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A newbies trials and tribulations with the lokprogrammer


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  • RMweb Gold

*disclaimer* for people who dont like sucking eggs this thread isnt for you :)


Where i hear you ask is a tutorial for creating sound projects in the lokprogrammer.....incidentally if you know of one DONT POST IT HERE I WONT BE IMPRESSED :)


so i couldnt find one, and after investing a sum of money in a lokprogrammer i thought i had better put it to the use i intended it for and that's creating a sound project for 37905 and 37906.....


But isnt there already sounds for the 37/9s......indeed there is legomanbiffo and howes models both do a decoder for 37/9s but and here's the but these 37s are mirlees engined not ruston, and its a ruston engine fitted to 37905 and 37906.


whats a slug? a slug is the nickname given to 37/9s, 37/9s were born out of the vision of british rail to create a class 38 freight locomotive, and the engines under consideration for this project were a 6 cylinder mirlees MB275T and ruston paxman RK270T both locomotives were fitted with an alternator....hence the loud moan just before it starts up....locomotives with alternators always have start motors. (as you cant motor an alternator like you can a generator). They were called slugs because they were very slow the load up (increase engine speed) and thus alternator excitation. Many reasons for this the most often quoted being to eliminate turbo lag. 


On the outside they looked like regular 37s with a few detail differences and major changes to the roof, the mirlees engined 37s being the biggest since the whole engine room roof profile had to be changed to accommodate the engine. When rolled out of the works they all carried RF large logo livery but many were repainted. 


An example of the roof on 37901



Sound wise they were completely different from an un-silenced regular 37, with all of the 37/9s being known for the sewing machine silence! over time the exhaust silencers cracked, unfortunately the silencers were made by gloster saro (a division of the gloster aircraft company) and they were long out of business so instead it was decided to completely do-away with the silencer and vent the rather large single turbo straight to atmosphere! (a regular 37 has 2 turbos). Hence the reason you could be mistaken for thinking a tug boat was ascending stormy bank rather than a 37!


So that's the history surrounding my little exercise!


So where to start.....


The lokprogrammer software looks daunting and there is no manual for version 4 to date, and version 4's sound sequencer contains a lot of differences to version 3. The lack of manual or tutorial meant i had to resort to looking at one of the existing sound profiles on the ESU website to grasp how it worked.


Now before i start waffling...i will make a lot of errors in my understanding, i might not have the right interpretation but my aim with this thread is not the be the oracle on sound sequences, im no expert ill leave that to likes of pauliebanger legomanbiffo and the various vendors of the quality sound projects that run round on many layout up and down the country...... i expect to be corrected and told im wrong, but in doing so i hope others will learn quicker whats taken me bloody ages!!!


So on the esu website you have a list of availiable projects you can download and happily place on your decoders...




AHHH but there all german.....yes they are however......even ze germans have class 66s.....and most of know what one of those sound like :)




So....when you load the class 66 file into the lokprogrammer when you select sound on the left you get the screen shown above, now starting clockwise from the top left this is how i understand it to work, and experts feel free to correct....


Top Left


I understand this to be the sound slots, and basically i seem to see that each sound slot corresponds to a function eg drive is F1 and Horns in this case are F3 and F4, if the sound slot is left empty the function can be used for other things, lights and smoke units perhaps....


Top Right


Contains the current loksound template library which is provided with the program, navigating through the folder structure contains a range of sounds that come free with the lokprogrammer and also with various updates ESU make available (since i have had it there have been 3 updates, you are free to use these sounds on your decoders.


Bottom Left


Allows you to browse for more sound files you might have on you local computer


Bottom Right


contains the sound files in use with your existing project, if you start from scratch this is blank but you can drag and drop files from local storage in the bottom left or the templates in the top right, as you can see from my screenshot it contains the sounds for the 66 project.


Now the reason i chose the 66 project is simple....1, ive no idea what the different sounds are on the various german loco's 2, the vast majority of german locos are diesel hydraulic, where as im interested in a diesel electric and the two behave a lot differently in terms of sound.... 3, a 66 is very familiar so for example if i hear a


NEH NEH NEH NEH NEH and a splutter i know its starting up.....if i hear ying ying ying ying ying ying ying, i know its idling i could go on but i think you get the picture.....


so how do the list of sounds in the bottom right equate to the sound coming of the decoder, if we double click "drive" in the top left we see the contents of the sound slot in its layout.....




Above we have the contents of drive (which is the bulk of sounds on the decoder) drive is the engine sounds acceleration sounds and deceleration sounds, drive is not things like the horn or the compressor or the fan. ill try and explain those a bit later above is a part of the project (it doesn't fit on one screen) and sound projects can be as simple or as complex as you like.....


A neat feature of version 4 is the "sound slot simulation" and this allows you to simulate the sound as if you were using the decoder, for this to work the sound layout must be valid, but you can increase the speed and slow it down like a model train to check how your sounds behave...


Note to the sound layout there are 3 elements








A state is a single entity (or sound) a container can "contain" many states an transitions with itself, and a transition is the advance between a state or container based on predefined settings (if statements) but a transition doesn't need these statement it can simply advance to next state or container after the current one is complete based on the priority and or statements applied to the transition.....


