QSI Programmer Hardware & Software Overview and first steps

PLEASE READ THIS STUFF! I've put things here that are not in the manual, or "gotchas" that are not obvious. Trust me and save yourself a lot of grief (that I went through!!)


Note that my QSI pages are tightly focused on the G scale decoders, the "Revolution" sometimes called the "Magnum", and the newer Titan.

There are FOUR products: THREE software and ONE hardware/firmware (the actual physical programmer/dongle)

    1. Quantum Programmer hardware - a "dongle" that has a USB interface to your Windows computer to allow the software to function
    2. USB driver software to connect the programmer (USB) to the software.
    3. Quantum Upgrade software - loads firmware and sound files, the sound files and the firmware are both in the same file. Allows some limited volume setting.
    4. Quantum CV Manager software - gives you a graphical interface to all the CV's in the decoder, also local throttles that allow limited running (current limited) and operation.

There are separate pages (links at bottom) for dealing with these, start with the programming dongle and it's driver, then load the Upgrade program, since it can test the driver and the hardware dongle and even your connection to a decoder. Finally load and use CV Manager to fine tune your decoder.

Hardware: Quantum Programmer / "USB dongle"

This is the hardware that actually does the controlling and programming.

On this end, you can see the red LED, green LED, and the programming connector (to the decoder).

The other end has a standard USB type B.


Before using - QSI power supply:

Be sure to read the notes about the power supply below. You can easily damage the unit, and some of the power supplies supplied do not work well.

Software: USB driver:

Unfortunately this is where almost everyone gets hung up. I do my best at helping you below. Be aware there are a lot of "experts" and MANY of them are wrong.

Short answer, the installation process depends on BOTH the driver you use and the operating system. I only work this with windows. If you are trying to use on a MAC with a windows emulator, it's really not worth the trouble. Get an old, cheap laptop for a couple of hundred dollars.

Below I give instructions for various windows installations, but you have to pick your software versions first. Keep reading

Software: Quantum Upgrade:

This is the software you should start with, and it has a "hidden" diagnostic for programmer. So install the driver, then check the programmer out with this software.

Quantum Upgrade's main function is to update the firmware in the decoder. QSI has the decoder function and sound file in the SAME file.

Besides selecting the sound file, you can select the horn(s), bell, etc. and very importantly, you can set the "base" volume of various sounds. Some sound files have low volume on the horn or bell, they are not all consistent. The most common issue is the horn can never be made loud enough. I give tips on this later.

Software: CV Manager

This is the graphical interface to set many CVs and can also save a file with all your CVs for each loco. A great idea. It can also be (carefully) used to test out the sound file, and it will actually run a loco. WARNING: THE PROGRAMMER CAN BURN ITSELF UP TRYING TO RUN A LOCO ANYWHERE NEAR 1 AMP. DON'T TRY MOVING THE LOCO, TEST SOUNDS WITHOUT APPLYING THROTTLE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The latest version is NOT necessarily the best one for you to use, especially on Titans, where some very cool features were left out in later versions. More later.

End of overview:

So now you can start the process. Currently, my configuration is:

  • Operating system: Windows 10
  • Driver version: from QSI
  • Quantum upgrade version: from 2016 (the latest I can find)
  • CV Manager: (latest version with the "engineering" menu with all the extras)

Next Steps:

Please read the notes below first, it will save you a lot of time, at the end of the notes, I will lead you to the actual installation and use pages. Be patient, from years of experience with the questions people ask, the information is CRITICAL.

Check your programmer power supply before using!

I don't know the working voltage range, but 15 volts has been the target voltage from the QSI engineers.

The programmer on it's own draws about 62 milliamperes at 15 volts, just idle.

I have seen current draw up to about 1/2 amp on average, so if you have the original 400 ma supply, get an updated one, you are likely to have erratic operation on the large scale QSI decoders. QSI started shipping an 800 ma one after I figured out the "mystery" of how much current was necessary.

Funny story: I was having programming issues, and a QSI engineer kept claiming that 400 ma was fine. I was watching the current spikes during programming, and they were way over 400ma. A bit more questioning turns out this engineer had been using his OWN supply for years, not the 400 ma supply. After more questioning, he was using a 1 amp supply, so sure, he was not having problems! The 800 ma supply starting shipping as standard right away ha ha!

