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Hornby HM 6000


The Johnster
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  • RMweb Gold

Thank you for this rather encouraging post, Patriot87003 (I'm guessing your username has some bearing on the comment about electric loco sound fx).  That you found the controllability better than you'd expected is good news!  Sorry to hear you had a bit of a tough time with the jab; I've had both mine, Pfizer, and was very tired after the 1st one but had no other problems.  The second was fine at the time but I was stiff, sore, and aching for several days afterwards, especially my neck and shoulders.

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6 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Thank you for this rather encouraging post, Patriot87003 (I'm guessing your username has some bearing on the comment about electric loco sound fx).  That you found the controllability better than you'd expected is good news!  Sorry to hear you had a bit of a tough time with the jab; I've had both mine, Pfizer, and was very tired after the 1st one but had no other problems.  The second was fine at the time but I was stiff, sore, and aching for several days afterwards, especially my neck and shoulders.


Many thanks Johnster. It’s ok about the jab ... I would much rather have 24hrs of side effects than risk being exposed to Covid without any protection from a vaccine any day! I still have a slightly sore shoulder but it’s much better and with the fine weather, I’m hoping to progress a project in the garden to replace a gate and fence panel today ... so work on the layout and playing with the HM6000 will have to wait! Good to hear you’ve had both doses so fingers crossed you’re protected.

 

I did take a brief clip yesterday evening and it’s linked below: The first sound button is the background loco noise that can be toggled on or off ... all the other sounds act as a push button.

 

The slider for the controller does need to be dragged ... while like any IPad/touch-screen device you do need a secure connection between finger and touch screen (notice how I attempted to press the stop button at one stage but failed to activate!).

 

But look at the slow speed running from 1min 5 seconds onwards ... and this is DC running on track that hasn’t been cleaned for over two years! The wheels on the 87 were cleaned a few weeks ago.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOHJVtqqk-M

 

 

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A neat looking unit!

 

Hornby never included anything in their photos to indicate size, so the small dimensions of the controller are something a surprise.  The other thing that irritates me about Hornby is the use of captive output power leads. They manage to provide screw terminals on the Accessory controller so where's the problem for the Power controller?

 

Rather than chopping off the plugs if you don't use their power tracks, I've found that the plugs will fit easily into 3A terminal strips, which only leaves a length of overlong connecting wire to deal with...

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

I’m very pleased with my unit, the only thing I’ve found irritating is the buzz from some newer locomotives when running slowly which I presume is due to pulsed power.

The good news from Patriot is that the iPhone/iPad can send sound via Bluetooth at the same time as controlling the power. I had previously been using a nano Bluetooth speaker in a horsebox ( always next to the loco) to play sound files - now I could play the controller sounds- will try that later today, gardening permitting.

 

These little speakers are adequate, as good as dcc sound and are about £10 on Amazon or eBay

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Patriot87003 said:

My shed is fitted with a sound bar

I've got one of these in the post so looking forward to trying this out when it arrives. I mainly ordered instead of getting my self a walk about controller and not so fussed about sounds and have to many points, signals to use the accessory control side of this.

 

Mr Patriot, do I take it from this your ipad had no problem connecting to both the HM6000 and the soundbar? I'm more asking as I have a bluetooth connection to an old hifi that is in my shed so hoping I can still play music from the phone at the same time as shunting trains.

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I’ve managed to connect the Nano speaker and drive the train from the HM6000 simultaneously, and it works well and can be very loud.

 

You can also use Bluetooth as usual with your HiFi by selecting it in the Bluetooth connection menu (iPhone) while shunting!

 

I haven’t discovered what happens if you receive a phone call while operating, I suspect pressing Emergeny Stop before answering would be the safest option!

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  • RMweb Gold

It turned up today so Kudos to Cheltenham Model Centre for quick service. I was amused at the size of the box for the PSU which was about 3 times that of the unit itself and mostly filled with paper. Got set up OK though it has proved my mobile is now to old and does need upgrading even though it has Android 7 as the app has a few issues such as will not import a simple oval which is all I need to run my layout, but my tablet on Android 10 is fine.

 

Only challenge is holding a 10 inch tablet is not what I was looking for but my phone is 6 years old an I have been putting of the upgrade for some time.  Before I try that though I have got one of my kids old tablets that i will see if it will upgrade to Android 8 at least as that might be the easier solution and its a 7inch screen which is fine

 

 

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Playing through the hi-fi would upset the neighbours and probably fininsh my relationship with the Squeeze!  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to use the sound fx, but if I do will by doing it on BT headphones.

 

The whole question of sound at Cwmdimbath is a future project I have in mind, based on the use of the headphones.  As well as railway noises, I am thinking about rain, babbling brooks, sheep bleating, birds, and the off-stage clanking of the Colliery's overhead spoil buckets.

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Bought one of these this morning after a chat with Ken at John Dutfield. Tried it on my garden layout, works well. Main issue is the bluetooth only reaches about 10m but the layout is 22m long! May have to locate the box in the middle of the layout.

