Hornby ringfield motor upgrade kits are now available…

We’re delighted to announce that the first batch of motor upgrade adaptors for Hornby ringfield motors is now available.

It’s taken a huge amount of time, effort and testing to arrive at a product that works well and is as simple to use as possible, but we got there…

There are three kits in the Hornby-compatible adaptor family:

Each kit comes with a two-part adaptor, a replacement motor, two pinion gears (one spare), a motor insulator, some clips and a length of heat shrink tubing. You’ll need some tools, but those are all the core components required.

There’s also a detailed, step-by-step instructions booklet, which can be downloaded from our website, and a tutorial video will be published in the not too distant future. I listened to feedback from my Lima kits, so these new instructions are much lighter on text and full of photos.

How do they work?

The adaptors have been developed to avoid the need to drill out the bogie and in most cases require no permanent bogie alterations (although the old brass bushing may still need to be popped out)…that means the upgrade is normally reversible and you can replace the ringfield motor in the future, should you wish.

In fact, for the majority of Hornby ringfield variants, the installation process is all-but plug ‘n’ play  you just insert the adaptor, then the motor, attach the gear, clip it all into place, wire it up and you’re done…it’s far simpler and more straightforward than the hot glue-based methods described in most model railway forums.

And if you have a Co-Co or tender drive model, the adaptor solves the age old problem of how to reattach the central wheel. There’s a hole in the adaptor for the small axle, meaning the wheel can be easily replaced and remain fully functional.

Check out our step-by-step installation video

How much do they cost?

The price of a kit is £15.50 each*, irrespective of the motor voltage. UK postage is still £2.99* irrespective of the number of kits purchased.

The price of the Hornby kits is a little higher than their Lima cousins, for two main reasons: firstly, there are more components in them, and secondly, the adaptors take longer to make and require extra manual work to finish off.

*Correct at time of article publication.

Ringfield Motor Upgrade Using a 3D Printed Adaptor

In this video, we take a look at an alternative method for replacing the ringfield/pancake motor in older Lima and Hornby models with a brand new CD/DVD drive motor.

We’ve used glue and brass tube in earlier projects to support the new motor, and while it works well, it can be a fiddly process, it takes time and can be hard to reverse.

Using a computer-designed and 3D-printed adaptor, you can quickly and simply install and perfectly align a replacement DC motor.

If you ever needed to replace a component, or indeed wanted to reinstall the original ringfield motor, it’s entirely possible to do so. This is a non-invasive alternative!

This is a detailed, step-by-step video and you’ll probably want a cup of tea or coffee and a comfy chair. The methods used in this video are not necessarily the only way to do it, nor necessarily the best.

Some things to consider

The 10mm CD/DVD drive motor should work in most Lima models locomotives of the following OO gauge classes: 08, 09, 31, 37, 40, 47, 52, 59, 60, 66 and 92. Other models may be able to accommodate a 12mm motor, but you must check dimensions yourself first and the 3D printed part would have to be altered accordingly.

The replacement motor is a 12000rpm, 6V, 0.03A DC motor. The output from a DCC decoder or a DC controller can reach 12V DC (sometimes a little higher) at the top end. In order to avoid motor burn-out and prolong motor life:

1. Diodes should be used to reduce voltage (as shown in the video),
2. DCC decoders should have their CV5 value reduced (if available), and
3. Top speeds should be kept to a minimum and run at higher speeds for short periods only.

The PLA+ plastic filament used in the production of the adaptor has a glass transition temperature of 50°-60°C (the point at which it may begin to soften). Our trials showed the motor got up to about 47.6°C after an hour of constant running at medium-to-fast speeds.

Under normal ‘home’ use, it’s unlikely that the plastic will be adversely affected by motor temperature, however if the motor is used for very long periods or worked hard with a long rake etc., its temperature may begin to exceed the glass transition temperature of the plastic and it may begin to soften.

Please note: I’ve drawn upon ideas and suggestions from a range of sources, as well as implementing my own. If you choose to follow any of the steps outlined in this article or video, you do so at your own risk and any damage to yourself, your models or your equipment is your own responsibility.