The following text by Heinz Däppen from 2013 describes the ZIMO Advanced Standard developed by Däppen and Matthias Henning at the time, which is still partly used by the two sound providers in their sound projects today, but no longer corresponds to the standard valid at ZIMO today.

"ZIMO Advanced Standard" for Sound Projects

8 years ZIMO Sound Decoder –
                     Time for a new Standard

Heinz Däppen

Since 2005, Sound Decoders are available from ZIMO, meanwhile there were some generational changes. The customer feedback and dialogue with the sound designers who work for ZIMO, meant that the scope of the decoder has been greatly expanded and will continue to expand going forward; currently (mid 2013) we stop at software version 33 While this current software is still available in a version for the sound decoder of the produced in the first hour (Large Scale decoder MX690). A ZIMO sound decoder has received thus in the last 8 years a significant added value for free.

ZIMO introduced with the first sound projects a standard configuration, which was primarily focused on steam and diesel locomotives. In the meantime, the decoder can do much more, the newer software versions take into account, inter alia, and electric locomotives, but the old standard could not use the new possibilities.

Therefore, there has been a rather loose organization of sound projects from the various sources: ZIMO internally, ZIMO on behalf of or in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and ZIMO external sound designer. The following discussions between ZIMO employees, external sound designers and users were performed for current sound projects, how it would be possible to configure them in a meaningful and consistent manner. The two main trends are:

  • do not set CVs within the project, which went beyond the pure sound configuration, and thus the sound project remains totally independent of equipment type and the vehicle, and this also removes sometimes confusion-creating assignments for coasting and switching projects.
  • Properties of the function outputs as an integral and necessary part of the use of the sound project, even if the individual user can not always support all vehicles (Large Scale locomotives usually have more facilities than H0 locomotives).

Both views are probably justified. According to the general ZIMO philosophy, to provide the widest variety of solutions available (see, for example, the range of large scale decoders and loco adapter boards) in the future sound projects to one of the following three standards (or even after two of them):

  1. "ZIMO Basic Standard", for most of the existing free ZIMO download projects,
  2. "ZIMO Advanced Standard", which will apply mainly for the "coded" sound projects, sound designer (see below), and also existing projects should be changed in order to standardize,
  3. "ZIMO US Standard" (see below).
The sound designers Matthias Henning and Heinz Däppen have designed the "ZIMO Advanced Standard". Projects according to this standard can have features such as lighting effects, smoke generator control, coupling waltz, steady speed or coasting, dynamic brake, switching between heavily loaded loco and unloaded loco.

The new "ZIMO Advanced Standard" (some details are still to be developed) will initially be used for all European sound projects of these two sound designers for normal delivery. These are projects for DR, HSB, SBB and RhB. It is hoped that further sound designers will adopt the standard

This unification is also helpful for the ZIMO service - and thus for all users seeking advice.

In the U.S, everything is a little different: while European modellers love to see the role of the Dispatcher, the American is more concerned with the train drivers cap and accompanying his train through the system. Hence the usual mapping across the Atlantic has developed differently. A well-known manufacturer of DCC equipment has several function keys labelled with sound effects, but which are used in Europe for lighting effects.

Therefore, there is a separate "ZIMO U.S. standard". The first of the sound projects by Heinz Däppen will be made and presented to the audience at the NMRA Train Show in Atlanta (by the way along with the new "American" ZIMO large scale sound decoder MX697).

ZIMO Advanced Standard
Fu / Ta Steam Diesel hydraulic Diesel Electric Electric FA / AUX
0 / X Main Light FA0 f / r
1 Loco specific light effects Tail lights FA 1/2
2 Loco specific light effects, e.g. Shunting or Undercarriage Lighting FA 7/8
3 Whistle 1 / Horn 1  
4 Whistle 2 / Horn 2 / Guard or Conductor 1
5 Bell 3/ Whistle 3 / Guard or Conductor 2
6 Smoke generator or Airpump or compressor Compressor or Auxiliary Fan FA5 Fan / FA6 Heating
7 Drain cocks Coasting Vakuum pump / pzb testing
8 Sound on/off Diesel start/stopp Raise/Lower Panto
9 Curve squeal / Check rail squeal
10 Coal shovel Hand brake Dynamic brake off Panto 1 Selection
11 Blower Fan Fan Panto 2 Selection FA4 on steam locos as firebox
12 Uncouple FA3 / 4 Coupling dance
13 Couple  
14 Boiler safety valve Turn up headlights
15 Project Switching / Drive Loco / Loco specific
16 Muting / Tunnel fader inverted
17 Platform
18 Platform
19 Freely available / User Configuration
20 Freely available / User Configuration
21 Freely available / User Configuration
22 Freely available / User Configuration
23 Freely available / User Configuration
24 Freely available / User Configuration
25 Freely available / User Configuration
26 Freely available / User Configuration
27 Freely available / User Configuration
28 Freely available / User Configuration
Die FAs 1 bis 6 sind in CVs 127 bis 132 mit Eigenschaften versehen!
Die FAs 7 und 8 sind in DVs 159 und 160 mit Eigenschaften versehen!
Dieselmechanische Projekte werden wie Dieselhydraulische behandelt. Allerdings ist der Wert in CV3 direkt verantwortlich wie oft geschaltet wird!

Zum Vergleich - der „ZIMO Basic Standard“:
F0 Light
F1 free
F2 Guard whistle or announcement
F3 Whistle or Horn
F4 Shunting
F5 Coal shovel or Panto
F6 Injectors / Other
F7 Bell / Whistle 2, Horn 2
F8 Sound on/off