 

As a concept it is excellent and other than getting my finger on the sliders when it is either edge of the phone screen, it is good to use. On my phone everything stops if you come out of the app so does prevent anything else being used on the phone as far as I can see (e.g. checking emails), but may be because I have very high security settings on it?

 

Will try it on my micro layout in due course, but I can see this concept has a lot of potential. Seems ideal for small exhibition layouts. It removes the need for an umbilical cord to the layout without the expense of full DCC. I run my analogue controllers with Gaugemaster HF-1 track cleaners, see no reason that these can't be used with the HM6000. The diesel horn sounds need to be a bit more BR like! For £50 to get phone/tablet screen control of analogue locos is good value and hopefully will prove attractive to younger modellers.

 

The oversized generic box for the power unit is a bit of a joke and not retailer friendly, Needs a proper retail packaging as it looks intimidating in store (as you can't see inside buyers may be put off by the thought of a big transformer) and jarring with the small and attractive controller box.

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General opinions seem to be positive so far, all very encouraging.  One of my minor moans about the controller box is that it is too light, and needs to be screwed or fastened down in some way; it will not stay put on it's own, a major drawback back in the day with those horrible Trimphones from the 70s.  i'd prefer to see it a bit more solid and heavy, but this is just my personal preference.  The box it came was no deterrent, but then I'd mail ordered it; had I seen the box in a shop I'd probably have wanted to see the thing out of the box if there was no display example visible.  I prefered the egg-box type packaging inside the box to 'spanded poly!

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So, after quite a lot of messing about getting it to connect (I think that is me and tech plus my phone, a Blackberry Keyone with security at max), I seem to have figured it out.....firstly do the firmware update, and disconnect before turning off.

 

The HM6000 app has the following functionality:

  • brake and stop functions
  • emergency stop
  • sounds are chosen from steam, diesel or electric (6 sounds per menu)
  • settings allow you to set acceleration & deceleration inertias (like CV's on DCC) and set min/max speed range for each circuit

I have now had the HM6000 on 3 separate layouts/tracks and works with all. I have also connected it via a Gaugemaster HF-1 electronic track cleaner and that works fine too. So full analogue functionality. Lots of wires in that situation but can now sit on the sofa and drive the trains on my lounge floor :D The RF-1 is powered by the Gaugemaster Combi it is attached to (velcro'd) with the track feed from the HM6000.

690182583_IMG_20210424_19155471074.jpg.b071453733d6554bf4f64f6ab1ae227f.jpg

 

Size of the HM6000 compared to a Bachmann MEA. 1907971678_IMG_20210424_13260281073.jpg.31aa78121539a0ab43274349aa2d4dd8.jpg

 

And the comedy box for the power unit. It is so big you can get the retail packaging of the HM6000 and the power unit in it!:O

 

2020211388_IMG_20210424_13241511072.jpg.a3a0946ec53017d8f95f413513a72bea.jpg

 

I think the HM6010 would be a good addition for a small layout such as my micro. I won't go that route at the moment as I have wire in tube point control but if I was starting from scratch I would put motors to operate via the 6010.

 

This is a good gadget (and I generally don't like app based things) and does what it says on the tin. Seeing those who have harnessed the sound functions there is clearly more scope for the technically minded.

 

My only suggestion for improvement is a bigger button for the speed slider as a combo of big fingertips, it being near the edge of the screen and screen protector means it is difficult to start off as I can't get a "grip" on it to start off.

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3 hours ago, The Johnster said:

Playing through the hi-fi would upset the neighbours and probably fininsh my relationship with the Squeeze!  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to use the sound fx, but if I do will by doing it on BT headphones.

 

The whole question of sound at Cwmdimbath is a future project I have in mind, based on the use of the headphones.  As well as railway noises, I am thinking about rain, babbling brooks, sheep bleating, birds, and the off-stage clanking of the Colliery's overhead spoil buckets.

 

A quick hunt around youtube reveals a lot of recordings of "ambient sounds" for various types of location. Apart from the spoil buckets you might even find some with bleating sheep! And if you have Audacity installed on your PC, you can "borrow" them. Or so I am told...  Saved as an mp3 file and kept on an old mp3 player, you can play background noises for as long as you like!

 

My HM6000 still hasn't arrived, I'm getting pangs of jealousy!!!

 

 

 

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In settings you can choose whether the app runs whilst you do stuff in the background like take a call or if the app should pause when you do this. i.e. when you minimise the app.

Both are handy, such as pause if you close the lid on a tablet whilst nipping off to make tea, or keep going if the phone rings.

 

 

C683064B-F198-438F-B461-B973443840AA.jpeg

Edited by RAF96
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20 hours ago, pirouets said:

Mr Patriot, do I take it from this your ipad had no problem connecting to both the HM6000 and the soundbar? I'm more asking as I have a bluetooth connection to an old hifi that is in my shed so hoping I can still play music from the phone at the same time as shunting trains.


I’m pleased to say I had no problems connecting the iPad to both the HM6000 and the sound bar at the same time. 

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What would be really useful is a Windows version of the app as well to run off a laptop. Android emulators generally don't support bluetooth and the one that does is beyond my limited IT capabilties to install as it comes as an ISO or RPM file (android-x86).

