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Author Topic: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips  (Read 20574 times)

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Offline Agrippa

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2015, 11:55:39 am »
After reading these posts I joined up my Kato oval and ran a couple of old
UK Farish locos , both bogie diesels, there was a slight click now and then
but they ran fine. I notice if you run your finger along the track there are
occasional joins where you can feel the difference, however doesn't seem
to affect running. Not quite sure if the wheels on the old class 37 and 47
are pizza cutters , but they are definitely chunkier than those on a Chinese
class 08.
Nothing is certain but death and taxes -Benjamin Franklin

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2015, 09:54:13 am »
Ballast Mix

a recipe for Kato track matching ballast using three Woodland Scenics (FINE) ballasts.
1 part Cinders, 1 part Light Gray and 9 parts Gray.

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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2015, 10:37:04 am »
Wiring a Kato Unitrack layout for DCC ( inc points)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gRHV7te-NQ


Note #4 points do power switch ( they can be changed using the screw underneath - see below

https://nrmrc.org/t-trak/app-notes/what-you-need-to-know-about-kato-unitrack-turnouts

Most sources recommend a separate power feed for the points controller ( ie 16v wall PSU)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 11:19:17 pm by Railwaygun »
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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2015, 10:24:25 pm »
the Kato Sound unit

http://youtu.be/ZspASybSgnQ
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Offline Bikeracer

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2015, 12:31:07 pm »
Ballast Mix

a recipe for Kato track matching ballast using three Woodland Scenics (FINE) ballasts.
1 part Cinders, 1 part Light Gray and 9 parts Gray.

I'm trying to decide whether to mix some or buy the proper Kato ballast.
Can anyone give an indication as to how far a single 200gm bag of Kato ballast goes.

The Woodland Scenics is 210gms per bag which means I would have to buy a bag of each colour,possibly two of the grey.

Allan
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 12:35:23 pm by Bikeracer »
I'm not a complete idiot..some bits are missing.

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2015, 07:30:56 pm »
Train trax price is Kato 24-039 Ballast 200gm - £5.10

ask on track/points thread re normal usage and do the sums!

Hobbycraft is £4.49 for WS ballast ( free p/p over £30 or click'n collect over £10 spend)

is normal ballast that uniform though?? and Kato track colour seems to vary a bit depending on the batch.

NR


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Offline Bikeracer

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2015, 09:58:10 am »
Thanks for the reply,

I think I would need to get two bags rather than buy one and then not have enough and have postage again.
Cost for two bags = £10.20 plus P&P

From Hattons,
One grey shaker jar =£8.60
One bag each of light grey at £3.95 and cinders at £2.95,total cost=£15.50 plus P&P

I'll ask on track points thread to see if anyone can give me a rough idea.

Allan
I'm not a complete idiot..some bits are missing.

Offline Pengi

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2015, 03:25:17 pm »
I bought some Kato ballast but found it a bit 'sparkling'. In the end, used a mixture of WS colours (fine) to match the colours of the ballast from the photos I was working from.

Not brave enough to ballast points though :worried:
Just one Pendolino, give it to me, a beautiful train, from Italy

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - FAQ from Yahoo Group
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2015, 11:06:14 pm »
Kato Unitrack FAQ

1. What is Kato Unitrack?
1a. How do you pronounce Kato?
2. Does it work with DCC?
2a. Can the Kato Automatic Crossing gate be used with DCC?
3. Where can I buy it?
4. Is anyone using it for a whole layout?
5. Can I make my own terminal joiners?
6. I've heard that the #4 Turnouts are unreliable, can they be fixed?
7. Is there a problem with the power routing screws on the #4 turnouts?
8. Can I improve the look of Kato Unitrack?
9. Can I use regular dpdt switches to control the turnouts?

1. What is Kato Unitrack?
Kato Unitrack is a sectional track system with the roadbed built in.
It is available in N Scale and HO. It uses a track connector called the
UniJoiner that has proven to be extremely reliable. The UniJoiner has
eliminated the need for soldering. There are a variety of pieces available,
including turnouts, a double crossover, straights, curves, crossings and many
more pieces. It can be used for permanant or temporary layouts. For more
information on Unitrack see the Kato USA website.

http://www.katousa.com

To find the Unitrack specific pages check the site map here;
http://katousa.com/sitemap.html

1a. "How is Kato properly pronounced?" (KAH-toe, not KAY-toe) Kato is a family
name. I think it is respectful to pronounce it correctly. I know that I like
it when my last name is pronounced correctly.

