Zimo decoder tips

Using the programming track:

  • you MUST have a motor connected to the motor outputs (probably some other load will do) otherwise you cannot read anything back.
  • Often equipment from Europe needs "direct" programming, if writing to CV's does not seem to work, drop back to this mode.

Installing the decoder firmware and sound file software:

Hardware:

First you need a programmer. I have the old Zimo DECUP that works from a serial port.

There is a newer programmer that works on USB Zimo MXULF

Also, you can program a decoder from the command station.

The programmers require software, the MX10 command station has the programmer "software" built in.

Software tools:

For the standalone programmers, you need to download the software. For the xxxx you need Zimo's ZSP, which is version 1.13.00 as of 2015_08_17, and it supports up to windows 10. Here's a link: http://www.zimo.at/web2010/products/zspdownload.htm

There is also a free program called ZCS that has a really nice graphic interface.  http://www.beathis.ch/zcs/index.html

Installing ZSP

When you install the ZSP package, you will get 2 programs installed: Zimo Decoder Update, and Zimo Sound Programmer

Both are set to German, so you need to set them to English.

On the decoder update software,  In the menu bar it says "File Sprache  ?" ...... select "Sprache", and you will see "Andern", select that and a window pops up with "Deutsh" and a drop down arrow next to it, select it, and you can now select "English"

For the sound programmer, it's a bit more complicated: After installing, when you run the the sound programmer software, the main menu is (and will always be) in German, there are 5 choices, from top to bottom they are:

  1. Decoder Software-Update --- downloads new firmware to the decoder, not sound file nformation
  2. Vorhandenes Sound-Projekt unverandert in den Decoder laden --- Existing sound project loaded into the decoder unchanged ---- this uses the *.zpp files (ready to go files)
  3. Vorhandenes Sound-Projekt erstellen --- Existing sound Create Project - this uses the "full project" files *.zip
  4. Neues Sound-Projekt erstellen --- Create new Sound Project
  5. Programm beenden --- Exit program
  • Set the language to English. Start by selecting the third option above, and loading a file.
  • From the menus on the top row select "Einstellungen"... then "Optionen"...
  • you will see "Language" and a drop down menu below it, select English.

 

After that, still a number of things are in German. Keep a Google window open to translate until you remember all the places you want to go.

The software wants a com port. If you are using a usb converter and no communication, test it on a real com port first. Set the com port to 19,200 baud, I know it does not work right at 9600 baud.

Installing ZCS

This also needs to be set to English, select the ? in the top menu, and then the first item is "Sprache", and change from "Deutsch" to English.

Decoder firmware and sound files

The firmware in the decoder consists of the decoder functions itself, and the sound file.

The decoder firmware files are here: http://www.zimo.at/web2010/support/Decoder-SW-Update.htm

The sound files are here: http://www.zimo.at/web2010/sound/tableindex.htm

There are other sites that liscense their sound files: http://www.sound-design.white-stone.ch/index.html this is done by reading the unique serial number in your decoder and supplying it to the seller.

 

Installing new sound files:

  • The new software uses several types of files, but I have not made all of them work.
    • There is a "ready-to-use" file, which ends in .zpp - already configured.
    • There is the "traditional" sound project file that ends in .zpr - it implies a directory structure beneath it.
    • Recently, the ability to read a .zip file that has all the files in one archive has been added, I used this. Often when downloading, this type of file is termed "full-featured". This has been the most successful for me so far.
  • You load a project and then you use the "decoder" menu, "load sound to decoder" to install, it goes through erasing flash, programming flash, and then programming eprom. The last part is about 7,900 steps, and it shows a counter as it progresses. If it finishes successfully, you get a green "Close" button.
  • The first thing to do after doing the sound upload is reset the decoder. The K27 file made my decoder act crazy right afterwards. Seems that the sound file is ok, but some of the CV settings are nuts. So reset the decoder, you must use the DCC programming track, set CV8 = 8. I had to do this on the programming track, did not seem to work on the main.
  • Remember that most sound files need TWO presses of F8 to turn on.