Since these are hard to find new, if you get one, you will most likely need a different power supply, look for 15 volts and about 1 amp. A bit more current is ok, but be careful not to abuse the system, the unit has no over-current protection. Also while the QSI software will allow you "run" a loco, it's easy to overload the programmer in this mode and destroy the output stage. Limit your testing (when powered from the programmer) to sounds only. I can't tell you how many people have destroyed their programmers. You could put a 1 amp fast blow on the output, it might help.

Important note about CV Manager versions:

The QSI LS Titans were evolving at the time that QSI Solutions went offline. Many new CVs were added to further enhance sound, especially for steam locomotives. To get menu driven support for programming these CVs, you need the Quantum CV Manager that has the "engineering" menu with the "ASR chuff" sub menu. After QSI Solutions left the scene, QS Industries apparently dropped support for these CVs in the CV Manager 3.1.x.x and beyond.


    • The Engineering menu first appeared in version, this is where the special menus are, like ASR Chuff
    • The engineering menu is gone from to
    • Engineering menu back in to
    • Gone again in on

It's important to decide on what you want BEFORE proceeding, as the driver you install for the programmer is DIFFERENT for different software versions.

So far I have not found ANY reason to NOT use the version with all the extra features on the Large Scale decoders. (If you find evidence to the contrary, please let me know)


Not all versions are available in the install format, the latest install format with the engineering menu is

So to use all the features of the G scale Titan with the latest chuff and other "tweaks", first install with the installer executable, then overwrite the installed exe file with (this is a program file only) in the program directory where it was installed.

Where to download files:

QSI Solutions is out of business, and the web site is gone. You can use the Internet wayback machine to get some of the files, use this link: (in the wayback machine) https://shedaker.wixsite.com/shedaker but no downloads any more.

The QS Industries site is: http://qsindustries.com/  but no G Scale downloads, nor even the Upgrade program or the CV Manager program. Very weird.

There is a groups.io forum with some files: https://groups.io/g/QSIndustries/files but not all the software is there.

I manage a groups.io forum, where I have uploaded the program files: https://groups.io/g/QSI-Solutions/files you will find the programming files there. If you need other files, or sound files, post on the forum. Yes you have to join.

If you get stuck, email me, but be sure to read the sections below on the CVManager and the Q2upgrade/QuantumUpgrade programs below.

Where to go from here:

  1. install programmer and driver CLICK HERE
  2. install Quantum Upgrade software and test hardware and download firmware/sound files CLICK HERE
  3. install Quantum CV Manager and tweak and customize CLICK HERE


Using/debugging programmer after driver installation: Firmware version/upgrading

You need to install the software driver first, which makes the programmer available via a "COM" port. The following sections address the selection and installation of the driver. DO THAT NEXT, and then come back here.

After installation, you should check for upgrade of the firmware in the programming "dongle" at least when you get one. It's in a really weird place in the programming software.

  • right click on the upper left of the title bar of the Quantum Upgrade window, right on the words "Q2Upgrade"
  • Yes, there is nothing up there, but when you do it, you get a menu you cannot get any other way.


  • Now click on "Quantum Programmer...", click that, and then you get another menu.


  • Click "retrieve firmware version".. you will then see the version in your dongle. If you get nothing back, then you are NOT communicating with the dongle, or it is dead.
  • Also check "get error status"
  • If your firmware version is not 2.0.5, then you should be able to upgrade the firmware. This is the latest firmware as of 2021

Now if everything is good so far, we can check the "final stage" of the programmer, the connection to the decoder.


  • Click on the "Diagnostics..." menu
  • now you get the menu below:


  • Click the "Measure Baseline Current" button.
  • You should see something between 2 (decoder only) to about 15 (maybe some lights)
  • ZERO means that there is no connection detected, either you are not connected to the decoder, or the output of the programmer is bad (broken)
  • very high, like over 100 means you have a dead short (either short circuit across the output, or the programmer is bad or the decoder is bad.


Installing Quantum Upgrade and Quantum CV Manager

There's rarely an issue with these installs, just accept the defaults. If you have trouble installing it, try troubleshoot compatibility as in the driver install, and drop back to Windows 7.

Be sure you use an install xxx.exe file the first time, as it installs the dll needed by the program. There are updated program files that are distributed as .exe, but they do not do the full install, so you do the install, and then you can copy the newer program version (the .exe file) to the same directory it was installed in. If you get stuck, email me.

Q2Upgrade / Quantum Upgrade

(Original name was Q2Upgrade, then later renamed to Quantum Upgrade)

This is the program used to load the firmware and sound file to the decoder. It is all one file.

