Jump to content
Forum software upgrades have taken place today and we will be monitoring performance as it could take a while to get back up to speed.

TheLaird

DIY Re Blows

Recommended Posts

I recall reading somewhere that it is now possible to buy sound projects online with a licence code to enable re blows to be done at home. Anyone heard of this and can supply details?

 

I realise that you do need a specific programmer to do this.

 

Regards John E.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has been so for a while John

 

As you say programmer needed - have used Lokprogrammer for last two years with sound files from various sources successfully - other options are available of course

 

Each file is specific to the chip - the supplier needs to know the chip number to embed this unless they are sending you an open file

 

Cheers

  • Agree 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John,

 

It's been possible to get encrypted projects this way for ZIMO decoders for many years, (since 2009), either through the ZIMO website or from individual sound providers. I provide this service for Digitrains' projects, for example. Very convenient if you live in AUS, NZ, SA or USA, or indeed anywhere where cutting out the postal system costs, delays and transit risks will be beneficial.

 

It's also now possible to get ESU projects this way, DC Kits and Legomanbiffo, or Engineman are the best known examples of independent providers for ESU.

 

Although the methodology is slightly different in each case and as you identified, each brand will require its own specific programmer*, in each case, the 'licence' (and encryption) allows only one decoder to receive the sound project.

 

So, if you want to use the same project for a different decoder, you will need to pay again for each decoder.

 

*The ZIMO programmer is the more versatile in its range of capability, both the ESU Lokprogrammer and ZIMO MXULFA are useful tools for tasks other than sound project loading, so I would always recommend to those who have several decoders of either brand (or both) that they purchase the appropriate programmer hardware. They will be invaluable in keeping your decoders in tip top shape, loading updated software, new features and so on, even for non-sound decoders of the respective brands.

 

Phil has outlined the way ESU Loksound 'protects' the sound providers' Intellectual Property. Basically, each project must be matched to each decoder.

 

The ZIMO system is rather different. You first obtain a 'Load Code' to unlock a specific decoder. This is provided for a one-off fee. You may subsequently load any encrypted sound project from the same provider to that individual decoder. This gives greater flexibilty to the user in the way sound projects and decoders are deployed.

 

For example, you could use a single decoder in several different types of model - a Class 37, Class 24 and a Class 52, say. The decoder is 'unlocked' with a 'Load Code' then either a Class 37 or a Class 24 or a Class 52 sound project can be loaded to suit the model to be run. Change between them, or indeed any other class for which you have the correct project, as often as you wish. Of course, it's not always convenient to do this, but it will enable you to 'audition' different sound projects for different Classes or determine the value of updated sound projects for classes you already have before buying a new decoder with the sound pre-loaded.

 

Why buy a cheap TTS suitable for only one model when you can get a single ZIMO to run each model in your fleet with the correct sound? (with a ZIMO programmer and a little work on your part - you may need adapters to suit the DCC socket in any particular model).

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

Edited by pauliebanger
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think realistically it only makes sense if you are abroad or are planning to do dozens of reblows. All you are really going to save is the postage which you would pay sending the decoder off for a reblow to somewhere like DC kits or Digitrains because you will still be charged for the sound file as others have said. Someone asked me once about it and I explained that he would have to buy a file for each decoder so don't expect to save any money, and he bought one anyway and said 'its rubbish, I can only use the sound files on one decoder', I think thats the most common mistake people make when they buy them. Where I think the programmers do come in handy is where you want to re map functions. for example I sometimes re wire locos so that the tail lights can be turned off, I would have no idea how to set this up with CV's but with a Lokprogrammer its dead easy.

 

Richard

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The economics can be more complex than just purchasing files for new chips....

 

We have reblown when transferring chips between locos - and also when DCC sound fitted locos have been purchased and there was a mismatch between the sound file and the chip version. Mind you the fitting of unreprogrammable Select and TTS chips prevents this.....

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, pauliebanger said:

You may subsequently load any encrypted sound project from the same provider to that individual decoder.

So you're stuck to a single provider?

Example you have an old Youchoos file on the decoder and want to replace it by a newer CoastalDCC file, then will you have to pay for it?

And, will example C.DCC provide you with a reblow file at all if you don't buy a decoder?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hamburger said:

So you're stuck to a single provider?

Example you have an old Youchoos file on the decoder and want to replace it by a newer CoastalDCC file, then will you have to pay for it?

And, will example C.DCC provide you with a reblow file at all if you don't buy a decoder?

 

No, of course you are not 'stuck with a single provider'.  The Load Code simply enables an encrypted sound project from the issuer to be loaded to that decoder, it does not prevent any other providers' project being programmed subsequently, either by this system or by sending it off in the post or taking it to a shop (for those providers who actually have shop premises, that is).

 

Each decoder can be loaded or reloaded at any time with a Load Code from any provider authorised by ZIMO, UK based or otherwise.

 

Of course, if you change provider, you will need to obtain a new code for the decoder to suit their projects, or simply send the decoder to a new provider in exactly the same way as you could do in all other cases. I don't know if Coastal DCC has the required authorisation or individualised software from ZIMO to enable them to do this, but if not they could still reblow a decoder with their project.

 

In your example, what is the difference between getting two load codes from different providers and the more usual system of sending a decoder off to be reblown? You still pay two fees.

 

Provider C.DCC will provide a Load Code for their projects as this is what generates the fee. This would be equivalent to sending an ESU decoder bought  from and programmed by South West Digital to, say Legomanbiffo for a reblow. Bif's not going to reject it because you bought the decoder elsewhere, but of course he would be entitled to his fee for doing so, would he not?

