Phoenix Sound Systems


Phoenix is an old mainstay in the Large Scale market. They don't make anything for any other scale, although you could put them into O scale locos. The sounds for years were the best in the industry, and even now, years later with really no technological improvements, they are pretty darn good.

Phoenix was also early to have some DCC control, but that has never been it's strong point.

Now in 2020, it is getting long in the tooth. While new models are becoming available, a sound only card with no real load sensing and no new recordings is just not top of the line.

I'll put some notes here, newest models on top, older models near the end.





The documentation that comes with the P5 indicates it can have it's address set via the programming track, but the P5 is designed NOT to respond to the command station on the programming track, but it will still take the programming. The idea is so that the P5 can be wired along with another decoder.

Phoenix also says that the P5 will not properly support OPS mode on the main but it has worked for some people.

Here is a list of commands that appear to work:
CV     Description
1     Short Address
17     Long Address
18     Long Address
49     0=speed from triggers, non-zero=speed from DCC
50     Vstart
51     Momentum
52     Seconds to simulate if DCC is lost, 0=forever
53     Seconds in idle before shutdown, 0=never shutdown


New connector in 2010:

Phoenix did away with screw terminals and went to a push in connector. Yuck. It might turn out to be fine, but now when you need to connect several wires to the same terminal you need to twist them and solder them or it won't work right. A cost saving item where the cost saving was not passed to the user. (electronics should get cheaper, turns out that they are not progressing with the microprocessor to save money, so they are cutting corners elsewhere)





Some battery packs wired backwards:

Some battery packs come with the wires reversed in the connector. If yours looks like this, fix it or send it back before you plug it in!



P8   ter C1-1 and C1-2   Power
             C1-6 and C1-7   DCC
P5   ter  C1-1 and C1-2  Power + DCC
              C1-6 and C1-7  Alternate power

Model 97

The rom chips have "FS" and "FP" (FS1 & FP1 mean real time horn & bell). Real time apparently means they fire by triggers only, not by changes in voltage.

Also, etched in the copper on the bottom of the board near an edge will be the model.

phoenix 97

Model 96

The roms have lettering that begins with "S" and "P" The 2 roms in the 96 are one time programmed

Model 95

The very first Phoenix. Not sold for long. The 2 roms may have been soldered in place.

The roms had labels beginning with "E" & "O". They could not be reprogrammed