Author Topic: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?  (Read 1393 times)

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jdcolombo

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Hi folks.

In responding to a question on the DCC subforum, I talked a bit about how I use the Drive Hold, Independent Brake, Run8 and Coast features of the ESU LokSound decoders.  And then I thought it might be useful to gather other experiences with these features in one place - people who haven't used these features might like to see a cross-section of how others ARE using them (and I thought that since this discussion is more about operations with these features, than DCC per se, the general forum would be the right place for this - but the Admins should move it if they think otherwise).

I'll start.  On my home layout, I don't have grades.  So one of the common scenarios for using Drive Hold, Run8 and Coast (taking a loaded train upgrade and/or downgrade) doesn't apply to me.

But I do like playing around with Drive Hold and Independent Brake for yard and switching moves.  Here's the scenario:

You have a heavy loaded train in the yard.  With the engines stopped, engage Drive Hold and throttle up the prime mover.  Release Drive Hold, and with enough momentum programmed in, the engine(s) will then smoothly accelerate to whatever throttle position you have set to throttle up the prime mover.  Very realistic.  And when entering the yard with that heavy loaded train, you can use Drive Hold to throttle down the engine to idle, then release Drive Hold and watch the train slowly come to a stop (assisted, if need be, with the Independent Brake).  The same process can be used with switching moves: activate drive hold, throttle the switcher up to Notch 2, release DH, and the engine will accelerate; to drop a setout, engage drive hold, drop the engine to idle, release DH, and use the independent brake to bring the engine to a stop.  Coast is also sometimes useful to keep the prime mover from throttling up when running engines light (I think maybe the prototype uses Run2, instead of idle, when running light, but I'm not sure, and anyway I like the effect of coast on light moves).

So that's how I use these features on my home layout.  What about others?

John C.

davefoxx

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2018, 04:09:40 PM »
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John,

Thanks for starting this thread.  I really want to learn how to use these features to further increase the realism of my model locomotives.  I saw you post in the other thread about remapping the functions.  I like this idea, because it's difficult to tell on my NCE controller whether functions higher than F6 are on or off.  I just have to determine a standard for the functions of my fleet and then figure out how to remap 'em.

DFF

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Steveruger45

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 05:57:40 PM »
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Thanks John.  And very timely, I am nearly at the stage for trying all this out myself too. Still involved with speed matching at the moment and documenting my fleet.  I forgot how many locos I have and they are nearly all loksounded now too.  I had better hide some in a different storage area as the wife will only see dollar signs spent and not the lovely models.
Steve
Atascocita, Texas

RBrodzinsky

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2018, 06:14:02 PM »
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I have been utilizing Independent Brake much more than Drive Hold. I like the way it brings the locos to a halt, and then I adjust the throttle, if need be. I haven’t done much more than play with Drive Hold, more for demonstration than anything else.
Rick Brodzinsky
Chief Engineer - JACALAR Railroad
Silicon Valley FreeMo-N

soo

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2018, 10:57:12 AM »
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John,
     The few times that I have attempted to run trains, I use the same method as yourself.
     The reason I asked the question on the sub forum is that I am going to get a proto throttle. And I want the throttle and loco to act like the prototype. At least close to real as possible.
     I also think it is a good idea you started this thread.
Laters,Y-it

davefoxx

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2018, 12:05:50 PM »
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Thanks to @jdcolombo's patience and efforts, I have remapped F3, F5, F6, F7, and F9 to DriveHold, Independent Brake, Run 8, Coast, and Dynamic Brake, respectively.  It's working well now, and I'm just beginning to play with these features.  I think that the biggest improvement that I made before I started using Drive Hold and the Independent Brake was to increase the CV for momentum up to a value of 100, so that once Drive Hold and the Independent Brake are released, the locomotive doesn't surge and gradually sets into the throttle setting.  Plus, as I learned on a YouTube video last night, you can release Drive Hold (or the Independent Brake) and then engage it again, to just slowly increase (or decrease) the speed.

Honestly, right now I have my MP15DC on the main making laps with the dynamics fans screaming.  Sounds sweet and reminds me of chasing trains at Saluda. Good times.

