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Oxford N7

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I noticed a few days ago that Rails Of Sheffield now have the GER version with DCC sound decoder fitted in stock. Has anyone any experience with the sound fitted version and can they share any opinions regarding the sound?

 

Obviously there is a massive saving on the cost of having a high end sound decoder fitted but are you paying for that by compromising on the sound quality?

I'd be interested to know any thoughts.

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10 hours ago, Bunkerbarge said:

I noticed a few days ago that Rails Of Sheffield now have the GER version with DCC sound decoder fitted in stock. Has anyone any experience with the sound fitted version and can they share any opinions regarding the sound?

 

Obviously there is a massive saving on the cost of having a high end sound decoder fitted but are you paying for that by compromising on the sound quality?

I'd be interested to know any thoughts.

I have held off getting one of these locos until the sound became available. Rails’ Advent discount led me take the plunge.

The sound quality is, IMHO, good. Chuffs synchronise with the wheels and die away when coasting. Control is also very good.

On the other hand, it’s driving me mad! Most of the sounds and features don’t match the function list in the instructions and some features seem to be missing. As far as I have been able to work out so far, these are the actual sounds. I emphasise that I need another session to check the list below.

F1    Sound.
F2    Whistle (single note, playable).
F3    Whistle (random toot or toot toot).
F4    –
F5    –
F6    Safety valves.
F7    Injector.
F8    Brake.
F9    Flange squeal.
F10    Guard’s whistle.
F11    On: guard’s whistle; off: acknowledging toot toot.
F12    Drain cocks.
F13    Fire door (no shovelling, no light).
F14    Shunt mode.
F15    Auto uncoupling.
F16    Coasting?
F17    –
F18    Rattling?
F19    Flange squeal.
F20    –
F21    –
F22    –
F23    –
F24    –

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, No Decorum said:

I have held off getting one of these locos until the sound became available. Rails’ Advent discount led me take the plunge.

The sound quality is, IMHO, good. Chuffs synchronise with the wheels and die away when coasting. Control is also very good.

On the other hand, it’s driving me mad! Most of the sounds and features don’t match the function list in the instructions and some features seem to be missing. As far as I have been able to work out so far, these are the actual sounds. I emphasise that I need another session to check the list below.

F1    Sound.
F2    Whistle (single note, playable).
F3    Whistle (random toot or toot toot).
F4    –
F5    –
F6    Safety valves.
F7    Injector.
F8    Brake.
F9    Flange squeal.
F10    Guard’s whistle.
F11    On: guard’s whistle; off: acknowledging toot toot.
F12    Drain cocks.
F13    Fire door (no shovelling, no light).
F14    Shunt mode.
F15    Auto uncoupling.
F16    Coasting?
F17    –
F18    Rattling?
F19    Flange squeal.
F20    –
F21    –
F22    –
F23    –
F24    –

 

 

Many thanks for the feedback.  I was also tempted by the initial price and ordered the LNER version with sound decoder over a year ago.  I suspect I will also find it a bit frustrating to have different functions on buttons I am not used to however if the sound quality is there then maybe the total of £160.00 will compare favourably with the £230.00 to £250.00 you could expect to pay with a high end sound decoder.  There again you will not have a stay alive fitted either so that is another consideration.

 

 

Edited by Bunkerbarge

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It would be interesting to know what actual sound decoder is used. I have to presume, (wrongly?), that it would be either a Zimo or ESU. Or could it possibly be a special Hornby  TTS type one. Does anyone know? 
 

Am confused by the stay-alive bit. Does the OR sound version have one which a separate fitted one would not, or vice-versa? Most Zimo’s don’t come with them as default. Wouldn’t know about ESU, never having used one.

 

Leaning toward a early/late crest sound one if I am sure conversion to P4, as per my Hornby J15, is possible. Not certain yet, but it does seem probable going by blog reports, with much body/chassis filing as per the J15 and also Heljan W&M railbus.

 

Izzy

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As they are not stated as having a Stay Alive fitted I would not expect one to be included.  Consequently you will have to add one yourself.  I spoke to Rails of Sheffield and to Oxford Rail when I ordered my own loco and eventually Oxford Rail did tell me via Rails that they believed the decoder was to be an ESU Loksound decoder, with their own bespoke file loaded.  If that is so the price is very good and the quality should be good.

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I queried the stay-alive aspect because the DC versions have a large capacitor on the 8-pin blanking plug according to the review in Hornby mag. So I wondered if one would also be fitted to sound ones as part of the package. YouChoos do a N7 file for Zimo, but where it would all fit is moot. Hornby mag stated it would need to be done with careful choice of decoder due to the limited space. No doubt all will become clear in time. 
 

Izzy

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The capacitor on the blanking plug is for suppression. On one of my two examples it didn't last ten minutes while on DC test, emitting a nice smoke trail for a few seconds.

