CAN-GC5 Stationary keyboard and display

Firmware Copyright

Copyright© MERG and Rocrail.
Commercial use is prohibited.

The basics

cancab.jpg CAN-GC5 has exactly the same function as CAN-CAB1 as available from MERG.
This unit is not the nice handheld like CAN-CAB1 but instead a slighty larger pcboard and display.
It is ment to be used as a stationary unit, mounted in a switchboard.
It contains no difficult SMD parts, so it is easy to assemble.


  • Loco throttle
  • 28 functions
  • Consist support
  • Emergency stop
  • CV Programming
  • Choice of many types of LCD- or OLED displays.
  • Free choice of type of potentiometer


The unit is electrically an exact copy of CAB1 as designed within MERG.
CAB1 is a very nice handheld unit, but unfortunately for most people very hard to build your own.
Because of the nice handheld size, it is hardly possible to do this without the use of SMD parts.
On the other hand, when you like to build several of these control units in a switchboard, there is no need to make it that small.
That is way this unit comes in.
A simpel and easy to build switchboard with all necessary electronic parts is available.
The display and potentiometer are connected with cables to this board, so you are free to make a choice of positions in your switch panel.
One other reason to separate display and potentiometer is to ease the mounting of the keyboard.
Now, all you have to deal with is the keypad itself, and the two leds.
Display and potmeter can have different height, and still are easy to mount in the same panel.
Potmeter could even be a sliding type.
All parts have standard size, no SMD parts are used.
The picture below shows both sides of the board.
The firmware is exactly the same as in CANCAB1.
There is hardly a limit on the amount of controllers to be used in the same system.
The board is connected in the CAN-network with the same Sub-D type cable as used in other units of this CAN-GC family.

PC-boards are produced, testing has succeeded, ready for delivery.

User documentation

There is not yet an English manual for this board, but the operating instructions according use of keyboard are
mainly the same as

The hardware



Thanks to Laurent we have now a version that allows various display to be used:

The potentiometer

so far there has been no intention to be able to use an encoder.
The potentiometer could be any value between 1 and 100 KOhm but the best option is 10 KOhm, linear.
So a sliding Pot could be used.
Some builders even claim that a logaritmic type is even better for this purpose.

It is all possible.

The use of various displays.

Several parts on the CAN-GC5 are not needed for all displays.

Generally we have two different kind of displays, both useable:
LCD, with or without background illumination
OLED, which only needs control lines.

The CAN-GC5 only needs display with 2 lines of 8 characters ( 2×8).
Display types can be of 4 x 16, 4 x 40 2 x 40, 2 x 16 or even bigger.
But only two lines x 8 char will be used.

Many older types of LCD displays have seperate connection of the background illumination.
For that reason the power for the background is to be connected to a separate connector J4 on board.

The following table shows the different parts that should or should not be installed for different displays.

part LCD w/o illumin. LCD with illum. OLED display
R5 X 100 Ohm 2Watt X
J4 X PSS254/2G X
Pot2 trimmer 10 KOhm trimmer 10 KOhm X


You may also find some extra instructions in this manual

Any questions ? ask Peter

The test set-up

Clearly visible is OLED display (2 x 8) and sliding potmeter.

Connection cable for CAN-GC system

Cable connections are explained on this page

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