Explanation of sound files: http://www.zimo.at/web2010/sound/zimo_advanced_standard_EN.htm

Basically, there are 4 steps, all done in the ZIMO Sound Programmer (ZSP) software with the loco containing the decoder on the programming track :-

(1) Make sure ZSP is up-to-date.
(2) Load the latest version of the decoder s/w into the decoder.
(3) Re-save the sound project using the latest version of ZSP.
(4) Load this new version of the sound project into the decoder.

For more details see the link given above, under "Important Advice for loading Sound Projects". The reason for doing this is that there are changes in the structure of the sound project from time to time. This changes the s/w in the decoder and the structure of the file created by ZSP for loading into the decoder. If they are both at the latest version, then there are no problems, but if one is out of step with the other, then problems can arise. You should also use the calibration run (CV302=75) to set the sound levels correctly.

Zimo sound "projects" are found here:

http://www.zimo.at/web2010/sound/tableindex.htm

Keepalive for smaller decoders:

If you are using HO decoders, be sure to add an electrolytic capacitor to help brief outages. You typically use these smaller decoders in smaller locos, so you also typically have fewer track pickup points. I found a 1000 mfd to be niticalyb better than a 220, the 220 still allowed some dropouts. Remember the shorter lead on a radial lead cap is usually minus. On the newer Zimos, there is a gray and a blue lead already connected for this, be sure to check carefully, these 2 leads were on the opposite end from the rest of the leads. Gray minus, Blue plus.

Operating:

There are extended CV's and like everyone else, there is a "trick" to get these "higher numbered" CV's that do not meet the nmra spec. Some DCC systems cannot go over CV 255. Note that the NCE system and current Digitrax systems can access these higher CVs directly and of course the Zimo system. I would guess the Massoth does, but I'd like to hear from someone on this.

  • There is a "shift" function to access CV's over 128 on most systems
  • CV 7 is used to do the shift function, The "tens" digit of CV7 does what you want (read the manual for what the 1's and the hundreds digits do)
  • Set CV7 = 110 and on the next CV programmed, you will "add" 100 to the CV address, i.e. program CV 65 and it will really program CV 165
  • Set CV7 = 120 and on the next CV programmed, you will "add" 200 to the CV address, i.e. program CV 65 and it will really program CV 265
  • Set CV7 = 130 and on the next CV programmed, you will "add" 300 to the CV address, i.e. program CV 65 and it will really program CV 365
  • Set CV7 = 0 to return to normal.
  • If the hundreds digit of CV7 = 1, then this mode stays on until you power the decoder down or do CV7=0.
  • If the hundreds digit of CV7 = 2, then this mode stays on forever until you do a CV7=0.

 CV 266 = main volume, usually defaults to 63, can increase to 100 usually without distortion.

Note: usually F8 turns the sound on and off, and it is default off. Sometimes you have to also hit f0 to turn the headlamp on too. If you have no sound this is probably your problem.

On the NCE system, I had to hig F8 twice to get the sound on. You can also just hold down the F8 button until the sound comes on.

Notes on Galloping goose sound file:

CAUTION: After installing a test drive of the decoder required -> CV # 302 = 75

The load dependent sound is based on EMF (Electro Motive Force) measurements inside the decoder, which is pri-marily used for keeping the motor speed constant with changes in load. For the decoder to produce the correct sound for the respective driving conditions it has to know first what these measurements are at normal no-load cruis-ing speed (smooth rolling of the engine or train on straight level track) that is, the “basic load” of an engine or train, which due to gearbox losses, power pick-ups etc. is often considerably higher on model trains than on the real rail-road. Deviations from this “basic load” will then be interpreted as inclines or declines, which will result in analogously changed chuff sounds.

Setting CV #302 = 75 causes an automated run is performed to record the “basic load” factor in forward direction;

The engine (or the train) is driven automatically in forward direction for which unoccupied track must be available of at least 5 meters (15 feet), with absolutely no inclines or declines and without any (tight) curves.

With CV #302 = 76 an automated recording run can be performed in reverse direction, for locomotives that have different “basic loads” in this direction (otherwise, the basic load in reverse is considered identical to forward).

