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Author Topic: Kato controller PSU change?  (Read 7608 times)

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Offline Manxrailman

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Kato controller PSU change?
« on: April 05, 2014, 02:02:16 PM »
The layout is progressing nicely, and I have now added a second oval. I have purchased a second Kato controller. The first thing I noticed was that the package was much lighter than the 1st one I bought. When I unpacked it, the difference became apparent. The plug in power supply was smaller & lighter. No problem - no doubt a switched mode device instead of the old linear one. BUT the max current is a little less at 1.25A instead of 1.5A on the old one.

I doubt than my DMU would draw anything like that, nor the diesel shunter. However with the new PSU & controller, all trains are much slower - full throttle on the new controller is about the same as 1/2 on the old one. To check that it is the PSU & not the controller, I swapped them over, with the same result. I'm not after high speed trains, but wondered if anyone else has had the same experience?

I will go back to 'Topslots & Trains', but wanted to see what others think/know first.

BTW - the Anglia DMU is now back in service, thanks to your advice and the help of   http://www.brlines.com/index.html  who were most helpful & provided the necessary parts. (It was a split gear!)

A bit more testing and closer examination suggests that the new power supply is faulty - or at any rate not suitable - as it's only rated at 12VDC. The old power supply is rated at 15VDC. The controller reduces the voltage in both cases. BUT the 12 V one drops to 10.5V, and the 15V hardly changes. This limits my 158 to a maximum scale speed of 50 mph...

So back to the shop to see what he has to say. If the new PSU is the only one, I suppose there's not much can be done. I'll post the outcome.

I contacted Topslots 'n' Trains, and was told that the new type power supply is the only type that can now be used in the UK (EU ruling!) as the old linear PSU takes too much power on standby. (Fair enough - it does get warm when doing nothing). But the new one should be putting out 15 or 16 VDC, as the old one did. Well it doesn't - it actually says 12VDC on the unit, but not on the packaging, so if you're buying a PSU and it's the much lighter box, be aware & check the voltage on the unit itself.

Topslots have replaced the new type one for an old one he managed to find for me. Good service!
 :claphappy:
« Last Edit: April 27, 2014, 11:41:53 AM by Manxrailman, Reason: UPDATE »
Manxrailman

Offline Thameswatcher

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2014, 09:15:24 PM »
I also bought a Kato controller recently and have exactly the same problem with half speed etc. Emailed Train Trax and they replied due to EU regulations etc etc and were following up with the suppliers in the UK which is Gaugemaster. The outcome so far is a pretty usless controller. I am confused though over the voltage output from the power supply is it really AC as I have been told I thought it should be DC if it is really DC I could buy another power supply that ouputs 15 volts and solve the slow running and to heck with the EU poking their noses in things.
Any advice/information appreciated
Regards Thameswatcher

Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2014, 10:20:10 PM »
A bit more testing and closer examination suggests that the new power supply is faulty - or at any rate not suitable - as it's only rated at 12VDC. The old power supply is rated at 15VDC. The controller reduces the voltage in both cases. BUT the 12 V one drops to 10.5V, and the 15V hardly changes. This limits my 158 to a maximum scale speed of 50 mph...

Sounds like they provided you with the wrong power supply. It should be 15v.

Quote
I contacted Topslots 'n' Trains, and was told that the new type power supply is the only type that can now be used in the UK (EU ruling!) as the old linear PSU takes too much power on standby. (

This is sort of true - old type PSUs burn enormous amounts of power so there are now efficiency rules. However that has nothing to do with them supplying you with the wrong voltage supply. I'd expect a 15-16v switched mode supply to also be much lighter than the old ones.

Nothing to do with the EU, the EU is quite happy for you to have 15 or 16v switched mode supplies. Sounds like a Traintrax problem.


Alan
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Offline Thameswatcher

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 09:34:51 AM »
Thanks for info

Thameswatcher

Offline RussellH

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 10:27:30 AM »
Hi Guys

Had a quick look at the pic on here
http://www.topslotsntrains.com/topslotsntrains/final.asp?ref=KATO-22-015-N-GAUGE-POWER-PACK-22-014-CONTROLLER---UK-POWER-SUPPLY-&id=7130&manufacturer=%27KATO%20N%20Gauge%27

and you can see its and ac/ac adapter. The modern lightweight switch mode supplies dont do AC output so they cant give you one of this type for this controller if it requires an AC input. Kato would need to specify an equivalent DC voltage if that was acceptable which is highly unlikely to be 12v - probably more like 15-21v (based on 15v full wave rectified). Anyway that sounds like bureaucratic nonsense about efficiencies as the ac/ac adapters only contain a transformer which is ~98% efficient anyway.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer#Energy_losses

nearest I can find is a 12v AC wallwart...
http://www.rapidonline.com/electrical-power/stontronics-12v-ac-1a-uk-2-1mm-ac-ac-plugtop-adaptor-t2524st-90-2636
and cpc have a 500ma 15V unit...
http://cpc.farnell.com/1/1/113318-ac-ac-power-supply-15v-0-5a-universl-s2234st-stontronics.html

probably why they are going for equivalent DC supplies.