2. Does it work with DCC?
Yes! Although, there is a website that claims that the #4 Kato Unitrack
Turnouts are not DCC friendly. BUT we have many members in our group that are
currently using Kato Unitrack #4 Turnouts (and #6 and double crossovers) with
DCC and they are not having any problems.

2a. Can the Kato Automatic Crossing gate be used with DCC?
Officially, no. There used to be a Japanese website that had details on making it work, but it has disappeared. (If anyone has any information on this item please let me know at katounitrack-owner@yahoogroups.com)

3. Where can I buy it?
Your Local model Rail Store would be a good place to start.

Train Trax or Osbornes or Gaugemaster are stockists

If you are looking for some place on the web you can try;

UK

Keith Blanchard
http://www.traintrax.co.uk
(Keith is a member of our group and he specializes in Kato products)

Osborne's Models
http://www.osbornsmodels.com/kato-superstore-571-c.asp


In Australia (he also exports) you can try;
Doug Coster at Japanese Model Supplies
http://Japanese-Trains.com

Rob Carpenter of Aust-N-Rail is now stocking Unitrack (N)
http://www.aust-n-rail.com.au/

Japanese Hobby Store "Hobby Search"
http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/rail/

A Japanese Ebayer "PlazaJapan"
http://stores.ebay.com/Plaza-Japan

4. Is anyone using it for a whole layout?
Yes, many people are, see some websites with examples below;

Chuck Conner's N Scale layout is here;
http://www.conner1.com

David W. Cooke's N Scale layout is here;
http://www.dwcooke.com/

John Sing's ATSF Arizona Peavine Line
fully scenicked, fully ballasted, tuned #4 turnouts)
http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing/Peavine_Layout_Overview.html

5. Can I make my own terminal joiners?
Yes, Many of the list members have.

Here is a link to directions for a solderless unijoiner, courtesy of Joseph Bales;
http://sites.google.com/site/josephbales/unitrackfeedertutorial

Here are the basic instructions for a soldered unijoiner;
1) Start with a regular UniJoiner
2) Remove the metal part from the plastic housing by using the point of an exacto knife or a very small jewelers screwdriver to compress the metal tabs at each end of the metal piece
3) Feed the wire through the center of the plastic part from the bottom
4) Using a hot soldering iron pre tin the end of the wire and the bottom of the metal piece
(or you can just use some flux on each piece and not pre-tin whatever your preference is)
5) Solder the two together
6) Let it cool
7) Re-assemble the unijoiner

Here is a website with photos and instructions for the soldered method courtesy of Fifer Hobby;
http://fiferhobby.com/html/how_to_make_kato_unitrack_feed.html

A few things may help this process,
-use some kind of clamping device to hold the metal piece while trying to solder to it
-do as many of these as you need in an assembly line fashion, it goes faster
-don't forget to feed the wire through the bottom center of plastic piece before soldering, it can be a pain to re-assemble otherwise

6. I've heard that the #4 Turnouts are unreliable, can they be fixed?

Yes! John Sing, a group member has documented a method for improving the operation of the #4 turnouts. Go to our files area here:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KatoUnitrack/files/
And read the file called "Kato #4 switches tuning.txt"

Also see John Sing's website showing his layout with tuned #4 turnouts here;
http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing/Peavine_Layout_Overview.html

7. Is there a problem with the power routing screws on the #4 turnouts?

Yes! there is a problem with the labeling on the bottom of the turnout please
see this website for the corrected information;
http://www.kato-unitrack.co.uk/images/Kato_PDF/Kato_Power_Route_Help.pdf

8. Can I improve the look of Kato Unitrack?

Yes! Once again, John Sing has documented this for all of our use. Take a look
in the files area here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KatoUnitrack/files/

and read the file called "Kato Unitrack painting method by John Sing.txt" In that
file are also links to pictures of track that John has painted.