F0 = headlight
F1 = taillights
F2 + horn 1 (a nathan 5 chime!!)
F3 = horn 2
F4 = chain drive rattle
F6 = headlights on high beam
F7 = air release
F8 = sound on off

The above is from the pre-set .zpp file. After consulting with Axel, I loaded the full project ( .zpr) file, and added a bell into F1, and moved the horn from F3 into F2. I'll play some more since, I have not experimented with how the lights are set up. It would be cool to have the taillights get brighter when stopping, like stop lights.

The following CV values are set, on which reset with "Project Reset" - CV # 8 = 0 -:

CV # 3 = 30
CV # 4 =25
CV # 5 = 180
CV # 60 = 170
CV # 114 = 252
CV # 119 = 131
CV #275 = 150
CV # 276 = 180
CV # 280 = 200
CV # 286 = 180

Starting from SS (Speed Step) 0 to 1 or above, you hear an air release and putting the transmission in gear, then a "poppety poppety / putt putt sound". This is the "gear shift" After the "gear shift" has been accomplished, the sound reverts / stabilizes to a constant motor "drone / hum".

The "gear shift" occurs again at SS 22, you hear the "putt putt" sound and then the motor "hum" resumes, but the "motor hum" is slightly different (2nd gear).

The shift into 3rd gear occurs at SS 43, and again, after the shift, there is a slight difference in motor "hum"

The final shift (into 4th gear) occurs at SS 64, and again another slight difference in motor "hum".

I tested this with cv 3 and 4 set to zero.

When setting the momentum back to stock, it becomes apparent that the "shifts" happen immediately when commanded, not waiting for the actual motor speed to catch up.

So, if you leave the momentum "up", you can "call up" the shifting sound by going "through" Speed Steps 22, 43, and 64, without making a lot of difference in the speed.

Notes on the K27 Sound file

K27 default function mappings in the sound file:

F0 - Headlight
F1 - dynamo on off with startup and shutdown sounds
F2 - smoke on (have not tested)
F3 - nothing
F4 - short whistle over and over forever
F5 - long whistle that only ends when you turn the function off
F6 - whistle crossing sequence (2 long, 1 short, one long that stays on until you turn the function off)
F7 - bell
F8 - sound on/off (not sure it is mute)
F9 - coal shoveling, you can hear a little talking at the end
F10 - "Blaser" - Wind? injectors (I guess so, kind of a roar, maybe steam letoff)
F11 - air pump
F12 - injectors

Zimo decoder programming tips

And there is an error, in the fan area CV 355 is typed as 365, an error that has never been fixed.

For ditch lights

127 controls FO1

128 controls F02

For ditch light type 1, set 127 and 128 to 33 and 37 respectively if ditch lights on in forward only

to set to work in forward and reverse use 32 and 36

For type 2, set 127 and 128 to 41 and 45

lower headlight is rear headlight wire (yellow).. to make it work in forwards only set 126 = 1

 

Notes on the big boy sound file (My H. Dappen)

(courtesy Dan Pierce)

 

CV 148-152 need to be 0 for the BigBoy decoder project by H. Dappen.  These deal with braking and motor control.

Also note that some projects have the brake key on F4  which means when the engine is stopped and f4 is on, no motor control can be done until the brake is turned off.  F4 used to be used for half speed, now it can be 'no speed'.

Also for servo control, cv 161-177 are servo limit and speed settings.

And Cv 18

1-4 addresses, and cv181 -184 for servo addresses. 

Note that the 'waltz' is programmed  for a value of 48 in the cv125-132 that you selected, for F6, CV 132 needs to be a 48 and also cv 115/116 for speed and distance control.

The 'waltz' for reverse is done by the following:

When the engine is going forward, depress the uncouple function key....nothing will happen until you stop the forward movement.

When the engine stops, the zimo decoder takes over and backs up the engine, activates the servo to uncouple and then stops and moves forward. 

 

 

Smoke units

use 3 pwm settings.

200 max for the highest of the 3 ranges (that way you can tweak it easily, and set the variable output with a pot on the variable output)

MX6xx notes:

To see if the decoder has a code, read out cv260-263.  If not 0 or 255 then there is a code and a Hudson file can be reloaded.

Since you did a reset, all smoke settings have been reset  as well as voltage control (cv60) and sound placement to different functions as we set F1 for bell, F2 for whistle. Etc.

Firmware for the decoder is CV 7 for high order bit, and cv65 for low order bit.

