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Getting the most mileage out of my sound decoder investment

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  • Member since
    July, 2015
  • 7 posts
Getting the most mileage out of my sound decoder investment
Posted by Espee Oregon Branches on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 12:13 AM

I've been looking into the sound decoder market for my next small switching layout and was surprised to discover that the ESU Loksound decoders are not only highly rated but have the ability to change sound configurations if desired. This appeals to me because I build small switching layouts to explore a specific prototype and then after a while I pass the layout along so that I can build a new one to study a completely different prototype.

So is it realistic of me to expect that I can change the sounds on a Loksound Select decoder if I move it from one type of locomotive to another? Like from a SW1 diesel layout to a logging shay or an Alco S2, etc.? 

This seems too good to be true. I haven't found any examples of anyone doing this with their decoders when they change layouts.

Thank you all,

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,870 posts
Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 10:51 AM

 I don't know about changing the decoders around when changing layouts - but I do change sounds in Loksounds to match whatever loco I feel like working on and installing a decoder in. Doesn't matter if I bought one with an EMD sound already loaded, if I want to add a decoder to an RS-3, I just change the sound. I haven't had a need to change any after that - though perhaps if the loco fails for some reason but the decoder is still good I could then reuse it in another loco. I did apply firmware updates to a couple a while back. I need to do all of them again to get Full Throttle. So mainly, I use the sound loading to make one decoder like all the rest - no need to keep various ones on hand, or have to go order one when I decide to work on a specific loco because the only decoder I have laying around is the 'wrong' sound. I also did modify a v4.0 because the Alco 244 sound sets available for the v4.0 and Select do not have the proper horn for my prototype. The proper horn does exist in the Loksound library, so since I wasn't attempting to record my own sounds it was actually quite easy to change the horn.  

 You do need the Lokprogramemr hardware to change the sounds. 

                          --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 6,389 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 1:14 PM

rrinker
You do need the Lokprogramemr hardware to change the sounds.

Like Randy, I have focused on Loksound decoders for my fleet although I do have a few examples from Soundtraxx, BLI and TCS WOWsound.

Just recently I decided to add sound to a pair of EMD SD-45s that were originally DC that I installed a non-sound decoder to a few years ago. By having the ability to download and write a whole new sound file (project in ESU parlance) I was able to have the proper prime mover and related sounds written to the stock Select Direct decoder which I originally planned to use in a different loco.

Downloading the new sound file takes less than a minute and writing the new project to the decoder takes a little over a half-hour.

I have also upgraded many of my earlier Loksound Select decoders with Full Throttle and new firmware. Matt Herman at ESU is continually making improved recordings and soundfiles available and these can be written to the installed decoder without removing the shell. Just place the locomotive on a short length of track connected to the Lokprogrammer.

For me it was a worthwhile investment to have the Lokprogrammer. For someone with a small number of ESU decoders it may not be. 

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    December, 2015
  • 3,867 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 3:04 PM

Espee Oregon Branches
This seems too good to be true. I haven't found any examples of anyone doing this with their decoders when they change layouts.

How often do people change layouts and eras?  I know some MR writers have done that, but for the rest of us who can't write it off and buy retail, it's a big hit.  People move or understand model railroading design better and correct their prior mistakes.  They upsize they down size.  If you've tried to adhere to an era, you've accumulated a fair amount of rolling stock, locos, structures, autos, trucks. 

Suddenly all that stuft that looks like 1950's West Virginia needs to be scrapped for AC44CW's and double stack unit trains or the other way around.  Yes you can salvage the loksound and put it in something else and change the sound.  It will more likely be upgradeable than most other decoders. 

The thought of ripping the guts out of my F7 Stewart, that I detailed, painted, decaled, weathered, installed leds, a loksound and a speaker....it just breaks my heart. Crying

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Mpls/St.Paul
  • 10,705 posts
Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 4:54 PM

You can also change the sound files on Digitrax decoders. Loksound decoders are higher quality, but Digitrax decoders are much easier to program, and the decoders and PR3 programmer device you need to change the sound files cost considerably less than ESU's.

http://www.digitrax.com/sound-depot/

Connecting either Loksound or Digitrax programming gizmos to your computer and a programming track will also allow you to use the free JMRI Decoder Pro software - which makes programming decoder CVs much easier.

http://jmri.org/help/en/html/apps/DecoderPro/Tour.shtml

 

Stix
  • Member since
    July, 2015
  • 7 posts
Posted by Espee Oregon Branches on Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:55 AM

Thanks everyone for the input. I do not expect to change layouts or ERAs, as one poster mentioned; but when I re-entered the hobby I made the typical rookie mistake of buying stuff that later turned out to be incompatible with my refined vision for my layout(s). The difference between what is salvagable and beyond redemption thus far has been in the modularity of my purchases. So my new principle in hobby purchases (especially big ones like DCC) is that it has to be flexible. I don't want to get stuck in a corner again where my only option is to tell it on eBay and hope that someone else wants it as bad as I did...which is unlikely. 

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