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LokSound Decoder for Kato HO Scale SD 90/43mac

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  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,626 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Thursday, November 23, 2023 11:52 AM

Ed,

Thanks for your very helpful, informative post!

I understand your view about the "no Goldilocks" sound decoders. Scenario seems like "Ford vs Chevy vs Chrysler" or "Honda vs Toyota vs Nissan". All with pros and cons 

But, based on observation, I felt that Loksounds is on top of the food chain (or very close to it). My previous critique was that their horns, while accurate, were not as well pronounced as the Soundtraxx versions and I found the Wow Diesel horns to be even more "crisp".  But (to me ears) that changed with ESU's V.4 along with related software upgrades a few years back. 

I will be getting the Scale Sound speakers as the demos I've witnessed were impressive!

Cool to know about the decoder firmware upgrade, including the tone controls. That's certainly an attention getter!

I appreciate your feedback on the 567 sound scheme on your 1st gen TCS Wow. I am a bit picky about prime mover and horn scheme accuracy, especially for EMD 645 turbocharged prime movers and Nathan K-series horns. I often spent a lot of railfanning time around them back in my teens.

My main "go to" sound decoders will be LokSound, especially after reading your post. I like the flexibility, including the ability to uploaded custom made sounds. But I definitely want to try at least one Wow setup.

Forgot to mention that I have a Genesis SDP40F equipped with a Tsu-2. It sounds very good but needs tweaking, which a friend of mine will help me with.  

Again, thank you for your replay. Much apprecated YesCool

gmpullman
AntonioFP45
I am a fan of, both, the L-V5 and the Wow and appreciate reading/hearing feedback from modelers about their experiences with either or both of these products.

Hi, Antonio

My first rule of sound decoders is that there is NO Goldilocks sound decoder out there. Some are better suited than others with respect to what they are capable of and/or what the users expectations are.

I've pretty much narrowed my general choices to using WOW Steam for nearly all my steam locomotives, Loksound (Select) V5s for first gen diesels, particularly EMD and Alco, and Soundtraxx Tsunami for later diesels and some Baldwin or Alco models. There's a lot of overlap in my selection.

As for the swapping of the WOW Diesel decoder there were some extenuating circumstances at play here. The WOW decoder was a first generation TCS decoder and to my ear the EMD 567 sound file wasn't quite right to my ears. In addition there seemed to be some sort of 'glitch' in the audio amplifier that really scrambled the sounds at random times. In one particular Genesis F7 the 'prime mover' would notch up to full throttle and never return to idle even when the speed of the engine was brought to a stop.

As it turns out what the cause of this 'runaway' prime mover RPM was probably due to the motor beginning to fail in the F7. Many of the older Genesis locomotives in my fleet are experiencing motor failures. I replaced eight motors, about half the roster, of my Athearn Genesis early runs.

 ATH_DC-motor2 by Edmund, on Flickr

So when I first bought the TCS WOW diesel decoders I also purchased the keep alive mother boards. These, I'm glad to report, are compatible with ESU 21 pin decoders and still provide keep alive functionality.

Lately I've been reevaluating the overall performance 'quality' both sound and drive characteristics of many of my locomotives. Much of this was prompted by the excellent speakers offered by JT Burke at Scale Sound Systems. Replacing the poor performing OEM speaker makes a world of difference and while having the shell off I perform other maintenance tasks and consider a decoder upgrade at that time.

Nearly ALL my Broadway Limited decoders have been replaced, with remarkable results, especially the steam engines. 

A recent 'game changer' has been developing at ESU and that is the revision of the decoder firmware to include tone controls and a better version of their load-sensing sound output. I bought into the 'Drive Hold' upgrade a while back and it IS a neat feature but not something I would regularly use as it requires 'fiddly' throttle (function) button presses for it to work.

The new LokProgrammer software 5.2.5 is now available for download. This includes firmware 5.9.159 for all LokSound 5 decoders. For the first time, it is now possible to adjust the desired acoustics to the speaker installed there using bass and treble control. Similar to what you are used to with a stereo system, the sound can be easily adjusted using just two controls (here: CV 196 for bass, CV 197 for treble).

This makes the use of the new ESU loudspeakers with passive radiator technology (ESU 50344 or 50345) even more perfect!

And the best thing about it: The new tone control is implemented solely in the decoder's firmware. All you need to do is update the decoder's firmware; the sound files themselves do not need to be changed or reinstalled. This is advantageous for customers who do not have the original project file available.

Instructions on how to do the whole thing can be found in the Tips & Tricks section.

https://www.esu.eu/en/news/read-news-entry/article/lokprogrammer-software-525-verfuegbar-klangregelung-fuer-loksound-5/57/

And, thank you ESU, this can all be implimented using free downloads and firmware for users with a Lokprogrammer. From what I gather you can update the installed decoder and your existing sound project remains intact so you don't have to reload a whole new sound file.

Regards, Ed

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 16,174 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Monday, November 20, 2023 9:07 PM

AntonioFP45
I am a fan of, both, the L-V5 and the Wow and appreciate reading/hearing feedback from modelers about their experiences with either or both of these products.

Hi, Antonio

My first rule of sound decoders is that there is NO Goldilocks sound decoder out there. Some are better suited than others with respect to what they are capable of and/or what the users expectations are.

