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Hornby HM 6000


The Johnster
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There is always a way to beat the system.

 

In order to have multiple operators you have to assign certain modules to certain phones.

To do this you power up the modules you want User 1 to have control over, scan for and mesh with these.

Then power up the modules you want User 2 to have control over, scan for and mesh these.

And so on until you run out of Users/Modules.

 

Hence you could have User 1 looking after a module that controls inner and outer loops, User 2 could run the yard, User 3 could control accessories. Or any combination of those as long as you realise you cannot split module channels across users, but you can hand off control from one module to another, say User 1 is sending a loco to User 3 for the yard.

 

No doubt as this system becomes more widely used we shall discover different ways to use it, such as using standard BLE rather than Meshing for user handover.

 

 

Edited by RAF96
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Yes; this is fundamentally the same as standard DC control, which few people use on layouts large enough for mulit-person operation any more though it may be of interest to the owners of 'classic' layouts of Borchester.  The system is the same but the operator interface is new, and we will develop new methods of operating as a result no doubt.  It will be interesting to review this situation in a year or so, when we have become comfortable with the new interface and exchanged our experiences and suggestions. 

 

I think there will always be a role for the old GM on my layout, and view the app-based system as an addition not a replacement.  But in a year or so my opinion may well have changeded, as I am really only guessing how and when I will use the app system.  I foresee as being the go to when I am at the ends of the layout out of reach of the GM, and the town end of the layout is at the moment a bit neglected and 'ripe for development'; more operation from this end of the layout will be possible with an untethered controller and there may be a consequent impact on the lighting and detail provided in that locality.  I will be able to propel myself up and down the branch on my office chair with more freedom, and may stop using the GM altogether.

 

We'll see; quality will be paramount.

Edited by The Johnster
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Hiding it under the boards might compromise the NFC connection, which is pretty much line of sight, though I can see the attraction and neatness of this solution.  Not saying it will, you'll need to experiment, just making you aware that there could be an issue especially at 'long range'.  Mine will be alongside rather than beneath the layout.

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Bluetooth has an approximate range of 30'/10m so around the normal sort of layout its intended for, hiding the unit under the baseboard probably wouldn't compromise connectivity.  The only reason to have it mounted in sight is that you can then see the connection and power indicators (thats what I'm assuming the blue and red LEDs are). The prototype photos also showed a switch on top of the case, which I'd assume was either a reset or a bluetooth pairing switch, and which seems to have slunk off elsewhere on the production box.

 

We'll find out what's what when they arrive!

 

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HM6000 - Topside is a red power led and a blue Comms led. There is a recessed reset switch under the case, a DC power socket in the side along with the pair of track feeds. The unit has slide on screw anchor points.

HM6010 has same leds and reset switch and anchor points. A wire insertion tool is provided. Along one side is the DC power socket and two sets of triple wired ports. The other side also has a pair of triple wired ports and an alternative track power input, which can be fed from a DCC track.

There is no need for line of sight apart from necessary viewing of the leds on occasion of set up, handover, etc.

It is now evident from ongoing testing that multiple user handover can be achieved module by module if necessary, by one user deprovisioning a module and the other user reprovisioning it. There is the choice of Mesh provioning or basic BLE comms.

I can go into all of that later if necessary.

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6 hours ago, scumcat said:

Had a “play” with this this evening. I must admit my kids 8 and 6 loved it. I was very impressed. The sounds were a big hit and the control of the loco strangely impressive. Would it replace my dcc system? No obviously not but congratulations to Hornby for expanding the all important play value to keep the littler one’s interested. I can see this  selling well in train sets.


Glad that your family enjoyed using the new controller and I echo your thoughts in congratulating the innovation by Hornby.

 

May I ask where you purchased the HM6000 from? The Hornby website shows it as being in stock but I cannot find any other online retailer having any in stock yet ...

 

I’m very tempted to buy a HM6000 to enable me to operate two cabs using my IPad wires-free from different positions around my shed away from the fixed control panel. I’m planning on adding two double-pole-double-throw switches between my existing fixed controllers and the rotary switches controlling the cab sections ... this will enable me to continue to use my fixed controllers when at the control panel, but when I wish to operate two cabs away from the panel, I’ll simply throw the switches and use the IPad. The sounds and other features that the HM6000 brings are a bonus ... and will be interesting to hear through the sound bar in the shed! 

