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Author Topic: Convert from Peco to Kato Unitrack  (Read 386 times)

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Offline RMurphy195

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Convert from Peco to Kato Unitrack
« on: January 26, 2018, 09:52:19 PM »
I can see from another thread at many people are happy using Kato Unitrack, some having converted.

My layout is currently using Peco setrack and flexitrack, curves are st-12 and st-15 on the main ovals (i.e. 228 and 263.5mm radius). Every time I want to change something, no matter how careful I am, there are casualties, especially points, and especially glued (or previously glued) track - the stuff is simply too fragile, with the rails coming out of the chairs.

So I'm considering switching to Unitrack, might be costly but then again by shopping around it seems like a good side-benefit might be the (apparently) fuss-free electrified points.

Layout is DCC.

But to fit my board it looks like I will need the curves to be 216mm (inner oval) and 249mm (Outer).

My question is - will my locos and rolling stock go round the sharper curves? Currently I have no problems on the 228mm curves with my Dapol and Farish 0-6-0, DMU, Class 58 or 3MT, with the LNER B1 being happiest on the outer (263mm) curve.

Bigger radius tracks would leave me having to extend the with of the baseboard (no can do) or reduce the interest of my layout.

Any advice would be appreciated thanks - Richard.

PS I'm based in the UK!

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Convert from Peco to Kato Unitrack
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2018, 01:37:44 PM »
Hi Richard,
It's always a quandary when trying to fit a track plan to a small area, as the temptation is to use set track points and small radius curves. If you move to Unitrack the small points are the #4 ones and these can give problems with some locos but my B1 and 3MT ran through them OK as will your diesels I would say. Not sure about the Farish 0-6-0 as I don't know which model you refer to. All our locos are different, though.
As for 216mm radius - I can't advise as I've never gone down to that. Sorry.

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Convert from Peco to Kato Unitrack
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2018, 01:53:26 PM »
Hi Richard,

Lofthole uses 216mm Kato curves. I don't run any steam engines so can't comment on those, but all diesels and DMUs including Voyagers are fine on this radius.

Most freight wagons are fine, although there are specific issues with some wagons:

Long wheelbase 4 wheelers like VGAs don't like it.  Shorter wheelbase wagons like PCAs are fine.
Bogie wagons with fixed NEM couplings (like Farish BDAs) need careful marshalling in the train as sometimes coupling combinations can drag them off
Some wagons suffer from buffer lock; for example if I couple two OCAs together - but they are fine if there is an OBA between them
Wagons with body-mounted couplers such as Dapol Spine Wagons can also be a pain - I have made slightly longer couplers to accommodate them
Dapol Cargowaggons also need either longer couplers or shortened buffers to avoid buffer lock.

I have modified my number 4 points, but in retrospect wonder if the derailing I experienced was more to do with a specific loco - early Dapol 66 - rather than the track.

In a nutshell, 216mm can work, and I don't regret using it, but you can't expect absolutely everything to run without some fiddling with couplings etc.

Hope this helps

Cheers Jon  :)
“We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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Offline RMurphy195

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Re: Convert from Peco to Kato Unitrack
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2018, 06:45:14 PM »
OK guys thanks.I think I might build my Arduino-controlled shuttle using Unitrack and have a bit of a play with the stuff at the same time.

Mind you I've written the software and tested detectors for this ages ago, maybe it's about time I obtained a round tuit along with the unitrack! (I have a post about Unitrams and PWM elsewhere for which hopefully someone can provide guidance)


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