QSI Decoder Versions

QSI has many version of software used on their line of sound decoders.  Detail information is found here:

Below is a quick summary.

Q1   :OEM decoder running V1 up to V6 software.
Q1a :Q1 OEM decoder upgrade running V7 software..
Q2   :Revolution Decoder running V8 software.
Q3   :Titan Decoder running V9 software.  Will run the "engine emulation" software.

Below I have collected technical details and specifications of the various QSI products including what software upgrades are possible.


To determine you software version you have on a given QSI decoder, you can do it one of two ways.

1) On the programming track, read the contents of CV 7

2) In Ops Mode, set CV 64 to 7 and hear verbal response.  Verbal response needs to be enabled for Ops Mode (See Note).
The number you hear is the software version number which can range from 1 to 9..

a) Verbal Feedback is enable as shipped from the factory.  If it is off, to turn it on, Set CV 62 to 1 .
b) NCE users normally disable verbal Feedback because when writing multiple CV, it will not allow some CVs to be written to correctly.  This happens when one uses the NCE engine "setup procedure" via the NCE menus in Ops Mode.  (Long story).  To turn verbal feedback off, set CV 62 to 0.

Q1 (Version 1 up to 6)
This is the OEM hardware platform used by QSI to build decoders for locomotive manufactures.   

Q1 hardware only runs Version 6.x software and sent to OEM's only.  
Q1 software upgrades required ordering a new Q1 V6 chip to replacing the existing Q1 installed in a socket.  This is not recommended.  If you going to take the chip out, do it once and only once by doing the Q1A chip upgrade.  (See Q1A for more information.)
Q1 hardware can can be upgraded to a Q1A level with a chip upgrade.  (See Q1A for more information.)

Profile Number (Reading CV56.154.2-3 in Program Track mode or CV56.155.2 in Ops Mode.)
1111 Q1 with Reset Jumper
1121 Q1 with Reed Switch.

Board Specifications:
Limited official information available due to OEM design.  Only locomotive manufactures see the specifications.
Flash Memory: 500KBytes (4Mbit)
8Mhz Clock Speed.
Mono Sound
Volume Pot/Reset Jumper (early models) or Reed Switch versions (later models).
BEMF Motor Control.

Production Status:
It is unclear if this platform is still in production. I suspect alll OEMs now get at least Q1A plateform.  See Q1A.

OEM Customers:
Broadway Limited Industries (BLI).  First generation locomotives.  Anything that is not a "Paragon" or "Blue Line" series.
Atlas "Gold Series"
Life Like "Proto 2000"
Canadian Hobby Craft

Q1A (V7)
This is a OEM hardware upgrade that involves replacing the Q1 chip to a Q1A version that allows downloadable software.  Q1A Version 7.x Firmware requires the Q1A chip to be installed.  Key advantage of Q1A chip upgrade is it allows all future software upgrades to use the new QSI programmer.  No more chip replacement required.  Chip swapping is not a user friendly upgrade and one can easily damage the socket if one does not have the correct tool to take the chip out of the Q1 chip out of the socket.  If you are using a small screwdriver....you are doing it wrong and may crack the corner of the brittle socket.  QSI solutions does sells an inexpensive chip extractor tool and save you time and grief.  The tool will really pay off if you have a lot of Q1A upgrades to do.

Q1A hardware runs Version 7.x software.
Q1A hardware can run Q2 Version 8.x Software with some limitations.  See below

Q2 Firmware Upgrade Path.
Some software features developed for Q2 software V8.x software where reworked to work with Q1a software 7.x.  However, the Q2 software's level of configurability is not available in Q1a software.  To change a single sound, such as a horn, or add a single additional light, required a special firmware build from QSI.   This severely limited the ease of upgrading.

To address that problem, a version of Q2 software was rewritten to run on Q1a hardware.  Now you have the same Q2 V8.x software configuration capability for your Q1A decoder that you have on the QSI Q2 Revolution decoder.   The limits of what you can do in software is now determined by the hardware limits of Q1a decoder with memory being the biggest limiting factor.  You now have the same ability to Cut&Paste sounds, re-assign light features to different output ports, and change CV default values as the revolution does just as long as it fits into the Q1a memory.

You use the Q2 software for the Q1a hardware the same way as you use Q2 software for the Q2 Revolution. You download the appropriate Q2 file from the QSI Solutions web site to your PC, load this file into Q2Upgrade program, Cut&Paste sounds, re-configure the light ports if you want to add an additional light, and change the default values of any CV's.  Then using the Quantum Programmer you upgrade your Q1a decoder with the software you modified.


Board Specifications:
Same as Q1 platform.

Production Status:
It is unclear if this platform is still in production.  It appears to be at a "End Of Life" status given what has happened to the Q2 and as such all future OEM hardware most likely will be Q3 Titan derivative based design.

Q2 (Revolution Decoder V8).   Q1 hardware repackaged plus more sound memory in popular decoder hardware formats for user installation.  First decoder available to  the open public for direct purchase. 

Q2 hardware runs any Version 8.x software on up. 
Q2 hardware will run some limited Q3 9.x software. 
Q2 hardware will not run Q1A software.
Q2 hardware supports software upgrading using the QSI programmer. 

Profile Number (Reading CV56.154.2-3 in Program Track mode or CV56.155.2 in Ops Mode.)
4000 Large Scale
6000 Revolution (HO)

Board Specifications:
Flash Memory: 1MBytes. (8Mbits)
Mono Sound
8 Audio Channels. (Number of unique sounds that can be mixed together.)
2 Watt Class D Audio Amplifier.
8 or 16 Ohm speakers.
100mA Function Current.
8 Bit Light Dimming (256 intensity levels).
Up to 6 light functions.
Regulated 5V output for functions.  (Advantage for DC operation)
1.3 Amp motor drive steady state.
BEMF Motor Control.

Some boards have a co-processor for lighting control and measurements.
Some boards have a mulitfunction Reed Switch installed that use a "Hand Wand" to control various functions.

Production Status:
Discontinued.  Replaced by the Q3 platform.

I believe the limited Revolution sales was directly tied to a unforeseen limited availability of a legacy QSI part developed for the Q1 and reused on this decoder.

Q3 (Titan Decoder V9).  New Stereo sound hardware capability plus a better audio processor.  Major increase in sound memory.


Q3 hardware only runs Q3 V9.x software including its new ET (Emulator Technology) versions.
Q3 hardware supports software upgrading using the QSI programmer.

Board Specifications:
Flash Memory: 8MBytes (64Mbits)
Stereo Sound
16 Bit Audio Processor
Maximum Audio Bandwidth: 8KHz.
64 Stereo Audio Channels.  (Number of unique sounds that can be mixed together.)
Stereo 2 Watt Class D Audio Amplifier.
8 or 16 Ohm speakers.
100mA Function Current.
8 Bit Light Dimming (256 intensity levels).
Up to 10 light Functions.
Regulated 5V output for functions.  (Advantage for DC operation)
Lenz USP "Keep Alive" support.
2 Amp motor drive steady state.
BEMF Motor Control.

Production Status:
Current production

Sources of Information

1) QSI manuals.
2) QSI Solutions Website
3) Email sent by Gerry Pruss of QSI to the QSI Yahoo list on 3/17/08