 

However, sound projects via email do save on postage (in both directions), potential for delay and risk of loss or damage and this is really the great benefit of doing it this way. There is an initial cost for equipment in each case - a lokprogrammer or MXULFA as described earlier. but these will serve you in other ways than just sound loading so will pay for the investment many times over in a relatively short time.

 

With either decoder type, there is no requirement to remove the decoder for loading a new sound project, so if the model is hard to get into, or if the decoder is hardwired you aren't faced with having to get the whole model to someone who can perform the reblow for you.

 

With the ZIMO programmer, you don't even need a computer to load the project. It can be used as a stand alone module, sound project on a USB flash drive.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I already had the Lokprogrammer for customising decoders so reblows are a great way to upgrade sounds when you buy a loco with a simple factory file without removing the decoder and sending it away. It also works well if you decide to swap chips around as interests change. There’s also no reason you can’t swap the sound back again, it’s locked to one decoder by the serial number of the chip but you can change it and reblow back to that same one later. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Richard Croft said:

Someone asked me once about it and I explained that he would have to buy a file for each decoder so don't expect to save any money, and he bought one anyway and said 'its rubbish, I can only use the sound files on one decoder', I think thats the most common mistake people make when they buy them.

 

Richard

 

Richard, I know you are only quoting someone else, but I can't help laughing at the ridiculous logic in his statement. It's certainly no rational reason for others not to use the scheme.

 

Paraphrasing that quote.  'It's rubbish, I'm no better off  than I would have been if I'd gone to the trouble of removing the decoder from my model, packed and sent it by post to the sound provider, waited for it to be processed and then if it arrived back safely re-installed it back into my model and if there was any problem, send it back, with postage, to the provider to get it fixed. All I saved was the £13 postage . (UK Special Delivery costs £6.50 each way)

 

A sane person might think ' What a brilliant idea. I save all that work and time and saved £13 into the bargain. And if I have a problem, I have the sound project at hand to reload if necessary. I had to use my programmer, of course, but its such a useful maintainence tool I had that already. So I popped the kettle on and had a nice cuppa whilst I waited for the sound project to load'.

 

A cynical person might think that the individual you describe thought he had descovered an ingenious way to make money from other peoples' efforts, only to realise that the people with the talent had pre-empted such a move.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

 

 

  • Funny 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, pauliebanger said:

A cynical person might think that the individual you describe thought he had descovered an ingenious way to make money from other peoples' efforts, only to realise that the people with the talent had pre-empted such a move.

 

Quite possibly, I seem to remember he was part of a model railway club and was hoping they could all get use from it, maybe he mis understood me when I said you need a file per decoder and thought he could sell them to club members, who knows.

 

You are right about postage if people are using special delivery, but more often than not they don't seem to, a saving of £5 is probably more realistic (signed for each way) in which case you would need to do at least 20 reblows to cover the cost of the programmer. I'm still not convinced for ESU at least it makes that much sense. For Zimo it seems to make more sense, I didn't know they worked how you described.

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard,

 

I wonder if when he buys a chocolate bar, he thinks everyone at the club can eat it all too. LOL

 

The postal costs are what they are, and people take a chance by not using guaranteed, tracked and insured delivery when sending £100 decoders through the post. You do know that you will not be covered if something of that value is damaged or goes missing if you only pay first class post, tracked or not? 

 

For good reason DC Kits recommend Special Delivery for sending decoders by post. Personally, I would never contemplate not using Special Delivery, a tip I got from Bif on one of our recording trips. Peace of mind for all concerned.

 

The point I'm making is that whatever you wish to spend on postage, you will eliminate the need for insurance if the decoder stays at your place and the sound project travels to you. That it's quicker and cheaper is a bonus.

 

I know that the initial cost of the respective programmers can appear steep, but if if you want to keep your decoders' software up to date you will benefit from owning or at least having access to one so I think it's a false argument to tot up the potential postage saved as the only 'benefit' to set against the one-off initial cost of the programmer.

 

Others will see things differently and that's fine with me.

 

Best regards,

 

Paul

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use my programmer quite a bit and sort friends decoders too, including reblowing them, no point all of us having the same one and I usually get a meal in return ;)  It’s paid for itself in equivalent postage savings some time ago. I’ve had it a few years now as they’ve gone through 3.5, 4 and the current 5 series. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an owner of a lokprogrammer, its an interesting one....

 

to me a lokprogrammers outlay in the current climate only justifies itself if....the owner has an interest in creating sound projects/tinkering with the settings of decoders via a computer, or....as paulRhb says using it to reblow friends decoders....

 

personally, and I cant comment on zimo paul, but the biggest issue for me is convenience....

 

I need to do the following to get a sound file from an ESU vendor.....

 

1,) hello vendor this is my decoder serial and version can I get class xx sound file from you.

 

2,) several days pass....and rightly so its a hobby for me and for a lot of the sound vendors

 

3,) yes you can simon here it is...

 

so my issue isn't with the vendor....its actually ESU because I would love it if they could release an API for the lokprogrammer software to make stage 2 automated, just like 99% of the computer software world......a sound file for your decoder is no different from obtaining a software license,,,,you license it for 1 or 2 or how many decoders you want......but ESU have never done it....if zimo can or are prepared to do it....for me this is a massive plus!!

 

but im interested in how you think peoples attitude might change to more on-demand reblows…..go to a website...put your decoder serial in...and out pops a file.....

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Australia and the convenience of purchasing a sound file for my Loksound decoders via an email is fantastic. I don't have to send the decoder to UK and due to the fluctuations in currency it is cheaper to buy the decoders from the USA and send the decoder serial number to the supplier. I know the sound file is locked to a particular decoder but the greater benefit is that I can now store my sound files on my computer or in the cloud. I get mine from several suppliers in UK and all are able to supply variations to the original.  

 

Peter

Edited by Peter Beckett
  • Like 3
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.