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6029 King Stephen

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  1. After dismantling the loco and checking all connections, I disconnected the decoder and fitted a new one, wired up the same as in the photos. This worked perfectly and so I concluded that the short was between the black and grey wire connections on the decoder. Top marks to Kernow Model Railways in Camborne who gave me a no-quibble exchange of the faulty decoder for a replacement one.
  2. I have an older Hornby Kenilworth Castle loco that is not DCC ready that I have tried to fit a Bachmann 8-pin decoder to. I snipped off the decoder plug, ready to hardwire the decoder to the loco chassis. There is a weight that goes into the firebox that needed some modification to allow the decoder to sit on top, in the boiler area. After unsoldering all the wires and binning the capacitor and other resistors that connect the track pick up wires to the motor for ordinary DC operation, I soldered the red wire on the decoder to the rear metal upright behind the motor, the grey wire to one of the motor terminals, the orange wire to the other motor terminal and the black wire to the black wire that protrudes from the chassis. I placed the loco on my programming track and programmed it to match the cabside number. I over the loco up and down a length of flexi and all was fine. I reassembled the loco and placed it back on the track and went to run it up and down the same length of track. It didn’t move. I tried to read the loco address and it came back with a cv programming error. I packed it away in its box. The next day, I dismantled it again and was expecting my solder join to have come undone but all were secured properly. I placed the loco on the track but was then getting a short circuit message from the DCC system (Roco Z21). I removed it from the track and cleared the short. I rechecked that I had soldered the decoder wires correctly and then placed it back on the track. Again I got a short circuit message. I packed it away again. The following day, I went and bought a multimeter so that I could try and find the short. It appeared that both of the track feed wires were electrically connected to the motor terminals despite them not physically being connected to each other. I dismantled the loco, removing the post that the red wire was soldered to (pickup for this would appear to be the chassis itself) and being able to see how the black wire was connected the pick up strip under the chassis. I then reassembled the chassis and after checking the connections, found that the previously mentioned short still existed. I did an online search to try and get some help on how to fix the problem but none of the guides referred to the problem that I was having. Last week I had fitted a similar decoder to a Hornby Builth Castle and that had worked fine with the decoder wired the same as I had done with Kenilworth Castle. What I did learn is that Hornby’s 2007 era Castle (and the Hogwarts Castle loco) had a live chassis that meant that when you disconnected the track feed wires from the motor connections required for DC operation, the pickups were still connected to the motor via the brushes. I believe that current is collected through the insulated wheel’s axles to the brushes via the pickup strip rubbing on the top of the axles. Feeling that this now makes it fit into the “too hard for me category”, I have returned the loco to DC operation and put it onto eBay. However, in the back of my brain there is a voice challenging me to find a way to convert it to DCC if I use some Heath Robinson methods to overcome the issues. Has anyone else experienced the same problem and if so, how did you overcome it? Thanks for any help or suggestions. I have attached a photo showing the decoder wired as per the normal method. I also noticed that the plastic covering on the decoder seems to have “melted” somehow which leads me to suspect that I have ‘fried’ my decoder...... Regards, Steve
  3. I am having an issue in fitting a Bachmann decoder to my Hornby Kenilworth Castle loco. I have successfully installed the same type of decoder into my Builth Castle loco that has the same motor. I have soldered the four wires as per the photo but when I place the chassis on the track, I get a short circuit message. When I installed the decoder and put it on the programming track, it worked fine. I have cut the top of the weight to accommodate the decoder but I am getting a short without the weight being fitted. Any ideas what might be causing the problem? Thanks, Steve
