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Although this is a defeatist attitude, i always find reading instructions given for anything, usually makes you more confused than before you read them.

Camera's are a prime example. If you can't understand it's workings before you open the instructions, you sure as hell won't after !


I always try You Tube if i have issues, and you can see people actually setting things up etc so you can usually follow.

In this case though as in many, there may not be anything similar on there


The other danger, is that you have to be very careful when doing jobs of this sort on new loco's for fear of losing the manufacturers warranty as you've '' played around '' with it etc.


Its important i think to know you're limitations, and in my case i just bite the bullet and let someone who knows what they are doing do it for me

Loco's are very expensive items nowadays and i for one wouldn't forgive myself if i were to unintentionally damage or break something due to lack of knowledge


I have a Class 20 DRS 312 at the moment that judders

I daren't tackle the issue myself for fear of making it worse

I have gone down the route of trying to return it to the shop where purchased, but there are none left as they have sold out.


I usually also get the shop owners to put it on their test track before purchase, which they all will do willingly, however due to lockdown, this has been impossible.


We live in a couldn't care less society nowadays i'm afraid


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On 26/03/2021 at 12:14, john new said:


Partly down to modern modellers demanding higher standards, that's fine but back in the day Hornby Dublo and Tri-ang made models that were simple to fix and durable. Somewhere along the line there occurred a cross-over point where the designers forget that some practicality is needed, that using standard fittings across a range means there are spares available. 


That is not a rant, but I do fail to see why the older methods of fitting bodies like two lugs under the cab and a screw down the chimney can't still be adopted or adapted either all or in part. I have just bought a OO Dapol B4 and relevant chip, I have seen a video on how it comes to bits to fit the chip - fully concur with you the method is very (overly) complicated. 



I was trying earlier to fit a DCC chip into the OO Dapol B4. Not going well in the putting back together phase, giving up until tomorrow in hope I have better patience and less clumsy fingers. I appreciate they have learnt (as per the smokebox fit for the new Manor) but who ever thought up the arrangement for the B4 either forgot about post-sales non-factory fitting of DCC chips by the end users until too late down the line to change things (my guess) or was born a masochist!

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Hello John,


I agree with this and can provide an answer, it's the 3D CAD systems with quad/quad tandem processors and the designers motto, "If it can be done lets do it in the most complex manner that the software will allow".


Model railways is not the only discipline to suffer from this. Audio is a prime example a 1946 Class A valve and a 1969 4 transistor Class A amplifier are still at the top of the game. And yet similar overcomplicated and overpriced software designed stuff claims to be "better". When nothing could be further from the truth.


Camera workings despite being buried in loads of impenetrable software still work on the three interlinked parameters that were incorporated into them in the 1860's. If you know those the 'instructions' can be binned, I do a PDF if anyone would like it.


I suspect that something, elegant and simple that works perfectly sticks in the throats of the "snake oil" designers.


Cheers - Jim


I make my locos, coaches and wagons from card, it's actually great fun.

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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.....


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I wouldn't say DCC Sound is a con - the problem is that DCC sound preparation has not been a the forefront of manufacturers minds until recently so many locomotives had no straightforward solution to install the speakers, even harder in N where I model where on a diesel locomotive the body is typically filled with motor, electrics and weight.


Things are changing, just as DCC went from complicated wiring techniques to solder points to pins, the sound side is now evolving and provision is being built into new models from the outset.


Having to map in functions sounds more like a challenge of your chosen DCC system than the chips which are fairly standard now.


I started out on sound with buying new Farish locos that are sound ready with the speaker pre-installed - really good for the future, then I discovered that space for speakers had been made in their DMUs, so I bought some speakers and 6 pin sound decoders.  I don't fancy though ripping apart my class 25s or 24s to get in a speaker as it needs to go in the tank space between the wheels.  My 47/37 models may benefit from the zimo replacement PCB sound chips but I've to build up some confidence before I attempt it.

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Posted (edited)

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.


Edited by 6029 King Stephen
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The TTS decoders are very limited in functionality in the sounds that they can hold and play, they are even more limited in their DCC capabilities especially when compared to the bare £99 blank decoder that has all the DCC motor controls and functionality available  before you ten add in a superior sound reproduction and the ability to hand many more sounds than a TTS decoder.


TTS decoders are budget decoders in all senses of the word.

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25 minutes ago, WIMorrison said:

The TTS decoders are very limited in functionality in the sounds that they can hold and play, they are even more limited in their DCC capabilities especially when compared to the bare £99 blank decoder that has all the DCC motor controls and functionality available  before you ten add in a superior sound reproduction and the ability to hand many more sounds than a TTS decoder.


TTS decoders are budget decoders in all senses of the word.

I must agree with that.

I bought a class 37 & 47 a few weeks ago from Amazon, of all people they were the cheapest and they owed me a fiver so that was even better.

Anyway I fitted them in a Bachmann 37 & a Bachmann 47. They did not perform at all well, jerky running and poor sound which is maybe due to Bachmann Motors being a bit to heavy for the TTS, but I have a Hornby Black 5 which I fitted with TTS sound and it is pretty good.

I sent them back to Amazon and got my money back with no quibble. You get what you pay for.



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