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ESU LokSound

73100-73199 Select Direct Micro

Application Notes


Last Updated 171109


ESU has recently released a new decoder format that is worth a dedicated page to collect my notes on specifications and applications.

The NEW format is dubbed the Direct Micro and is intended to be a universal N Scale drop-in style board replacement sound decoder.

For sure, this new model has and will continue to see many new OEM applications from Atlas, Fox Valley Models, InterMountain, Kato and others.

Nothing but good stuff here... finally... a "ride down the king's highway"...

ESU 73100 LokSound Select Direct Micro
ESU 73199 LokSound Select Direct Micro OEM


ESU 54650 LokPilot V4.0 Direct Micro OEM

Working with Narrow Hood units in N scale? 

The NEW 6 output function LokSound Select Direct Micro decoder was designed with this purpose in mind! 

The LokSound Select is a versatile DCC & DC “Dual Mode” decoder integrating a full-featured, 8 channel sound system, and a .75A motor controller. 

The NEW LokSound Select Direct Micro only measures 2.60 inch long x .32 inch wide by only .18 tall (66mm x 8.2mm x 4.5mm) making it the world´s narrowest LokSound decoder! 

And, one of the only 6 function output Micro Sound decoders on the market! 

We ship the LokSound Select Direct Micro in 2 form factors. 

A Retail version which will drop into many pre-2016 Atlas and InterMountain Locos, (and others with minor modification) and an OEM version which is made as an upgrade to DC Locos that came from the factory with ESU Sound. 

This allows flexible installation in your favorite N scale models. 

Due to its unique thermal design, it (like all genuine LokSound decoders) does not need any heat sinks. 

For LokSound Select decoders, we offer a comprehensive range of new high-power speakers. 

This includes our 50321 11mm x15mm cell phone type speakers! 

Operational modes 

The LokSound Select can be used on conventional “analog” layouts and controlled with a DC power pack, but to benefit from all its features, we highly recommend DCC operation. 

The LokSound Select follows all NMRA DCC standards and recommended practices. 

It can be used with 14, 28 or 128 speed steps, supports two digit (7 bit addresses) as well as “4-digit” addressing. 

Up to 29 function keys are supported. 

The LokSound Select can change between DC and DCC operation at any time “on the fly”. 

Of course, the LokSound Select supports all DCC-programming modes including Programming on the Main Track (“POM”). 

Because of its unique low-power design, the LokSound Select can be programmed on the programming track of all popular DCC systems. 

No programming track boosters or other circuitry will be needed. 

By the use of our LokSound Programmer, programming can be even more comfortable by using your computer to adjust the many CVs and settings. 


The LokSound Select comes with a 32 MBit memory chip. 

The sounds stored therein are our own recordings which were made by using the latest recording equipment and have been digitally re-mastered for the best audio possible. 

The sounds are transferred to a class “D” audio amplifier via eight polyphonic sound channels. 

LokSound Select decoders offer the following unique features: 

Multiple whistle and horns: Each LokSound Select offers many whistle & horns. By just changing one CV, you can select your favorite one. This allows an easier adjustment to your model. 

Playable horn: The LokSound Select supports a very fast responding horn function. By just pressing your throttle‘s button, you can really blow the whistle like the real engineer. 

8 channel sound: The LokSound Select can playback up to 8 sounds at the same time. This will result in the most realistic experience available today. 

Synchronized brake squeal: The LokSound Select will synchronize the brake squeal sound with the real movement of the locomotive. No longer will stopped trains have the brake sound still on! 

“Full Throttle Features”: The diesel speed steps can be either manually controlled by function keys or automatically based on the speed. 

Individual volume control: The volume of all sound effects can be adjusted individually. 

Diesel decoders can produce over 20 sound effects, including the engine start-up and shutdown, prime mover sounds through all eight notches, bell, air horn, air compressor, dynamic brakes, fans, brake squeals, coupling and uncoupling, detector sounds, rail clank and many more. 

Customize your sounds 

Unlike other manufacturers, LokSound Select offers you two options to customize your engine. 

The most simple is by using one (!) CV. You can select the prime mover sound, the desired whistle or horn and the bell. 

Each LokSound Select offers various options on that. 

However, if you are still unsatisfied with the result, you may at any time use the famous LokSound Programmer to download new sounds into the LokSound Select. 

We offer numerous “ready-made” sound packages for easy downloading. 

Superior motor control ESU offers load compensation (using B-EMF) since 1999. 

While other manufacturers seem only to focus on the sound options, the LokSound Select offers the 5th generation of motor control resulting in a smooth and precise locomotive operation. 

We at ESU believe that good motor control is mandatory for model trains: Even the best sound is worthless if the locomotive running is not smooth! 

Regardless if you are using coreless or conventional DC motors, the LokSound Select’s unique auto-detection function can measure the characteristics and adjust the internal settings. 

There is no need to fiddle around with many CVs to adjust to the engine. 