  4. With the Hornby Merchant Navy, I thought that with it being a recent model that their TTS sound decoder would have been designed to fit in the tender (they do a different one for the rebuilt Merchant Navy) but no, you are provided with a round plastic fitting with a couple of screw holes that I thought would fit it to the weight but that isn’t the case. Instead you have to remove the weight to fit the speaker and then there is no space/means to refit the weight. As a result the tender is lighter and the only weight is that of the speaker and decoder, hardly the same weight. My reference to DCC sound being a con was meant really given the price of buying separate items. The actual sound file was ‘only’ £15 and the speaker was £21. Why does it cost £99 for a decoder with no sound on it? If Hornby can do their TTS decoder for under £40, why can’t others? Even if you replace the speaker for a better one (eg the £21 one) that still only brings the price to £59 in the case of the one I bought from Hattons. I have read several comments about the Hornby sound not having the correct beats per wheel revolution but unless you can tell different locos by their exhaust beat, then does a generic chuff-chuff sound suffice? Personally, both locos sound the same and there is no discernable difference between the £38 sound decoder and the £135 one. My future sound requirements will be satisfied by Hornby’s TTS decoders. I appreciate your comments regarding N gauge. Thirty years ago, I modelled in N gauge and tried again in 2008/2009 using the Prodigy Squared DCC system and fitting decoders into a small Prairie loco and for a final time in 2015 but gave up for the last time in January 2020 because I found it too small for my now ageing eyesight and reverted to concentrating on OO gauge. Having dabbled in fitting DCC decoders into N gauge tank locos, I could never envisage trying to complicate matters by trying fit DCC sound to the same or even into a diesel loco. My current DCC system is the Roco Z21 which allows me to use my iPhone and iPad as controllers. Old iPhones are cheap enough, certainly less than the £100+ than a Prodigy Squared handset would cost. Anyone with an iPhone or iPad who has downloaded the Z21 app could operate my layout (once built!) through the Z21 WiFi router that is included in the Z21 package.
  5. Following my eventual success at installing a TTS decoder, I decided to follow the step-by-step instructions in a Hornby magazine for fitting sound to a Hornby Princess Coronation loco. As the TTS decoder is out of stock everywhere, I decided to bite the bullet and pay the £135 (!!!!!) for a blank sound decoder (£99), sound file (£15) and speaker (£21). I thought that following a model magazine article would make things simpler but how wrong could I be? The first issue was that after removing the weight in the tender, there is a trough running the length of the tender. The article stated that the trough was filled with Liquid Gravity from Deluxe Materials. I didn’t have any but managed to buy some online for £10 with express next-day delivery costing £7.75. Once received, I weighed the removed weight and then weighed out the same weight in liquid gravity - there was far too much than would fit in the trough. Looking at the article the next photo showed the trough hidden by the decoder and speaker. There was no shot of the trough filled with liquid gravity! Liquid gravity, for those who have never used it, is tiny balls of some metal that go everywhere if spilled and almost impossible to recapture. I secured the liquid gravity in place with PVA as per the instructions. My next problem was trying to fit the decoder and speaker in the place suggested by the article. The Hornby Magazine team used Black Tack to secure the decoder and speaker in place but not having this, I decided to use Sticky Tack instead. I managed to secure the speaker and decoder but then found it impossible to get the tender back on - the speaker seemed to be too high or was positioned over the centre wheels and when the tender top was fixed down, this was forcing the wheels downward so that the tender chassis see-sawed on the track! I got round this by clipping off what looked like a round speaker enclosure moulded into the tender frame. I was then able to sit the speaker lower down, without fouling the wheels but then found it difficult to have the decoder positioned in front. My solution was to offset the speaker to the side slightly but also use some balsa supports to raise it up slightly (about the height of two matchsticks) and turn the decoder onto its side and secure it with sticky tack to the side of the speaker. I was then able to close up the tender and it sat nice and flat on the track. I then did some testing and was relieved that it worked. the final issue was trying to add the function sound to my control system - was I wrong to expect that after spending £135 on a sound decoder that when I pressed F1 that the whistle didn’t whistle? I had to go into every function and set it as function on my DCC system. Having had some time to reflect, I am wondering if DCC sound is a bit of a con. Almost all sound equipped locos cost in excess of £200. To buy sound separately it costs at least £135. The Hornby TTS system is remarkably good value. I know that some people knock it because it doesn’t have the right number of beats per wheel revolution but how many of us can really tell the difference. From my personal experience, Hornby’s TTS will suffice for me for my future DCC sound requirements. I just wish Hornby would keep all its sound decoders current at all times rather than stopping supply of certain ones. I am looking for a TTS sound decoder for two GWR Castles, a King and two Granges but the required decoders are currently out of stock everywhere. If I wanted one for an LNER loco, I could buy as many as I wanted as these seem to be all that are in stock.....
