QSI Programmer Hardware & Software

PLEASE READ THIS STUFF! I've put things here that are not in the manual, or "gotchas" that are not obvious. Trust me and save yourself a lot of grief (that I went through!!)

Overview: There are 3 products, 2 software and one hardware/firmware "programmer/dongle":

  • Quantum Upgrade software - loads firmware and sound files, the sound files and the firmware are both in the same file. Allows some limited volume setting.
  • Quantum CV manager software - gives you a graphical interface to all the CV's in the decoder, also local throttles that allow limited running (current limited) and operation.
  • Quantum Programmer hardware - a "dongle" that has a USB interface to your Windows computer to allow the software to function

Quantum Programmer / "USB dongle"

This is the hardware that actually does the controlling and programming.

You should check for upgrade of the firmware in the programming "dongle" at least when you get one. It's in a really weird place in the programming software. You right click on the upper left of the title bar of the Quantum Upgrade window. Yes, there is nothing up there, but when you do it, you get a menu you cannot get any other way.

There's a selection: "Quantum Programmer...", click that, and then you get another menu. Click "retrieve firmware version".. you will then see the version in your dongle.  Beneath that, there's a box that says "Upgrade firmware to version xxx"... if your firmware is older, then do the upgrade.

The firmware version as of March 2018 is 2.0..5

The programmer on it's own draws about 62 milliamperes at 15 volts, just idle.

I don't know the working voltage range, but 15 volts has been the target voltage from the QSI engineers.

I have seen current draw up to about 1/2 amp on average, so if you have the original 400 ma supply, get an updated one, you are likely to have erratic operation on the large scale QSI decoders. QSI started shipping an 800 ma one after I figured out the "mystery" of how much current was necessary.

Funny story, I was having programming issues, and a QSI engineer kept claiming that 400 ma was fine. I was watching the current spikes during programming, and I knew it was not right. A bit more questioning turns out this engineer had been using his OWN supply for years, not the 400 ma supply. After more questioning, he was using a 1 amp supply, so sure, he was not having problems! The 800 ma supply starting shipping right away ha ha!

Installing the driver on Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10

The first thing to do is install the driver for the programmer dongle.

The driver will not install on windows 8 or 10 with the normal install. Part of this is because it is unsigned, and Windows 8 won't allow this. The other part of the difficulty is that it needs to be installed in a troubleshooting / compatibility mode for windows 8/8,1

First, have the silabs driver already downloaded and in it's own subdirectory (unzip the file).

Now, you need to put your computer into a special mode to accept unsigned drivers. This mode is called "allow unsigned drivers" You will set this up, the computer will reboot, and after installing the driver, this special mode will go away after the next reboot. Note well: if you don't get the driver installed and you reboot, you need to start the procedure over.

First, put the computer in the mode to allow unsigned drivers:

First, you need to get to the advanced startup mode. I'm only documenting for Windows 10 here.

Open the action center (you should know what this is otherwise google), go to all settings, then update & security, recovery, and then advanced startup.

Your computer will reboot, and then after some time you will be prompted with a menu with following options.

  1. Continue
  2. Troubleshoot
  3. Turn off

Choose Troubleshoot

Then the following menu appears.

  • Refresh your PC
  • Reset your PC
  • Advanced Options

Choose Advanced Options

Then the following menu appears

  • System Restore
  • System Image Recovery
  • Automatic Repair
  • Command Prompt
  • Windows Startup settings

Choose Windows Startup Settings, then Click Restart.

Now the computer will restart and the boot menu appears. Choose: “Disable Driver signature Enforcement” from the menu. Now windows will start and you can do the installation of the driver that is not signed.

I'm not going to keep this updated as Windows keeps changing titles and I no longer have any Windows 8 machines (and neither should you!!)

Here is a link to the procedure for Windows 8 with pictures: http://www.craftedge.com/tutorials/driver_install_windows8/driver_install_win8.html

Now to install the driver:

while in the mode, go to the folder where you unzipped the driver.

for older windows:

right click on the installer executable: QP_USBXp_Installer.exe

Select "troubleshoot compatibility"

Now select "try recommended settings"

In most cases, it will indicate that it's going to try "vista 64 bit" mode for windows 8.... that will work fine.

On Windows 10, just install, then plug in the programmer, and then you should be able to use the QSI programs.

Installing Quantum Upgrade and Quantum CV Manager

There's rarely an issue with these installs, just accept the defaults. If you have trouble installing it, try troubleshoot compatibility as in the driver install, and drop back to Windows 7.

