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Class 56: sound and independent lights. Is it possible

Andy L

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Hi all


I picked up the express models lighting kit for my old style Class 56 at the Manchester show. I know that I'll need 2 4 function chips to get it to work properly, I'm now wondering if I can get a sound chip to work with it as well.



Any help/advice will be very welcome especially when it comes to programming.


Thanks in advance



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If it is eight independent lights, you need eight function outputs. Whether you use one, two or even eight chips is a matter of choice.


Out of the box, an ESU LokSound, the most common DCC Sound Chip in the UK, has four function outputs. So, you need four more for the lights on your loco.

The main consideration would be how flexible the secondary function chip is for mapping the lights onto different keys - some of the cheapest chips have almost no options to change things.

TCS (mid-range) will allow mapping to any of F0 to F12. But most standard sound sets will be using F1-F12 for the sounds, so you will have to remap the sound functions to allow the TCS chip to work. Alternatively, you could run the lighting function only chip on a different address and thus avoid this conflict.

Some other function chips will allow any of F0 to F28 (eg. Paul Harman's DIY design )


The Zimo MX642 might be an alternative to the LokSound. The Zimo has eight function outputs, so no additional decoder required. There are some UK sounds now available for the Zimo from Digitrains. Though you need to buy a separate speaker, they are also a bit cheaper than a LokSound.

The Zimo has six "normal" function outputs, and two which are logic-level. So, to run lights on the last two outputs you will either have to alter the resistors used, or install a couple of small transistors to switch the last two lighting circuits on/off from the two logic-level outputs.



- Nigel

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