  6. Thanks for all your replies. Yesterday I bought a pair of +3.00 reading glasses and had another look to work out why the tender was not fitting back on. It seemed obvious (but not yesterday!) that I had been trying to fit the speaker in the wrong place, i.e. above the decoder socket where space was tight. By moving it to the other end, I was able to refit the body without any issues. Having reassembled the loco, I was eager to hear the sound, this being my first foray into digital sound. I set up my Roco Z21 (also a new addition, having previously had the Gaugemaster Prodigy Squared system) and had to watch a couple of YouTube videos about how to do that too. Eventually, managed to get it set up and use my iPad to control movement of the loco along my length of flexi. I was so pleased with it, I called my wife and her friend in to have a look but they didn’t seem quite as impressed. Now I have to start trying to add functions and work out how to switch the sound off and on again. I think I shall try the Digitrains or YouChoos sound option for my Streamlined Princess Coronation loco. Regards, Steve
  7. Hello all, On Monday I bought myself the Hornby R3632 early BR Merchant Navy (original) loco. I also bought the R8115 TTS sound decoder designed for it. On Monday evening I went to fit the decoder but discovered I couldn’t remove the loco to tender plug and so on Tuesday I bought the special Hornby tool. That evening, I found that I didn’t have a jewellers screwdriver to remove the screws securing the tender body to the tender chassis. I bought a set of screwdrivers today and this evening set about fitting the sound decoder. I watched several YouTube videos prior but none were for the loco I was converting and the tenders chassis were all different. The instructions supplied with the loco and the decoder are abysmal! No illustrated step by step guide to fitting the items. Given that Hornby also own Airfix, you would have thought that a set of illustrated instructions would be their forte. After removing the tender body, I realised that the plastic housings for the speaker do not fit into the space under the weight. Why do these have screw holes yet they don’t align with any screw holes either in the chassis or in the weight? There is also a small bag of screws but no mention in the instructions about what these are for. After wrapping some cellotape around the decoder and securing the speaker and decoder within the tender body and fitting the decoder plug in its socket, I set about resecuring the tender body to its chassis. This is where I experienced the worst problem which has halted progress. It is so fiddly trying to refit the body to the chassis because at the front there is a brake pipe that needs to secure into a tiny hole in the tender chassis. Similarly, at the back of the tender, the feet of the ladders need to be fitted into four tiny holes in the chassis! Everything is so fiddly and whilst trying to line up the holes and fit the tender body onto the chassis, at the same time as trying not to dislodge the decoder, speaker or both if very frustrating. I will have to buy a pair of reading glasses so that I can magnify the area and get a better light than the one on my iPhone that needs me to hold it whilst trying to perform all the actions described above. Ordinarily, I would have access to all my tools but due to a house move, they are all in storage. Does anyone have any tips on how to refit all the fiddly bits whilst trying to keep light on the area and juggling the tender body to get it refitted onto the chassis? If I want to use the thinner speaker housing to fit into the speaker housing under the weight, do I just cut off the securing lugs and make it a friction fit? Here is a photo of where I have got to - please note I have refitted the decoder blanking plate. Thanks, Steve
  8. Hi, i have bought a brand new model of Queen Elizabeth that was the first of the revised versions of the Princess Coronation class locos and was reading the review of the same in a 2019 issue of Hornby magazine where it states that a TTS sound decoder for this loco was being produced, R8117. However, a search on eBay and via Google cannot find any stocks of this decoder in the UK. Does anyone know whether Hornby have just run out and are waiting for more or whether this is a discontinued item? There is another option for fitting sound to the loco in the same magazine using a Zimo decoder from Digitrains but this costs around £100 compared to the £38 for the TTS decoder. Alternatively, if anyone has the R8117 decoder they would like to sell or know somewhere that has one left in stock, I would be grateful to hear from them. Thanks, Steve
  9. My order arrived last Monday (4 May) - so quite pleased with that. Ordered two Peco IL-116 Track gauges from Track Shack as they were the only place showing them in stock. I have never used them before but would definitely use them again and have no reservations in recommending them to others. Order arrived within two days.
  10. It is now three weeks since I placed my order and still no sign of it and no communication from Marcway. I will give him a call today and see if he can tell me when I am likely to receive it. Although there is no immediate hurry, I would like to know that I haven’t been forgotten or if there is a part of my order that is causing a delay.
