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Modify KATO #4 HO Turnout, Wiring For DCC #2 19a

Stephen Collie <stephencollie@...>
 

I’m just starting to set up a KATO HO Unitrack layout after a relocation and this is a good time to migrate to DCC.

While I understand the basics of DCC wiring, there are issues with Turnouts and specifically those not-DCC friendly. The KATO #4 HO is
one of these with a powered frog and selectable power routing as discussed in Turnouts #19a. (A KATO #4 HO Turnout operates like the KATO #6 N
and vice versa, the KATO #6 HO Turnout operates like the KATO #4 N) With DCC being as prevalent as it is today, I ‘m surpirsed KATO still supplies
the #4 HO Turnout in boxed HO Layout Plan Sets. I have the KATO HO Black River Junction layout with 2 #6 Turnouts and 11 #4 Turnouts.

While in my DC layout I insert Insulating Unijoiners on the ends of the track leading from the Vee, the same functionality can be accomplished by
inserting a thin piece of insulating tape (Kapton, even clear Scotch Tape) under the wiper inside the switch, furthest from the heel.

The Big Issue is Short Circuits and in the event a locomotive enters a #4 HO Turnout that isn't properly positioned. While careful layout operation should
reduce this, the potential exists.

In DC this is a brief pain, often the turnout can be properly activated with the locomotive over it. However, as I have no experience yet with DCC
and the higher operating currents, I believe a short could have damaging consequences. I do have KATO #6 HO turnouts which are Selectable
for Power or Non-Power Routing by simply removing an angular section of roadbed on the side of the turnout and then changing the two jumper pins.
The Frog on the #6 HO is insulated and even if a loco enters an improperly activated #6 Turnout, the loco’s wheels simply push the point rails aside and
no short occurs (at least in DC operation).

The simple solution is swapping any #4 HO KATO Turnouts with #6 HO Turnouts, but at $60 each plus curve geometry differences and a 2 inch longer
turnout track, this requires consideration.

MY QUESTION IS: Has anyone attempted to physically Modify a KATO #4 HO Turnout to make it DCC friendly?

Thanks,

Stephen

Vollrath, Don <don.vollrath@...>
 

Be sure to see http://wiringfordcc.com/switches_kato.htm.
I fully understand the issue of having the frog rails at the wrong polarity as a loco pulls into frog end of the switch. Yes there can be a short circuit and the amps from that short may indeed pass through relatively small gauge wires inside your loco connecting front and rear trucks... possibly cause damage if not interrupted fairly quickly. You can either isolate the switch at all rails and power it via a separate electronic CB, OR current limiting light bulbs on each rail, OR butcher the rails inside the switch and make it more DCC friendly. Even adding a frog power polarity selector switch or juicer will not solve all the issues of the engineer running into a switch thrown the wrong way.

DonV

-----Original Message-----
From: WiringForDCC@... [mailto:WiringForDCC@...]
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2018 9:34 AM
To: WiringForDCC@...
Subject: [WiringForDCC] Modify KATO #4 HO Turnout, Wiring For DCC #2 19a

I’m just starting to set up a KATO HO Unitrack layout after a relocation and this is a good time to migrate to DCC.

While I understand the basics of DCC wiring, there are issues with Turnouts and specifically those not-DCC friendly. The KATO #4 HO is one of these with a powered frog and selectable power routing as discussed in Turnouts #19a. (A KATO #4 HO Turnout operates like the KATO #6 N and vice versa, the KATO #6 HO Turnout operates like the KATO #4 N) With DCC being as prevalent as it is today, I ‘m surpirsed KATO still supplies
the #4 HO Turnout in boxed HO Layout Plan Sets. I have the KATO HO Black River Junction layout with 2 #6 Turnouts and 11 #4 Turnouts.

While in my DC layout I insert Insulating Unijoiners on the ends of the track leading from the Vee, the same functionality can be accomplished by inserting a thin piece of insulating tape (Kapton, even clear Scotch Tape) under the wiper inside the switch, furthest from the heel.

The Big Issue is Short Circuits and in the event a locomotive enters a #4 HO Turnout that isn't properly positioned. While careful layout operation should reduce this, the potential exists.

In DC this is a brief pain, often the turnout can be properly activated with the locomotive over it. However, as I have no experience yet with DCC
and the higher operating currents, I believe a short could have damaging consequences. I do have KATO #6 HO turnouts which are Selectable
for Power or Non-Power Routing by simply removing an angular section of roadbed on the side of the turnout and then changing the two jumper pins.
The Frog on the #6 HO is insulated and even if a loco enters an improperly activated #6 Turnout, the loco’s wheels simply push the point rails aside and no short occurs (at least in DC operation).

The simple solution is swapping any #4 HO KATO Turnouts with #6 HO Turnouts, but at $60 each plus curve geometry differences and a 2 inch longer turnout track, this requires consideration.

MY QUESTION IS: Has anyone attempted to physically Modify a KATO #4 HO Turnout to make it DCC friendly?

Thanks,

Stephen


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Posted by: Stephen Collie <stephencollie@...>
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http://www.WiringForDCC.com
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Mark Cartwright
 

Stephen...
Yes, I have pretty much modified nearly everything there is in N Scale, some HO and O scale too. Yes, you are beginning to get some serious clues.
However...
Let us not go there. If you possibly can...skip the use of a #4.
===========
Which Sized Locomotive do you intend to run?
Four Wheel truck as on a GP (#4)
Six Wheel Truck as on an SD (#6)
But what happens with a 10 in it's nomenclature....even in the tender ?
Watch the Experts back up a 4-8-4 and watch what happens...
====
Stop! 
Hey my layout resembles that !
Same damn thing happens to me when I try to back up a Kato FEF-3.
===
I modified a Kato #6 with longer closure bars to resemble a #9
Number 9...Number 9...Number 9
Did that help...?
Well it began to give me clues on how to run Long N Scale Brass Steam Locomotives with DCC and Sound.
$60 considerations?
Frying an N Scale Brass Locomotive with a LokSound Decoder installed is NOT an Option. I wanted to start a Revolution!
=====
Number 9 meets but does not exceed expectations....
I want a Glitch Free Layout....in DCC with Sound for 99.5% of my N Scale fleet.
What's that gonna take?
=====
Oh Please Great Spirit ...Illuminate my Path!
I said on bended knee....
Layout ?!?!?
Your only a fooling me!
Put my locomotive on the table and tried to run it to the station...
The Railman said...
YOU GOT THE WRONG LOCATION !
I tried to push my locomotive along...
Move over once Moved it over twice.
Come on baby don't sit there as cold as ice.
I run right home ...more research and asking Others who really don't know.
Then I began to read what the BNSF and UP do..
Who do KNOW....Those things equal to each other ...are equal to themselves.
Physics doesn't scale!!!
Then I find.... I got the number wrong!
I am traveling on the one after the 9 o' 9.
Yes though the BNSF mentions a #9...very few #9 turnouts are actually in use today.     
Like the BNSF and UP in actual practice..
Welcome to My Cavern...(basement).
==> #10 turnouts are now my minimal standard.
:)) Mark