Car System

The term Car System is the general word for model vehicles that can move individually.

The term was created by the Faller company who were the first to introduce a fully functional overall system. The vehicles are engine driven and have a battery on board and functional steering mechanism in the front. The steering mechanism partly consists of a magnet following an iron wire which is integrated into the roadway, enabling the vehicle to follow the road on a given path, comparable to a train following the tracks. 

The first Car System vehicles in a scale of 1:120 (Gauge TT) and 1:160 (Gauge N) came up after 2004, so the Car system was no longer restricted to scale 1:87 (Gauge H0).

Basic Elements

  • Basic Elements Vehicle

    Model vehicles are powered by an electronic engine, which works the rear axle via a gearing mechanism (usually worm gear). The engine is powered by battery and the battery is connected to the engine with a manual on/off switch= the vehicle moves. A magnetic force from the outside can open the reed contact = the vehicle stops.

    The model vehicles have a controllable front axle. The steering mechanism is oper-ated via a metal clip with a magnet at the top. This magnet follows the wire integrated into the road bed and therefore steers the vehicle. Producer: Faller Car System.

  • Basic Element Roadway


    The contact wire in the Road is composed of a special alloy which produces maxi-mum cohesion between the magnet and the wire. The wire can be purchased via the Faller company. It must be built into the roadway immediately below the surface since the cohesion will decline with placement further down (also see example for placing contact wire).


    For the Mader magnet truck magnets are embedded into the road. They are 6 mm wide, 3 mm high and 20 cm long. The special vehicles start their engines upon con-tact with the road surface. Since the magnets are so strong, they can still work through surface, such as foil or carton. Streetsystem has been offering magnets running 1 meter in length ever since 2012, making the installation much easier.


    An in between solution is magnetic tape, measuring 3x1 mm. It may be covered with foil or carton. We use this variation at the Wunderland airport as well.

  • Basic Element Stop Point

    A “stop point” is a magnetic coil mounted below the roadway. Once it is turned on it creates a magnetic field which activates the reed relay in the vehicle causing the vehicle above to stop. Also see coil control.

  • Basic Element Parking Space

    A “parking space” is a permanent magnet, attached below the roadway surface and opening the reed relay of the passing vehicle, causing it to stop. A magnetic coil is mounted below. When activated it creates a magnetic field neutralizing the effect of the permanent magnet – the vehicles reed relay closes and the vehicle commences its travel. Also see coil control.

  • Basic Element Junction

    For creating a junction (turnout) a magnetic coil is placed below the diverging contact wire. Once this coil is activated the control magnet of a passing vehicle will be deflected onto the diverging contact wire causing the vehicle to make a turn.

    Deactivated coil = moving straight ahead

    Activated coil = taking a turn

    An alternative is to readjust the wire or magnet; this changes the magnetic lane below the street surface. When using servo drive it gives you four options for direction of travel.


  • Basic Controls

    The most basic form of controls is operated manually via a switch for each element. This enables simple drive mode. On the next level the manual switches can be replaced by a relay which can be controlled by a small control system. This provides options for more complex procedures.

    The Faller Company has electronics for this. They have modules such as traffic light controls, spacing control and traffic control.

    The online shop Modelleisenbahn-Claus distributes Servotiny and Servocoder S4-Car for these procedures.

    Keywords: Magnet control for coach automatic, fire brigade automatic, Servo turnout (via switch, feeler, time limited), servo coder with switch actuator, traffic light controls, infrared stop.

    Mader-Magnettruck – a slightly different Carsystem

    Keywords: magnet coil, 2 speeds, stopping coils, turnouts, traffic lights, rail loading, infrared technology (hand driven and/or pc driven)

  • Digital Controls

    Digital model railway controls with matching accessories makes it possible to control cars, even within a complex setting. Simple digital systems like “MoBaSchatz” by MB-Tronik and special switching decoders for car controls, for instance by Littfinski Datentechnik, simplify wiring and the use of parking space coils. The cars themselves run without a special decoder.

    The decoders by Modelleisenbahn-Claus (DC-Car) are operable through:

    PC (RS232- interface)

    Digital command station (DCC or Motorola)

    Switch actuator (switch or button) The servo coders with servos, equipped with a magnet, can be regarded as stop point coil or parking space coil. A pc may be used in addition for larger displays.

  • Digital Car Control

    Additional functions like variable speed, illumination, gap control and others, can only be realized by integrating further electronic parts inside the vehicle.

    Car-System-Technology inside Miniatur-Wunderland

    Digital car control – the blueprint system for big settings with computer controlled Carsystem.

    You don’t necessarily need a computer to operate the features.

    DC Car vehicles also work autonomously via bus automatics or fire engine automatics. Different sequencing is possible due to functional components.

  • Extension Options

    The simplest extension is adding lights to your vehicle. This can be switched on and will operate nonstop.

    Flashers can also be retrofitted:

    It takes simple controls to operate internal illumination, flashers and police lights in a stationary vehicle.

  • Infracar

    Extension options for an existing Carsystem vehicle:

    Carsystem control for remote controlling the vehicle via hand held transmitter across several meters distance (speed 0-31 and 6 light options)

    Automation is also possible via the pc interface using infrared technology (31 speeds, 6 functions).

This article is based on the article model building from model building wiki.

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This article is based on model building wiki and is edited externally. We strive to keep the contents clean but cannot guarantee trouble free operation.