  11. I called the shop number and there is an answerphone message, at the end of which you are told to call Mark on a different number. When I called that number, Mark took my order and payment details. Having not yet received anything and payment not coming out of my bank account, I called Mark yesterday to get an update. He told me that it was just him completing the orders as the shop is closed and that he had quite a backlog.
  12. Not that it really matters, unless you are going for prototypical accuracy, but none of the Kings or Castle class locos were ever painted black as a wartime livery. Instead, they were painted plain green and had GWR or G Crest W on their tenders. It is debatable whether Halls were painted black with the exception of the modified Halls that appeared during the war which were painted black and only had Hall Class written on the nameplate as most were not named when built. All tank engines received the unlined black livery. Interestingly, most coaches were repainted during the war into an all brown with an orange centre stripe livery. I used to have a book called “Modelling the GWR” that had information on wartime liveries and the information I have shared above is based on my memory of what was written in that book. At the time (1993) I had ordered some N gauge Grange Class and a single Manor class loco representing Laira’s wartime allocation from P&D Marsh and I remember that the seven Granges were plain green and the Manor was plain black. I sold all the locos which had cost me £75 per loco to a dealer called the Carriage and Wagon Works (now defunct) for a pittance. I always wondered what became of them.
  13. I have several bound volumes of MRC from the 1930-1950’s and similar time frame for Model Railway News. It is interesting how many articles in those plus the writings of Edward Beal are still relevant to today’s railway modelling.
  14. I want to say a belated “thank you” to Chris Leigh for the excellent series of specials that he produced whilst editor of Model Railway Constructor Magazine. I say belated because the MRC became extinct in 1987. I have recently rediscovered these specials which cover all aspects of building a model railways such as planning, building baseboards, scenery, buildings, loco kits and advice for beginners. There is also one on garden railways but as that doesn’t apply to me, I haven’t bothered buying that one. i am planning to build a model of Moretonhampstead (terminus of a branch line from Newton Abbott) as it was in 1947. Having previously tried to build layouts based on Plymouth Friary in OO gauge and Tavistock North in N gauge using baseboards using 18mm ply in open top and L-Girder framework, Mr Leigh’s suggestion to use 6, 9 or 12mm ply as a series of formers to support the trackbed came as something of a revelation. My plan is to build my layout using the methods described in these Specials and subsequent modelling books I have bought as I plan to scratch build all the buildings or adapt kits to suit, such as using the old Airfix/Dapol water tower kit without the supporting wires between the uprights. I have just ordered the track work components from Marcway and have already printed off my Templot track plan. I have estimated the length as 18’ and will need to incorporate a 180 degree curve to fit within the space I have available. I am hoping that by building a branch line terminus with only seven points, I will have a greater chance of finishing the layout than getting demoralised by the size of the project in hand and losing motivation. The current Covid-19 pandemic and my own situation of being confined to the house/garden/shed for the next three months means that I probably won’t be getting started on the construction of baseboards for sometime. However, that will allow me to crack on with turnout building and planning the structures. I will create a separate layout thread once I am underway.
  15. Hi everyone, thanks for all your comments. Probably easier to describe it as Prodigy Advance 2 rather the correct Squared as it would be found quicker when people are searching for it. I had a thought to keep it (and my J94) but today when I was considering buying a Bachman Prairie tank to start a small shelf based branch line in the shed, I realised that I really couldn’t be bothered. My interest in model railways has truly passed and the controller and other OO stuff I have would just be gathering dust on the off chance that I did something with it. Therefore, I have decided the time has come to sell it on eBay - my username is elaineandsteve1512 - and I hope to start listing things from tomorrow (17 February) on one-day sales. What I am selling is varied and might be of interest to you; not only this controller but also some used Hornby R8249 decoders, Hornby J94 loco “Harry” with Hornby R8249 decoder fitted under the weight in the boiler, some Superquick card building kits, Wills level crossing kits, Tortoise point motors, lengths of SMP phosphor bronze flexi track, Ratio SR bogie B wagons kits (part built and unopened, PCB handbuilt A5 turnouts, Churchward Models etched brass part completed GWR signal box with brand new Springside interior kit and some C&L/Exactoscale components for building handbuilt OO track. Thanks once again for all you advice and comments. Regards, Steve
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