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Hornby Loco to Tender plug FIX!

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So, you get your brand new loco out of the box and just want to see it running.


You plug the tender to the loco and it runs and all is well. So what’s the problem?


The problem is, if you ever want to remove the tender from the loco again, you’ll soon realise why they call it “Satan’s plug”. That plug hangs on like trying to get your dog to go through the door of the Vet’s.


If you do manage to remove the plug from the socket, it will have been an epic struggle and it is very easy during the fight to break separately added details like handrails, sheet rails, lamp irons or brake handles from the tender and the fall plate from the loco. Ask me how I know…

Now, if I was choosing a plug and socket for something that would need to make a good connection and would never, ever need to be disconnected again in its lifetime, such as an electronics system on a car, then I’d chose this plug. Once connected it makes a very firm connection and any vibration will not shift it. Fantastic.


However, considering we need to remove the tender from the loco simply to put it back in its box, let alone those times when you’d want to separate the two to service, detail, weather or repaint the loco or tender, this plug is a poor choice by Hornby.


I’m aware that Hornby can supply a tool for this purpose, but as they don’t include it with the loco then most people, like me, won’t have one. Besides I’ve heard that it isn’t that much easier using the special plug removal tool anyway.


I finally had enough of this, so I looked very carefully at the plug and socket to see if I could do something that would enable easier tender removal without the plug falling out when I didn’t want it to.


First off, here’s how I managed to remove the plug :


First remove the tender draw bar completely by unscrewing the screw from the tender AND the screw from the loco (watch out for the world’s smallest washers under the draw bar).


Here’s what I am now looking at:


Then I managed to get a small screwdriver under the small lip on the end of the plug facing each wheel and gently lifted each end at a time. Eventually it came out (although I may have shifted the back to back of one of the wheels in the process. Grrrr


And relax… this is the last time you’ll ever have to do it like this!




plug and socket.jpg

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The socket in the tender has two small holes inside, that small wedge shaped pips on the plug engage into. Tricky to photograph, but you can see the dark square holes near the bottom of the socket.

socket with arrows.jpg

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Here we see the plug showing the wedge shaped pips.


(The eagle eyed amongst you will notice the damage I caused to the wires in previous clumsy attempts at trying to remove this unholy plug).


The solution is so simple, it hurts!

You simply shave off the two wedge shaped pips flush to the body of the plug, using a modelling blade.


Then plug the errr…plug back in to the tender socket as before. Push it home so it can’t go any further and you’re done.


“That can’t be right, Andy! Won’t the plug just fall out without the locking pips?” I hear you cry.


No it won’t. The friction fit of the plug body to the socket hole PLUS the friction of the pins themselves will hold that plug in and it will not fall out. I tried all sorts and unless I want the plug to come out, it won’t even under excessive vibration and jolts.


If you want to remove the plug again, simply use the Hornby special tool that nobody has, or grasp the bundle of wires and pull firmly (but don’t yank it) and it will come out easily.


Having tried this first a few weeks back I’ve just completed converting all my Hornby locos and I can relax knowing that I can remove the tender from any loco with ease whenever I need to and I won’t create a problem to fix any more.


I hope that helps you folks!


Kind regards




Twickenham and District Model Railway Club

plu from side with arrows.jpg

Edited by AndyGWR
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