Electronic Solutions Ulm

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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.

ESU Products


ECoS is a combined command station/throttle which features a number of innovations, such as the graphical display with a large colour LCD. This system is mainly focussed on the European market.


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.

ESU Cab Control

50310 CabControl Wireless DCC System

  • Designed with the North American and Australian market in mind.

Features Easy Consisting using menus, American and Australian icons for your locomotives, and wireless throttles.


  • 7A power supply
  • 28 functions
  • Up to 16,000 addresses available

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

  • 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.

  • Heavy Load: Control of Cut Off

LokSound Select

This decoder is obsolete and no longer available.

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

This decoder is obsolete and no longer available.

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


LokSound XL and Select L for Large Scale locomotives. LokPilot V1.0 Standard and LokPilot V4.0 DCC

PowerPack Mini

For fourth generation decoders.

LokSound Decoders

For more details, please see the LokSound page. Any additions or corrections should be made on the LokSound page.

  • LokSound Full Throttle
    • All North American sound files are available for LokSound Select and North American v4.0 decoders
  • LokSound Select
    • The latest ESU Decoders
  • LokSound Select Direct
    • Direct replacement for Athearn, Atlas, Bowser/Stewart and Intermountain locomotive light boards.
  • LokSound Select Micro
    • Small decoder with 4 function outputs
  • LokSound Select Direct Micro
    • Small decoder suited for N scale narrow hood models, with 6 function outputs
  • LokSound L Select / LokSound L V4.0
    • For 0 Scale locomotives
  • LokSound L V4.0
  • LokSound micro V4.0
    • Smaller version, suited to TT and N scale
  • LokSound XL V4.0
    • G and I with DCC, Motorola, Selectrix and M4 modes.
  • LokSound V4.0 M4
    • Wired version of the LokSound XL V4.0

LokSound V5

The LokSound V5 multifunction sound decoder has the following features: Modes:

  1. DCC with RailComPlus,
  2. M4,
  3. Motorola and
  4. Selectrix

The LokSound 5 is designed with the European market in mind. Momentum multiplier (CV 3 and 4) is 0.25. European modellers are more likely to be using some form of automation, requiring much more exact stopping distances or times.

LokSound V5 DCC

LokSound V5 DCC decoders for the North American and Australian markets only support DCC, using a method called V5 DCC. They also support RailCom Plus.

CVs 3 and 4 have a momentum multiplier of 0.896, conforming to NMRA S9.2.2.


  • Amplifier: 3W, Class D (V5-XL is 13W)
  • 16 bit audio samples, at 31.25kHz
  • 128MBit of memory
  • 10 channels simultaneously


  • 32-bit processor
  • 32 Functions
  • 50kHz motor controller
  • 1.5A current capacity
  • 3 brake modes
  • load simulation, two stages
  • SUSI modules and RC servos can be controlled by the decoder
  • Up to 12 function outputs available for special purposes, with a total of 15 outputs. Depends on interface to the locomotive.
  • PowerPack keep alive ready


  • 6 pin (NEM 651)
  • 8 pin (NEM 652)
  • PluX22
  • 21MTC
  • 21MTC MKL


Used to program ESU decoders and load sounds. Requires a computer with WindowsXP SP2 or 7/8/10. RS-232 interface.

LokProgrammer V5.0

LokProgrammer version 5.0.0 was released in January 2019. See the ESU website for downloads.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 is required. The .NET Framework will be installed automatically if the computer is connected to the internet.
  • Supports the LokSound5 series of decoders

DCC Equipped Motive Power


Pullman the ESU line of G scale locomotives and rolling stock

Engineering Edition

This is ESU's line of DCC Equipped Locomotives in H0, as well as rolling stock.

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