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13 hours ago, No Decorum said:

I have held off getting one of these locos until the sound became available. Rails’ Advent discount led me take the plunge.

The sound quality is, IMHO, good. Chuffs synchronise with the wheels and die away when coasting. Control is also very good.

On the other hand, it’s driving me mad! Most of the sounds and features don’t match the function list in the instructions and some features seem to be missing. As far as I have been able to work out so far, these are the actual sounds. I emphasise that I need another session to check the list below.

F1    Sound.
F2    Whistle (single note, playable).
F3    Whistle (random toot or toot toot).
F4    –
F5    –
F6    Safety valves.
F7    Injector.
F8    Brake.
F9    Flange squeal.
F10    Guard’s whistle.
F11    On: guard’s whistle; off: acknowledging toot toot.
F12    Drain cocks.
F13    Fire door (no shovelling, no light).
F14    Shunt mode.
F15    Auto uncoupling.
F16    Coasting?
F17    –
F18    Rattling?
F19    Flange squeal.
F20    –
F21    –
F22    –
F23    –
F24    –

Surprising no Westinghouse pump, which must be one of the most characteristic sounds of a GE loco!

 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Izzy said:

It would be interesting to know what actual sound decoder is used. I have to presume, (wrongly?), that it would be either a Zimo or ESU. Or could it possibly be a special Hornby  TTS type one. Does anyone know? 
 

Am confused by the stay-alive bit. Does the OR sound version have one which a separate fitted one would not, or vice-versa? Most Zimo’s don’t come with them as default. Wouldn’t know about ESU, never having used one.

 

Leaning toward a early/late crest sound one if I am sure conversion to P4, as per my Hornby J15, is possible. Not certain yet, but it does seem probable going by blog reports, with much body/chassis filing as per the J15 and also Heljan W&M railbus.

 

Izzy

ESU V4.0 according to the wayward instructions. With V5 being the latest from ESU, that might explain why it’s relatively cheap. The helpdesk contact numbers are for ESU, so perhaps most of the instructions are a straight copy.

 

EDIT: I’m reasonably happy with the quality of the sound. I wouldn’t touch TTS for a steam loco although diesels are acceptable. (Just personal opinion, as always.)

Edited by No Decorum
To address TTS point.
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31 minutes ago, No Decorum said:

ESU V4.0 according to the wayward instructions. With V5 being the latest from ESU, that might explain why it’s relatively cheap. The helpdesk contact numbers are for ESU, so perhaps most of the instructions are a straight copy.

 

EDIT: I’m reasonably happy with the quality of the sound. I wouldn’t touch TTS for a steam loco although diesels are acceptable. (Just personal opinion, as always.)


Thanks, that’s interesting. I agree re TTS. The diesels are fine sound-wise, the latest 08 one I have is very good, but the motor control is, erm, pants. Okay if it suits a particular motor, waste of space otherwise. You pay your monies and take your choice.......

 

I see the prices have risen since the pre-order prices, which makes the advantage of a sound fitted one less - I think. For me, doing it in stages, convert to P4, then fit sound it that works out, seems less risky in the long run, less to loose if it doesn’t. I mostly prefer to strip out any pcbs and hard wire anyway. No two are quite the same. It’s each to their own really.

 

Thanks to all for the info posted/shared. 
 

Izzy

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Just discovered that youchoos.co.uk has a informative sound install guide with plenty of shots showing the stripped down loco. Very useful.

 

Izzy

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2 hours ago, Izzy said:

Just discovered that youchoos.co.uk has a informative sound install guide with plenty of shots showing the stripped down loco. Very useful.

 

Izzy

It looked rather difficult, which is one reason why I chose the Oxford sound!

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11 hours ago, No Decorum said:

It looked rather difficult, which is one reason why I chose the Oxford sound!

 

Yes, looks a good challenge doesn't it!

 

However, for a chancer like me, used to stuffing homebrew stay-alives & decoders into 2mm and playing around with 4mm RTR as per this thread

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/124592-some-rtr-rolling-stock-for-all-saints-east/

 

it's how shall we say,  'interesting' , and especially when trying to work out what might be possible when you haven't got a loco in your hands.  I'm just wondering if a speaker would fit in the smokebox.......

 

Izzy

Edited by Izzy
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8 hours ago, Izzy said:

 

Yes, looks a good challenge doesn't it!

 

However, for a chancer like me, used to stuffing homebrew stay-alives & decoders into 2mm and playing around with 4mm RTR as per this thread

 

https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/124592-some-rtr-rolling-stock-for-all-saints-east/

 

it's how shall we say,  'interesting' , and especially when trying to work out what might be possible when you haven't got a loco in your hands.  I'm just wondering if a speaker would fit in the smokebox.......