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As would a corresponding capability for Mac OS.  Such provision for controlling from laptops would be valuable at exhibitions where long running sessions may be beyond the capacity of smartphone battery life.

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Really happy with this and need to have a good play around with the settings now. Also an excuse to get a new phone as my S6 won't run Android 8.

 

Having had my 1st proper play and the only glitch I can see is on older versions of Android (8.1.1) is it still doesn't import the layout. Only needed the oval to get control and in it then took about 1 min to build an oval myself.   The other thing need to watch out on is because I have a fiddle yard where 1 track holds 2 trains, I need to be ready to stop the train but that is down to my layout design rather than the app.

 

 

 

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  • RMweb Gold

As I understand it the track planning feature is an additional element to aid planning and sourcing the correct track pieces, and is additional to the control of trains or accessories.  Similarly the sound fx are additional and not part of the controller.  These elements are part of the smartphone app, and can be used without the HM6k being present.  
 

TTBOMK the sound effects were added to the app after the controller was announced but before the app was available to download.  The track planner was part of the original announcement.  The sound fx certainly enhance the value, and I am moderately impressed with the steam fx apart from the chuffing, which is hopelessly out of sync with the speed of the loco’s driving wheel revolutions.  This comment is based on the tutorial video, though, and I have not yet tested it for real on the layout; I’m not expecting it to be much good but I’ll be very happy to be proved wrong!

 

I can’t see how, though; as there is no physical or electronic method with this system to synchronise the chuffs with the wheel revolution speed, which I consider an essential prerequisite for realism, I can’t see how it could be made to work for different driving wheel diameters.  This might be a feature in future updates to the software, though.  In the meantime it may be possible to drive the loco ‘to the sound’ to provide a realistic effect.  
 

The diesel and electric loco sounds are probably much better, but really need to be set to individual classes to provide the best possible result (a Sulzer sounds different to a Paxman to a Mirlees to a Maybach and so on), again, possibly as part of a future software update. 
 

After what seemed to be some reserve after the initial announcement, the product seems to be being enthusiastically received by those who have used it; I am looking forward to having a go myself.  It is only my innate parsimony that is delaying me; I want to see if I can source a suitable PSU as I reckon the Hornby one is a bit pricey.  But one way or another I should be up and running by the end of this week!

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On 24/04/2021 at 16:33, ruggedpeak said:

............. Seems ideal for small exhibition layouts. It removes the need for an umbilical cord to the layout ............

 

I'd caution against relying on any(*) wireless system for exhibitions.    You may find it works OK, or you may find that bit of the radio spectrum is swamped by other devices in the exhibition.    Have a wired backup, and know that the wired backup works, so if the radio goes to crap as soon as a thousand cellphones arrive in the venue, you have an alternative.  

 

(* I mean any, doesn't matter about the technology, supplier, etc.. ). 

 

- Nigel 

 

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The generic loco sounds are a bit of a gimmick to enhance a track-mat type train set. They are not meant to provide accurate sounds for serious layout modellers.

The chuff rate varies with throttle applied but does not and could not be made to make synch with the wheels except by coincidence.

A library of loco sound files could no doubt be generated into the app and may be a future offering. Write to Hornby Marketing to suggest it or any other improvements. marketing@Hornby.com

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks for all your contributions. Tend to confirm the impression that I had when Hornby sent me a marketing e-mail about it.

 

I think that I am in. I was thinking of going DCC but this seems to offer all that I need. I'm not bothered about the accessory units as I will wire them conventionally.

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4 hours ago, RAF96 said:

The generic loco sounds are a bit of a gimmick to enhance a track-mat type train set. They are not meant to provide accurate sounds for serious layout modellers.

The chuff rate varies with throttle applied but does not and could not be made to make synch with the wheels except by coincidence.

A library of loco sound files could no doubt be generated into the app and may be a future offering. Write to Hornby Marketing to suggest it or any other improvements. marketing@Hornby.com

As I thought, pretty much; wasn’t expecting miracles from it!  I can (and do) make chuff chuff noises in my head, and synchronise my locos to them. The sound quality and variety of sounds available is superb, and is matched by my equally imaginary and non-existent steam and smoke effects. 
 

Trainset gimmick or not, I might well use the HM6k’s other noises.  The loco whistle is an acceptable GW tone, shovelling is acceptable, and the guard’s whistle is fine, and I might even dive into the diesel noises for a bit of flange squeal occasionally.  Likes a bit of flange squeal, me...
 

First priority is to get things up and running and try out the phone control interface and develop the skillsets needed.  I reckon this will be the work of no more than an evening running session but I think I need to get the feel of things before playing about with the whistles and bells!  I am a dithery old codger, easily confused. 
 

Another thing to suggest to Hornby might be a facility to upload your own sound files. 

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  • RMweb Gold

I have played with the chuff sounds through my nano Bluetooth speaker in a horse box as I showed and the combination of incremental acceleration and matched chuff speeds is great fun - but this is just a start!

The possibility of an App containing multiple sound files matched to the actual voltage delivered by the controller is exciting. App developers are always looking for a niche- here is a big one, unless Hornby fill it. Similar software engineering to digital pianos, I suspect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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