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ZS03P Class 03 ActiveDrive Enhanced User Notes V19.01

Please spend a few moments to read these notes which have been produced so that you may obtain the maximum satisfaction from your new sound scheme.

The sounds should work perfectly when the decoder is fitted correctly. Individual locos may require some fine tuning that you can achieve with your DCC controller.

What is ActiveDrive Enhanced?

This is a system developed to allow more prototypical sounds to be deployed across a wide range of operating conditions.

The sounds have been programmed in such a way that almost all control/engine sound changes can be achieved by using the throttle alone, augmented by features which are automatic in operation but which can be switched On or Off with F keys.

We consider that this is particularly important for a shunting loco to avoid the operator constantly looking at the controller’s buttons when manoeuvring.

It works fine in 128 step mode but as theses locos have a low top speed, you may find that using 28 speed step option to be more convent to operate.

Engine Starting

Warm Start.  Engage F1 and wait for the steady idle sound.

Cold Start. Engage F5 first then F1. Engine will crank several times before starting. The engine will ‘hunt’ several times before settling down to normal Idle. (F8 can then be disengaged if required)

The model cannot be driven until the Idle sound is playing. (On the real loco this would be when there is sufficient air to operate the brakes, so this is a safety feature).

Throttle Response Scheme.

As supplied, the decoder will produce the sounds of a Class 03 shunting loco with a train on the hook.

After the start-up routine the loco will stand with the diesel engine ticking over at Idle.

The sounds will respond to the throttle control in the following way:

Select speed step 1. The brakes will release, the PM will increase power to get the loco moving, and will continue until at higher speed, a gear change will be initiated. This will be repeated until the 5th gear (top) is achieved. The exact speed steps will depend upon your model, so we suggest you make a note of the actual figures for your later use.

The sounds will change down at similar points on deceleration.

The model can be driven in this way without ever needing to use any control other than the throttle.

For those of you who prefer something more immersive, there are extra control features to further enhance your driving pleasure.

Gear Changing

These are the approximate speed steps where the upward gear changes take place but will be subject to the gearing of the actual model in which it is used. 1, 6, 12, 17, 23

 (The 128 speed step equivalents are: 1, 23, 50, 75, 101)

Down changes are similarly placed.

By design, and to give an alternative driving style, large throttle movements will cause the sound to skip some/all intermediate gear changes.

For full 5 gear progression, restrict your throttle setting to no more than SS 8 in one movement on starting. After two changes have occurred, wind on the speed steps gradually, passing each gear change threshold as you progress, until top gear is reached.

Changing down is possible to intermediary gears, but again requires a gentle touch. More that circa 8 speed steps (of 28) reduction in one go will put the model into coast. When the road speed decreases to match the dialed Speed Steps, the Idle sound will continue playing, but a single SS increase (or more) will trigger a single gear change and engine rev increase appropriate to the dialed speed.

Alternatively, F6 can be used to put the engine sound into ‘Coast’, whilst allowing the throttle to be used to control the road speed. Releasing F6 will cause the sound to return to the dialed SS, using the inbuilt logic to determine whether to go through all the gears or not.

This may sound complicated on first reading but in reality very little practice will be required for proficiency.


No matter what actual speed your model is travelling at, or which engine note range is playing, reducing the throttle by 10 speed steps (of 128) will spool down the engine sounds to ‘Coasting’

The coasting sound will continue until you accelerate; at which point the sounds will change to those relevant to the current speed.

Alternatively, to force the engine to play idling sounds, or to avoid engine ramp up when pottering about the yard, use F6 at any time

Heavy Train/Light Engine Mode Selection

The default setting is for ‘heavy train’. Inertia is high so acceleration (and deceleration) is restricted.

Activated by F5, Light Engine mode enables reduced inertia setting to allow more rapid acceleration and deceleration.

F5 can be operated at any speed to give another way in which the model’s response to control inputs may be modified instantly.

Dynamic Inertia

A combination of new features is included in the automatic operation of the throttle which will affect how the model responds to your control inputs.

The operation is identical in either ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ mode.

Put in simple terms, the wider you open the power controller, the quicker the gear change  sounds occur and for the first time on any decoder, the acceleration rate increases correspondingly.  What does this mean in practice?

If you use your controller’s throttle gently, with modest speed step increases, then the engine will rise and fall automatically and the model will accelerate according to the momentum setting. This is by default high for ‘heavy’ and low for ‘light’.