Due to Dynamic Drive Control (DDC) you can limit the influence of the load control and operate really smoothly around the depot and over turnouts, while on the main, when going uphill the engine prototypically slows down. 

Shining lighting effects 

LokSound Select Direct Micro decoders have 6 function outputs with the possibility of using constant current of 50mA each. 

These outputs can be assigned individually. 

All important light functions like Flashing ditchlights, Gyrolight, Mars light, and so on are provided including an individual adjustment of brightness for each function. 

Besides D312 Rotary beacon, strobe and alternate flashing, Mars light, Gyralight, Ditch lights (two types), Oscillating Headlights, Stratolight and many more. 

The Rule 17 dimmable headlight can be either controlled automatically or by function button. 

A LED mode brightness correction feature now also allows using LEDs for lighting effects. 

This is an important feature since LEDs do behave different than bulbs. (Pulse Width Modulation) 


All function outputs and the motor connection are protected against overload and short-circuit. 

We want you to enjoy your LokSound decoder as long as possible. 

Built-in Futures 

LokSound Select decoders are firmware-updatable. 

This means, the internal decoder software can be replaced by new versions, if necessary. 

For this, you only need an ESU LokSound Programmer and a PC.
Click on the links below to download copies of the quick start guides for each ESU Select Direct Micro model.


Operation Modes

  • NMRA DCC with 14, 28 or 128 speed steps
  • 2-digit (short) and 4-digit (long) addresses
  • Anaolg DC operation (de-selectable)
  • Automatic recognition of operational mode and DCC speed step selection
  • Supports Lenz LG100 braking sections, ABC brake sections and brake on DC


  • Runs DC and Coreless motors
  • 0.75A Continuous Load / 1.00A Peak Load
  • Silent, safe 40,000 kHz pulse width frequency motor BEMF
  • Motor output overload protected
  • Shunting speed and momentum key selectable

Sound (excludes 54650)

  • Audio Amplifier: 1.5W @ 4 ohms load
  • Speaker impedance: between 4 ohms and 16 ohms
  • Memory Capacity: 32 Mbit
  • 8 sound channels, all playable at once!
  • Library of over 100 sounds available for download

Programming features

  • DCC Service mode & DCC POM (Program On Main)
  • Railcom feedback system
  • Railcom Plus Automatic registration

Function Outputs

  • 6 powered outputs
  • 50mA Load per output

Model 73100

  • Output F0F and F0R available on soldering pads (3mm LEDs included and must be adjusted to length)
  • Output AUX1 and AUX2 hardwired to LEDs
  • Outputs AUX3 and AUX4 available on soldering pads

Model 73199 and 54650

  • Output F0F and F0R hardwired to LEDs
  • Output AUX1 and AUX2 hardwired to LEDs
  • Outputs AUX3 and AUX4 hardwired to LEDs? and available on soldering pads


  • 2.60 x 0.32 x 0.18 inch (66.0 x 8.2 x 4.5 mm) 


ESU LokSound Select Direct Micro 73100 Circuit Board Dimensions
ESU LokSound Select Direct Micro 73199-54650 Circuit Board Dimensions

Application Notes

Programming The Select Direct Micro

So this first question encountered is how to program a decoder like this.  Hopefully ESU will release an extension board for the 53900 LokTester to make the task painless but until then... what to do?

The simplest solution I have used for years with similar type decoders is to make a harness with test clips that plugs in easily to the 53900 LokTester.

This harness was made using a TCS 1358 21MTC Adapter Board and SBS4DCC Test Clips.


73100 Function Outputs

So the first thing I notice about the new board is that it is billed as a true 6-function output decoder.

Well... I dunno...  It is truly a 6 function decoder but there is a catch...

So the back story goes something like the board was originally designed for OEM applications and was only made available for retail sale after the many N Scale voices were finally heard.

The catch is that AUX1 and AUX2 have LEDs physically soldered to the circuit board in lieu of traditional solder pads.

I suppose it is manageable but it really limits the board to four useable functions unless you can use these on-board LEDs for front and rear headlights since they are 0402s which will be quite a challenge to remove and replace with wired LEDs.

The on-board LEDs on the 73199 will be fairly easy remove and replace with wired parts as needed.

The gotcha here is that the 73100 has the most flexible contact/motor pad arrangement while the 73199 has to be modified but can be most easily made to a six useable function decoder. 

Just have to make it work as usual. 

"Ain't nothin' easy 'bout N Scale".

Installation Notes

InterMountain SD40T-2

Here is the pre-2017 IM SD40T-2 chassis with the 73199 and a 9x16mm SBS4DCC Sugar Cube Speaker. This is the model 4077. The baffle will need cut down just hair for the shell to sit properly.

Kato GG-1

Here is the Kato GG-1 chassis with a 73100.  The frame contact pads top-side motor pads line up well with the OEM board.  Final fit-up and speaker placement will still take some effort.

For the speaker, I think I would mill off a couple flat spots on each nose for an 8x12mm SBS4DCC Sugar Cube Speaker.


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