I have not found any issues using the latest released software on the LS Titans.

Distributed as both full install package, and program executable only. You need to do the full install first, you can overwrite the exe with a later version.

Last full install I have is version, and latest executable is, this is what I use.

Quantum CV Manager

Remember you must load the proper "blank" file to start with, otherwise some options will be grayed out. (FILE...OPEN/NEW)

Pick the proper model number of hardware, if confused, pick the LS and the closest file you can find, "respecting" a Q2FX vs. a Q3 file.

If you still cannot access the CV's you "need" then go to the "Options" menu and then "Enable All CV's". Danger, you may enable cv's that your hardware does not have so be careful, i.e. don't mess with chuff settings on a diesel!

Very important, after version 3.0.x.x, the "Engineering Menu" was removed. There's all kinds of cool features there, I have not explored them all, but I would stay at these versions, and not go to 3.1.x.x unless you are using the Q2FX files. I'm using 3.0.

General programming tips:

First, when in doubt check your electrical connections.

Make SURE there is nothing else on the programming track, lights in tenders always on, etc. This is the number one problem people have.

Try using Quantum Upgrade and "get locomotive information", or the upgrade menu, and "test compatibility"

When programming, the original QSI Revolution and the new QSI Titan must have a motor connected at a MINIMUM, and I strongly recommend a speaker.

If you cannot get past 40% in the beginning of programmin, it means no communication or response at all, 40% is the first programming command.

A tip is to read the baseline current of the programmer hardware on the setup:

  • 0 current means no connection to the decoder or the programmer is damaged.
  • Likewise 255 means something is wrong like a dead short on the programming track or the programmer itself.
  • I've seen 9 to 30 ma as a baseline.
  • To read the baseline current, right click in the Q2Upgrade window title bar... yes, way up in the title bar. A new menu pops up... select Programmer... and here's a menu you can see various data, and where to check and update the firmware... now hit diagnostics... here's where you can read the baseline current.

Quantum Revolution specific notes:

During the confidence test or programming, given 15 volts dc input, the Quantum 2 boards program at about 100-110 milliamperes (average), I did not measure peaks.

The flash address range in sectors (you will see this during programming) is up to fff

if you cannot erase the flash, typically it means you have some extra load on the programming inputs/track

At the end of the programming cycle, apparently the program:

    • calculates the checksum of the source file
    • reads the flash and calculates the checksum of the decoder flash memory
    • if successful, "upgrading subsystem flash" shows

Finally, if all else fails, remove the board from the loco completely, and only connect to the Track + and Track - inputs.NOTHING ELSE.

Titan specific:

Programming issues:

During the confidence test or programming, given 15 volts dc input, the Titan boards program at about 100-120 milliamperes (average), I did not measure peaks.

The flash address range in sectors (you will see this during programming) is up to 18f

If you cannot erase the flash, typically it means either some extra load on the programming inputs/track OR that you do not have the motor load connected. (The Titan is different from the previous QSI unit in that the minimum configuration for programming is the programming (track) inputs AND a motor. I've used an 11 ohm resistor with success, although most motors may present a 4 ohm or less load. (my reasoning is that it just needs the circuit complete, not the full load of a motor, and the lighter load may cause less variation in the power supply, since the standard power supply is low current and unregulated.)

One common failure is right at the end of the programming cycle. It can fail even if you have run the confidence test. The confidence test apparently only reads the flash, does not test read and write.

At the end of the programming cycle, apparently the program:

  • calculates the checksum of the source file
  • reads the flash and calculates the checksum of the dflash

No sound?

Don't forget to press F6 twice  if no sound, this is the "startup" command, many sound files have this.

If after programming, you cannot sound the horn, you may have a sound file where the horn is in the second speaker. Either put in a second speaker or "move" the horn fader to include the first speaker. (I found this out in my e8... turns out you want the horn in the second speaker, since the "first" speaker is way back in the body, when you add a second speaker, it will be closer to the front, where the horns actually are)

All Q3 diesel files contain dual prime movers, but are set for single prime mover by default. In order to activate the second prime mover simply increase CV52.11 (Motor2 Volume) to your preferred level. I recommend setting the stereo controls so that CV116.10 (Motor 1 Balance) = 127 and CV116.11 (Motor 2 Balance) = 255 for optimal stereo separation between the two motors.



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