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Fitting sound to Hornby A4, and sound upgrade for Golden Age Models A4


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  • RMweb Gold

First sound installation, is for an upgade to the Golden Age Models A4. A superb model, but the sound and functionality of the original V3.5 chip, speaker and sound files is poor by today's standards.

Note that this project used an ESU V4 decoder, as it has been sitting on the 'to do' shelf for a  long time!


This is the kit used:




6 tiny screws hold the tender body on. Once removed, the 'old' speaker and chip were removed (hardwired in).

There was just insufficient room for a 55mm long speaker 😟. I wasn't about start cutting and carving a GAM brass model, so a 40 X 20 X 10mm Rail Exclusive speaker was selected.

This was installed into the roof of the tender body, using sticky pads. The pads would give some vibration absorbtion between the speaker and the brass tender body.






A Zen 3 wire stay alive would be used. The medium size capacitor bank would fit neatly into one side of the coal chute.

3 wires connected. Black (GND), White (CTRL) and Blue (+ve).







The 8 pin plug was removed from the decoder, and the orange, grey, red and black wires hardwired to the tender connections.






Speaker connections made, and unused wires insulated.




Components fitted into the tender body.






And tested.




Much better sound, and drivability with the Locoman Sounds functionality.


Edited by zr2498
Kit and hard wiring info added
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  • RMweb Gold

The second A4 sound installation into a Hornby model.

Again, an ESU V4 decoder was available.


The kit used:




Coal chute removed from the tender body.






Lead shot was added to the tender chassis. This modification was done some time ago. Note that following advice from an RMWeb member, I now superglue lead shot in, rather than using PVA, in case of unwanted expansion.




3 wire stay alive wires connected, Black (GND), White (CTRL), and Blue (+ve)









A small piece of styrene was added to make a level platform for the speaker.




Speaker (with added weights), decoder, and stay alive control board added.




Another weight, 10g added to the tender body.




Capacitor bank fitted to the tender body with black tack.




Tender body and coal load fitted.






As with the GAM sound upgrade, a great sound, and excellent drivability with the Locoman Sounds functionality.

The bigger speaker is marginally better than the GAM install. If I sound install another Hornby A4, I might check to see if the 40 mm long speaker would avoid the need to cut out the coal space?


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  • RMweb Gold

Last of my A4s for sound installation. This model has the 'old' style tender coupling, and the DCC socket in the locomotive.

It will also include a stay alive and firebox flicker. This version of the model provides a better opportunity for an even bigger, EM2 speaker. The only new wiring to the tender is for the speaker.


This is the kit used:




First to the tender. The weight and coal load are removed.




The coal pan will be cut out. On this occasion, I will explain the method I have arrived at which seems to be optimal (to me anyway).

First, I use a razor saw running down the seams between the base and the sides of the chute. The small saw attachment is shaped at the end so it behaves like an Olfa cutter. So strokes will slowly remove material. When there is a 'break through' the rest of the seam can be cut using the saw action.




Turn over and continue the saw cuts into the horizontal section.




A cross cut is made using a scalpel. First at the top.




And then at the base, so the first piece can be removed.




There is now easy access to clip out the side walls of the chute as required.




Finally a clean up of edges with a scalpel and abrasive stick.






The lugs for the weight are cut down, and a couple of styrene strips added to barrier off the route to the tender pick ups. This will prevent glue running through!




Lead shot is added and fixed with Cyano (hot). Four pads are added to ensure no contact between tender wheels and the speaker.




An EM2 speaker is used. First the mounting lugs are removed.




A 2mm hole is drilled into the tender chassis to accept the 2 pin micro connector wires. The speaker is fixed with black tack.




Speaker wires connected, and insulated with heat shrink.




A 10g weight fixed into the tender body.




Tender body fitted using the original clip and screw fixing.




The original coal load has been fitted, but this might be replaced by a false floor and real coal.


Next to the locomotive.


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  • RMweb Gold

Now to the locomotive. On body removal, the DCC ready socket can be seen attached to a small weighted sub-assembly.




After my experience of difficulty getting the A3 back together, I decided to make a little more room for the stay alive.

The motor capacitor and blanking plug were removed.




DCC socket disconnected. There is one screw, and an alignment pin holding the weight.




The top part of the weight was removed to give more headroom for the stay alive kit.








Stay alive capacitor and interface chip attached using black tack.




To the decoder. For the ESU V5 stay alive, a 3 wire Zen stay alive was used. First soldering the 3 wires to the decoder.






Preparation for the firebox flicker.

The blue (common +ve) and green (AUX1) wires were cut off at the 8 pin plug for direct connection. Note that the full length of harness wire is needed to reach to the firebox LED. The LED assembly is prepared, with the 1K ohm resistor in the +ve leg.




The wires were connected for the firebox flicker LED, and the brown speaker wires attached to the  2 pin micro connector.










The LED was fixed (using black tack), into the 3mm hole which had been drilled through the firebox, any exposed connections insulated, and the remaining wires secured.




Reassembled, and all tested OK.




Firebox flicker.




Not forgetting the CV changes to commission the stay alive.




A tremendous sound from Locoman. I would not say that there was much difference in sound between this EM2 speaker and the Rail Exclusive 'Chunky Boom Box'. That is, for these sound files.


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  • RMweb Gold
10 hours ago, RAF96 said:

I did much the same putting just the speaker in the tender when fitting TTS to an A4. However I simplified the powered drawbar and installed the standard Hornby 4-pin plug/socket arrangement to cater for tender pickups and speaker.
Details here http://www.halton96th.org.uk/article7.html

Thanks for this info. Another idea for future upgrades.

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