LokSound Multifunction Decoders by ESU

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Summary: LokSound is the brand name for ESU's line of sound-equipped multifunction decoders. ESU's LokSound multifunction decoders are very advanced sound decoders, and are found as the OEM multifunction decoder in many locomotives.

The naming scheme used on this page follows the LokProgrammer's conventions.

LokSound Multifunction Decoders


LokSound 5 Series

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.
The LokSound 5 DCC is designed for the North American and Australian markets. It supports CV6 (three-point speed table) with a multiplier of 0.896 for CVs 3 &4 as per the NMRA Standard. The LokSound 5 Multiprotocol is meant for other markets, and does not support CV6.

The LokSound 5 at 30 x 15.5mm will fit most HO and OO scale locomotives.

The LokSound V5 multifunction sound decoder has the following features:

  1. DCC with RailComPlus,

Multiprotocol Modes Available:

  1. M4,
  2. Motorola and
  3. Selectrix

It supports in DCC 14 and 28/128 speed steps, with 2- and 4-digit addresses and up to 32 functions available.

Additional Features

  1. Zimo HLU braking system
  2. Lenz ABC system
  3. Braking with DCC brake generators or Brake on DC possible
  • Up to 10 channels simultaneously.
    • 16 Bit / 31250 kHz samples
  • 3W output power
  • 128 MBit of memory for sound samples
  • Volume of individual sound fragments adjusted separately.
  • Three separately adjustable braking functions and two alternative load scenarios

Depending on the interface every LokSound 5 has at least 10 amplified outputs

  • PluX22 or 21MTC interfaces have an additional 4 outputs for controlling servos or as logic outputs.
  • Brightness of each lighting output can be adjusted separately.
  • Coupler Waltz - Easier uncoupling
Motor Control Features
  • Variable PWM
    • 10 kHz to 50 kHz
  • silent operation, particularly for coreless motors.
  • Load control: 10 separate CVs
  • Auto Tune: automatic calibration of the decoder to perfectly match the motor.
  • 1.5A rated motor current

LokSound 5 DCC

  • North American/Australian market DCC only multifunction decoder. All the features of the LokSound 5 without multi-protocol support
  • CV 6 and a three-point speed table (Not supported in the LokSound 5 Multi-protocol)
  • RailCom Plus
  • 14 functions are available
  • Current Output: 1.5A
  • Analog DC operation
LokSound V5 DCC multifunction decoders are exclusive to the North American and Australian markets. Momentum CVs 3 and 4 have a multiplier of 0.896, conforming to NMRA S9.2.2.

LokSound 5 Micro

Smaller decoder for N scale applications: 21 X 10mm, nine functions, and 750mA output. Next18 interface, with adapter cable included

LokSound 5 L

Large scale (0) multifunction decoder: 51 mm x 25.5 mm

  • RailComPlus
  • 3A
  • 17 function outputs
  • Two RC servos supported
  • Dual power amplifier can drive two speakers
  • Integrated PowerPack,
  • Pin headers and a matching adapter board

LokSound 5 Micro

21 mm x 10 mm

Includes speaker and enclosure

LokSound 5 L

51mm x 25.5mm Suitable for applications where an XL will not fit, or isn't required.

LokSound 5 XL

Large gauge: G and 1

  • 55 mm x 41 mm
  • 4A
  • 19 outputs
  • 4 RC servos supported
  • Integrated PowerPack
  • Screw terminals
  • Pin headers for Gauge 1 installations

Essential Sound Unit

OEM Only

This is a cost reduced multifunction decoder running modified V5.0 firmware. It features very limited programming capability as per the locomotive's manufacturer's specifications. Many CVs cannot be altered, and the firmware cannot be changed. This decoder is not available for retail sale.

LokSound Select

  • V4.0 multifunction decoders have been discontinued.
Main article: LokSound/LokSound Select

LokSound V4.0

Main article: LokSound/LokSoundV4

LokSound Full Throttle Diesel Features

  • Drive Hold
  • Run 8
  • Coast
  • Brake
  • Dynamic Brake

LokSound Multifunction Decoder Programming Notes


Certain issues with JMRI's code can result in problems with LokSound multifunction decoders.

Identification of the LokSound Decoder

Use the New Loco → Read Type from Decoder to determine which decoder is installed. (JMRI V4.19.5 or higher versions.)

First Steps

  1. Read Full Sheet instead of Read All Sheets. This method reduces the likelihood of causing errors when reading a decoder with a lot of CVs.
    1. Upon completion, some CV values may be missing, which are displayed in red.
    2. Repeat Read Changes on Sheet as needed, until no CV values in red remain.
      1. Click on the Status column in the CV pane until a down arrow (↓) appears. Red items will then be displayed at the top of the column.
  2. After making changes on a programming sheet, Do Not Use Write/Read Changes on the sheet. Switch to the CV pane, use Write/Read changes on that sheet.

Decoder Reset

Do not attempt to reset a LokSound decoder using Operations Mode (Program on the Main).


  • Programmer Menu
    • Reset Decoder


  • Select the desired roster entry in Program Track mode
    • Click on Resets menu
      • Click on Factory Reset

Important Notes

As this information is what is supplied by the manufacturer, it is by no means complete or accurate. See the manufacturer's web site for full details.

Manufacturer's Website

OEM Notes

Rapido RS-18 DCC issues

Owners of the ALCO RS-18 (Video) by Rapido Trains have reported various issues with operation of the DCC equipped locomotives.

These models are equipped with the LokSound V5.0 multifunction decoder. The following changes have been published by Rapido as a fix for these issues.

  • CV51 = 20
  • CV52 = 5
  • CV54 = 25

These changes will be lost if a factory reset is performed. A LokProgrammer can update the firmware so these values become the default.

These changes are unverified.

For reference, LokSound Manual at Rapido website.

Further Reading

External Links