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Hornby R8249 Decoder
on 30 May 2013
Some people do like to expend effort talking down low-end hornby products, but I've installed 6 of these and my direct experience has been positive.
There are the basic features needed in the product for lights and control, and although the top speed of the loco cannot be set the acceleration rate can.
Each model has a different top speed becuase of the way it is built physically, it's not always accurate, but my Virgin tilting train obliges by going 2-3 times faster than my Tornado (these two models both hornby).
If you currently inclined towards the "I want to get it up and running" end of modelling rather than the "adherance to protocol" end, these can be just the ticket.
I also had a basic bachman decoder, which I'm now having to replace (yes, with a hornby one) because it won't respond to any commands when the "zeros are stretched".
[the stretched zeros feature was intended to allow control of one analogue loco on a DCC circuit, but I would not recommended that for any length of time! I use it to drive dimmable lighting in the carriages instead.]
Oh, and don't stress the wires. Two things you can do to help the life of these decoders;
1) put a cable tie (or just a piece of [insulate] wire) around all the wires from the decoder board. This will keep them in a bundle and help prevent you from breaking the solder joints on any one wire.
2) wrap the decoder board in insulating tape as soon as its unpacked so you don't fry it with static from your fingers.