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Author Topic: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction  (Read 2011 times)

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Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2019, 05:35:17 PM »
In the spirit of this Topic then maybe this approach will assist others.  :thumbsup:
I'll be studying your plan very carefully for I'll likely disconnect/reconnect all my wiring and 3-way connectors. Likewise, I'm having to re-think my isolators. The image of my plan differentiated the three power sources by using color code, but I'm thinking I'll probably need to alter the plan somewhat; i.e. reassignment of power feeders/controllers. I'm attempting to build a layout with the maximum degree of flexibility for a DC track system. As a new modeller it seemed to me I could more easily achieve that objective using a modular system like Kato.

I don't possess the extensive railway modeller's vocabulary of many users of this forum and apologize for my inability to adequately explain or describe. Add to that diminished cognitive function and I'm probably leaving many confounded.

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2019, 05:47:49 PM »
My Lofthole layout is completely Kato if it is of interest - link below.....

Kato-specific wiring considerations as I have found them...

1. Point operation using two wires rather than the usual three
2. Switchable point power routing (incorrectly marked on number 4 points)
3. How many electrical connections to make given the large number of separate lengths of rail compared to flex track (actually this is relevant to any sectional track)?

Other Kato issues not related to wiring...

4. How to stick it down!
5. How to make it look realistic
6. How to hack it to get the layout you want (surgery on track sections)
7. The infamous no. 4 modification as alluded to by Newport Nobby above
8. The fact you can easily use alternative baseboard materials since you don't have to install point motors!

Cheers Jon  :)

Jon, thanks for taking the time to enumerate characteristics of the Kato layout that set it apart from others. Or, at least introduces a different set of modelling issues. There is, I think, a good case for posting Kato related modelling issues in one place.

Did you forget to provide in your post the link to your layout?

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Offline PostModN66

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2019, 05:57:43 PM »
Did you forget to provide in your post the link to your layout?

No problem Leon.

The link is just below the Dali Lama quotation!

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

My Postmodern Image Layouts

Lofthole http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14792.msg147178#msg147178

Deansmoor http://www.ngaugeforum.co.uk/SMFN/index.php?topic=14741.msg146381#msg146381

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2019, 06:10:44 PM »
My layout 'Averingcliffe', is two ovals with 4 separate sets of sidings. I am trying to simplify this, (for my benefit  ;)). Each of the four sets of sidings having isolating joiners just after the oval that they leave, (two from the outer oval, two from the inner oval). I have a power feed piece of track just after each of the four sets of isolating joiners, the power to each feeder being via an on/off switch. The two ovals are isolated from each other by two Kato Crossover track pieces, (20-210), which themselves are isolating. By having the set up as above, I can have none or up to six sections of track powered at any one time for DC operation. For DCC operation, I just put all the switches into the 'on' position.
I hope the above makes sense  :).

In reply to some of the questions raised by @PostModN66 - 4) I have just used spots of PVA for gluing the track down; 5) I like to think that the trackwork, (where finished), looks realistic enough on 'Averingcliffe; 6) Unitrack can be 'hacked' a bit with a 'hack' saw, (sorry!), although not to the extent that flexitrack can be used.

I hope the above is of some use to somebody.
David.
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Offline GreyWolf

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2019, 07:17:50 PM »

Hi Grey Wolf,
Did you have any compatibility issues with Kato points and DCC control?
cheers
Ben A.

Hi Ben, I cheat a bit as I had a Kato power unit for the "loop kit" I initially bought. So I use that to power the actual point motors and the Kato switch. This is separate from the rails that are powered for the NCE controller.

The only problem I have is one point that suffered from my bad ballasting! It sticks 50% of the time.  :veryangry:

Cheers  :beers:
« Last Edit: August 12, 2019, 07:21:40 PM by GreyWolf »

Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2019, 07:34:37 PM »
The only problem I have is one point that suffered from my bad ballasting! It sticks 50% of the time.

As mentioned in my Wiltsbury topic, I managed to mess up three points with glue seeping under the track molding. Another one is problematical. Is this a unique Kato problem, or is it just bad ballasting? After I discovered this problem I've avoided ballasting the other points (another 15 or so) until I'm more confident about how to safely proceed.

I'm not electrically switching any of the points, yet, but have tested the points and those that were not glued work well.

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2019, 07:44:06 PM »
Did you forget to provide in your post the link to your layout?

The link is just below the Dali Lama quotation!

Jon, I found it - duh! I'll read the entire thread as time permits. My only attempt at modelling (before Wiltsbury) was around 1975. It was a 00 layout on a door for my young son (all right, it was my interest!). It was a double mainline with one siding, running under a tunnel at the upper right corner. We moved back to the U.S. in '78, so it was a short-lived experience - due more to the expense than the move. We brought the train set back with us but it's never been removed from the box. I considered a door when I started Wiltsbury Junction but was too ambitious with my track plan.

