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John YouChoos

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    Wiltshire, UK

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  1. Many have been eagerly awaiting the new Hattons/Heljan O gauge LNER A3 and A4 models to arrive, and finally the A3 has reached us! Very interested to see what improvements they've made compared to the Prairie and Mogul models, and there are certainly some. Overall build and approach is similar, though the model is much more modular, meaning it comes to pieces much more easily than the GWR models. It does however come with the same ESU 'L' adapter board in the tender for DCC provision, which is fine if you like LokSound, but if you prefer ZImo, then you hav
  2. Received the new Hornby Terrier today... quite a nice improvement over the old one, now with 6pin DCC socket in the boiler, and a little more room to play with under the chimney. MX616N for simple DCC conversion. For sound, it needs hard-wiring, and the Zimo MX648 is spot-on perfect for that cavity. Restricted on speaker space, but the YouChoos Minnow4 goes in without too much fuss, and sounds good in the little model. MX648, perfect fit: Create maximum space: MX648 and Minnow4 speaker, protected with Kapton tape: Smart:
  3. A little-known product released recently by Zimo is their drop-in DCC Sound decoder for N gauge - the MX660. Basically a very thin single-sided PCB with solder connection pads around the edge. It is designed for Kato models, but works just as well in Farish N gauge (and probably some Dapol models too). The MX660 is a full sound decoder, with 6 lighting outputs, similar spec to the MX648. Solder pads are very well laid out to be in good positions for direct connection to pickups, motor and lighting. On top of this, all 6 lighting outputs are 3V rather than the usual 12V, whic
  4. Here are some brief notes on how I've fitted up a new Hornby J36 with Zimo DCC sound, reasonable speaker, and big stay-alive, without any modification to the metal or plastic. it is all hard-wired, but that's a pretty straight-forward job. Kit: Zimo MX648 hard-wired, YouChoos' new J36 immersiveDrive sounds YouChoos' new IceCube 25x18x6-1W speaker Zimo SACC16 connection board for stay-alive YouChoos' SuperCap 17000uF A few pictures below, but you can find the full install guide here: http://youchoos.co.uk/Index-Resource.php?L1=Guides&Item=OO-J3
  5. Hi Chris, in theory the Zimo MX644C (rather than the MX644D) should allow this, as the FA2 and FA3 AUX outputs on this decoder are logic level instead of full power. We've had a few reports though that the interior lights remain on even with the 'C', so it may be more complex than that, but that's the theory at least. Cheers, John
  6. Hi Paul, Probably a little quieter than the Minnow, but it isn't bad. I didn't want to lose the glazing, so that was the only option. J
  7. Hi Nigel, You jest, but yes, I rather suspect I could have found room for 1 flat 330uF Tant in the nose too! Interesting what you've found about the CTs with the model's PCB - hadn't considered that, which is silly because we always consider those components in any other model! Perhaps this has laid down the challenge for another budding modeller?!! ... takers? Cheers, John
  8. Hi Paul, The speaker is a Zimo MicroCube, but with a custom YouChoos enclosure, giving overall 6mm height. The stay-alive is Zimo's SACC16 board, cut-down to minimum and a single 330uF Tantalum soldered on. I know what you mean about the speaker being close to the metal... I deemed that the whole thing was tight enough that there was absolutely no movement whatsoever, and the pad is actually about 1mm away from the metal so no insulation - works a treat! Cheers, John
  9. Sound decoders will certainly need a fair voltage on DC before they kick into life. Generally speaking, you will be running the loco in the top third of the controller's power range. There's nothing you can do to change it - they just need that much oomph before they come alive. Reducing the momentum settings can sometimes give you motion a little earlier, but then you lose that nice feature of the decoder. I did an example video some years ago of this in action if you are interested: (sorry, not sure how to link to a video directly, so just copy the URL to your browser!)
  10. Heljan have done well with their new 7mm model of a large 61XX Prairie Tank - really like the model, but sadly they've scrimped on provision for speaker (just a 23mm round chamber underneath), and the loco has a socket in the boiler designed specifically for an ESU LokSound V4 'L' sound decoder. There is no standard for large scale sockets, and Zimo's equivalent (the MX696S) is not a compatible fit. In order to improve on this, we remove the socket and wire in a Zimo ADAMTC board, which takes a 21pin MX644D sound decoder (normally for OO models), boosting the motor output to 1.8A continuo
  11. So, everyone has an 08 diesel, but how many are fitted with sound? In OO it isn't always easy to get a good sound installation, but there are plenty out there, and plenty of approaches too... but in N gauge this is really the holy grail of sound-fits - there can only be a handful of them worldwide that have made a successful conversion, and many of those probably using the little CT SL76 sound decoder, which is OK, but a little flakey and unreliable. An even smaller number have attempted using Zimo's MX649 with a speaker in the cab, but until now I don't think I've come across one with th
  12. Hi JohnR, unfortunately not - the loco has gone off to the customer now. However, I can tell you it ran really well and smooth, even at low speeds.
  13. So, Dapol's recent OO LSWR Adams B4 is a pretty little thing, but very tight on space inside, not to mention tricky to get into without things dropping out, but DCC sound is indeed possible with a bit of careful positioning of kit... we even managed to get the Zimo SACC16 stay-alive PCB in with a couple of 330uF Tantalum capacitors... here's a brief outline of how we did it: First, the model, showing the interior, with the neat little 2-LED firebox unit which is a nice touch from Dapol: Here's the kit coming out, and the kit going in (Zimo MX649F which will be hard-wired, YouChoos
  14. Ok, so I said I'd have a go at adding stay-alive into the Barclay, and here it is... using Zimo's new tiny PCB stay-alive kit, the SACC16 and a single 330uF Tantalum. Not huge backup power by any stretch, but enough to noticeably improve general running... Also now loaded with YouChoos' new genuine Andrew Barclay sound project! Enjoy!
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