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Success in re-setting ESU Loksound after CV8 problem

Luigi Taveri

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Bit of a long first post but this is in return for all the assistance this forum has given me with DCC problems




I have just successfully ‘brought back’ an ESU loksound following a six month research and development (maybe search and rescue?) mission on the world wide web. I’ve uncovered reasons and suggestions without actually finding details of a successful rescue and really I wanted to summarise the problem, the reasons and suggestions, and the recovery in one place to help those who will undoubtedly follow! It won’t help everyone but is likely to be use to some.




I converted to DCC about 2 ½ years ago and upgraded the NCE Powercab to Procab about 18 months ago. I run American HO modern diesel hoods and principally converted because I wanted sound. I have a selection of QSI (factory and diy), Soundtraxx and Digitrax as well as a number of ESU (the latter three are all diy installs). I’m quite happy with the general set-up of each chip with nominal mods to momentum and lighting CVs.




I run my layout intermittently (weeks or months) in between construction phases and stock is shifted about to accommodate any work I want to do. On this occasion I decided to run an Athearn SD70 with ESU Loksound chip. However, whilst the chip powered up and ticked over, I was unable to gain any control over the loco. Oddly enough I had the same problem with an Athearn SD50. I consulted the instruction book and re-set the chip using CV8 re-set. This didn’t have the result I expected. The functions no longer matched the controls with examples such as ringing the bell causing the engine to shut down or re-start, engine notching not matching loco, the hot box detector voice being activated at notch 1. I hesitated on re-setting the SD50 with CV8!




I worked through all the CVs and they matched with the instruction book and I was at a loss. I did, however, in working through the CV functions, realise why neither loco responded. They were both set to a consist (ie double headed). I ‘killed’ the consist on the Procab and lo and behold, I had the SD50 back in control. Killing the consist had no effect on the ‘re-set’ SD70. I was now only looking at a £90 loss!




I found the reason for the SD70 problems initially within the pages of this forum. A CV8 re-set on older ESU Loksound chips re-sets the chip to the factory setting and not the sound software loaded onto the chip for the customer (I understand from my research but cannot verify that the more modern ESU chips do now re-set to the uploaded software appropriate to the chip as purchased by the customer?).




Suggestions for re-setting include sending the chip back to ESU (I didn’t want the hassle of stripping the chip out and sending it away. The chip’s 8 pin plug has to be soldered into the Athearn board). Another suggestion was to re-program using ESU Loksound programmer but you need the raw data relevant to the sound chip you have purchased. I didn’t want to pay out for ESU’s hardware for what would likely be a single use nor did I have the raw data. ESU’s website is also of little use, and I found this particularly disappointing as it is obvious from my research that the CV8 re-set is a common problem.




I have just discovered the suggested solution about a week ago. I can’t tell you where it is because I can’t remember (though Google will help here). The suggestion was to interrogate the CVs from a similar chip………..It is a dead simple solution and I just don’t know why I didn’t think of it six months ago!




It took me about an hour to work through the SD50’s CVs and record them on paper! It took about half an hour to alter the CVs in the SD70. This took two goes. The first time I only altered those CVs which were different from the book but the SD70 still didn’t respond properly and I realised that I had to compare and correct every single CV in the SD70 against those in the SD50, as the CV8 re-set doesn’t appear to re-set to those listed in the instruction book!




The result – I have full control of the SD70 again and that is extremely satisfying as I wasn’t sure that I would re-gain that control and I would have had to replace the chip with something else (and probably not ESU!).




Apologies for the essay but if it helps someone avoid using the CV8 re-set in the first place then I’ll be pleased.




Best wishes



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