The Manor is Accurascale's first steam model in OO, and the first thing you notice about it compared to other OO steam models
is the sheer weight - it has some serious gravity to it! Hopefully a sign of good engineering, and not over-engineering (ref
Heljan's O2 Tango!).
Thankfully it does appear to be good engineering - solid, detailed and well put together. Electrics are also good, wtih a neat
Next18 PCB in the tender, and 2x 8 ohm SugarCube speakers pre-fitted (one under the PCB in the tender, and another in the
boiler). The PCB also has a couple of GoldCaps on board, which mean there is an excellent stay-alive out-of-the-box - once
charged up, these provide a few seconds of run-on time.
Unscrew the PCB and flip it up, revealing the tender speaker - a press-fit onto contact pads. While this is designed for an ESU
LokSound decoder, it does present a challenge for the Zimo MS580, as this should not go below 8 ohm (2x 8ohm speakers in
parallel give 4 ohm overall). So for the MS580 we have to remove one of the speakers - the easiest one to take out is the
tender speaker, so we just ping that out. With the MS581 (successor to the MS580) this is NOT a problem, as it supports 4 ohm
and up to 3W, so very simple!
So for the simplest installation, that's it - removing the tender speaker and installing an MS580 sound decoder - all done! (or
just use an MS581, nothing else to change)
The above approach is certainly simple, and the model runs well, and sounds 'acceptable'. However, the volume is fairly low,
so we look at how the boiler speaker can be improved. Another approach would be to gut the tender and hard-wire an MS450R,
which would give the option of 2x 8 ohm speakers... however, that is a lot more work, so we investigate just improving the
boiler speaker for now.
Disconnecting the loco from tender is a little fiddly, as the multi-wire connector is quite stiff to unplug, but we need to
separate them in order to be able to work on the loco comfortably.
The firebox glow is nicely done in this model - much better than the Dapol approach (which are often dim and hard to see).
There is a lot of detail on the loco, so great care is needed to separate things. The body comes off the chassis quite easily,
but a little more care is required to remove the frame from the boiler. The speaker is part of an assembly that unscrews from
the base of the boiler, so the frame does have to come off to get access to it.
Just for laughs, we test-fit a dual SugarCube 24X15X07 speaker to see if it would fit... of course we cannot use this with the
MS580, as that needs 8 ohms, not 4 ohms, but it proves the potential for a dual speaker if we were to gut the tender in favour
of hard-wiring an MS450 (as some customers have done).
To replace the existing 15x11mm speaker we have to unattach it from the boiler curved section and flatten the plastic off a
little. An IceCube18X13X09 fits neatly in here - wrapped in Kapton tape and fresh wires put on.
A blob of BlackTack below, and another above will help to keep it in position and avoid any vibrations, then screw the curved
boiler base section back into position.
Put the frame back on, ensuring the various bits of detail are repositioned correctly, then connect our new speaker's wires to
the original wires that come from the loco-to-tender plug.
With the loco reassembled, plug in the tender and test the MS580, hopefully with clear improvements over the volume level...
still not very loud as it is only a single speaker, but should be notably better than the original boiler speaker.
Tender body back on, and a final test - quite pleasing results. If volume is still not at the desired level, then the only
option would be to go dual speaker and hard-wire an MS450 instead, but for most people, the single IceCube will likely be