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Add sound effects to your layout for under £3! | Model Railway Hints, Tips, How To Articles and Reviews at Model Trains Online

Ever wanted to add sound effects to your model train layout without the expense of DCC? Well Kim, a loyal reader of this blog sent in this fantastic tip for adding sound effects quickly and cheaply… Under £3 to be precise! Check out this really quick video demo of it in action…

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How it’s done:

Using a readily available recordable greeting card module it’s possible to add 10 second, 20 second or 60 second sound effects to your layout on a really tight budget. The 10 second modules are around £2.99, up to £9.99 for a whopping 120 seconds.

It may be a bit crude maybe, but there’s no need for DCC or any fancy trickery at all, so those of us, including me who haven’t taken the plunge with DCC yet can still get in on the act.

Possible uses we can think of:

  • Train whistles, horns and engine sounds
  • Church bells
  • Car horns
  • Industrial sound effects such as hammering, drilling and sawing

There’s loads of applications. They come with a micro switch for fitting into greeting cards, but a quick 2 minute job with the soldering iron, this can be replaced with the switch of your choice. Connect it to a momentary push button switch on your layout control panel so you can trigger the sounds by hand.  Or why not do what Kim has now done and fit a high sensitivity micro switch under one of the sleepers on his HO/OO scale track to the loco passing over it triggers the sound.

Sound quality isn’t fantastic, but it’s way better than no sound at all, and for the price, who can really grumble. What do you think? Can you think of any other applications?

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2 Responses to Add sound effects to your layout for under £3!

  1. Ricco says:

    Sound adds so much to a layout but the costs have keep many away from it.This is such a innovative way to enhance a layout or car with inexpensive sound.Keep up the creative thinking…seems we all gain from it. Thanks for the post.

    • Justin says:

      Indeed Ricco. Kim’s method is so cheap and it works pretty well too. And with a bit of care and attention when recording your sound clips, then mounting up the speaker properly you can actually get pretty decent sound quality from these little units.

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