The NEW home for the "OLD" Tutorials Tip & Tricks

Tutorials, Tips & Tricks -->>

Tutorials, Tips & Tricks -->>


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ESU LokSound Chuff Matching


This is a demonstration of the accuracy and capability of digital chuff matching with the ESU decoder line.  This is a really cool feature that allows you to fine tune the chuff timing of the ESU LokPilot and LokSound v4.0 and Select decoders.  The process is incredibly simple and the results are amazingly accurate.

Most steam engines chuff at a rate of four chuffs per drive wheel revolution.  Of course there are exceptions so consult your prototype.  Articulated locomotives are basically just two cylinder / driver assemblies fed by a single boiler.  Each set chuffs independently at the same rate but the sets are almost always out of phase.

Here is an illustrated explanation of cylinder timing for a traditional steam locomotive for those who need to know...

Please note that while it is possible to accurately replicate timing in chuffs per revolution, there is no method provided by any DCC manufacturer to affect the clocking of the chuff, e.g chuffs corresponding to 3-6-9-12 o'clock.  That level is only possible using a mechanical input.


ESU LokSound Chuff Matching Demonstration

How To Set Chuff Timing



Set up is very easy and is best done using Program On Main programming.  Of course you can do this on the programming track, it just takes a little longer. 

I strongly recommend performing an Auto-Tune calibration run before working with chuff timing as this will affect your results.  Auto-Tune will also go a long way towards calibrating the motor for silky smooth drive rod action.

You should also make any adjustments to the speed table to affect the top speed and acceleration curve of the model before working with chuff timing as this will affect the chuff rate as well.

Finally, if you are working with an articulated locomotive sound file, it may be easier to set the timing by disabling the secondary articulated chuff.  Read the current value of CV250 then set it to 0.  When you are finished, reprogram CV250 to the original value.

TIP - You can make any steam sound file articulated or non-articulated by simply setting the value of CV250 to 0 for no secondary chuff or not equal to 0 for secondary chuff.


If you have a LokProgrammer or use DecoderPro software, make a note of the current values in CV 57, 58 and 249 of the project loco.  


Place the locomotive on a clear, straight section of track at least four (4) feet long.

Set the loco to Speed Step 1 and count the chuffs per revolution.  

Adjust CV57 until you have the chuff rate timed perfectly.

Now set the loco to Speed Step 4 (or the highest speed you can accurately count chuffs per revolution).

Adjust CV58 until the chuffs are timed perfectly again.

TIP - It may be necessary to adjust CV57 and CV58 a couple times to get the values in the right range to work well together.

Finally, set the loco to a speed close to the top speed you typically operate at.

Adjust CV249 if needed to set the minimum space between chuffs at full speed to reduce the staccato effect of too high a chuff rate at high speed.

CV57 - set up to sync at speed step 1.
CV58 - adjust as needed to maintain sync as speed increases.
C249 - adjust if needed to set the minimum space between chuffs at full speed (to avoid the sometimes objectionable staccato effect of too high a chuff rate at high speed).

That's it... near perfect chuff timing without a cam.

For some icing on the cake, go back to the LokProgrammer and read the decoder values in the current sound project.  Now write those values back to the decoder to make them the default values so that when you have to do a decoder reset, the current setting

Some Icing On Your LokCake?

For some icing on that cake, go back to the LokProgrammer and read the decoder values into the current sound project.  

Now write those values back to the decoder so that the current settings will be the new default values stored in the decoder.

Now when you have to do a decoder reset, you won't have to redo your work...


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