 

Izzy

 

I don’t know if these pictures will help. The decoder sits under the coal in the bunker. At first, I couldn’t see any sign of the speaker but I followed the wires, which led underneath the PCB. I hadn’t the courage to shift the PCB – it didn’t budge after I removed the only screw in evidence. It might be possible to fit a round speaker in the smokebox but it would have to be very thin.

 

Once again, Oxford has provided space for a second flywheel but not fitted it. Unlike other Oxford models, the N7 doesn’t need it.

 

Finally, I borrowed a coupler from a ViTrains 37 but it doesn’t fit; the seating is too big. It might be possible to pack it with paper.

1002 Body Interior.jpg

1002 Chassis.jpg

1002 Smokebox Interior.jpg

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Off  topic from the recent discussion, I was wondering if anyone has experienced the same problem as I with their N7?

 

I have had two instances of them just "dying" on me.  The first was when it had been running forwards for a couple of hours - I went to accelerate it, and it stopped dead.  The second time the replacement had been running for only 10 minutes bunker-first when I found it at a dead stop and totally unresponsive.

 

I am running on DCC, but have checked the loco on DC and it is still dead.  The chip on both occasions has read perfectly, indeed even after resetting,  I have checked the wiring, the pick-ups and so on, but can find nothing amiss.  This has not happened with 130-odd other locomotives on my layout.

 

I should add here that Little Dan at Derails has been wonderful in replacing the first one, but before I trouble him again, I thought to double-check if there is a known issue?

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54 minutes ago, No Decorum said:

I don’t know if these pictures will help. The decoder sits under the coal in the bunker. At first, I couldn’t see any sign of the speaker but I followed the wires, which led underneath the PCB. I hadn’t the courage to shift the PCB – it didn’t budge after I removed the only screw in evidence. It might be possible to fit a round speaker in the smokebox but it would have to be very thin.

 

Once again, Oxford has provided space for a second flywheel but not fitted it. Unlike other Oxford models, the N7 doesn’t need it.

 

Finally, I borrowed a coupler from a ViTrains 37 but it doesn’t fit; the seating is too big. It might be possible to pack it with paper.

1002 Body Interior.jpg

1002 Chassis.jpg

1002 Smokebox Interior.jpg


That’s very helpful, thank you for taking the trouble, it’s much appreciated. Alongside the YouChoos installation pics it appears there is a space under the pcb and sunk into the chassis where the speaker goes/can go. I suppose Youchoos were able to fit a bigger one in the bunker along with the stay-alive. If I ditch the pcb I be able to get a bigger one in the space provided under the cab floor. I do like the Zimo 3D ones as they give a nice clear sound distinction at low volume, but do need more room. Unless I can fit a Zimo MX645R in there ( I prefer them over the smaller decoders because of the built-in stay-alive circuitry) and put  the speaker and capacitors in the bunker. 
 

Plenty to consider now while waiting for the new batch of BR ones to arrive. Thank you once again.

 

Izzy

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1 hour ago, Anthony said:

Off  topic from the recent discussion, I was wondering if anyone has experienced the same problem as I with their N7?

 

I have had two instances of them just "dying" on me.  The first was when it had been running forwards for a couple of hours - I went to accelerate it, and it stopped dead.  The second time the replacement had been running for only 10 minutes bunker-first when I found it at a dead stop and totally unresponsive.

 

I am running on DCC, but have checked the loco on DC and it is still dead.  The chip on both occasions has read perfectly, indeed even after resetting,  I have checked the wiring, the pick-ups and so on, but can find nothing amiss.  This has not happened with 130-odd other locomotives on my layout.

 

I should add here that Little Dan at Derails has been wonderful in replacing the first one, but before I trouble him again, I thought to double-check if there is a known issue?

There wasn't until your report (as far as I am aware) and both mine are OK to date and have had significantly more operating time. Let's just wait and see what other owners turn up.

 

Had you characterised them at all in terms of current draw? I have got lazy on this front, truth be told, once did it on all locos ahead of decoder fitting, but now only if a new loco responds sluggishly on DC test. (Both my N7s shot off like startled rabbits on the minimum output of the DC controller, which means current draw is minimal.)

 

Have you tested the motor on the dead loco you currently have independently, with a small DC voltage applied to the motor terminals?

 

Good retailer support, which is always pleasant to read.

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16 hours ago, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

There wasn't until your report (as far as I am aware) and both mine are OK to date and have had significantly more operating time. Let's just wait and see what other owners turn up.

 

Had you characterised them at all in terms of current draw? I have got lazy on this front, truth be told, once did it on all locos ahead of decoder fitting, but now only if a new loco responds sluggishly on DC test. (Both my N7s shot off like startled rabbits on the minimum output of the DC controller, which means current draw is minimal.)