Also see John Sing's website showing his layout with painted and ballasted #4
Turnouts here;
http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing/Peavine_Layout_Overview.html

9. Can I use regular dpdt switches to control the turnouts?

You can either use a momentary DPDT switch or a regular switch with an additional self-built circuit. See below for both methods;

Instruction for using a Momentary DPDT switch (courtesy of Fifer Hobby);
http://fiferhobby.com/html/how_to_make_kato_turnout_contr.html

Instruction describing the extra circuit that enables a DPDT switch to work with Katounitrack turnouts;
To get a copy of the document describing the circuit send an email directly to Ray at GRSJr@worldnet.att.net and request a copy of the BCD circuit document.(Ray intends to publish an article including this circuit so he will not allow it to be in the files area, that ensures he keeps his publication rights to the circuit, he will share it with you via email though.)

Videos on kato
Fifer Hobby has a lot of other How-To articles as well, with some of them being Kato Unitrack Specific, check it out

http://fiferhobby.com/html/how_to_pages.html
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 11:15:55 pm by Railwaygun »
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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2015, 04:46:24 pm »
This has been a public service announcement
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Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2015, 12:44:04 am »
Kato #4 points issues

ATSO Says:

I've had some problems with my Union Mills 'Director' derailing on a couple of #4 points - although to be fair this is a problem for most of my bogie and pony truck locomotives regardless of manufacturer. I've applied the standard fix to one of the points which seems to have cured the problem.

The #4 problem is a known manufacturing defect and the fix can be found here:

http://www.pbase.com/atsf_arizona/kato_4_turnout_tuning&page=all
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Offline PostModN66

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2015, 09:35:17 am »
I'm sure I did a little tutorial on the number 4 point issue, but can't find it!

I did find the picture I posted though, which might help! (one of the many #4 points on Lofthole)



For what it's worth, my problem was with Dapol 66s - on reflection I think it might be a B2B issue.

Cheers  Jon  :)
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Offline MalcolmAL

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2015, 01:04:31 pm »
the picture I posted though, which might help!
Thank you Jon, excellent picture, best detail that I have seen in any of the various web sites on this #4 problem. Makes it very clear.

How does one pull it out ( yes I know - carefully !! lol! ) without risk to the chairs and more worryingly how to push it back in without risk of bending the rail and/or jumping it out of the chairs ?
Did you use a jig to do the pushing or just carefully by hand

You see I dont want to end up confessing my sins in the "Clumsy" topic. ;D
I think Kato changed the type of ballast since the early days of this mod, are yours new or old style, worryingly tight or easily slide-able ?

This is one of two things making me think twice about going the Kato route. Terrible thing to have to do to 20quidsworth of brand new point !
« Last Edit: July 05, 2015, 01:05:44 pm by MalcolmAL »

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2015, 04:26:28 pm »
All of it was done by hand.  The points are all roughly five years old, so I guess old style.

The rails certainly didn't slide out easily, but they weren't impossible - a firm tug with some pliers was all that was needed.

You're right, getting them back was trickier - the technique I adopted was to pull them through with pliers at 90deg to the plane of the points, not to push.

I agree that it is a terrible thing to have to do.....my heart sank when I realised I would have to modify 17 of them - more than £300 worth (and incidentally I worked out the mod for myself, not being aware that anyone else had had this problem, so it was a step into the unknown).  When people eulogise about the quality of Kato I am not fully on board - surely the points should be made this way to start off with!!

Cheers  Jon  :)
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Offline MalcolmAL

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Re: Kato Unitrack - Hints and Tips
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2015, 01:13:11 am »
You're right, getting them back was trickier - the technique I adopted was to pull them through with pliers at 90deg to the plane of the points, not to push.
,
When people eulogise about the quality of Kato I am not fully on board - surely the points should be made this way to start off with!!
Thanks Jon, good one, I had not thought it thro' in that direction ! :)
,
I totally agree, the prob has been known about for years ! so if they can update the ballast mouldings ( flat printed ? to embossed textured ? ) then why not address the notch prob., velly velly odd !

 :beers:
« Last Edit: July 06, 2015, 01:15:17 am by MalcolmAL »

 

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