LokProgrammer

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A LokProgrammer is a device for programming ESU's DCC Decoders

ESU LokProgrammer

The LokProgrammer is recommended only for use with ESU decoders. Many manufacturers equip their locos with ESU-decoders at the factory, their locomotive specific programming can be modified using the LokProgrammer.

The LokProgrammer can also be used to upgrade decoder software or install new sound files.

The LokProgrammer is a small external box, connected between a computer and the programming track. To connect requires a serial interface, or the included USB Adapter cable and MS Windows. Includes a 500 mA power supply. A conventional power supply can be used if more power is needed.

Versions Available

ESU released Version 5.0.0 of the LokProgrammer software in January 2019, which supports the LokSound 5 decoders. See the note below regarding the .Net requirement.

Version 5.0.8 Update

Version 5.0.8 of the LokProgrammer software was released in August 2019.

It featured:

  • Firmware update for the LokSound 5 decoder, updating it to 5.1.85.
  • F0, F1 to F3 can be defined for control by the individual or consist address
  • F0 also directional
  • Current Speed flag in sound editor for testing without speed table.

LokProgrammer

There are two versions of the programmer.

The older one is blue in colour. The new Lokprogrammer is black. The black one is much faster than the blue one.

Determining Version of LokProgrammer Hardware

Using the LokProgrammer software: Select:

  • Tools
    • Lokprogrammer
      • Click on the "Read Device" button.

Applications

ESU-LokProgrammer.jpg
  • Change the sound safely on the decoder.
  • Setting of all digital parameters of the LokSound decoder such as address of the loco, operation speed, maximum speed, braking deceleration, brightness of bulbs etc; you can set all options with your computer very easily - no cumbersome entering of CVs (configuration variables) with your command station.
  • Edit sounds and transfer it to the LokSound decoder.

Sound Decoders

OEM LokSound Select decoders may omit the ability to select multiple prime mover and horn sound effects, compared to the retail version. To reprogram the sound set available, a Lokprogrammer is necessary.

The Select series may not allow individual changes, only complete sound programming may be done.

LokSound decoders allow for extensive remapping of the function buttons. If you have many locomotives equipped with LokSound decoders, a Lokprogrammer is a worthwhile investment, as it allows a lot of parameters to be altered quickly and easily, as well as sound projects. It is faster than JMRI for tasks such as this.

Using the LokProgrammer

For effective use the of the LokProgrammer:

  1. Verify the most recent version of the LokProgrammer software is installed. Upgrade if needed before beginning decoder programming
  2. Minimize any connections between the programmer and decoder. If the decoder is mounted on a daughter board, use a decoder tester if you have one. If not, reseat the decoder to ensure a solid connection between the decoder and the daughter board.
  3. Do not attempt to program multiple decoders at once. Additional decoders will cause issues.
  4. Verify the decoder version and its firmware revisions.
  5. If there are issues writing data to the decoder, there may not be enough resistance for the LokProgrammer to detect the decoder. Adding a resistor in parallel to the decoder by connecting it across the track will help. Any value from 100 to 1000 Ohms, ¼ or larger should suffice.
  6. Run a firmware update manually. Forcing an update can clear up some issues.
  7. If there are issues writing data to the decoder, there may not be enough resistance for the LokProgrammer to detect the decoder. Adding a resistor in parallel to the decoder by connecting it across the track will help. Any value from 100 to 1000 Ohms, ¼ or larger should suffice.
  8. Ensure the wheels and the track is clean. If needed, additional mass placed on top of the locomotive can help overcome contact issues.
  9. Use a larger power supply. The additional current may help with problematic decoders.

System Requirements

Microsoft Windows Only

XP

The LokProgrammer software is only compatible with Microsoft Windows. The webpage states Windows XP. According to ESU their software requires XP, Service Pack 2 or better. It only works with the 32 bit version of XP. Since XP has not been supported since 2014, most installations will be on a higher version of Windows.

Other Windows Versions

ESU does state that LokProgammer is compatible with windows versions 7, 8 and 10. Current version is 4.7.2, (requires Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, installed automatically if needed) available from their download page.

JMRI Support

It is unknown if it is compatible with JMRI. The complexity of some ESU decoders is an issue for the programmers who create the parameter files for JMRI/DecoderPro.

Further Information

For more details, see the Lokprogrammer page on ESU's website.