Questions? Call:
612-294-7112
Live Chat Assistance

Shop Train Horns

Resources

 

Train Horn Component Overview

 

Most new buyers purchase their train horn in a complete kit for an easy no fuss installation. Obviously, these components are not true train locomotive horn components. They are scaled down so they fit most trucks, even down to SUVs and compact pickups and cars.

Here are basic parts of any train horn kit.

Air Tank

Air tanks comes in all different sizes. For truck applications, the 1 to 5 gallon size is common. These are simple structures that accept and hold the pressure that the compressor gives it. They contain any number of air ports. An air gauge is frequently attached here.

The Compressor

A compressor is an air pump that when activated fills the tank with compressed air. Compressor capacities are generally matched to the size tank. First fills may take several minutes, depending on the size of the tank. Re-fills are quicker.

Air compressors are used to fill other devices, such as tires or an air suspension. It is governed by a pressure switch which tells it when to re-fill and to what pressure. Increasingly common are two compressors operating in tandem for super-quick re-fills.

The Horn

Train horns run the gamut of sizes and shapes. Separate trumpets are slim and can be up to two feet long. In an attached array, there are two trumpet horns, three trumpet horns and even four trumpet horns. It's generally believed that you need three or more trumpets in the array to product as authentic train horn tone. Each trumpet sounds a different note. It's the combination of these notes that produce the distinction "blat" that immediately says "train horn."

The better train horns are made of metal. Plastic horns are OK in low priced value kits but they are not considered the "real deal" by most train horn enthusiasts. Steel, zinc, brass and copper are common metals. Horns are either chrome or gold plated or painted black.

Horns are activated by a solenoid that resides within the horn. Horns (and compressors) are energized by your 12 volt source. The horn can be activated by your regular horn button or you can buy a new separate horn switch. It's all in the installation.

Sometimes you will see decibel ratings given in a horn's specs. To adequately compare across systems, the reading must be taken with the same instrument, properly calibrated and at the same distance from the horn. This is rarely the case so take these readings with a large grain of salt.

These are the basic components of any kit. You should receive enough air hose, fittings and hook-up wire to do the job. Don't be shy about having a pro do the job. Shops that specialize in aftermarket installations of sound systems and alarms would be an appropriate choice.

«Back