10 January 2023
Promising the biggest step change in DCC, learn more about this new Bluetooth-controlled system.
Hornby has unveiled – and demonstrated – a successor to its App-controlled Hammant and Morgan HM6000 DC-controlled system – the HM7000. Whereas its previous HM6000 was more akin to a ‘smart’ DC control system, with sounds played through the speakers of the controlling device (a smart phone or tablet), the HM7000 is more akin to a DCC control system, though differs in many ways.
To benefit from wireless Bluetooth control, locomotives must be fitted with a new range of bluetooth-enabled decoders from the manufacturer, made available in eight-pin, 21-pin and Next18 formats with options for sound too, under the new branding, 'TTX Triplex'.
Locomotives (or accessories) fitted with the new HM decoder range take DC or DCC power from the track, and when connected to energy storage devices – ‘stay-alives’ – commands can still be received, even several seconds after power to the track has been interrupted. Hornby is hopeful that the new system will simplify problems with traditional DCC sound decoders whose audio output is often noticeably affected when encountering dirty track.
The Hammant and Morgan HM7000 system, explained
Watch an explanation of the range, in the video, below:
TTX sound decoders
(R7336) HM7000-8TXS DCC sound decoder with harness on an eight-pin socket.
An (R7322) HM7000-21TXS 21-pin decoder measuring 29.5mm x 15.5mm x 4.7mm with an RRP of £69.99 and available now, a Next 18 decoder (R7345) HM7000-N18TXS measuring 28.5mm x 14mm x 4.7mm (RRP: £69.99) available now, and an eight-pin (R7336) HM7000-8TXS on a harness measuring 28.5mm x 14mm x 4.7mm, (RRP: £64.99) available May 2023 are promised.
Joining these, and available now (RRP: £15.99), is the (R7377) HM7070 powerbank, compatible with the range of decoders via a plug-and-play connection.
The new Bluetooth sound decoders can be updated, changing the sounds on each from a range available via Hornby. A decoder can be re-used in a different locomotive by a user, without the expense of having its sounds re-programmed, as would be the case with a traditional DCC sound decoder.
Sound decoders have three sound channels, allowing for the simultaneous play of multiple sounds, including engine/steam or ‘spot’ sounds such as horns, whistles, brakes, coal shovelling, wheel slip, or injectors. Marketed as ‘TXS Triplex’, locomotives in Hornby’s range fitted with its new TXS Bluetooth sound decoders will bear a blue TXS Triplex sound logo on the box.
Non sound decoders
Six-pin (R7321) HM7000-6 non-sound decoder.
Joining the range of HM DCC sound decoders is a selection of non-sound variants in six-pin (R7321) HM7000-6, eight-pin (R7335) HM7000-8, and 21-pin (R7402) HM7000-21 £44.99, available 2024, and Next 18 (R7401) HM7000-N18 formats.
'Beta' test phase
Control explained using the HM7000 app. The app is to become available to download from the App store or Google Play upon launch.
Non-bluetooth decoders can be controlled via the app using the (R7326) HM7040 Legacy Dongle, which plugs into the RJ12 socket of existing DCC systems.
Hornby demonstrated the HM 7000 app and system in a ‘beta’ phase in December, and while there were still minor changes to be made, the system was found to operate no differently to a conventional DCC system, until a locomotive was removed from the track while running, placed on a desk without track, still running, where it continued to do so for at least 10 seconds, while still accepting – and executing – change of direction commands – such is the benefit of Bluetooth technology decoders, combined with its powerbank.