Sound fit to Hornby's N15

Discussion in 'Hornby RTR' started by Keith M, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    A few weeks ago, as posted here, I bought a mint unused example of Hornby's "N15" NRM Special Edition "Sir Lamiel", the actual loco at present on the Great Central Railway at Loughborough, although in original Southern Green. I prefer the later BR green livery as depicted on my model, and my example was a later 'DCC Ready' version, although I gather a later still version now has the decoder in the tender, whereas mine has the decoder socket in the loco, and there ain't much room in the boiler, due to a very well glued in weight. There is a small slot in this weight, and by using Zimo's MX649R decoder, it just fits into the slot, although it's too long to go completely in. As a result, speaker size would be restricted, so I decided to fit a larger speaker in the tender, as in many recent Hornby loco's, although there is no provision for this as such. Here is how I went about it, untouched loco shown below. Those of a sensitive disposition who don't dare to 'butcher' a new loco, best look away now!

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  2. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    So starting with the tender (an 8 wheel version whereas some version had a 6 wheel tender), 3 screws, 1 under each bogie and one in the middle, are removed and tender weight disposed of. This leaves a moulded 'frame', into which I cut a rectangle to accommodate a Zimo speaker with a 3D printed resonance box, about the best size I could realistically 'shoehorn' in. Tender shown with chassis removed from body, viewed from the underside.

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  3. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Another view from the topside, showing the frame left after weight removal.

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  4. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Now for a bit of 'butchery'! A suitable sized rectangle was cut to accommodate the Zimo speaker, leaving sufficient space around it for mounting. I normally fix such items using Blu (or white) Tack as available, so made a 'bed' of tack to sit the speaker in, pressing it well down for good adhesion, then trimming any excess underneath, off to leave a tidy finish. Just to please myself, I paint any tack visible underneath with black paint, even if not normally visible. Here is the chassis with hole for speaker fitment cut and cleaned up.

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  5. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    .....and from the underside-

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  6. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Now with the speaker bedded into the tack, we're getting somewhere.

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  7. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    .....and again from the underside-

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  8. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Once painted black, "You'd never know it's there!" Anyway, to connect speaker to loco, I decided to use a tiny 2 pin plug and socket from "Youchoos", as is decoder and speaker. It's not 'non-reversible', but for a speaker, it doesn't matter, and being so small, it's easy to hide, so I was able to thread the thin wires from the 'plug' end through where the tender pickup wire goes, leaving enough excess to enable me to plug it into the 'socket' end under the cab of the loco.

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  9. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    .....and from the underside, it's barely noticeable-

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  10. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Apart from adding a bit of weight back into the tender to replace that removed to fit the speaker, we're ready to reassemble. I use sheet lead roofing flashing, just cutting off a roll whatever I need. Before I can reassemble, there's the small matter of the centre screws lug on the tender body moulding, which is in the way now there's a speaker in place, so off it comes, cleaned up ready to refit. The remaining two screws are quite adequate to secure body to chassis without problems.

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  11. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Now it all goes back together with no problems. It's now time to turn my attention to the loco, so, one screw under the cab, pull gently back and downwards, and off with the body. There is an 8 pin DCC socket mounted on a bracket, in a sort of "U" shape, but with one leg at about 45 degrees, with the socket mounted on this leg. It's in the way, so remove socket and the 45 degree bracket leg, just leaving an "L" shaped bracket now, holding the motor in place. With the wires from tender and loco pickups rejoined, Grey and Orange decoder wires are soldered direct onto the motor, Red and Black from pickups to decoder similarly treated. Apart from the speaker connections, White, Yellow, Green, Brown and Blue wires are not needed (I'm not bothering with lights on the loco), so can be cut off. At this point, I decided to solder the mini plug wires directly onto the decoder as there ain't much space in the 'boiler' of this loco! A WORD OF WARNING HERE! If you do this, use only a small tip on a low wattage soldering iron, and do it as quickly as possible to prevent destroying the decoder!!! I count myself as fairly experienced in dealing with electronics as I've been fiddling about with this since the first commercially available transistors came in the late 50's/early 60's, but if you're inexperienced with the soldering iron, I wouldn't recommend attempting this. Anyway, here is the loco with everything soldered up and ready to attempt threading the decoder into the 'boiler' weight.

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  12. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    I use "Kapton" tape to insulate anything that needs covering, as I had to remove a small amount of the original pvc decoder covering to solder on the speaker wires. After the fiddly job of sliding the decoder into the slot in the 'boiler' weight, it's time to refit the loco body. with this in place, I fixed the 2 pin 'plug' under the loco chassis with a spot of superglue, and with tender attached, from the underside, it goes together thus-

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  13. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    .....and there we are, job done! So it's onto the rolling road ( I'd already run it in on DC), and all that remained was to set up the decoder and it's ready to go.
    Keith.

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  14. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    That is a very neat job you have done there, Keith.

    One question though regarding this installation: whose sound project have you used on the Zimo decoder?

