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Light signal decoder

Light signal decoder are the most important application for decoder of the Z1-series (standard and all-in-one classes). Before using them on the model railway, they need to be configured. In the simplest case this is done with the programming button. However, often an additional programming with configuration variables is required.

Qdecoder have some characteristics that distinguish them from other decoder on the market:

  • They can generate all signal aspects. No exceptions were discovered so far.
  • Signal aspects can contain flash or pulse operations. The operation mode can be changed depending on the signal aspect.
  • Signal lamps can gently fade in and out without blanking interval. This blending creates a prototypical cross fade from one signal aspect to the next.
  • Further switching commands can be received during the switching of a signal. The signal blends smoothly to the signal aspect of the last command received.
  • They can be switched with function buttons of locomotive addresses.
  • A switching command can trigger an independently running sequence of signal aspects .

The following decoder types are very suitable for control of light signals. Futhermore all other decoder types of the standard and all-in-one classes are able to drive light signals and can be enhaced by the Signal Add-on if desired. All our products are avaiable in our web shop or at various stockists worlwide.


Decoder Function OutputsCharacteristics
switched against +
switched against —
Two- and three-aspects signals Z1-8 8
- Decoder of the Z1 series can control single lamps as well two- and three-aspect signals against the common plus terminal. Particularly signals with aspects "red-green", "red-green-yellow" and "red-green-green/yellow" cam be controlled by standard class decoder directly.
Z1-16 16 -
ZH1-8 - 8 Decoder of the ZH1 series switch Lamps and signals against the common minus terminal. Only some signal manufacturers use the common minus terminal instead of the plus terminal as common return conductor.
Signals of various signalling systems
Z1-8 Signal 8 -

The Signal Add-on is configured for more than 200 different signal backgrounds. By programming 2..3 CVs per signal the desired signal type and accessory address is configured - plug & play!.
Every combincation of signal types plus turnouts is supported by our decoders. Futhermore alls signals can be used also on analog railroad layouts by attaching key buttons etc. to the decoder.

Z1-16 Signal 16 -
ZH1-8 Signal - 8
Various signals Z1-8+ 8 - There are no limits for generating signal aspects with decoder of the all-in-one class. Using the programmable sequence generator all possible signal aspects can be implemented. Futhermore also all-in-one class decoder can be enhanced by the Signal Add-on.
Z1-16+ 16 -
ZH1-8+ - 8

All signal backgrounds supprted by the Signal Add-on as wellas the needed Mode configurations are described in this folder (pdf download):

A comprehensive documentation with tons of examples can be found in the Qdecoder Handbuch (most chapters are in German language):

The most important signalling systems supprted by decoder with Signal Add-on are listed here:

RailwaySignal system Characteristics
DRG / DB HV-signal system
The HV-signal system (Hp-main signal and Vr-approach signal) was developed before World War II, but only widely introduced after it. Its use is mainly limited to the western part of Germany (Deutsche Bundesbahn). It is a classic approach/main signal system. The main signal is announced by a approach signal which is about a kilometre before the main signal.
DR Hl-signal system
(-> Flyer)
The Hl-signal system was used by the Deutsche Reichsbahn in the former GDR, but is still found today. It has signals that contains a signal head with the main signal aspect and the approach signal aspect of the next main signal.
DR / DB SV-signal system The Sv-signal system was introduced in the late twenties by the urban railway (S-Bahn) in Berlin. SV stands for signal connection (SignalVerbindungen). This system was the first to show the main aspect and the approach aspect of the next main signal on one signal screen. This idea lives on in the present combination signals.
DB (new) Ks-signal system KS means combination signal (KombinationsSignal), that is, signals show simultaneously the main and approach signal aspect. It was introduced by the German Railway (Deutsche Bahn) as a replacement of the predominant HL and HV signal systems and is used at all new constructions. It replaces existing signal systems during modernizations.
Swiss Railways (Schweizer Eisenbahngesellschaften) Dwarf signals Dwarf signals are used for control of shunting operations.
Signal type L
(-> Flyer)
The signal system L is the traditional light signal system of the swiss railway.
Of particular interest are the combination signals that can represent both approach and main signal aspect.
Signal type N
(-> Flyer)
The signal system N was introduced in 1986 as light signal system by the Swiss Railway.
Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahn) ÖBB-signal system
(-> Flyer)
The light signal system of the Austrian railways has indeed a certain similarity to the German H/V system. However, it has undergone a number of specific enhancements in recent decades.
Dutch Railways (Niederländische Staatsbahn) Sign. system 1946 The signalling system of 1946 was introduced after 2nd World War and was developed from night semaphore signals.
Sign. system 1955 The signalling system of 1955 was slightly simpliefied compared to 1946. With additional flashing signal lamps the signalling opportunities were enhanced.
Belgian National Railways NMBS sign. system The Belgian signalling system has some specialties, e.g. the different signalling modes for both tracks of a two-tier track.
Luxembourg CFL sign. system The Luxembourg signalling system is comparable to the german HV-signal system.


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