Minitrix Koploper: Mystery Solved!

A mystery that has plagued me since my discovery that my Minitrix 12865 from the mid-1990's contains an NEM 651 socket has been solved!

As a reminder, the Minitrix KLM-liveried Koploper's were produced from 1994-1999, which was the very early days of DCC and as far as I know, a long time before any manufacturer had ever made plans for "DCC ready" trains (which is what the NEM 651 socket would allow)!

Some more explanation of the above terminology may be useful for some readers: "NEM" is an abbreviation for "Normen Europäischer Modellbahnen" or "European Standards for Model Railways" as we might say in English.  The NEM Standards are set by an organization called MOROP, which is sort of a European version of the NMRA (National Model Railroad Association).  When terms like "NEM 651" are used, we are referring to the standards set by the MOROP organization for a 6 pin 'plug and play' DCC decoder interface that was nearly universally used by all European N Scale manufacturers until recently (here is the PDF standard; in German of course!).

Yes, I said 'was' the universal standard...see this excellent overview of all the new 'standards' at Pierre's excellent Digital Train Blog for the current chaos in decoders!

Okay, back to the story.  A couple of weeks ago, Baz - a Singapore based reader of this blog - sent me an email asking questions about my Koploper's.  Baz wrote about his enthusiasm when he acquired a KLM Koploper, but was a little disappointed to discover that - unlike the version I had in my review -  his Koploper did not contain any NEM 651 decoder interface!

Here is where I have to give Baz a huge amount of credit for not only discovering why his Koploper was different than mine, but also figuring out how to make it that way!


What Baz discovered, and shown in his photo below, is that his Minitrix 12865 is equipred just like they are shown in the original product manual and explosion documents (visible here).
Now, keep in mind the above photo of Baz's Koploper is of the same model (12865) as mine; compare with the below photo of my own Koploper and you will notice some thing right away:
Mine has a green circuit board which, as Baz discovered, is the reason why I was able to remove the shell and easily add an NEM 651 decoder!  The green circuit board is actually the new circuit board with the NEM 651 circuitry that Minitrix installed for its newer releases of this model (e.g. the Blue and Yellow 12749 from 2004 or the Olympic version from a couple of years ago).  Baz was able to find the circuit board part number (31282909) for the motorized coach, and was also able to order it directly from Märklin (try this link...unfortunately, I've not found that the Märklin or Trix 'stores' are set up for use by folks in the US, and rather we would need to go through a dealer or (yikes!) Walthers?)

And, just to prove that point, below is a photo from Baz of the 2004 catalog Koploper 12749...with the green circuit boards and decoder interfaces!
 And the interior / circuit board view of the two motorized coaches from the older and newer design:
So....there you have it!  I only hope that my wildly inaccurate review which incorrectly might have led future buyers to the conclusion that other KLM Koploper's have a DCC interface can, in some way, be corrected with this new update!  A huge thanks to Baz for sharing his information and photos on this locomotive!  Now its time for a Scoobey-Snack!


  1. Hi Jerry, thanks for the reference to my blog btw ;)

    I just love the design of this model, please continue reviewing exotic rolling stock!

    I think you've spotted a common "issue": manufacturers improve the specs of a model and keep the same part number. That can be a good, or a bad surprise sometimes...

    Another example that comes to mind, by Hobbytrain: http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/249092/Hobbytrain-249092-N-Shunting-diesel-engine-BR-V-363-028-0-of-Press-GmbH (now with better track power feeders).
    Similar problems with DCC accessories. E.g. the ESU SwitchPilot Servo (3 models over time, but no way to know which one you're buying), or the Uhlenbrock IB-COM PC command station (the newest version has an S88 connector, still the same part number).
    And these are just examples that come to mind...

    I guess we need to be careful. It's a dangerous hobby ;)


  2. Thanks Pierre! Yes, you never know what you will get sometimes!