    Are you able to post a short video of it with sound, please? I have considered trying to fit sound into one of my N15s or possibly the S15, but I would like one that sounds sufficiently different to my existing two cylinder jobs in a Standard class 5 and a Q1.
     
  15. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Jeff.
    I've always used "Youchoos" sound projects and been quite happy with those. John Gymer who runs "Youchoos" only uses actual sounds from loco's, no 'generic' ones used, which means He has perhaps a more limited range than some other sellers, but at least they're genuine. I also prefer the Zimo decoders to ESU as, in the main they are smaller, always a consideration for tight spaces. As I have 'pre-orders' in for 3 of DJM's Class 71's, I'll be looking to fit sound to at least the Hattons "Golden Arrow" version so have already consulted John about this. He has a project for the Class 73 Electro-diesel and could only offer this with the diesel sound unselected as a 'possible' for the Class 71. I have no knowledge of what the sound differences (if any) might be between these 71 and 73 loco's so am a bit "up in the air" on this at present. Unfortunately I don't have U-Tube accounts or much in the way of facilities for recording sound so can't help in that direction, BUT John Gymer's site has a facility to listen to recordings and linked U-Tube video's of many of his sound projects, so maybe you could try that to evaluate and see what you think. I've never met John himself and have no connection with him except as a very satisfied customer, but I've always found him very approachable and helpful with any queries I've made of him.
    Keith.
     
  16. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    Thanks for that, Keith. I haven't used Youchoos before, but I will have a look at the website and see what is available and can be listened to.

    As for class 71s, I saw them at a moderate distance (usually travelling through Petts Wood) but can't really say I heard them properly. I really don't know whether or not the class 73 sounds would be the same. As E5001 is preserved and has run on specials, it may be possible to locate some sounds on YouTube to get some idea of what they were like.
     
  17. Keith M

    Keith M Staff Member Moderator

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    As I understand it, E5001 is currently based at Barrow Hill Roundhouse (about 6 miles from my home), and is due a repaint whilst there. It's owned by the NRM and I gather it hasn't been run for 20 years or so, and there are no Heritage railways in the UK with the third rail, although it was apparently used for a number of special railtours on the UK Southern network in the 80's. Hattons special order (Golden Arrow) version of the Class 71 has the option of "Olivia's Trains" sound fitted, which I presume uses the ESU decoder, but I've no idea if the sounds are generic or genuine recordings. I only have one loco (Dapol Class 22) with an ESU decoder, and that was bought used with sound already fitted, but having had problems with 2 ESU decoders which failed in succession on a Bachmann E4 before I'd even fitted the body back on, I'll stick with Zimo.
    Keith.
     
  18. SRman

    SRman Full Member

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    Hi Keith. I have now fitted YouChoose sound on a Zimo MX645 decoder into my Hornby S15. I posted a short video in my layout topic.

    Initially, to get things going quickly, I fitted a 23mm round QSI hi-bass speaker, but I didn't seal it or the tender to create a sound chamber.

    I have now shoehorned a larger QSI hi-bass speaker of 28mm diameter, but that was a bit of a job getting it all to fit in the tender. I almost got rid of the shaped Hornby weight but ended up deciding to trim the square base on the speaker so it would fit more neatly within the recesses and shaped bits of the weight. It involved removing the retaining screw for the weight and sticking it over the top of the remaining bits of the speaker base, so the weight sits about 2mm higher ff the tender floor - I anchored it with some black-tack to prevent it from moving or rattling around. The S15 tender already has a speaker grille in its base plate, so that was one job I didn't have to do, unlike your N15. I did seal this speaker and its surrounds with a mixture of black-tack and Blu-tack.

    The decoder is a large-ish one and doesn't quite sit neatly across the width of the tender, so I sat it on its side at an angle across the back of the tender, behind the screw mounting pillar.

    John from YouChoos offered a few tips as well (very friendly and helpful), including pointing out what Hornby had done instead of the usual capacitor that I would normally have snipped off. I haven't removed the equivalent bit John showed on the decoder plug circuit board, but it doesn't seem to have affected the running characteristics of my S15 at all. There was a little bit of a buzz from the motor at lower speeds but I tweaked the pulse width setting and that seems to have quietened it a little.

    I will do another recording soon with the larger sealed speaker setup, and post it up in my layout topic.
     
  19. charliepetty

    charliepetty Full Member

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    Keith M wrote:
    Excellent neat job, does the Sugar Qube give you much Bass sound?? As I tend to use speakers that are a bit larger.
    I have started using a 4 Pin micro connector and now put the decoder & speakers in the tender, this would allow more space in the boiler area 'IF' a second speaker was put in the loco (This can be done by using a 6Pin micro connector).
    Charlie
     
  20. charliepetty

    charliepetty Full Member

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    Keith M wrote:
    Class 71 Sounds are available on ESU, see Clip:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1_0Ag2kkLE
    Charlie
     

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