Iowa Scaled Engineering Fast Clocks

Looking to enhance your operations with a fast clock system?  Do you need multiple displays around the layout?  Do you want a configurable, yet easy to use system for your operators?  The Iowa Scaled Engineering Fast Clock system may be exactly what you need.

Wireless Networked Fast Clockspurchase

Fast Clock Master

new-fastclock-pic-modThe MRB-FCM fast clock master is the heart of the system.  Not only does it act as a fast time display, but it also provides access to a wealth of useful configuration options such as:

  • Programmable fast time ratio from 1.0:1 to 99.9:1 to match any operating scenario
  • Three configurable fast clock start times
  • “Hold” mode for when you need a “time out” in the middle of an operating session
  • 12 or 24 hour time format
  • Real-time clock with battery backup

A complete User Guide is available, detailing all the configuration options.


Prices start at $100 (wired) or $125 (wireless) depending on options.

Secondary Display

fcs-frontThe secondary display provides a cost effective way to display the fast time in multiple locations around your layout.  Any number of secondary displays can be linked to a single fast clock master.  These displays will then automatically display the time as shown on the master display.

Worried about running more wires?  Have no fear!  The Iowa Scaled Engineering fast clock system is unique in that the secondary displays can be wireless!  When ordering, be sure to select that option on both the master and secondary display(s).  If you don’t mind running some Cat 5 (or equivalent twisted pair) between the master and secondary display(s), then the wired option on each provides a cost effective solution.

Prices start at $50 for wired units or $75 for wireless.

Getting Started

Getting started with an Iowa Scaled Engineering fast clock system is easy.  A starter kit is available that includes a fast clock master, 2 secondary displays, face plates, and power supplies.  Look for the “Wireless Fast Clock Starter Kit” on the Fast Clock Master or Secondary Display product pages.

Face Plates

mrb-fcm-faceplate2Optional face plates are available for both the master and secondary displays.  Each product has a set of convenient mounting holes, but the face plates offer an easy and convenient way to create a finished look.  Contact us if you would like to discuss any custom mounting options.


Temperature / Humidity

Temperature and humidity extremes can affect the reliability of you layout.  The MRB-FCM fast clock master can be configured to listen to an Iowa Scaled Engineering temperature/humidity monitor, the MRBW-TH.  This allows you to monitor the conditions in you layout room, all through a common interface, and make adjustment if necessary.


The Iowa Scaled Engineering fast clock system is based on MRBus technology, allowing for future interconnection with other components for more layout integration.  Possible future products include modules that will control layout lighting based on scale time, modules that will trigger events at specific times such as sound or scenic lighting effects, or modules that read back layout status to drive fast clock operation (such as pausing the clock when somebody shorts out the DCC system).  The possibilities are endless – since our hardware, software, and protocol are open, you can create your own modules that fit your integration needs.


The MRB-FCM fast clock master and MRB-FCS secondary display are both open-source / open-hardware designs.  This means you can download the source code and hardware design files to build your own, customize it, or create something new.  Of course, if you do find a new use for these or implement a new feature you think others could benefit from using, please let us know and consider contributing it back to the community.

If you have a need for a custom feature but don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route, you are always welcome to contact us with your needs and we will see what we can do.


The Iowa Scaled Engineering fast clock system is in use on several model railroads around the country. Links to some of the users are below:

Joe Atkinson’s IAIS West End

Sue Line Railroad


  1. From the model railroading perspective, why do you NOT post prices of your offerings with the descriptive text. My first response is that “this” item is really nice, followed immediately by what is it going to cost me? “But wait, there is more!” If I have to search elsewhere to find pricing, I usually do not bother. Which would I buy? Currently none of the above. “Ace”.

  2. Have you tested your wireless products with wireless dcc controllers and if so which ones and how did they fair, with regard to interference with the other systems? I have noticed suspected cell phone interference on occasion with my CVP system.

  3. CVP and NCE throttles use radios in the 900MHz band, which was common for cordless phones and other things that didn’t tend to share radio bands all that well.

    Our radios operate in the 2.4GHz band. Digitrax and Ring Engineering use 2.4GHz as well. Because of the large number of users of that ISM frequency band (WiFi networking and Bluetooth being the more common applications), most radios operating in this band tend to share better. We use commercially available Digi XBee and XBee-Pro 802.15.4 radio modules, so they’re designed and tested in a wide array of environments to avoid interference.

    Of course we can’t guarantee no interference, but if you do run into problems, we’ll work with you to figure them out or, if we just can’t resolve it, let you return the fast clocks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *