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Con-Cor NYC Aerotrain: Adding gyralights

Dual Programming jig - F0F.jpg
Dual Programming jig - F0R.jpg
April 1, 2019


This is a programming platform I've been developing for programming two separate decoders to be used in a Con-Cor Aerotrain.  The decoder at the bottom is a Loksound Select; the other decoder is a TCS FL4 (light function only) decoder.

The Loksound Select will power the motor, sound, and the front headlights.  The TCS FL4 will power the rear taillights on the observation car and set for gyraliting - at least that's the goal.


The photo at the bottom shows how the board is wired.  The desire was to create a platform that was flexible using male pin headers, female socket headers, and jumpers, with LEDs and resistors easily swapped out or rearranged, as needed.

More to follow after I am able to remap some functions...

Dual Programming jig - Schematic.JPG
April 11, 2019

Well, I've modified the board somewhat since 4/1; adding terminal blocks for the AUX wires for both the TCS FL4 and Loksound decoders, although the latter is not presently connected that way.


I have a Loksound Select Micro decoder arriving in the mail later today and will re-shoot the video when I have a chance hook it up and validate all the AUX functions.  Needless to say, there are a LOT of jumper wires.

[NOTE: To enlarge the video, click on the "Enlarge Full Screen" icon in the lower right corner of the video screen.]

About the video: The larger Loksound decoder controls the left F0F & F0R LEDs and the TCS FL4 decoder controls the right two F0F & F0R LEDs.  These correspond to the front headlights and rear taillights on the Aerotrain locomotive and observation car, respectively.  By pressing F5, I can make either of the two rear taillights change from gyralighting to constant light and back again.  And both decoders are programmed to the same address of "1001".

April 13, 2019

Loksound Select Micro operating the front (left) LEDs and a TCS FL4 operating the rear (right) LEDs.  Buttons and sequence of light-effects listed below:


Front headlights & rear taillights off - 0:05 - 0:10

HEADLIGHT (F0F) - 0:10 - 0:25

  • Outer front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight (default)

  • F5 (on) - Outer front headlights on/rear right taillight on

  • F5 (off) - Outer front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight (default)

HEADLIGHT (F0R) - 0:25 - 0:40

  • Rear headlight on/rear left taillight with gyralight (default)

  • Rear headlight on/rear left taillight on constant (using F5)

  • Rear headlight on/rear left taillight with gyralight (default)

HEADLIGHT (F0F) - 0:40 - 1:05

  • Outer front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight (default)

  • F6 (on) - Outer & inner front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight

  • F6 & Headlight (off) - Inner front gyralights headlights sans front headlights and rear taillights

  • F6 & Headlight (on) - Outer & inner front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight

  • F6 (off) - Outer front headlights on/rear right taillight with gyralight (default)

  • Front headlights & rear taillight off- 1:05 - 1:10

The only thing I would still like to accomplish is to be able to activate the inner front headlights so that they can alternate between constant on, gyralight, and off.  I can set them up for on/off or gyralight/off but not all three.

I'm looking forward to eventually moving the TCS FL4 decoder off the test platform and into the observation car of the Aerotrain.

Aerotrain - Observation car PCB - Labele
April 21, 2019

After several days of experimenting and rewiring, I thinking I've done something to the TCS FL4 decoder.  The right F0R taillight works flawlessly but the left F0F taillight is not responding how it was originally programmed.

I've rewired the common(+) in several configurations but the lighting remains unchanged.  I even copied the CV values from Decoder Pro to the decoder again but still no change.


Hopefully I didn't fry something on the FL4 decoder.   The only way to know, however, is to purchase another FL4, reprogram it with the same values, and try again.

Aerotrain - TCS FL4 decoder wiring 1.jpg
Aerotrain - TCS FL4 decoder wiring 2.jpg
Aerotrain - Observ Car wiring.jpg
April 28, 2019

Eureka!  My replacement TCS FL4 decoder arrived today and I temporarily soldered it to the light board of the observation car.  Once I verified that both rear taillight LEDs were lighting properly on the FL4's auxiliary settings, I copied the proper roster file from JMRI Decoder Pro to the FL4.  AUX 1 & 2 and AUX 3 & 4 gave me a gyralight-effect for F0F & F0R and constant light when pressing F5.  I then fitted, trimmed, and soldered the FL4 wires to the light board and snapped the shell back onto the base.

I'll upload a video soon showing the rear taillights of the observation car flashing in gyralight and constant light mode.  The rear F0R taillight is pretty blinding so I may solder another 2K  of resistance to tone it down some.

UPDATE: Below is the uploaded video.  I lowered the lighting of the room so that the lighting effects would not be washed out. 

The gyralight values used for the decoders are as such in Decoder Pro:

  • Loksound Select (F0F) - Function Settings > General Physical Output Settings > Rate for Blinking Effects: 23

  • TCS FL4 (F0R) - Lights > Mars/Gyra Max Bright Time: 46

This gives the effect of a gyralight flash rate of slightly over 1 sec.  (1.11 sec. or 54 per min. - to be exact)  This matches several videos of gyralight flash rates found on YouTube.

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