Be sure you use an install .exe file the first time, as it installs the dll needed by the program. There are updated program files that are distributed as .exe, but they do not do the full install, so you do the install, and then you can copy the newer program version to the same directory it was installed in. If you get stuck, email me.

General programming tips:

First, when in doubt check your electrical connections.

Make SURE there is nothing else on the programming track, lights in tenders always on, etc. This is the number one problem people have.

Try using Quantum Upgrade and "get locomotive information", or the upgrade menu, and "test compatibility"

When programming, the original QSI Revolution and the new QSI Titan have a MINIMUM number of connections that MUST be connected, note this carefully in the below sections.

If you cannot get past 40% in the beginning of programmin, it means no communication or response at all, 40% is the first programming command.

A tip is to read the baseline current of the programmer hardware on the setup:

  • 0 current means no connection to the decoder or the programmer is damaged.
  • Likewise 255 means something is wrong like a dead short on the programming track or the programmer itself.
  • I've seen 9 to 30 ma as a baseline.
  • To read the baseline current, right click in the Q2Upgrade window title bar... yes, way up in the title bar. A new menu pops up... select Programmer... and here's a menu you can see various data, and where to check and update the firmware... now hit diagnostics... here's where you can read the baseline current.

Quantum Revolution specific notes:

During the confidence test or programming, given 15 volts dc input, the Quantum 2 boards program at about 100-110 milliamperes (average), I did not measure peaks.

The flash address range in sectors (you will see this during programming) is up to fff

if you cannot erase the flash, typically it means you have some extra load on the programming inputs/track

At the end of the programming cycle, apparently the program:

  • calculates the checksum of the source file
  • reads the flash and calculates the checksum of the decoder flash memory
  • if successful, "upgrading subsystem flash" shows

Finally, if all else fails, remove the board from the loco completely, and only connect to the Track + and Track - inputs.NOTHING ELSE.

Titan specific:

Programming issues:

During the confidence test or programming, given 15 volts dc input, the Titan boards program at about 100-120 milliamperes (average), I did not measure peaks.

The flash address range in sectors (you will see this during programming) is up to 18f

If you cannot erase the flash, typically it means either some extra load on the programming inputs/track OR that you do not have the motor load connected. (The Titan is different from the previous QSI unit in that the minimum configuration for programming is the programming (track) inputs AND a motor. I've used an 11 ohm resistor with success, although most motors may present a 4 ohm or less load. (my reasoning is that it just needs the circuit complete, not the full load of a motor, and the lighter load may cause less variation in the power supply, since the standard power supply is low current and unregulated.)

One common failure is right at the end of the programming cycle. It can fail even if you have run the confidence test. The confidence test apparently only reads the flash, does not test read and write.

At the end of the programming cycle, apparently the program:

  • calculates the checksum of the source file
  • reads the flash and calculates the checksum of the dflash

No sound?

If after programming, you cannot sound the horn, you may have a sound file where the horn is in the second speaker. Either put in a second speaker or "move" the horn fader to include the first speaker. (I found this out in my e8... turns out you want the horn in the second speaker, since the "first" speaker is way back in the body, when you add a second speaker, it will be closer to the front, where the horns actually are)

All Q3 diesel files contain dual prime movers, but are set for single prime mover by default. In order to activate the second prime mover simply increase CV52.11 (Motor2 Volume) to your preferred level. I recommend setting the stereo controls so that CV116.10 (Motor 1 Balance) = 127 and CV116.11 (Motor 2 Balance) = 255 for optimal stereo separation between the two motors.

Quantum CV Manager

Remember you must load the proper "blank" file to start with, otherwise some options will be grayed out.

if you need a blank file to work with, select the closest file you can find, "respecting" a Q2FX vs. a Q3 file.

If you still cannot access the CV's you "need" then go to the "Options" menu and then "Enable All CV's". Danger, you may enable cv's that your hardware does not have so be careful, i.e. don't mess with chuff settings on a diesel!

Programming hardware setup

Below is a simple setup with a motor and speaker and the socket. I'm holding a connector that lets me use the speaker plug on the Revolution (by the "I" in QSI on the programmer dongle) or change to a couple of wires that let me screw in to the Titan terminals. Al this is on a small board, the speaker is in the top of a spray paint can.

 bench power2


A more sophisticated setup below. This one has a socket and also DIP headers to screw into Titans that have had their pins cut off. Notice that I have both speakers there to confirm programming between them.



At the front you can see the jack for power and the usb socket.

Inside, I just removed the programmer from it's housing to make an easier installation into the box, but you could leave it in the housing and just cut a bigger hole in the cigar box.