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I bought one of these sets at Weymouth Model Railway Exhibition last weekend. I couldn't resist as Buffers of Axminster were doing them as a show special for £99.

Although I am already a DCC user (ZTC 505), and use Marklin Digital (The MFX Central Station), I have to confess to being a bit of a Hornby fan, and I wanted to have a look at the new system.

Gary's review is excellent. I have just a couple of points to add:-
I've noticed that the locos both emit a high pitched noise when stationery on the track, even before being addressd. I'm a litle concerned that this may be a feature of the Hornby Decoder. I've yet to try the locos with the ZTC. I'm hoping that the Hornby Decoders are silent when not in use, in which case with back EMF I would consider using them, particularly as Buffers will be selling them for just £7.50 each.

The second point is that there doesn't appear to be any obvious way of cutting power to the track other than by unplugging the unit. Pressing the red stop button stops all the locos, but the track is still live. Bit worrying this, as I like to use the safe practice of cutting the power before adding or removing locos from the track. To be fair, this could be remedied by installing a DPDT switch in the power lead.

I know there has been some negative comment about this set elsewhere on the forum, but I have to say that I rate it as excellent value for money. The Select unit alone has an SRP of £70, I rate the Jinty as an OK model with a nice paint finish, the wagons again are nicely finished, the track with point is always useful, and the 08 is quite suitable for driving lessons for our 5 year old!

For many people 59 locos and 40 points or accessories is going to be ample. Making the Select suitable for quite large layouts, when paired with an uprated 4 amp transformer. Once you get used to it, the operating logic is quite easy to remember as well. Thought it was interesting that the transformer output is 15 V DC, so the Select is converting DC to AC!
 

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It's my understanding that the DCC signal is piggybacked on to an AC output, so it just seemed odd that Hornby are using a DC transformer as input. Certainly my ZTC will only take an AC input, but I am aware of other systems that wil take either.

But it was just an observation, and is unimportant, other than it means that I do not have a meatier 4 amp PSU to try it with, as all mine are AC.
 

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I think, though I stand to be corrected, that the locos come to a halt when the stop button is pressed because the speed control for all locos is effectively set to zero.

The reason that I believe the track is still live, is that I can still hear the high frequency noise from the decoders in the Hornby locos. With the ZTC, for example, pressing the red 'All Stop' button once brings all locos to a halt, pressing it again cuts the power to the track.

I would not want my observations to put off anybody buying the Hornby system, as it has genuinly impressed me, and If I was being perfectly honest, it would be suitable for controlling my entire 2 rail layout (with the 4 amp transformer though). It is quite simple to (1) install a switch inline with the track output to cut the power, and (2) as suggested by ZTC, wire in indicator lamps to clearly show when the track is live.

It is possible that there is a solution to this, does anybody else who has used the Select have anything to add?

Thanks also to Andrew (SPROGman) for clarifying my understanding on how DCC works. It does also confirm my fears that none of my existing higher output transformaers are suitable for use with the Hornby Select, as they all output AC, and it would appear that the Select does not therefore contain a rectifier, if I have followed Andrew's explanation correctly.
 
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