Regards
Russ
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 05:22:00 PM by Pengi, Reason: modified link to work »
Repairs - not everything has to be sent away - you can fix most thing's yourself. Ask and help will be provided.

Waiting for the RTR version? - why not try a kit?

My layout, Bridgebury Gate now has its own website...
http://www.bridgeburygate.co.uk/

and the 3DR shop where you'll also find the NGF MPV, assorted cabs etc...
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/3dr_designs_for_n_gauge

Online Railwaygun

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2014, 11:11:39 AM »
an Ebay search for "15v 5a PSU" produces a range of Portable PC PSUs - should be fine?
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Offline EtchedPixels

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 02:36:39 PM »
Anyway that sounds like bureaucratic nonsense about efficiencies as the ac/ac adapters only contain a transformer which is ~98% efficient anyway.

An efficient AC adapter is just fine too.  The origin of the work btw was that power supply inefficiency across Europe totalls about 14TWh a year. It's not really new either - this started about 2005, and the targets get adjusted every few years in consultation with industry. The US will mostly follow suit in 2016. The targets aren't expressed in this way but roughly speaking a 1A sized PSU ought to be achieving at least 88% efficiency with no load.

The targets vary by supply size/range but a 1A PSU should draw no more than 0.25W in no load state.

What a lot of people don't realise is that replacing many of these old linear power supplies that are always left turned on like phone chargers etc actually pays for itself on your power bill rather quickly.

The other half of the regulation is even more sensible - its moving some things (mostly by agreement) to standard interfaces. Hence most phones/tablets now all work with the same chargers.


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Offline RussellH

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2014, 04:09:15 PM »
Hi Alan,

Totally agree with all of that except just needs to be made clear that replacing adapters with AC outputs isn't required as they are already efficient (unless you have a poorly made one that runs hot when not connected to its device). May also be AC for a good reason as for this particular instance, if Manxrailman was using an SCR based controller (gaugemaster/KPC/AMR etc) a DC supply of any voltage is totally useless as the controller requires the AC waveform to function.

Generally, for those devices that HAVE to be left on (cordless phone etc) then yes, you can replace with modern switch mode PSU's (the light weight ones) from a reputable source approved accordingly - not cheap unbranded fire risk items.

If it doesn't have to be left on then just switch it off & reduce the fire risk (doesn't really need replacing?) . I know, try telling the kids - bet you could look in their room and find a 4 way adapter full of power supplies for this that and the other all switched on and cooking away nicely under a pile of clothes. So obviously a fire risk.

Good news they are starting to standardise on PSU/chargers based on the mini USB all at 5V - saves alot of waste electrical items!

Regards
Russ
Repairs - not everything has to be sent away - you can fix most thing's yourself. Ask and help will be provided.

Waiting for the RTR version? - why not try a kit?

My layout, Bridgebury Gate now has its own website...
http://www.bridgeburygate.co.uk/

and the 3DR shop where you'll also find the NGF MPV, assorted cabs etc...
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/3dr_designs_for_n_gauge

Online Railwaygun

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2014, 07:15:01 PM »
Portable PC PSUs are readily available on Ebay - 15v 5a

6 +

Nick R
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It may contain alternative facts

Caveat lector

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Offline MalcolmInN

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2014, 11:03:25 PM »
There is a diagram at the SumidaCrossing web site of a Kato controller disassembled which may be of interest -
and which would seem to confirm what RussellH has found,
ie. that the wallwart should be a simple AC/AC transformer. ( for country of use ) -
http://www.sumidacrossing.org/Musings/files/kato-pack.jpg

at this site : http://www.sumidacrossing.org/Musings/files/131222_Kato%20DC%20Power%20Pack.php

So a substituted DC (switch mode or otherwise) wallwart supply would lose the 'pulse power' effect of the fulwave rectified (un-smothed) AC waveform.

[ I came across that site while researching Kato controllers because my new venture into the Ngauge world came to an abrupt end when the Kato set had to be returned non-working, but that is another story ! ]
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 11:06:59 PM by MalcolmAL »

Offline Manxrailman

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 08:59:19 AM »
The plot thickens! As I said in my original post, the PSU supplied with my 1st Kato controller was marked 15VDC, and was indeed DC at about 16V off load. The 2nd controller had a switched mode PSU marked 12VDC, which it was.