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Offline dannyboy

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2019, 08:01:28 PM »
The only problem I have is one point that suffered from my bad ballasting! It sticks 50% of the time.
glue seeping under the track molding. Another one is problematical. Is this a unique Kato problem, ...............but have tested the points and those that were not glued work well.

Leon

I had a problem like that when I first started ballasting - one point completely ruined. The points that I have ballasted since, I put a thin bead of neat PVA on the ballast shoulder and then,with a bit of cardboard, or the end of  the ubiquitous coffee stirrer, gently move it down the shoulder onto the baseboard. I then very carefully add the ballast, again using the end of a coffee stirrer. Doing it this way, you can only ever put a small amount of ballast down at a time. If I am not happy with the amount of ballast, I repeat the operation once the first lot of PVA has dried. Once I am happy with the height and amount of ballast, out comes the vacuum cleaner. I never use watered down PVA anywhere near the points.  ;)
David.
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Offline Newportnobby

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2019, 09:33:23 PM »

I post this merely as a caveat that not all is hunky dory by going down the Unitrack route. There are issues with all types of track one way or another, I guess.

You've unscored my reason for starting this topic. I feel there is a need for Kato users to share problems that, if not specific to Kato, are specific to Kato users - relative to Kato devices and/or restrictions imposed by those devices.

There was no intention to restrict participation in this thread, but as the Kato population is more limited on this forum I thought it might be a way for the minority to exchange experiences - both positive and negative.

Leon

I hope you mean I have 'underscored' your reason for starting the topic, Leon ;)
I never thought you had any intention to restrict participation and was acting purely as you quoted below

I hope that other Kato users will use this thread to share their own layouts, problems, and solutions unique to the Kato system.

Offline zwilnik

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2019, 10:17:36 PM »
Something that's in my general toolkit for all sorts of things is plasticine. You can use a small amount of it, carefully placed over critical components (not squished in, just lightly pressed down around the edges) to protect point switches etc. while ballasting. Tends to be a little easier to shape around the edges than masking tape so you can make a little dome of it to stick over points for instance and it cleans of fairly easily afterwards.

Offline Railwaygun

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2019, 10:51:09 PM »
I think a Kato Unitrack layouts thread could Ben very helpful.

IT might Be worth trying to  assemble the layout in sections - outer loops and then power up sections one by one. If you get a short, try an insulating UJ and see if that fixes it.

I run 2 Kato   PSUs on 2 loops, linked by a 4 way point. If  the polarities are correct, you can run a train from inner to outer loop ( and V/V ) without problems.
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Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2019, 12:44:55 AM »

 I never use watered down PVA anywhere near the points.  ;)

David, you offered this advice previously, and I shall follow it when I return to ballasting. I was using the first part of your procedure before but followed it up with a more generous amount of ballast saturated with alcohol and PVA. The PVA was diluted by the alcohol and seeped under and through the rail molding. I'll definitely not do that again! After the first layer of ballasting, I'll probably apply PVA with a brush before adding more ballast. I'm not completely happy with the Kato track molding, but that's the trade-off for having the motorized points.

Incidentally, it may be something in Elmer's glue that I use, but when it's applied undiluted there's a glossy coating to the ballast, so correcting one problem creates a new one, sometimes.

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Offline Leon

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2019, 12:55:24 AM »
If  the polarities are correct, you can run a train from inner to the outer loop ( and V/V ) without problems.

Maybe your suggestion would have worked better, but as I'm new at all this it seemed logical that the Up and Down tracks needed to be opposite polarity. So that's the way I wired them. The result is that if I want to run a train from the Down line across the double crossover to enter the station, I have to use my Power Direction Control to reverse the polarity of the Down line to match the Up line.

Leon
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Online railsquid

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2019, 01:19:41 AM »
In reply to some of the questions raised by @PostModN66 - 4) I have just used spots of PVA for gluing the track down;

I found with Unitrack (and later Tomix Finetrack) that it doesn't require much fixing at all (unless you plan to move the layout regularly). I did at one point have a "folded dumbbell" temporary layout which was surprisingly stable.

For a more permanent way (hah) I usually use 3mm foamboard to build up a "shoulder" either side of the track, something like this:


station-throat-2018-12-23_03 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

which slots in here:


station-throat-2018-12-23_07 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

and the end result looks like this:


station-signal-2018-12-25_02 by Rail Squid, on Flickr

with the track (here Tomix, but the same principle applies to Kato) held in place laterally by the foamboard scenery and right now nothing else. Also has the advantage I can remove bits from the layout (this is right at the back) to work on them in comfort.

I may fix it more "permanently" in the future but It Will Do For Now (TM).
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Offline dannyboy

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Re: Kato Layouts - Design and Construction
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2019, 09:52:29 AM »

For a more permanent way (hah) I usually use 3mm foamboard to build up a "shoulder" either side of the track

Depending on what is at the side of the track, Squiddy's idea of placing 3mm board is a good one. Where necessary, I tend to use 2mm cardboard - saves on the amount of ballast required!  ;)
David.
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