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2 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Just ordered mine from Kernow; very helpful as I was having problems with the website and had to do it over the phone.  I have a suitable 12Vdc supply.

 

As noted earlier it needs 15vDC.

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19 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Ah, yes thanks for the reminder, sir.  On the shopping list and into town for the electronics stall in the indoor market for Johnster, then!

 

Take a vernier calliper with you as the 15v DC jack plug needs to be 6.3 mm OD and have a 3 mm centre positive hole for the pin in the module. Some jacks have a solid centre, not a hole.

 

Good news for those who wish to run this alongside their existing controllers.

I tested it this morning and handover circuit to circuit from either HM6000 to a normal DC controller (either way) was fine as long as speed and direction were matched. I used a Hornby R7229 controller as many train sets include this.

If polarity was contra creating a short then I found both HM | DC app and the controller reacted to shut off power. Recovery was immediate from within the app but the other controller had to wait for its internal reset to work.

 

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It’s arrived, (only ordered from Kernow on Sunday avo, you can’t expect faster than that, kudos Kernow and Royal Mail First Class Post, chwarae teg nawr)  and I’ve deboxed it.  Small and neat, but I think it would have looked better in a dark colour, not this is of much relevance.  Comes in a cardboard box on a tray like an eggbox.  There are mouldings on the back to mount it on screws, and a template to drill the holes on the start guide.  It’s too light to sit still if it’s anywhere that cables are going to be moved about or such, bit of course once it’s set up it can be left in a quiet spot undisturbed; I’ll be fixing mine down, though. You only need to see the red power light and the blue bluetooth light, nothing else to see here folks, move along now...
 

You get the box o’tricks with 2 output cables for each circuit, with what I assume are Hornby’s proprietary power track connection plugs at the business end, a declaration of uniformity with a nice note from George Waller dated 5th November 2020 (hopefully that will be it’s only connection with fireworks, perhaps not the most obviously auspicious date in connection with an electrical device!) (does this explain the Dapol water tower rocket launcher?), and a quick start guide.  
 

Next installment and report of ease of setup, quality of running, and how The Johnster is coping with the phone screen interface pending until I’ve sorted a power supply, probably wait for next pension day to do this unless I find something in the ‘old power supply kept because they might come in useful one day’ box, which is buriud in other junk and I can’t be *rsed digging for it now just... 

 

It’s a lovely day, burdies is churpin’ and the Patio has me, for now!

Edited by The Johnster
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I've dug out an old power supply, 18v dc, but won't be taking the risk of using that!  I'm determined not to buy the Hornby power supply, as I reckon it's overpriced, but of course I may have to eventually...

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I have been toying with this  as a potential way to interest some  ‘techie’ kids and initially I thought it has promise but I quickly realised that this is potentially an expensive way to operate a layout - in fact it may make DCC seem cheap ;)

 

The big limitation I see is operating turnouts was the unit is £34, only operates a single turnout motor and this motor must be 0.5A or less which rules out the common Peco and Seep motors. Then you discover that the £34 doesn’t include a power supply which they want another £20.99 for!!!!

 

This means that you operate a single turnout using this system will cost £54 on top of the turnout and motor cost, the main HM6000 and of course the phone or tablet.

 

This suggests to me that even the simplest layout is going to cost a huge amount no run from a phone as just running the loco seems pointless, especially when the app is designed for you to do everything within it.

 

A great pity as it looked interesting and I am sure that some people will like it, but when they discover the limits then it will be consigned to operating the too expensive for expansion use, though I am sure it will do well in the Christmas market as a loco controller with the gift set.

Edited by WIMorrison
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14 hours ago, The Johnster said:

I've dug out an old power supply, 18v dc, but won't be taking the risk of using that!  I'm determined not to buy the Hornby power supply, as I reckon it's overpriced, but of course I may have to eventually...

 

I've bought a 15v 1A PSU from ebay for £10.99, sold by a UK retailer specialising in replacement PSUs for various pieces of electronic kit. I haven't tried it out as my HM6000 hasn't arrived yet, but if thats a ballpark price for you, I'll post a link. It looks like a sensible replacement PSU.

 

2 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

I have been toying with this  as a potential way to interest some  ‘techie’ kids and initially I thought it has promise but I quickly realised that this is potentially an expensive way to operate a layout - in fact it may make DCC seem cheap ;)

 

The big limitation I see is operating turnouts was the unit is £34, only operates a single turnout motor and this motor must be 0.5A or less which rules out the common Peco and Seep motors. Then you discover that the £34 doesn’t include a power supply which they want another £20.99 for!!!!

