ESU Loksound and LokPilot Guide

With the release of the V5 ESU Loksound decoders there a few changes to the product line.
Here is a brief overview of the new products and what ESU has to offer with their decoder line.

You can split their decoders into several categories

  • Loksound V5 decoders divided into the Micro, Standard, L  & XL models
  • LokPilot Standard & V4.0 line of motor decoders

ESU Loksound

The first thing to note is most of the hardware is identical.  In fact, most of their decoder are variations of the Loksound Micro Next 18 decoder with different adapters attached to this decoder.

ESU makes two variations of most of their Decoders: First is the MM – or multiple protocol version, and the DCC version. The MM is more common in Europe where there are multiple systems with similar functionality to DCC, while in the USA / North America Region most modelers use DCC and only need the DCC variant.  You will find that typically the DCC version is more cost effect then getting the MM version.  For the sake of this article we will primarly reference the DCC Version of Decoders: 

Loksound Micro family:

Most of the Loksound Micro Decoders are based off the Next18 connector with adapters to meet the different requirements of the different use cases:

Full Sized Loksound Decoders

The Loksound Director is a fully functioning decoder intended to replace the board found in most locomotives. The decoder itself is a Loksound Next18 ecoder on the ESU Director board

Large Loksound Decoder

This decoder is inteded for the large Scales such as “O” or “G”

ESU LokPilot

The LokPilot line of the decoders is ESU nonsound decoders.  Like the Loksound decoders they come in a variation of form factors and connectors

Another main difference between the LokPilot is the ability to get versions that have less functions

Full Function LokPilot

In addition, there are several “standard” and nano LokPilot Decoders that may have reduced function outputs or come in smaller form factors

ESU Accessories

ESU LokProgrammer

ESU 53452 – LokPgrammer
The primary tool for working with all ESU products is called the LokProgrammer. You do not have to own one of these, although it does make working with ESU decoders so much easier. The LokProgrammer can receive regular software updates from ESU making sure you always have the most current software available.

ESU Decoder Tester

ESU 563900 – Decoder Tester
The ESU Decoder tester is a great compain tool with the ESU LokPogrammer. While it is not required to have both, working in tangem they allow to you to program or test a decoder without the need of installing the decoder inside of a locomotive.
The decoder tester includes essentials such as a motor, a speaker and LEDs indicating the activation of various function output tools. It allows you to achive confidence in your decoder before the proccess of installing it.