Until I really learn how to use these features the way that John suggests in his original post of this thread seems like how I would probably use them.  I'll try to remember to check in down the road once I've got more experience under my belt.

Dave

Oh, and it's blatantly obvious that I am going to have to either convert the "other" decoders in my fleet to LokSound decoders or just sell them off.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 12:07:46 PM by davefoxx »

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Cajonpassfan

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2018, 12:23:33 PM »
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Yes, thanks John, this is a very interesting topic that goes way beyond just a DCC/Electronics discussion IMO. The DCC tools like the "Full Throttle" are a means to achieve a goal, but the real question is just what is the goal; just how do we want to run and experience our trains? We've all been raised with THE KNOB and instantaneous changes in speed. Having different options requires stepping back and looking at the whole experience from a new, fresh perspective. The sound dimension certainly makes this ever more so.

Another thought is that steam and diesels behave differently. I've been experimenting with running steam, mostly Tsunamis, with very high momentum settings (and top speed clipped way down to reflect my mountain grades) and using the "throttle" and "brake" to run and stop. In 28 steps, opening the throttle fairly wide at startup and then easing off like the real thing generates some interesting exhaust sounds; shutting down the throttle to slow down (basically coast in very high deceleration setting) and using the throttle and brakes to handle the train is a lot of fun. But it takes a learning curve (like any other form of art?) BTW, I use NCE, and the "wheel" is a good way to emulate steam throttle operation; open a bit, open wide, pull back, shut down, all in high momentum....

Switching is another matter, especially anything complicated; there is a lot to think about involving the switch job, and adding a layer of complexity and slowing things down is probably not for most people.

I don't yet have a Full Throttle decoder installed, but I am curious how it will work with steam.
Thanks for starting the thread, maybe we can all learn something.... I sure have a lot to learn
Otto K.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 12:28:05 PM by Cajonpassfan »

jdcolombo

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2018, 03:02:08 PM »
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I don't yet have a Full Throttle decoder installed, but I am curious how it will work with steam.
Thanks for starting the thread, maybe we can all learn something.... I sure have a lot to learn
Otto K.

Hi Otto.

Full Throttle works differently with steam than diesel.  With steam, engaging Drive Hold by pressing F9 (on steam sound files, this is called "heavy load" mode) locks the speed, and the throttle impacts the loudness and emphasis of the chuffs.  So I use it a bit differently.  What I do is start a train out of the yard on speed step 1, just crawling.  I engage Drive Hold ("Heavy Load"), and turn the throttle up until the chuffs sound really labored.  Then I use the trick of engaging/disengaging drive hold to slowly bring the train up to track speed.  At that point, I disengage Heavy Load, which causes the chuffs to back down in volume to whatever is normal for your setup (e.g., whatever volume you have set as default for chuffs).  Again, I find this works best with a LOT of momentum built in.

Also, unlike diesel files, there is no Run8 equivalent.  But there is a "coast" and it is usually mapped to F4.  When you engage F4, you lock the speed, and then the throttle can be used to "quiet" the chuffs - a steamer drifting downgrade, for example, will have almost no chuff sound at all - you'll hear more rod clank than chuffs.

Each of these can also be set up so that it doesn't lock the speed, but rather acts as an "offset" to the chuff sound.  Set up this way, Heavy Load and Coast do not lock the throttle; instead, they either increase the loudness/labor of the chuffs by a set amount (Heavy Load) or decrease it by a set amount (coast).  Say, for example, that your usual volume setting for the chuffs is 50.  You can set up Heavy Load with an offset of, say, 60, so that when you engage it, the chuffs will increase in volume (and "laboring") from 50 to 110.  Use Coast to go the opposite direction - offset it by 40, so when going downgrade, if you engage coast, the chuff sound will almost disappear.  The throttle knob still controls speed, but the chuffs will be amplified or quieted by the offset amount.  I've played some with Heavy Load and Coast set up this way, and I kind of like it better than the "lock the speed" way.

Again, once you get used to how to employ these tools, they are very effective.  I can make one of my Berks sound pretty much like the videos I have of them moving a loaded train out of Bellevue.  There is a definite very loud "bark" to the chuffs at the beginning - almost like an explosion, really - until the train starts to move and the bark continues (although somewhat less explosively) until the engine reaches track speed.  On flat areas, you'd hardly hear the chuffs coming from a Berk running 60 mph down the main.  But when starting a train, they were beasts.