The slow speed running seems fine, (but there is a just noticable pulsing of the speed). Interestingly, the socket on the back of the controller is marked '15VAC' - so why supply a DC PSU?

Anyway, the main point of my post initially, was just to be aware that if your controller comes with a 12VDC PSU, it'll run a bit slow... hopefully someone somewhere will notice and correct this in due course. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of plug-in PSUs about - Maplin is probably as good a source as any, if a bit expensive.

Anyone speak Japanese & know anyone there? (Not that it really matters!!)
Manxrailman

Offline RussellH

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 12:01:03 PM »
There is a diagram at the SumidaCrossing web site of a Kato controller disassembled which may be of interest -
and which would seem to confirm what RussellH has found,
ie. that the wallwart should be a simple AC/AC transformer. ( for country of use ) -
http://www.sumidacrossing.org/Musings/files/kato-pack.jpg

at this site : http://www.sumidacrossing.org/Musings/files/131222_Kato%20DC%20Power%20Pack.php

So a substituted DC (switch mode or otherwise) wallwart supply would lose the 'pulse power' effect of the fulwave rectified (un-smothed) AC waveform.

[ I came across that site while researching Kato controllers because my new venture into the Ngauge world came to an abrupt end when the Kato set had to be returned non-working, but that is another story ! ]


With Malc's excellent find of a schematic for the kato its easy to see that a 12v DC supply is a bit low but will work. 15v DC will do the job but as Malc says a DC supply substituted for the AC variety in this specific case will loose the beneficial effects of the AC waveform and is not as the designer intended.

Regards
Russ
Repairs - not everything has to be sent away - you can fix most thing's yourself. Ask and help will be provided.

Waiting for the RTR version? - why not try a kit?

My layout, Bridgebury Gate now has its own website...
http://www.bridgeburygate.co.uk/

and the 3DR shop where you'll also find the NGF MPV, assorted cabs etc...
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/3dr_designs_for_n_gauge

Offline MalcolmInN

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2014, 12:03:41 PM »
The plot thickens!
It doth indeed ! :)
It is a shame that I have already returned mine (dead loco ) else I could have examined my _heavy_ one with my trusty 'ol oscilloscope !

Another point arising :
If the controller box internals are still expecting an AC input then the diodes of the bridge rect. will still be present with their consequent voltage drop across each  ? :( ?

(OT)
I was contemplating purchasing a replacement M1 and a different loco, ( because I did like the ease of assembly and quickness of getting it all up&running ) However now I'm not sure what to do.
Although the vendor was quick to refund the purchase price no quibble (and provided the return carriage) the original p&p was not, only 4 so no worries but I dont want to get into too many more to-and -fro -s  :( !!
(/ot)


« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 12:25:40 PM by MalcolmAL, Reason: Minor english corrections »

Offline RussellH

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2014, 12:25:47 PM »

Another point arising :
If the controller box internals are still expecting an AC input then diodes of the bridge rect. will still be present with their consequent voltage drop across each  ? :( ?


The diodes do indeed drop their respective volts - "approximately" 1.2 v lost though the bridge and another 0.6v on the output stage.

Still astonished at how little is in the kato controller.

Regards
Russ
Repairs - not everything has to be sent away - you can fix most thing's yourself. Ask and help will be provided.

Waiting for the RTR version? - why not try a kit?

My layout, Bridgebury Gate now has its own website...
http://www.bridgeburygate.co.uk/

and the 3DR shop where you'll also find the NGF MPV, assorted cabs etc...
http://www.shapeways.com/shops/3dr_designs_for_n_gauge

Offline MalcolmInN

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Re: Kato controller PSU change?
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2014, 12:49:05 PM »
The diodes do indeed drop their respective volts - "approximately" 1.2 v lost though the bridge and another 0.6v on the output stage.

Thanks for the reminder of the volts dropped, it is a little while since I thought these kind of thoughts and didnt want to mix my geraniums with my silicons !
So, even more reason to have an AC/AC wallwart, cos a 15vAC wart will be specing RMS volts whereas the peak of the pulses will be somewhat more ('scuse me while I reach for my slide rule, , ,  :) ! )

And I put the "If" in just in case the controllers for the UK market had been modified to take a DC input, like the diodes being linked-out/removed (but then what are we to make of the 15vac marking on the socket ?! ), I feel more thickening of plots :)

Quote
Still astonished at how little is in the kato controller.
Me too ! I've got all that in my junk boxes but the arm with its pivoted knob was a good mover and a nice touch :) :)

(edit)
Oh, all except the overload c/b, I'll have to think on that.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2014, 12:53:57 PM by MalcolmAL »

 

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