 

Have you tested the motor on the dead loco you currently have independently, with a small DC voltage applied to the motor terminals?

 

Good retailer support, which is always pleasant to read.

I seem to recollect Jenny Kirk having a similar issue to yourself with the first release, wartime grey, GER N7.

As you say, good retailer support is paramount and from experience you won't find better than Dan and his team at Derails.

Edited by Black 5 Bear
Omission.
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On 12/01/2020 at 21:29, Anthony said:

Off  topic from the recent discussion, I was wondering if anyone has experienced the same problem as I with their N7?

 

I have had two instances of them just "dying" on me.  The first was when it had been running forwards for a couple of hours - I went to accelerate it, and it stopped dead.  The second time the replacement had been running for only 10 minutes bunker-first when I found it at a dead stop and totally unresponsive.

 

I am running on DCC, but have checked the loco on DC and it is still dead.  The chip on both occasions has read perfectly, indeed even after resetting,  I have checked the wiring, the pick-ups and so on, but can find nothing amiss.  This has not happened with 130-odd other locomotives on my layout.

 

I should add here that Little Dan at Derails has been wonderful in replacing the first one, but before I trouble him again, I thought to double-check if there is a known issue?

 

Oh no! It's doing the same as the first one? That is rather irritating, I thought that it was an isolated case.

 

Drop me an email if you don't get any luck Anthony and we'll work out another solution for you. :)

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On 12/01/2020 at 22:57, 34theletterbetweenB&D said:

There wasn't until your report (as far as I am aware) and both mine are OK to date and have had significantly more operating time. Let's just wait and see what other owners turn up.

 

Had you characterised them at all in terms of current draw? I have got lazy on this front, truth be told, once did it on all locos ahead of decoder fitting, but now only if a new loco responds sluggishly on DC test. (Both my N7s shot off like startled rabbits on the minimum output of the DC controller, which means current draw is minimal.)

 

Have you tested the motor on the dead loco you currently have independently, with a small DC voltage applied to the motor terminals?

 

Good retailer support, which is always pleasant to read.

When you say your N7’s started off like startled rabbits on minimum out put , do you mean the slow running qualities are poor ‘?.

I am on the verge of buying one but having a terminus layout smooth starting stopping and slow running are essential

Is it just me or is the dome too narrow. Judging by photos the domes in BR days seem to be wider.

 

Edited by jazzer
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The two I have run beautifully, down to a smooth dead slow and a creep in and out of motion, one with a Lenz Standard, the other a Zimo MX600. I don't now have a DC controller of any sophistication, the DC running is from a H&M Duette fitted with the higher resistance mats. But even with the extra resistance switched in, they started away with a jerk no matter how carefully the control knob was turned. Otherwise very smooth throughout the speed range, but the motors clearly start on a breath of current. (I would wire in a  pair of diodes in parallel if that proved to be a problem.)

 

The dome is overheight in my opinion, leading to the narrow appearance. Still squinting at mine with thoughts of what to do. Chimney likewise too tall. It could stand some fiddling with,

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Mine arrived from Hattons this morning (British Railways version)

 

Not run it yet but straight from the box is pretty close to being mechanically perfect. Not quite as smooth and quiet as the Oxford Rail Dean goods or Hornby M7 , and has a little bit of a “ growl”, but nevertheless very good a will probably be better still once it’s run in. 

 

I run DC and on a Guagemaster controller it’s very responsive very controllable and, importantly to me a very good slow runner. Far better than anything I’ve seen from Bachman, and better than a lot of Hornby. It’s pretty heavy for a small tank engine, and this seems to assist  current collection .

 

All in all an excellent chassis.

 

There are a few issues with the body.  As has been said by others the couplings are too long. 

The dome looks like the type originally fitted , but was changed in BR days it seems. Also the guards over the rear spectacle plates are full length . They may have been like that on this particular loco but most N7’s had the half length ones, as fitted to the other Oxford rail 7’s right to the end of steam . This makes it difficult to renumber accurately. It seems strange that   the manufacturers went to the bother of changing the guard rails when they didn’t need to but kept the wrong dome on the BR model.

 

Anyway, overall , a nice model , let down by a few irritating points, but I don’t regret buying it. Looks the business in front of the Hornby Gresley suburbans

 

Edited by jazzer
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I managed to pick one of these up in Oxford's "factory reject bin" on Sunday at Model Rail Scotland for £20. It was advertised as a non-runner with split gears (which I have now fixed), but the chimney is also not sitting correctly on the smokebox. 

 

I am a recent returnee to modelling with limited skills, can anybody suggest what might be the best way to remove the chimney so that I can reattach it in the correct position? I can live with it (especially for £20!) if it is a very difficult task. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

N7.jpeg

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