John C.

 

jdcolombo

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2018, 03:16:49 PM »
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Plus, as I learned on a YouTube video last night, you can release Drive Hold (or the Independent Brake) and then engage it again, to just slowly increase (or decrease) the speed.

Honestly, right now I have my MP15DC on the main making laps with the dynamics fans screaming.  Sounds sweet and reminds me of chasing trains at Saluda. Good times.

Until I really learn how to use these features the way that John suggests in his original post of this thread seems like how I would probably use them.  I'll try to remember to check in down the road once I've got more experience under my belt.

Dave

Oh, and it's blatantly obvious that I am going to have to either convert the "other" decoders in my fleet to LokSound decoders or just sell them off.

Ah . . . yes, I completely forgot about using the "engage/disengage" trick to control acceleration/deceleration with Drive Hold.  When I'm starting a train out of the yard, I'll engage DH, ramp the throttle up to Notch 2 (one above idle), then momentarily release and immediately re-engage DH to again lock the speed at a crawl.  When I re-engage DH, I ramp the throttle up further, to notch 3 or 4, and then use the engage/disengage trick to slowly bring the train up to the throttle setting, at which point I disengage DH completely.   By combining the "on/off" technique with lots of momentum, you can really stretch out the "moving a loaded train out of the yard" sequence and pretty much exactly match prototype sound.  The downside is that you can really get obsessed with "getting it right" and forget to do things, like, uh . . . set a turnout . . .  :facepalm:

John C.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2018, 03:19:01 PM by jdcolombo »

BCR 570

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 12:42:38 AM »
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Hi John:

Initially I had a lot of difficulty getting f9 Drive Hold to work.  I eventually realized that my CVP throttles will not engage F9 for whatever reason, but my Lenz throttles will.  I have used it to simulate starting a heavy train out of the yard, and when increasing speed with a train.

I don't know anything about the Independent Brake, Coast, etc. so would like to learn about that.


Tim
 
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BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
www.bcrdawsonsub.ca

coosvalley

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 11:10:30 AM »
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Honestly, right now I have my MP15DC on the main making laps with the dynamics fans screaming.   

MP15s didn't have dynamic brakes  ;)


davefoxx

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2018, 11:23:56 AM »
+1
MP15s didn't have dynamic brakes  ;)

Yeah, but it was just for my aural pleasure.

DFF

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coosvalley

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2018, 11:36:18 AM »
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Oh I figured. The Drive Hold feature is probably the first sound feature that makes me consider leaving DC. I probably wouldn't be able to resist either.

carlso

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 12:13:32 PM »
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Thank you John C. for this thread as I am familiar with the post in the subforum that you eluded to.

I have a question that is related to the FT decoders. I have read all the posts that you have made regarding this as well as watched all the ESU, Matt Herman, tutorials plus others on YouTube and I am getting more confused than ever. Let me preface this by saying the club layout is total Digitrax and I have an upgraded 402 that I use. I have played with one loco with Ft and think it is the cats meow. I have consisted 3 units with each having a Loksound FT decoder in it and thought I heard the Drive Hold feature work well. Now, I am thinking I wanted to hear it so bad that I talked myself into believing that I did. Old fart, dontcha know.

I am consisting the normal Digitrax way and am trying to understand that in doing that consisting, which actually lets the system make the consist, that the function such as drive hold will only work on the lead loco and all the others perform normally. So, I need to learn Advanced consisting for proper performance with a Digitrax throttle/system? ? If each FT decoder is set with the same address would I be able to turn off lights, bell, horn, on all the units except the lead one. Would the functions like drive hold work properly on the trailing units? The reason I ask this question is because I have 3 FVM, SP GP60's that are all addressed the same, non sound, and will always be run together. I am wanting to add the ESU FT to them and it would be pretty easy to address them all the same.

I know, clear as mud but would appreciate any help,
Carl
Carl Sowell
El Paso, Texas
Southern New Mexico N Scalers, Las Cruces, New Mexico

jdcolombo

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Re: How do YOU use the Full Throttle features on ESU LokSound decoders?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2018, 12:48:56 PM »
+2
Hi Carl.

