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I have just been given a Hornby Zero 1 controller and a decoder. Unfortunately, I do not have any instructions. Does anyone know how to connect the decoder to a loco? And how to use the controller? Or does someone have a copy of the manual or could scan it in?

I know its old technology but I just want to give it a try in an old Hornby model (1970/80s model) and see what its like. I remember seeing the adds when I was young and always wanting one...

Thanks.
 

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Paul Hamilton aka "Lancashire Fusilier"
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Good luck with all that - very retro indeed. Remember seeing it at the age of 12 and it stuck with me and is what I remembered about model railways being "cool"
 

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Just another modeller
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QUOTE (john woodall @ 22 Jul 2008, 16:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The majority of British outline modellers would have DCC?

John

***The majority of British modellers would be other than railway modellers :).

It was developed at a time when such systems were new and it was actually well thought through by Hornby but Hornby was far from a world leader in multi train control even then. there were at least 3 main brands sold in UK from airfix and others... all were analog not digital, a bitch to set up, had bulky triac based decoders, used manual programming, tended to act as impromptu smoke units and were relatively unreliable and "drift" off frequency.

It WAS a good attempt and their mimic panel was a winner of a concept - if this was redeveloped (a simple matrix board for switches really so easy enough to do electronically) now it'd be a quick success..

The best of the command control at that time was General Electric and their ASTRAC and at about the same time the Keller Onboard system both ex USA which has always until DCC set the trend.

PFM (makeer of quality US Brass locos too) had an incredibly good sound system with speakers in loco's but sound transmitted via the rails - THAT was very cool and is still to me a very sensible approach as it allowed combined layout and loco sound from one unit if you were clever - the sound quality was pretty good too.

Even if Zero one had stayed it would have been buried by digital.... so its probably kindr it died early so we were not buried under lots of "legacy Zero one" stuff to carry forward to the digital age.

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson @ 22 Jul 2008, 10:43) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Even if Zero one had stayed it would have been buried by digital.... so its probably kindr it died early so we were not buried under lots of "legacy Zero one" stuff to carry forward to the digital age.
Zero 1 was digital, but just an early version using the chips and technology of its time. Its real problem was that it was designed down to a price, with little thought given to future expansion of the train-on-track control capabilities. Essentially, there was no real spare capacity built in from the start. It was certainly well ahead of its time in terms of the micro-mimic accessory system that went with it, so it seems at least Hornby appreciated the importance of accessory control, which remains one of the biggest bugbears of current day DCC and the relative lack of attention it receives in the specifications. Only now that others have taken up the issue and work is progressing on independent layout control busses is this important aspect of operation likely to progress.
 

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nickb
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It's great to see Zero One still being mentioned after all this time. I successfully used this system for 27 or so years - supposedly had the first one operating in ahome in Australia back in 1980. I waited and waited to migrate to DCC, and in fact, for those that may remember some of my responses, chose to stick with Hornby and went with Elite and 3 Selects. I recognise it is not ahigh end system, but I am delighted with it; but I digress. (Although, it is worth mentioning, I disconnected the 2 wires from the back of the Zero One Master and connected to the Elite, and away I went.)
Zero One was years and years ahead of it's time. Inertia so easy to change - simpler than DCC; all re-start after panic button or short circuit; many more trains possible to be run that ever stated; I always had 6 going, and another 2 were easily possible. Might not be the case if running Heljans these days, but Hornby locos and to a lesser extent Bachmanns use hardly any current. The Master came with 4 amps to power things up, and the accessory modules were also so easy to program.
For the chap who needs a manual, if you sen me your details, I will photocopy and post you one. Let me know if you need the chip fitting manual also.
Last year, I sold nearly all of my Zero One stuff - and, I can tell you, I nearly paid for all my DCC stuff! Incredible. Mind you, it was mint and all still in boxes.
What were the limitations? It hated steel track, wheels had to be clean, the cut out time for shorts was too quick, 16 codes were insufficient (yet 99 for accessories was fine), yes the chip was large for tank engines etc, but was not an issue in all diesels and steam engines.
I can remember how dissapointed I was when Hornby withdrew it - yes, the development costs were high, and like we have seen with DCC, the British modellers are very slow technology adopters. Relatively speaking, the chips were expensive 20 years ago. Now, another tenner on top of £70-80 is not an issue, particularly with the discounts in England.
So long live Zero 1!!
 

