Installing a DCC sound decoder in a Hornby Class 56

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Class 56

Before installing chip into any loco it is advisable to check the current being drawn by the loco. You should test the current drawn when the loco is stalled to find the peak current and select a decoder that will cope with that maximum current requirement.

For this installation a Loksound 3.0 sound decoder (from Howes of Kidlington) was used with the standard Loksound speaker. You will also need both a small flat headed screwdriver and a small Philips type screwdriver.

When you first remove the loco from its packaging you will find it has two long metal plates fixed to the underside of the chassis to prevent movement within the polystyrene packaging. These can be removed by using the Philips screwdriver and put back into the packaging for safe keeping.


Class 56

On the Hornby Class 56 there are 4 screws securing the body to the chassis. These need to be completely undone to release the body from the chassis. Access is not easy - 2 of the screws can be accessed by moving the bogie to one side but the others have to be accessed through the bogie between wheel and sideframe.

Once the screws have been released the body comes away quite easily from the chassis.

Class 56

Do be careful once the body has been removed - there is a washer on the top of each screw housing of the chassis. It is easy to lose these when the chassis is tilted (and difficult to keep them in place when putting the body back on!).

Locate the DC blanking plug - it is fairly obvious and pin 1 is clearly marked. Gently lever out the blanking plug being careful not to damage of the tiny electrical components on the main board.

Class 56

Plug the decoder into the socket aligning pin 1 (orange) and making sure that none of the pins are bent as you push the DCC board firmly into the socket.

Before locating the speaker the decoder was tested in the loco for motor control and sound.

The decoder was located adjacent to the DCC plug but was not fixed. A Sticky Fixer is normally used to secure decoders in locos, but to use one here would have meant insufficient clearance between the top of the decoder and the roof of the body. The decoder is insulated so it can just sit on top of the main board.

The speaker box can be located in the void over the front bogie drive shaft. Be careful to make sure the speaker is level and that it is not pressed down onto the shaft or this will impede operation of the model. Curl the decoder wires so that they do not foul the body when it is replaced or obscure the screw holes for securing the body.

Finally test the loco again and reset the running number as required. You will also probably find that with this decoder you will need to adjust the sound volume (downwards!) using CV63 - a setting of 20 was sufficient for my ageing ears!


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