Electronic Solutions Ulm

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ESULogo.jpg
LokSound-XL Decoder
An example of a locomotive decoder (LokPilot)
ECoS controller

Electronic Solutions Ulm (known as ESU) is a German manufacturer of accessories for model trains, especially known for their locomotive decoders.

The products include the LokPilot and LokSound series of decoders and recently the Märklin company has teamed up with ESU for the manufacture of the decoders for their new generation of mfx locomotive decoders. ESU is also an OEM supplier of decoders for a number of manufacturers.

ESU was one of the first manufacturers to produce decoders capable of sound - a feature that has become very popular with model railroaders. Their Loksound v3 decoders have the added benefit that end-users can re-program the sound files used by the decoder, using a LokProgrammer.

Some of their decoders such as the LokPilot and LokSound are multiprotocol in that they support the Motorola format as well as Digital Command Control (DCC) and also Märklin style analog AC current. Their LokPilotDCC on the other hand is a pure DCC decoder and will not work in a pure Märklin/Motorola environment. The ECoS DCC system supports NMRA DCC, Marklin/Motorola format and Selectrix modes.

ECoS

ECoS is a combined command station/throttle which features a number of innovations, such as the graphical display with a large colour LCD.

mfx

The ESU mfx format was designed by Marklin, but information is hard to come by. They describe it as a bi-phase format.

It looks a lot like DCC with a zero pulse being 100 milliSeconds in duration, and a logical one represented by a 50 mS pulse. Polarity is not an issue.

Stationary Decoders

SwitchPilot V2.0

Control up to 4 solenoids or 8 other loads. Works with any DCC system.

SwitchPilot Extension

Adds four relay driven outputs.

SwitchPilot Servo V2.0

Designed to drive servos.

Mobile Decoders

ESU is a supplier of both retail and OEM Decoders. Unlike many other decoder suppliers, ESU doesn't supply different versions of OEM and retail decoders. The decoders are identical. For the Australian and North American markets the Select OEM decoder is used and identical to the retail decoders. The user can replace the sound files (as long as they are Select sound files.)

A notable user of Loksound Select decoders with custom sound files is Rapido Trains.

Decoder Features

LokSound Full Throttle Decoders

Diesel

  • Drive Hold
  • Run 8
  • Coast
  • Improved Dynamic Brakes
  • Independent Brake

Drive Hold allows you to lock the speed and control the prime mover sound with the throttle.

Run 8: Lock the prime mover in notch 8 and control the speed with the throttle.

Coast: The prime mover is set to idle, but speed is still controlled via the throttle.

Steam

  • Heavy Load: Control of Cut Off


LokSound Select

DCC and Analog dual mode decoder.

Eight functions, 1.1A Motor Drive and six lighting outputs.

Available with 8 pin, 21MTC, LokSound Select Direct and Micro versions. It features a 32 Mbit memory space.

Customize your sound as well.

LokSound V4,0

Extended Hardware and Software makes it a more flexible decoder than the Select.

Multiprotocol:


PowerPack Mini For fourth generation decoders.

LokSound XL and Select L for Large Scale locomotives.

LokPilot V1.0 Standard and LokPilot V4.0 DCC

LokProgrammer

Used to program ESU decoders and load sounds. Requires a computer with WindowsXP or 7.


OEMs Using LokSound Decoders

The following manufacturers use ESU LokSound Decoders in their DCC equipped locomotives. (January 2017)

Atlas

Athearn

Ausicion

Bowser Manufacturing

Fox Valley Models

Hornby America/Rivarossi

Intermountain Railway Co

Kato USA

Kato Japan

On Track Models

PBL

Rapido Trains

River Raison Models

ScaleTrains

SDS Models

Southern Rail Models

True Line Trains

Walthers

Wuiske Promotions

External Links