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Chief mouser
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Yes all those years ago I had a Zero 1 (not to be confused with the 1960's spaceship of the same name). I used it, enjoyed it and eventually sold it to help fund something else, although I can't remember what. Oh happy days!

Regards
 

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I've been running Zero One since 1980 and have never seen the point of changing.

It was very advanced in its time, had the smallest loco chips, when compared to the larger Airfix ones, and used the Texas Instruments TMS 1000 micro controller, the first of its kind in the world back then.

The TMS 1000 was a 4 bit RISC type processor with built in I/O ports and was used in everything from expensive washing machines to fuel injection systems. It was cutting edge technology back in 1979, when microprocessors where very expensive.

My son grew up with Zero One and had a hard job understanding a friend's traditionally controlled layout especially the part with controllers being assigned to control a particular piece of track and not a specific locomotive.

For end to end or branch line terminus operations with limited space, Zero One, or any other digital control system is idealy suited. Being able to cram in locomotives onto a parking siding, buffer to buffer, rather than seeing a 0-4-0 shunter with big gaps in front and behind it on an isolated piece of siding intended for something like an 4-6-2 tender locomotive, is more prototypical.

My current small town branch terminus has a foundry spur and works, complete with scratch built travelling working crane, which has a slight incline to reach. Having a foundry gives a good excuse for a lot of interesting and varied rolling stock, locomotives and loads to venture onto the branch line.

Occasionally, as real pieces of metal are used for wagon loads, there is the need and spectacle of having one shunting engine pulling and one or two shunting engines pushing a heavy load up the incline into the foundry exchange loop. Usually all the engines are on a seperate controller or spread between two. No traditional control system would allow this, only ye olde Zero One or modern DCC.

Some of my shunting locomotives are kit or scratch built or convertions and range from an old re-underframed 1960's Jouef North British 0-4-0, Hunslet 0-8-0 to an Airfix "Pug". All are under Zero One control.

Even the Hornby "Jinty" and Tri-ang C-14 "Polly/Nellie/Connie" have been "chipped up" with the device in one of the water tanks. No need for a permanently attached wagon.

The main faults and repairs with the Zero One are as follows:

Original single Triac chips burning out on old Tri-ang power bogies...

Actually this isn't the actual chip burning out but rather the small isolation capacitor, mounted on the board as a little blob, not having the right current rating. To repair just solder in a 100 pF. capacitor across the burnt out blob's tracks and it'll work again. I've one that I repaired over 20 years ago in this way and it is still going strong.

The Zero One keyboard not working....

This is where the silver paint on the underside of the rubber membrane has worn out. Two ways of fixing this, one is to super glue silver foil onto the membrane to replace the worn off silver paint, the other is to install microswitches. The microswitch idea can be expanded by wiring a 9 or 25 pin D-socket intto the side of the Zero One unit and having keypad stations around a layout.

To break into a Zero One casing, after unpluging it from the mains electricy supply, is to use a soldering iron to melt out all the brass rivets holding it together.

Inside it is pretty straight forwards to remove the keyboard and to understand the layout of the matrix contact connections. It was built down to a budget and this makes it simple to fix as most of the faults surround the construction rather than the actual computer electronics. With age some of the wires, particuliary to the speed control slider will become unattached.

I've repaired many Zero One controllers and perhiperals over the years, for my own use or others, and anyone who can wire up a layout or repair model locomotives can repair a Zero One controller, once they have figured out how simply it works,

So never junk a broken Zero One.... it might just be something simple that needs a bit of soldering or glue to fix.
 

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Zero One was a digital system - that's why it was called Zero One - binary digits. It was the first digital system. Given the technology of the day (this was before the Sinclair Spectrum or Commodore 64), it was not bad at all. Its competitors at the time were analog systems. I had an Airfix MTC system, and as Richard says, the frequency drifted off, and 2 trains would affect each other if they came within a short distance of each other on the track - you couldn't get fully independent operation.
 

