Provisionary conclusion

Non-compliance with NMRA / NEM recommendations

The result is that the LS Models locomotive electronic board doesn’t comply with the NMRA recommendations (page 2): “When an extended service interface socket (or plug) is built into a locomotive or car by a manufacturer, the manufacturer shall document very clearly which connection is wired to which built-in equipment”. This is obviously not done in the LS Models instructions for use, known for their indigence (as for many other brands). And it would betray their little and not very sympathetic trick…

Last question

Ah! I forgot, excuse me, sir, one last question: is it possible with an ESU decoder (programmed for LS Models of course) to turn on the white (or red) front or rear lights at the same time? I confess that I’ve had a hard time with this! While it's so easy with a Lenz or Zimo decoder!

I answer to myself below!

News of the case (2015)!

Since the writing of this article, many trains had passed under bridges, and I acquired a Lokprogrammer, which allows among other to test some options much more quickly and comfortably than with a command station.

Testing with the Lokprogrammer

Going into the Function mapping part of the Lokprogrammer software, after loading the contents of the decoder of course, you can see how all the function keys are programmed. In the case of the BB 16677 which I used as a guinea pig, I did find the above ascertainments, plus a mysterious affectation: Stop, Forward → Rear light [1] and Drive, Forward → Rear light [1]. Meaning: assign the Stop forward and Forward states to Tail lights output. I recall that the lighting of the taillights is assigned to a single output, AUX4. If I disable Stop, Forward → Rear light [1] and Drive, Forward → Rear light [1], the lights will not reverse any more! That's it ! Eureka! This output sends the signal of direction change to the electronic board, which is probably equipped with an inverter for the receivers that need it: white lights, red lights and cabin light.

Definitive conclusion (?)

The result of all that is that I definitely cannot get the white or red lights on both faces at the same time, since I do not have programmatic access to the direction inversion.

Using the ESU decoder outputs in a conventional way (Front light 1 and 2 for white lights, AUX1 and AUX2 for reds, AUX3 and AUX4 for the cabs), we could have obtained all the present features plus the possibility of lighting the lights, both white and red, on each side. Thanks again LSM!

I hardly understand the motives of the designers. Okay, we're going to somehow go through an exclusivity contract with ESU, but we're going to get a hard work searching a twisted solution and get customers angry. Oh yes, I forgot: even angry, even if it is more expensive, the customers in question (including me!) will continue to buy, so why bother?