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Hornby Digital Tips and Advice

The future of model railway is here, with the latest and best Hornby Digital Command Control System

The Hornby system differs from the conventional type of 12V controllers in as much that it is the individual locomotives that are controlled internally rather than the controlling of a locomotive's speed and direction by varying the current to the track. The Hornby Select and Hornby Elite digital units when connected to the track pass not only a constant 15V AC voltage along the rails but also information and control signals to all locomotives and accessories that are on or connected to the track. Each locomotive that is DCC controlled must have internally fitted a small micro processor based receiver called a Decoder.


R8213 Hornby Select
R8213 Hornby Elite

The R8213 Hornby Select is the perfect way to enter the digital world of model railways. The Select is capable of having control of 60 locomotives and providing power is available, is able to run 10 of them at any one time. The Select can also operate 40 solenoid operated accessories including point motors.

The R8214 Hornby Elite is for those who wish to take their train control to a whole new advanced level. The Elite is more than capable of answering the needs of most railway layouts. Twin control with press switch functions, 17 button keyboard, wide function LCD screen display and a 4 amp transformer plus the capabilities of registering 254 locomotive addresses as well as 255 accessory addresses, and that includes point control!


Locomotive Decoders

The R8249 v1.3 Basic Locomotive Decoder is capable of 'picking up' the signals from the Select and Elite DCC Controllers and converting them into actions which includes moving forward and reversing at a determined speed, stopping and starting, and in some instances if fitted, switching the locomotives lights on and off. The decoder is also capable of of keeping the locomotive running at a set speed no matter what gradients the model encounters.

R8245 Sapphire Decoder supports 1 Amp continuous current with 1.5 Amp stall, with low speed 'gear' for shunting operations. Size is 23mm x 16.5mm x 6.5mm. Set amounts of 'water' and 'fuel' can be stored in the Sapphire providing real time fuel consumption. Burn rates can be selected.

R8246 Mini Sapphire Decoder supports 0.5 Amp continuous current with 1 Amp stall, with low speed 'gear' for shunting operations. Size is 23mm x 10mm x 4mm. Set amounts of 'water' and 'fuel' can be stored in the Sapphire providing real time fuel consumption. Burn rates can be selected.


Accessory Decoders

The R8216 Accessory/Point Decoder allows the operator to change points and operate accessories with the minimum of wiring and fuss, which is one of the main attractions of digital control.

The R8247 Accessory Decoder is similar to the R8216, but the four outputs are factory set for the operation of solenoid (point) motors. However, by adjusting the CV settings of each output a graduation of varying 'bursts' of current up to a constant current (turntable motor operation, lighting, etc) can be obtained for each individual output.


DCC Decoders

The R8239 Power & Signal Booster provides more ampage, if required, to power the locomotives as well as boosting command signals.

The R8235 Select Walkabout allows up to eight of these units to be connected to a single Select or Elite Digital controller, for independent management of a further eight locomotives providing power is available.

Hornby Digital Installation Guides

The following guides are to aid you in the installation of DCC decoder chips in to specific locos from the Hornby range

Basic Installation of a Locomotive Decoder

Basic Installation of a Locomotive Decoder 1. Carefully remove the locomotive or tender body casing taking great care not to damage sandpipes and additional fitings.

2. Remove the dummy plug and plug in the decoder, making sure the orange wire is facing pin 1. Insert decoder into protective sleeve as shown.

3. Test the locomotive, programme the decoder and test again. Take care in reassembling the locomotive and run a final test.

Basic Installation of a Locomotive Decoder Into a Non-DCC-Ready Locomotive

Basic Installation of a Locomotive Decoder Into a Non-DCC-Ready Locomotive 1. Remove the plug from the chip.

2. Locate the wires from the pick ups and remove from motor.

3. Solder black and red wires from chip, one to each pick up wire.

4. Solder grey and orange wires to the motor contacts. There should be no other connections from the pick ups to the motor and any bare wires need to be isolated to prevent short circuits. If the locomotive has lights, follow the colour diagram shown.

5. Locate a suitable decoder position.

6. Make sure all excess wires are bundled up so not to interfere with wheels, gears and valve gears.

7. Test and programme locomotive to unit.

Installation of a Point/Accessory Decoder Into a Layout

Installation of a Point/Accessory Decoder Into a Layout

1. Programme the Hornby Accessory/Point Decoder as per the instructions.

2. Position the decoder in a convienient location on or below the layout.

3. Use the template supplied to drill two locating screw holes and fit screws.

4. Drive the screws home so that there is 2-3mm of screw shaft exposed.

5. Place the decoder over the screw heads and slide into position.

6. Connect accessory/point wires.

7. Connect two wires from the track to the Accessory/Point Decoder.