Still with me ???


for example.......


in the screenshot above we see a transition (the arrow) from "mute" (pretty self explanatory) to MS (mute to sound) the statement applied to this transition is




1: - being the priority


F= true basically meaning if F1 is pressed the reason its F1 is...because we are occupying sound slot 1


MS is typically used for the start up sound....so in real life if press F1 and that's my transition statement my class 66 will go through its engine start procedure.... because if i double click MS i see the following




Here you see that MS actually plays 6 wav files one after the other, we know its one after the other because there is a line through them and they have no statements applied so its the simplest container. 

Incidentally if we wanted to test each of those "states" we can highlight one and press the play button towards the top of the screen and this will play the wav file associated with the state


What else can i show you on transitions....


I'm not going to explain all possibilities of transitions that isn't the purpose of the post but there about 10 i believe another commonly used transition is based on speed and requested speed


Have another look at the screenshot




this time pay attention to transition between "S" and "SD" S is ESU speak for IDLE and SD is sound to drive or to you and me the sound played when you go to idle to the first of an unlimited (potentially) number of acceleration sounds (within memory constraints). We see the following transitional statements


2: req >0 spd >0


2: - priority 2 (follows 1 :))


req >0  - Requested speed step is greater than 0


spd >0 - Speed is greater than 0


so in real life that means once you turn the knob on your controller and if the model moves the decoder will make the transition from idle to the SD (first acceleration sound) so in the case of your 66 it will go from ying ying ying ying ying ying ying ying to yingyingyingyingyingyingyingying :)


So having explained in very very basic detail you can analyse the rest of the project to see how its structured!


Whats this got to do with a slug?


lets simplify things......drastically!!!!!




by using the 66 project i can take that knowledge and build the above albeit very simplified, and by obtaining recordings and running them through audacity (another thread perhaps) i can come out with the following.....


This is a where a special thanks goes to "kevpeo" he managed to get the sound project to actually play files.....as i had a CV setting in my project (yet to be identified) which was actually preventing the files from playing on the decoder!



A project recorded with genuine 906 sounds (bar the shutdown) that sounds well sort of reasonable.....its on a non bass reflex speaker at the moment inside the 37 body using the Bachmann supplied enclosure......


The aim of the thread is to educate those interested based on not only my views but the experts as well if they want to add anything :)

Edited by dwhite4dcc
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At last!


Way over a year since the Zimo was similarly covered by Pauliebanger, a suitable treatise on the Lokprogammer V4 ( the v3.5 was covered but much more piecemeal at the time).


Very welcome and suitably pinned.


Use the like/useful buttons rather than post but if anyone has anything practical to add, feel free

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You have done very well there, I am impressed. I also started out in v4 by studying what ESU had done in their flowcharts and working out why and how. In the early stages I found myself involuntarily / sub-conciously constrained by how things were done in v3.5, but over time your thinking adjusts to the possibilities and then you can start to make it 'fly'. Keep at it, you've made a great start there. Any questions, lmk.



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With not having a manual to have a look at this will sure help. I understand the basics of. It's either doin someone or not. But the boxes in the flow charts and the values are making me scatch my head. 


1  back to this  now at the bottom part of the flow chart it say dc1 cd1 dc2 cd1  now is the large box at the bottom of the screen a coasting sound 


2 is the yellow boxes at the to a way of making to miss the speed steps and go straight to the sound of the speed set on the controller eg if i turn it to to 126 it would give me full throttle sound 





cheers ian 

Edited by pipparooba
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Hi Pheaton

This is what is needed well done


I PM'ed you about two Word documents I have.

These documents may help others but I do not know how to post/attach them here (If someone does please inform me)

If others would like to see them just PM me


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  • 3 years later...



I've been following your tutorial, which has been really helpful.  I keep getting an error message that says "last transition must be unconditioned", so it wont play sounds or do anything else now, so I've hit a bit of a brick wall with it.


Any help appreciated!



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  • RMweb Gold

Hi Rick,


Any chance you could post a screenshot of your sound layout please?


but it sounds like you have defined a condition on the shutdown sound, or the transition from idle to shutdown, which i dont think is allowed.





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Hi Simon,


Thanks for replying; I fixed the issue I was struggling with, by having a transition looping back into the same state box. The thing I'm currently stuck on is how to make the sound step down to one of two options depending how much you turn the throttle down. I'm sure it must be to do with the conditions of the transitions, I'll take some screen shots and try to explain that better. I've learnt quite a lot just by playing around with the programmer, and by following your guide. I've found some bits of it are quite intuitive and other bits leave me totally lost!





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  • RMweb Gold

So the easiest way is to specify a transition based on speed step but you can have multiple transitions. So one transition might be if speed step <23 then play sound a but another transition from the same container might be if speed step <15 play sound b.

Edited by pheaton
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This is my project so far:




When the loco is at half revs, I'd like it to be able to drop down to either Initial Power via Spool Down To Initial, or to Idle via Spool Down, but I can't seem to make it pick one or the other, it always goes to Initial Power and then to Idle if the throttle is moved down to zero.


Any advice would be great! Cheers




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Hey Rick,


Are you trying to get it to go to 'Spool Down' or 'Spool down to Initial'?

It won't go to 'Spool down' until the loco has stoped moving the transition is set to 'speed=0'


Maybe best to send me a pm if you need some help.

Unless someone else is helping you.

Let me know if you need help. 



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