If however, you open the throttle rapidly, the gears will change up to top gear missing out some intermediary gears and initial acceleration will be approximately 3 times quicker. This change in acceleration rate is variable and dependent upon throttle operation.


F2 will give the sound of air brake applications. They can be ‘dabbed’ or held for varying length. The sound will respond accordingly.

However, if the throttle is reduced beforehand, as a real driver would do before braking, a braking force will be applied which will continue to increase the longer F2 is held. Short dabs will provide speed trimming, held down continuously will result in a controlled ‘Emergency Stop’.

PowerCab users please note that the Horn/Whistle button operates the same sound/function as the F2 Key, but set as ‘momentary’. This facilities the precise operation of the brakes and should be used instead of F2.

Other systems may have F2 set to operate as ‘momentary’ by default, or can be set to do so.

New Features

In this the Enhanced version there are three new features added.

1 ‘Straight Brake’ or Loco Brake air release sound plays automatically a few seconds after the loco comes to a halt. This is fully automatic and requires no operator intervention.

2. Flange Squeal. Operated by F9 as usual, but in this project the sound will not play when speed is zero. This means it can be safely used in close quarters shunting without needing to be manually disengaged. (No embarrassing flange squealing from a stationary loco).

Furthermore, there are both slow speed and higher speed flange sounds available. The sound project automatically selects the correct sample depending upon the actual speed of the model.

(The transition occurs circa speed step 10 of 28 or 41 of 128)

3. Wagons ‘hunting’. This feature is engaged with F13. It does not play sounds when the loco is not moving so it can be left engaged at all times if preferred.

It can be used to simulate the sound of  3 link couplings ‘snatching’ on harsh acceleration or wagon buffering sounds on deceleration (or rough braking) by varied use of the throttle control.

In the default ‘Heavy Train’ mode, i.e. with F5 not engaged, the action is as follows:

From Standing, open throttle no more than 8 speed steps (of 28) at a time. The model will accelerate normally, with gear changes occurring at the respective speed steps. No snatching sounds will be played.

From Standing, open the throttle by 8 speed steps or more and the buffering sounds will play. This will happen at any time the throttle is increased by this amount.

When moving, reduce speed by no more that 9 steps at a time. The model will decelerate normally, with gear changes determined by the decoder.

When moving, reduce speed by 10 speed steps or more and buffering sounds will play. This will happen at any time the throttle is increased by this amount.

With the model moving at slow speed, operate the Brake Key. If this key is active at the point at which the model stops moving, the buffering sound will play as the wagons close up on stopping.

Shunt Mode

We’ve also included a ‘shunt mode’ because the Class 03 is primarily a shunter but it’s enabled by F21 since most operators will find the smooth control afforded by the main driving scheme sufficiently precise for accurate shunting. If needed, this feature reduces road speed to half and removes all inertia and momentum, allowing maximum control precision for close shunting work.

Live Volume Control

Provided the sound is switched on and the ‘fade’ button is not active, it is possible to change the overall volume to suit changing needs.

Engage F27 and the sound levels will gradually reduce, eventually to silence

Engage F28 and the sound levels will gradually increase, eventually to maximum.

In each case, disengage the F key when the desired level is attained. Set F27 and F28 as ‘momentary’ if your DCC controller allows you to do so.

Note: If the volume controls appear to not function, check that F19, F27 and F28 are disengaged before making a further attempt.

It’s now down to your skill and knowledge to simulate any eventuality!

Function List – Class 03 V19.01

F Key



Lights (if fitted)


Sound On/Off


Brake Key (see text)


Playable  Horn


Acknowledgement Horn


Heavy Train/Light Engine/Cold Start Selection


Engine Idle/Coasting


Toot Toot Horn


Medium Duration Horn


Enable Speed Related Flange Squeal   (See Text)


Cab Light (AUX 1)


Buffer Up




Enable Automatic Wagon Buffering Sounds


‘Squeeze Up’


‘Going Under’


Windscreen Wipers


Despatch Whistle

18 On

Door Open

18 Off

Door Slam


Fade All Sounds


Shunting Lights (Aux 2 and 3)


Shunt Mode (half speed, no inertia)












Volume Down


Volume Up

Delivery & Returns

Delivery & Returns

If returning any product please can you ensure you send it back to us with proof of purchasing, a covering letter and contact details. See terms and conditions for full information on our returns policy.