 

This means that you operate a single turnout using this system will cost £54 on top of the turnout and motor cost, the main HM6000 and of course the phone or tablet.

 

This suggests to me that even the simplest layout is going to cost a huge amount no run from a phone as just running the loco seems pointless, especially when the app is designed for you to do everything within it.

 

A great pity as it looked interesting and I am sure that some people will like it, but when they discover the limits then it will be consigned to operating the too expensive for expansion use, though I am sure it will do well in the Christmas market as a loco controller with the gift set.

 

Looking at the Hornby info page, the HM6010 Accessory Control unit has four outputs, each of which can control either a solenoid (SEEP, Peco, Hornby) point motor, a "constant current" point motor (Tortoise, etc, I suppose), lights, turntables or other motors.  The actual mode of output for ports A-D is governed by how the app on phone or tablet is set up.  As mentioned above you don't need to buy a Hornby PSU, suitable PSUs for less are available.

 

Hornby also suggest that if you need more power:

Quote

Need more power? The P9300 15V – 4.0A transformer is also compatible:

You can get chunky laptop replacement PSUs with 15v 4A output for £10 inc delivery too.  I hadn't noticed this, otherwise I'd have bought one instead of a 1A unit!

 

The Hornby price looks a bit steep, but a search of well known model railway suppliers shows that an HM6000 can be had for £23 and an HM6010 for £25 including delivery. A couple of suitable PSUs can knock you back an additional £22. So yes, £70 inclusive for a 2 track loco controller and a 4 port accessory controller, inc PSUs looks a little steep at first glance, but its competitive with other analogue solutions.  The Accessory Controller is also reasonably competitive vs a DCC 4 port accessory controller.

 

 

Edited by Hroth
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There seem to be a variety of postage free 15Vdc PSUs on Amazon at around the price level you mention, Hroth, and for about 3 beer vouchers more you get multi-level outputs that come with plug adaptors.  As it is difficult to ascertain that the size and form of the plug is compatible with the socket on the HM6k, this may be a better way to go.  One is taking a punt on quality of course.  I am intending to go into the electronics shop in Cardiff Indoor Market first, with the HM6k, to see what they have; they have been very helpful in the past with this sort of thing.  But I've spent all my pocket money and must wait until next pension day, next Wednesday; patience, Johnster, patience.

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5 minutes ago, The Johnster said:

for about 3 beer vouchers more you get multi-level outputs that come with plug adaptors.

 

Multi-level adaptors aren't that reliable, and the higher the output voltage, the lower the current, which might not be sufficient. In addition, the ones with a cross of power plugs at the end of the wire is a temptation for shorting across the unused plugs, while the ones with swappable alternative plugs have a tendancy to disconnect when not closely observed...

 

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3 hours ago, Hroth said:

 

I've bought a 15v 1A PSU from ebay for £10.99, sold by a UK retailer specialising in replacement PSUs for various pieces of electronic kit. I haven't tried it out as my HM6000 hasn't arrived yet, but if thats a ballpark price for you, I'll post a link. It looks like a sensible replacement PSU.

 

Still very expensive when you need another SPMS for each unit

 

3 hours ago, Hroth said:

 

Looking at the Hornby info page, the HM6010 Accessory Control unit has four outputs, each of which can control either a solenoid (SEEP, Peco, Hornby) point motor, a "constant current" point motor (Tortoise, etc, I suppose), lights, turntables or other motors.  The actual mode of output for ports A-D is governed by how the app on phone or tablet is set up.  As mentioned above you don't need to buy a Hornby PSU, suitable PSUs for less are available.

 

If you read this page it clearly shows that you can only control one motor output and only up to 0.5A

 

image.png.8dddf1f2bd4b0f2bfb2b40cc83ca3bf8.png

 

App Based Analogue Control

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, WIMorrison said:

 

Still very expensive when you need another SPMS for each unit

 

 

If you read this page it clearly shows that you can only control one motor output and only up to 0.5A

 

image.png.8dddf1f2bd4b0f2bfb2b40cc83ca3bf8.png

 

App Based Analogue Control

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts.

 

A 15v 4A PSU should be able to power up to 4 HM6010 Accessory controllers.