Latest is 34.0,   cv 7 =34, cv65= 0.   This is the *****.zsu file on Zimo’s site.  Note that CV 250 is the decoder type and that one should be a MX690 (value  would be 208).

I believe the side lights were wired in series by us to reduce the power consumed.

Sound in that engine is a coded project which means cv260-263 are a code provided by the writer (Heinz Dappen)  of the sound.  Get these values and save them as any project by this person can be reloaded into that decoder as well as the free projects.  Sound projects do rewrite all the cv’s.

If you do a reset then you will lose the heater element settings (CV137-139) and smoke motor settings (Cv351, 352, 355), but I believe Nick played with these and are not what I had programmed them to be.

If you have never tuned a smoke unit on a Zimo decoder, I would advise you for any change in  settings to make sure the smoke unit is turned on for a minute before making changes as the fluid must be heated/warmed up for accurate results.

When loading a decoder with a project it is important to have all functions off so only the motor is seen as a load, cv 29 to 10 nor 14 and cv 144 to 0.

Once you have the new firmware loaded you can lock the decoder by writing CV144 to non zero and then only cv 144 can be written.

Lower cv60 … about 100… lights

Function 6 for smoke…. Cv125-132 control outputs…. 76…

Cv 137-139 smoke output…

Motor in smoke 351, 352, 355 (manu says 365)

 Some more items:

(again courtesy Dan Pierce)

 

The function key cv's for sound are 310-313.

I set them as follows to have no sound at a standstill and all working when engine is moving with function 8 on.

310=8  (function 8 road noise and random noise)

311=8  general on/off, same as cv 310

312=0 Drainage button

313=8  mute button

So, the value of 8 can be another function key for turning sounds on and off.  Some projects used 310 with 8 and 311 with a different value so 2 function keys needed to be on for sound!!

MX695 notes:

 

 

 

Nick's decoder is a 10 amp unit, and is in a USAT trains hudson

function key mapping:

cv 33-36 are function mapping

cv 61 = 0 sets function mapping to nmra standard

f5 - was coal shovel and marker/ashpan/firebox

f4 was nothing, now set to marker/ashpan/firebox

f12 may be smoke heater power

cv39 = 0  (F5)  (remove any lights from F5, leave sound)

cv38 (F4) =

1 = nothing

2 = nothing

4 = nothing

8 = marker light & ashpan & firebox

16 = nothing

32 = nothing

64 = nothing

cv267 = chuff freq with virtual cam.... default 70, higher number fewer chuffs per revolution

set to 70 gives about 10

set 150 gives about 5

175 = 5

200 = 4

255 = 3.5

chuff volume is set by the followng cv's:

275 = v

276 = we changed to 60 (keep volume high all the time)

277

278 threshold

CV's to be set to 0 for bigboy project.

The tips below courtesy of Dan Pierce.

 

(this needs formatting and cleaning up)

 

CV 148-152 need to be 0 for the BigBoy decoder project by H. Dappen.  These deal with braking and motor control.

 

Also note that some projects have the brake key on F4  which means when the engine is stopped and f4 is on, no motor control can be done until the brake is turned off.  F4 used to be used for half speed, now it can be 'no speed'.

 

Also for servo control, cv 161-177 are servo limit and speed settings.

And Cv 18

1-4 addresses, and cv181 -184 for servo addresses. 

 

Note that the 'waltz' is programmed  for a value of 48 in the cv125-132 that you selected, for F6, CV 132 needs to be a 48 and also cv 115/116 for speed and distance control.

 

The 'waltz' for reverse is done by the following:

When the engine is going forward, depress the uncouple function key....nothing will happen until you stop the forward movement.

When the engine stops, the zimo decoder takes over and backs up the engine, activates the servo to uncouple and then stops and moves forward. 

 

The function key cv's for sound are 310-313.

 

I set them as follows to have no sound at a standstill and all working when engine is moving with function 8 on.

310=8  (function 8 road noise and random noise)

311=8  general on/off, same as cv 310

312=0 Drainage button

313=8  mute button

 

So, the value of 8 can be another function key for turning sounds on and off.  Some projects used 310 with 8 and 311 with a different value so 2 function keys needed to be on for sound!!

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