I've pretty much narrowed my general choices to using WOW Steam for nearly all my steam locomotives, Loksound (Select) V5s for first gen diesels, particularly EMD and Alco, and Soundtraxx Tsunami for later diesels and some Baldwin or Alco models. There's a lot of overlap in my selection.

As for the swapping of the WOW Diesel decoder there were some extenuating circumstances at play here. The WOW decoder was a first generation TCS decoder and to my ear the EMD 567 sound file wasn't quite right to my ears. In addition there seemed to be some sort of 'glitch' in the audio amplifier that really scrambled the sounds at random times. In one particular Genesis F7 the 'prime mover' would notch up to full throttle and never return to idle even when the speed of the engine was brought to a stop.

As it turns out what the cause of this 'runaway' prime mover RPM was probably due to the motor beginning to fail in the F7. Many of the older Genesis locomotives in my fleet are experiencing motor failures. I replaced eight motors, about half the roster, of my Athearn Genesis early runs.

 ATH_DC-motor2 by Edmund, on Flickr

So when I first bought the TCS WOW diesel decoders I also purchased the keep alive mother boards. These, I'm glad to report, are compatible with ESU 21 pin decoders and still provide keep alive functionality.

Lately I've been reevaluating the overall performance 'quality' both sound and drive characteristics of many of my locomotives. Much of this was prompted by the excellent speakers offered by JT Burke at Scale Sound Systems. Replacing the poor performing OEM speaker makes a world of difference and while having the shell off I perform other maintenance tasks and consider a decoder upgrade at that time.

Nearly ALL my Broadway Limited decoders have been replaced, with remarkable results, especially the steam engines. 

A recent 'game changer' has been developing at ESU and that is the revision of the decoder firmware to include tone controls and a better version of their load-sensing sound output. I bought into the 'Drive Hold' upgrade a while back and it IS a neat feature but not something I would regularly use as it requires 'fiddly' throttle (function) button presses for it to work.

The new LokProgrammer software 5.2.5 is now available for download. This includes firmware 5.9.159 for all LokSound 5 decoders. For the first time, it is now possible to adjust the desired acoustics to the speaker installed there using bass and treble control. Similar to what you are used to with a stereo system, the sound can be easily adjusted using just two controls (here: CV 196 for bass, CV 197 for treble).

This makes the use of the new ESU loudspeakers with passive radiator technology (ESU 50344 or 50345) even more perfect!

And the best thing about it: The new tone control is implemented solely in the decoder's firmware. All you need to do is update the decoder's firmware; the sound files themselves do not need to be changed or reinstalled. This is advantageous for customers who do not have the original project file available.

Instructions on how to do the whole thing can be found in the Tips & Tricks section.

https://www.esu.eu/en/news/read-news-entry/article/lokprogrammer-software-525-verfuegbar-klangregelung-fuer-loksound-5/57/

And, thank you ESU, this can all be implimented using free downloads and firmware for users with a Lokprogrammer. From what I gather you can update the installed decoder and your existing sound project remains intact so you don't have to reload a whole new sound file.

Regards, Ed

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,626 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Monday, November 20, 2023 5:53 PM

gmpullman

"................https://drupal.tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/1352

If you're up to it you could use the TCS motherboard with keep alive and install the ESU Lok5 decoder 21 pin to that. I recently did that with a few Genesis F7s where I kept the TCS motherboard in and simply swapped out the WOWsound decoder for a 21 pin Loksound5 decoder.

Good Luck, Ed

Ed,

Please forgive my curiosity. Why did you swap the Wow decoder for the Lok 5?

I'm aware that Loksound decoders are top-notch, but (I may be mistaken) the TCS sound decoders are (reportedly) excellent decoders as well with robust horns.

I am a fan of, both, the L-V5 and the Wow and appreciate reading/hearing feedback from modelers about their experiences with either or both of these products.  

ThanksBig Smile

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    August 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
  • 16,174 posts
Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, August 5, 2023 5:13 PM

Kato locomotives aren't the most 'DCC friendly' engines I've worked on. One of the main consideratiuons is the fact that they use bronze strips to attach the motor leads to the factory 'light board'.

Take a look at the photos on the TCS 'installs" page to see what you'll be dealing with:

https://drupal.tcsdcc.com/installation/ho-scale/1352

If you're up to it you could use the TCS motherboard with keep alive and install the ESU Lok5 decoder 21 pin to that. I recently did that with a few Genesis F7s where I kept the TCS motherboard in and simply swapped out the WOWsound decoder for a 21 pin Loksound5 decoder.

As the TCS photos show as well you will have to supply your own LEDs and attach them to the existing Kato light pipes. ESU offers this sound project for an SD90:

http://projects.esu.eu/projectoverviews/search?cat=18&q=sd90

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Out on the Briny Ocean Tossed
  • 4,235 posts
LokSound Decoder for Kato HO Scale SD 90/43mac
Posted by Fergmiester on Saturday, August 5, 2023 12:24 PM

Just ordered a "Pre-owned" Kato, HO scale CPR SD90/43mac. I would prefer to install a Loksound decoder, any suggestions?

http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=5959

If one could roll back the hands of time... They would be waiting for the next train into the future. A. H. Francey 1921-2007  

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