 

Or 1 HM6000 and 3 HM6010 controllers.

 

Even if you're running two locos on the HM6000, such a PSU should be able to cope with the intermittent operation of accessories, though I would prefer to power the HM6000 separately.

 

Obviously, anyone wanting to do this would have to make a power harness to split the output from the PSU themselves.

 

As for control modes, the segment you quote shows that there are three classes of control. Point motors, Lights (Signals or layout), and motorised accessories. It states that there are four outputs. All of which can be used for point motors or signal or lighting control. If you want to drive a motorised accessory, only one output can be used for this purpose per HM6010.

 

Going by how they list the capabilities, a motor driven accessory is a turntable or other similar motorised device, basically its like driving a loco. If you want to control another "motorised accessory" (a windmill perhaps?) it says you will then need another HM6010. You would then also be able to control 3 more points!

 

 

 

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If you wanted to control a large and complext layout in this way the cost would certainly mount up as you would need multiple HM6000s, mulitple 6020s, and multiple PSUs, but to be fair to Hornby and it's pricing, which seems fair enough apart from the expensive proprietary PSUs, I don't think that was ever the intended purpose for this system.  A large and complex layout is an expesnive matter anyway, and it seems to be generally and not unreasonably assumed that if you can afford such a layout and the stock to run on it you can probably afford full fat DCC, and indeed on some layouts that might work out cheaper, including loco chips, speakers, and all the other whistles and bells.

 

The app-based system is really not any different to conventional DC except for the control interface, which is on a smartphone (or tablet or even computer presumably),  The ability to operate two circuits, main line and colliery sidings, on my BLT with an untethered controller is, IMHO, reason enough to take a punt on the system; all I have spent so far is £22 for the basic HM6k box at Kernow. and I'm reckoning to be able to be up and running, once I've sourced a suitable PSU, for about £35 total. 

 

I'm not impressed with the tutorial video of the steam sound fx; the chuffs were miles off the Princess' driving wheel revolutions.  There should be 4 chuffs to a revolution, not 4 revolutions to a chuff!  The whistle sounded ok for my GW purposes, though.  One does not seem to be able to add one's own sound files, which is a bit of a missed opportunity IMHO.

 

My accessories can be happily enough worked in the way they are now without needing to be incorporated into the system, though it's nice to know I could if I wanted.  My points are hand operated and the main signals are Dapol working ones; there are 4 and these may be future 6010 candidates but I reckon there will be a limit to how many screens I will be happy switching between.  Lighting is on several battery circuits and there are no motorised accessories.  A windmill, if I had one (I might indulge myself in working pithead wheels one day), only needs to be turned on or off and left to it's own devices; it doesn't need controlling like a  turntable or lifting bridge. 

 

I think this system has a potential role on the smaller and simpler sort of layouts where the cost of DCC cannot be met; those of us will less disposable income will be those who tend not to have the space for large DCC layouts anyway.

 

Edited by The Johnster
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Hi all; a couple of quick questions if I may:

1. Does each HM6010 accessory unit outlet have the capacity to fire more than one solenoid at a time?  Most of my points are thrown in pairs to control loops/crossovers and I need the ability to throw 2 or even 4 points in one go, which my current old-school CDU does admirably!

2. Has anyone tried the HM6000 with O gauge?  My Gaugemaster D unit copes fine, as did my old Hornby controller until it packed up, and I was wondering if the new unit carries the same clout!

 

Many thanks

 

David

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@David 

1. I have tested the 6010 with a pair of solenoids and they did throw. The output is set to 500mS and a double pulse, but the capacitors are only 2200μF running at 15 v input so no great punch expected.

I am just off to try powering the unit from a DCC supply which being AC (ish) should provide a better charge.

 

2. As long as you stay within the track channel output - loco dependant e.g. B’mann Class 08 O gauge runs nicely on a TTS decoder which has a 500mA limit, yet can struggle with a OO gauge Helijan loco.

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3 hours ago, RAF96 said:

@David 

1. I have tested the 6010 with a pair of solenoids and they did throw. The output is set to 500mS and a double pulse, but the capacitors are only 2200μF running at 15 v input so no great punch expected.

I am just off to try powering the unit from a DCC supply which being AC (ish) should provide a better charge.

