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This issue may have been discussed before and I know it is a personnal preference, but I would be grateful for opinion.

Most of my locos are 2 rail Hornby Dublo with some later Hornby. In fact it was my intention to collect at least one of each of Hornby Dublo locos and rolling stock.

I never caught the DCC bug but I do appreciate that the sound makes a great difference to operating a layout.

I am now retired and do not have loads of money to spend now, but I have considered buying some Lenz loco decoders but as I understand it the basic loco decoder does not produce sound, but control only. Hornby appear to sell the TTS sound decoders for various locos. I take it I would have to purchase these as well and piggy back them to the control decoder? If so does it have to be a Hornby control decoder or can the TSS sound be fitted with any other decoder.

I have also seen some American model rail forums where sound decoders are available to operate off the original 2 rail DC controlled layout – are there any UK suppliers of DC sound decoders.

Last of all some people have advised that I will ruin the authenticity and value of the original HD locos it I start adapting them, which is true. However I do not have HD for the value it’s because neither I nor my family could afford HD trains and accessories in the early 1960s despite the appealing train set boxes advertising Dad and Son operating a massive railway layout. When I go my wife will just sell the whole lot off at an auction.

So adapt or don’t adapt – what is the general opinion?

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Just a few misconceptions -

For DC read analogue


DCC read digital.

Analogue provides a variable source of power for motor control, whether DC or AC (German stud contact)

Digital provides a 'carrier'  for a digital message, the decoder extracts the message and this is passed to the motor, lights, speaker (sound)

Modern multi-function sound decoders also control the motor/lights etc. no need to 'piggy-back'. Some cheaper sound decoders are pre-programmed with approppriate sound samples, you need to choose the right sound decoder for a chosen subject. Other sound decoders are programmable and one or two dealers offer a service to load the correct sound for your loco (You Choos is a good place to start) 

Presumably you do not wish to spend a great deal on DCC, if so, choose wisely, I began twenty years ago with an entry level system - Roco MultiMaus and I am still using the same system. It is simply ultra simple, glitch free and compatible with more expensive products, a complete system costs just £75 if sourced from eBay. I buy Laisdcc basic decoders at no more than £10 but avoid sound (personal preference)  







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I think it depends on your layout too, if you are running a lot of shunting operations then DCC is a good choice, the ability to control individual locos is a big positive.

DCC sound requires speakers to be added too, lights can be added etc. DCC also works a lot better on modern motors rather than pancakes. 

Unless you are adding sound, loads of lights and features then a simple 3 function decoded will do the trick.


I doubt converting Hornby Dublo to DCC would be worth it, but with modern locos they are set up, designed and take advantage of DCC features.

Saying that, you can still run analog locos on a DCC system, the motor does squeel at the high frequency AC from the tracks.

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Thank you for all your replies.

 I am old school philosophy and I believe the layout operator should be the train driver, the signalman, and shunter, so I will be keeping the layout mimic switch panel. I certainly would not go down the road of a fully controlled DCC layout including point signals and automated train control, so I would not spend excessive amounts on top of the market DCC components.

I may pursue the DC sound option, but if DCC did improve the HD loco performance as well it may be worth pursuing.

I might try it on one of the HD locos on a test track using a Hornby TTS and budget Hornby DCC controller before I commit to wholesale expenditure on the layout.

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hi Captainkirk

I personally don't feel the need for DCC I like you want to personally control my layout and a DCC loco is not worth double what a DCC ready loco is.

I also feel no need or interest in sound either It doesn't match the real thing for a start and is very annoying, during my working life I learned exactly what they sound like.

and I don't need that annoying noise from my hobby.

The sound on a Big Hauler I have lasted 15 minutes before I took the battery out of the tender never to be replaced.

If however some one comes up with a good way that is easy to understand and make or install to replicate Electric staff operations I might be interested.

regards John

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On ‎01‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 7:00 PM, Captainkirk said:

I do appreciate that the sound makes a great difference to operating a layout.

This is true, but difference does not mean improvement.

Quite the reverse in most cases I've witnessed at exhibitions.

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