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This is a premium soundfile for your chosen Zimo sound decoder purchase. Cannot be bought on its own. Does not include decoder. Also available as a reblow or coded download please call.




ZS53P ‘Falcon’ ProtoDrive SL V17.11

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 ProtoDrive SL?

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 you, the user, may change the way that the sounds respond to your driving style or needs. This avoids the need for reprogramming and all the additional costs that would imply.



Throttle Response Scheme.

As supplied, the decoder will produce the sounds of a Class 52 with a train on the hook.

After the start-up routine the loco will stand with the diesel engines, 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 further ramp up will be initiated until the final high speed running sounds begin. The precise speed steps will depend upon your model, so I suggest you make a note of the actual figures for your later use.

The sounds will spool 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, in this custom version there are extra control features to further enhance your driving pleasure.



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


Notch Down

During any driving sound ‘loop’, at any speed, it is possible to cause the engine power to spool down to the level immediately below. This is easily achieved by reducing the speed by one step only E.g., if the loco is playing power band 3 sounds, reducing speed with your throttle by one step will cause the sound to immediately spool down to the sound of power band 2, if in power band 1, it will spool down to idle.

Acceleration of one speed step or more will immediately ramp the sound back up to the higher power. So you can now, at any road speed, vary the engine note by reducing or adding a single speed step.

So you can now, at any road speed, vary the engine note by reducing or adding a single speed step.



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 enables multi-function changes with one key. The switched features include reduced inertia setting to allow more rapid acceleration and engine sounds which accelerate differently.

F5 can be operated at any speed to give another way in which the engine sounds at a given road speed may be modified instantly.


Note. This works best if you switch F5 on or off whilst the engine sounds are playing in idle. Once switched, you can leave it that way, but any further change should also be made with the engine sound again playing the idle loop. Just to be clear, the actual speed is unimportant, but the engine sound must be idling. You can achieve this in several ways as discussed above.


 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 engine sounds ramp up 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 engine will ramp up to full power and acceleration will be approximately 3 times quicker. This change in acceleration rate is variable and dependent upon throttle operation.



Working Brakes

This exciting feature finally enables you to stop your locomotive by using a prototypically progressive braking force which will actually cause your model’s speed to be retarded under you direct control, whatever momentum you have set in CV4.

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.


Speed Lock

This feature allows the road speed to be locked whilst the throttle control is used to control the engine power sounds playing.


Accurately simulating the sound of a heavy train slowly climbing a gradient with engine at full power is as easy as depicting it coasting down a gradient with the engine at Idle with this single new feature.


Here’s how it works.


Engage the Speed Lock Key, (F7) to fix the model’s road speed temporarily. The throttle now directly controls the engine sounds only. Increase speed steps to apply more power, decrease speed steps to spool the engine down to lower power bands or to Idle.


Disengage the Speed Lock Key when you wish to return control of the model’s speed to the throttle.



Sound Set CV Changes.

If you have a short end to end layout, or wish to trundle about ‘on shed’ CV#265 = 102 will change the way the decoder responds to your controller by changing many other CVs simultaneously. The main outcome is that the upward sound transitions begin at a lower speed and occur more quickly. (It’s possible to get a ‘00’ loco from standstill to full thrash and back down to idle before stopping - all within 6 feet of track!.

This is a ‘legacy’ feature required when earlier software versions were in use. It still operates in the same way, but the new driving algorithms are so versatile as to make this method largely redundant.





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


F Key



Setting CV





Sound On/Off



Brake Key (see text)



Low Horn (Hold to extend duration)



Two Tone Horn



Light Engine



Engine Idle



Speed Lock



Function Outputs 1 and 2 (Directional)



Flange Squeal



Toot Toot Horn



Hi Toot



Spirax Valves






Door slam



Station Ambience



Destroy Vacuum






Hi-Lo-Lo-Hi Horn



Fade All Sounds
























Volume Down



Volume Up




Driving Technique


At any time, and in any sound set, F6 will force the sounds to either hold idle or spool down to idle sounds. This affects only the sounds, actual speed is unaltered.


So, you can engage F6 before moving and the sounds will continue at idle even when the loco moves. Use this for light engine movements, where no extra power is required.


Or you can use F6 when already moving and the sounds will revert to idle for Coasting.


Releasing F6 in both cases allow the sound to go to the appropriate power level determined by the throttle position.


Try this:


The speed steps shown are just an example, it will operate similarly at all speed steps.


Engage F6 before driving off. Accelerate to speed step 65, release F6. The power will instantly begin to rise to full power.


Or this:



Engage F6 before driving off. After a short distance, stop the loco.


Press F13.


Change direction.


Release F6 before driving off. Now the power will ramp up before your loco begins to move. (Simulating a heavy train on the hook).



Congratulations, you now know how to roll, light engine, up to a train. Then couple up and drive away under power.


If you reduce speed gradually before stopping, the project will put the loco automatically into Coast mode at low speed, enabling a dignified halt without the engine sounds playing at full power. This is an automatic, low speed, alternative to manually controlled coasting using F6.



Remember.  These new features will not operate correctly in 14 or 28 speed step modes. Using 126/127 speed step mode also allows imperceptible speed changes which nevertheless still trigger the sounds to change as described.


Paul Chetter


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.