1.  If you are using Digitrax's normal universal consisting, you are not getting Drive Hold in any but the lead engine.  Digitrax's universal consisting does NOT send function key commands to the rest of the units in the consist - only speed commands. 

2.  Advanced Consisting will cure this problem, but it is a pain to use with Digitrax systems.  As a result, I don't use it on mine.  The main problem is that on a Digitrax system, you have to program CV19 to activate Advanced Consisting, and you have to do that by manual programming, either on the main or on a programming track.  And you are limited to a TWO-DIGIT address for the consist as a whole.  That's the killer for me.  I don't want to have to remember a separate two-digit address for the consist; I want to be able to dial up the number of the lead engine and go.  But there is even more complication - even after setting up the Advanced Consisting CV's, you then have to set up CV's 21-24 to tell each unit in the consist how it will respond to a function key.  I don't view this as a deal-killer (it's no more complicated than what I'm about to describe below), but the 2-digit address limit IS a deal-killer for me.

3.  Instead, here is what I do.  I assume that in a 3-unit consist, I only want the bell and horn to work on the front unit.  The middle unit will be deaf and dark - no lights, no horn, no bell, ever.  The rear unit will also not do bell or horn, but you want the headlight to go on when the consist is running light in reverse.  So I do the following.  First, I remap Drive Hold, Independent Brake, Run8, and Coast to F4, F5, F6 and F7, respectively in all three units.  If your SD60's have ditch lights, you'll have to figure out what to do about remapping; ditch lights are usually assigned to F6; you could move them to F3.

The first thing I do is remap Drive Hold to F4, Independent Brake to F5, Run8 to F6, and Coast to F7 on EACH unit.  After making these changes, I save the file to the decoder as the DEFAULT for that unit (you'll see why I do this if you keep reading). 

Next, I change the headlight function in the lead unit to be on at all times (whether forward or reverse).   And for the lead unit, I remap F3 to activate the "dimming" function, so that I can dim the headlight manually when I want to do so (my units don't have ditch lights; if they did, I'd probably remap the ditch lights to F3 and the dimmer to F9).

Next, I program the middle unit so that F0, F1, F2 and F3 do nothing.  I don't want this unit having its lights on at any time; I don't want it to sound its horn or ring its bell, or give me the coupler sound (usual sound assignment for F3).  But remember, I DO remap this unit to respond to F4 (Drive Hold), F5 (Independent Brake), F6 (Run8) and F7(Coast). 

Next, I program the rear unit so that F1, F2 and F3 do nothing.  I leave F0 Forward alone, so that if the units are running in reverse, the rear unit's headlight will come on.  I reprogram F0 Reverse so that the rear light on the rear unit never comes on.  I also set this unit for Reverse running.

After having done all this, I program the middle and rear units to the same address as the lead unit.

Now this three-unit set responds as follows.  In the forward direction, the front unit will have its headlight on.  If running in reverse, the rear unit will turn its headlight on, but the front unit's headlight will stay on, and I can dim it if I want with F3.  Pressing F1 causes the bell to activate on the lead unit (but not the others) and F2 blows the horn on the lead unit (but not the others).   F4, F5, F6 and F7 work on all three units, so I can use Drive Hold, Independent Brake, Run8 and Coast with the entire consist responding as though it were a single engine.

This setup works perfectly for me, because I never break apart consists.  If I ever wanted to return the middle unit or rear unit of a consist to its "normal" state, that's easy - just do a factory reset, and everything will change back to default behavior. 

By the way, I have "template" files set up for my LokProgrammer so that I can now do this simply by putting an engine on the programming track, calling up the default template (e.g., Consist Middle Unit) on the LokProgrammer software, hit the "write decoder data" button, and 20 seconds later I'm ready to roll.

The NCE system is far more elegant in how it handles Advanced Consisting (it doesn't have the 2-digit address limit, because it aliases the consist address to the lead engine address for you and keeps track of all this in the command station; other systems, including Digitrax and ESU's own system, will not do this).  But I have other valid reasons for using Digitrax, and again, since I don't break up consists, the system I've developed works just fine for me.

John C.