Bachmann models & Hornby Zero 1

I've acquired some Bachmann locos (OK, I admit it - the Thomas series for the grandchildren) and have an extensive layout using Hornby's (defunct) Zero 1 system. The Zero 1 chips for each loco have three wires, while the Bachmann models (which already have a chip of some sort) have only two. Can anyone advise what goes where? I can supply wiring diagrams (which I don't pretend to understand) to anyone able to help. Consultancy fee available! Thanks

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I'm ot sure if the loco's will be compatible, as the chips in them are Bachmann's DCC chips. You may have to completely remove the chips ad then wire the Zero 1 chip in. I am not familiar with Zero 1, but would imagine there might be a wire missing, as either chip will need 2 connections to the pickups, and then 2 to the motor bushes.

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John Ruddy

Zero1 did use three connections - one of the connections is both a motor terminal and a track connection...

James Moody

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James Moody

"James Moody" wrote >

The black wire goes to the motor and also the pickup from one rail.

The red wire goes to the motor and the green wire goes to the other rail pickup.

If the loco goes in the wrong direction when the black wire is connected through the chassis, things get more difficult than with DCC. Wrenn locos were a problem. Should be fairly easy to do with a Bachmann Thomas if there is room for the decoder which is quite long by modern standards.

Dave Westerman

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David Westerman

Many thanks for responses above. Tied up with family matters at the moment but I'll give it another try when time allows.

But my original notice was wrong in one respect - the Bachmann locos have four, not two, wires from its PCB.

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That's because they use industry standard DCC decoders and connections. Zero 1 will NOT play nice with them. Don't even try.

For DCC, two wires go to the track pickups, two go to the motor. Google on "digital command control" and you'll find out more. Or go to, and search there for specs.

I think you have four choices:

a) dump Zero 1 and convert to DCC - expensive, and only you can judge whether it's worth the cost.

b) stick with Zero 1 and replace the Bachmann decoders with Zero 1 decoder. Tricky, and by your own admission probably beyond you. Besides, you'll have to find more Zero 1 decoders, which are getting to be rather hard to find.

c) dump Zero 1, and convert to straight DC. The Bachmann engines will run on straight DC (their decoders will detect and switch mode as needed.)

d) build a separate, portable Thomas layout. 3' by 4' will be a workable minimum size -- small enough to lay on a dining room table. (Thomas & Co tolerate 15" radius tracks, if necessary.) But make it larger if possible -- 3'6" wide at least, and as long as you can easily store. Use a piece of light weight mahogany plywood glued and tacked to a frame of

1x2 timbers, glue 1/2" soft board to it, and fasten down the track. The grandchildren can help you build it. They will love making houses, streets, shops, bridges etc out of craft papers and craft foams. They will also love setting up those little wooden villages. Etc.

Have fun!

Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir

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