits the dispatcher to take control of a train when and if necessary. What is missing is an audio link like station telephones and we still lack signaling to tell the engineers to either stop or go.


For the time being it’s truly KISS!