 

2. As long as you stay within the track channel output - loco dependant e.g. B’mann Class 08 O gauge runs nicely on a TTS decoder which has a 500mA limit, yet can struggle with a OO gauge Helijan loco.

 

Many thanks; I was hoping for more 'oomph' from the built-in CDU but I may have to stay with my old one for now.  I guess the output conundrum will have to wait for a proper bench test with different locos to verify its suitability; interestingly I rang Hornby technical dept. with the same question and they couldn't tell me the output amperage so couldn't help!

I'll order one and give it a trial run; my OO roundy layout should benefit from the easier controls...(and I can't wait to hear the buit-in 'sounds' :D )

 

David

 

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I ordered a HM6000 along with the P9100 transformer with UK plug and both arrived yesterday. I was laid low yesterday with a few side effects from the first dose of the jab, but they soon faded and I’ve installed and tested the HM6000 this evening .... Very impressed!

 

I found it easy to setup (especially if you follow the YouTube tutorial step-by-step clips), the sounds are quite wide ranging and a decent novelty factor, but best of all the controllability of the test loco was much better than anticipated. I took a few pics ...

 

The first shows what you get ... well packaged, I was surprised by how small the actual HM6000 is ... not much larger than the transformer plug. Two pairs of wires exit the HM6000; one for Track 1 and another for Track 2. Also included is a quick-start instruction sheet along with the electrical compatibility info.

0A0CA102-A8B1-455C-ACA6-2E139056297D.jpeg.3670fe5988834a56e2710ea095496289.jpeg
 

One part of the quick start guide has a template for screw hole positions (if required) for mounting ... I used a bradawl to mark a hole for the screws.

CAA6B788-A530-4C97-84B9-C8CBC1F8695B.jpeg.444c8b4747045cbabc61809f36f1f57f.jpeg

 

After driving two screws, I mounted the unit and inserted the power from the P9100 transformer and first success ... a red light!

3D1818B8-5B37-4C06-B5A0-656AA9C5C119.jpeg.8ec45ac03c22aad18065e1790580885b.jpeg


My existing control panel is a fixed position using two x 4 track Gaugemaster panel controllers. My layout uses cab control principles ... with the layout split into 12 sections (power districts), with rotary switches matching cabs 1 to 6 to each of the 12 sections. Cab 7 only controls the depot, while Cab 8 is for the test track or lower fiddle yard. When designing the control panel approx 14yrs ago, I included DPDT switches for each section to allow provision for switching to DCC at some stage ... alas, not occurred yet! 
A3A8BC33-D8BA-441F-B8E1-787F783A43E3.jpeg.47e5ba7f1a83e92de19b24e2d6734027.jpeg


While the fixed-position control panel has worked very well so far, at times I have wished I had the flexibility to control a train or two from around the shed, either for different viewpoints ... or testing different areas ... or more recently for filming since I’ve began to load a few videos of the layout onto YouTube. 
 

To create additional flexibility ... I’ve inserted two new DPDT switches to allow me to switch Cabs 5 and 6 between using the traditional fixed position controllers, or using the new HM6000. I’ve not labelled the switches yet ... but this evenings tests worked perfectly.

FE5F2017-7AA9-464F-95DC-8881CE20CFA3.jpeg.d326857354332e8f5b839081f868dcbe.jpeg


Finally ... a quick picture of the App on my IPad Air in action. Speed control is simple by dragging the slider, while the direction control along with brake and stop and the various sounds are touch buttons. Very impressed!

CD9FA4FE-6CC4-4D02-B755-B46C73055623.jpeg.dcb845efea17deed54b97af2e61d71d1.jpeg


My shed is fitted with a sound bar ... and as that’s connected to my IPad via Bluetooth, then the sounds from the HM6000 App come through loud and clear via the sound bar .... potentially VERY loud! The background Electric noise does sound a bit like a washing machine though ... a shame it’s not the roar or humm of a Class 85 or 87! Perhaps a future upgrade of the App could expand the range of sounds?! ;)

 

In the meantime, it certainly adds ‘play’ value to many DC/Analogue layouts/train sets and hopefully it will appeal to the younger I-device generation as well and attract new people to the hobby. For me, the big win is now being able to control 2 cabs reliably from anywhere in my shed ... and so far so good. Overall, well done to Hornby for this innovation.

 

 

A59E3644-8AD2-4AD4-BD7D-39D3BBD0B25D.jpeg

Edited by Patriot87003
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