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QUOTE (Andy R @ 26 Feb 2010, 17:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Zero One keyboard not working....

This is where the silver paint on the underside of the rubber membrane has worn out. Two ways of fixing this, one is to super glue silver foil onto the membrane to replace the worn off silver paint, the other is to install microswitches. The microswitch idea can be expanded by wiring a 9 or 25 pin D-socket intto the side of the Zero One unit and having keypad stations around a layout.
MERG have for many years produced a kit for Zero-1 keyboard refurbishment.
 

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QUOTE (mitmit1 @ 21 Jul 2008, 21:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have just been given a Hornby Zero 1 controller and a decoder. Unfortunately, I do not have any instructions. Does anyone know how to connect the decoder to a loco? And how to use the controller? Or does someone have a copy of the manual or could scan it in?

I know its old technology but I just want to give it a try in an old Hornby model (1970/80s model) and see what its like. I remember seeing the adds when I was young and always wanting one...

Thanks.

Pm me your email address and I'll email you a copy of the Zero 1 Locomotive Module Fitting Instructions (4 pages)

K9-70
 

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The Zero One loco modules come in two type, the earler single Triac type and the later Hammond & Morgan two Triac types. The H&M loco modules do not have the problem with the miniature "blob" board mounted isolation capacitor burning out when attached to high current load motors such as Tri-ang power bogies or big and heavy Hornby Dublo / Wrenn locomotives.

However both early hornby and H&M loco modules are the same size.

The H&M digital train control system is totally compatable with the Zero One, though it had a more better constructed (dearer) controller. I can remember seeing them on sale in the local model shop back in 1981. As far as controlling locos goes, and points modules, they are cross compatable.

Hornby adopted H&M loco modules in 1981/1982.

Note that H&M is now owned by Hornby.

If you see old H&M loco modules in packets at swap meets or in second hand model shops, they will work with Zero One.

I have 6 locomotives fitted with H&M modules.
 

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Was at a friends the other month and he got talking about a visit he had just been on to York train museum, One thing led to another and somehow we got onto Electric Train modelling...and Hornby...I mentioned somewhere up in my insulated attic was boxes full of Hornby Railway that I had collected back in the 70s and early 80s (It was to be a Father/Son bonding thing even though I was always interested in the hobby since having a Triang TT Set when I was 5) He mentioned ZERO 1 and he had read this forum..........this re-kindled the spark and I decided to look at Hornbys web site...and DCC Control.
I,ve since been up in the attic and re rubbed Aladins lamp and in the boxes which I have'nt opened in 20 / 30 years is Zero1 Controllers (2) Slaves (3) Accessory modules (10) Train modules Accessory control and System Visual Display all boxed.
I am now in my late 50s well nearly 60...........and all this reading has made me feel its time to start again with the hobby.....I have been very keen on I.T.and always been into modelling so DCC and the new Elite and Select Hornby systems has excited me (I know there are probably better systems out there but I am a patriot)......but what about this Zero 1 stuff? is there still a fratirnity out there?........look forward to a good chinwag guys.............Stu
 

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I think that the more appropriate term is "Zero One die hards"....

I've been using Zero One for 31 years now.

It does the job just fine so I can't see the point of updating it to a more modern system.

Apart from the cost, some of my locomotives are kit built with the ZEro One modules pretty much sealed in for life.

Also the old Zero One modules are a lot smaller and fit easier than some the modern DCC equivalents, making them easier to fit into small locomotives such as the Airfix Pug 0-4-0.

Their is still a lot of second hand Zero One stuff available at swap meets, railway shops, etc. as in the few years of its was in production in the early 1980's.
 

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Hi.

My layout is DC and the wiring is horrendous


I cannot afford to go DCC so would going Zero 1 or some such similar system help me please and if so which?

Would someone give me a brief description of how these alternative systems work please as compared with DCC?

Thanks,

Jeff
 
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