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New to N gauge


chinti

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Hi everyone, im new here. Living in Tokyo and starting to gain interest in train. went to tomtom hobby shop in akihabara today and got myself a used Kato 165 series train, led strip, and some rail. Not sure how long i will stay interest in these so i din't buy any starter set or expensive stuff yet. Will see how it goes. also order the power pack from amazon and will arrived tomorrow morning.

 

I got a question, how does n gauge train work? for example, some kato train have locomotive to pull the rest of the train. however, what if those train doesnt have a locomotive? how does it run? i open apart the train i bought just now to install the led but inside the train doesnt seems like it contain any engine or anything. just two copper strip. 

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For multiple units, the motorcar is usually somewhere around the middle. If none of your cars have one, then it's a trailer set and needs either a locomotive or a powered set to move. Motor units don't roll without power so if one of your cars don't roll on its own, then it might be a motor one.

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the used train i got is this 1. however only the first car. so does that mean i have to grab the middle and the end part as well to make it move?

 

http://www.katomodels.com/n/165kei/

 

edit: ok so i pretty much figure it out that i need a M車 or train with motor for it to move. will have to check yahoo auction for that.

Edited by chinti
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Welcome!

 

Yes, as you've found out you'll need a power car to make it work. Which 165 Series car do you have though - is there an item number on the end of the box, or a number on the side of the car?

 

It should be a KuMoHa or a KuHa if it has a cab, what you need to run with it depends on which it is (and whether it's a 165 800 or their previous 165 Series units).

 

Their older production was a different sub-class which used a KuMoHa/MoHa pair. You could see that with a KuHa (unpowered cab car) as a three car train, or those two would turn up in various formations with SaHaShi and SaRo cars (and sometimes SaHa 153s). You can find them here: http://www.katomodels.com/product/nmi/165kei_800.shtml

 

Kato initially offered these as individual cars, but last year they were offered as three car sets (powered and dummy) with the extra intermediate cars offered individually.

 

The 165 800 series used cabless MoHa/MoHa pairs, with KuHas on the ends of the unit. I'm not sure if the two types ever mixed.

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the side of my train wrote kumoha 165-138. a bit confuse on the kumoha/kuha/moha thing. gonna go google and read bout it.

 

edit: so if im reading the link right, i would need a MoHa 164-800 to go with my KuMoHa 165

Edited by chinti
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Yep, and a KuHa 165. Part numbers for those are 4055 and 4053 respectively, try the same shop again as they might have bought a complete set but put it on the shelf as individual items. That three car set would be the minimum for a realistic train.

 

The car designations are probably the only Japanese I can read, they're pretty simple.

 

Ku = this car has a driver's cab

 

Mo = this car is powered

 

Ha = this car has standard class passenger seating.

 

There are plenty of others, but that should help.

 

If yours has the older Rapido couplers (like the ones in that link) as opposed to the Tightlock type Kato fitted to the more recent 165 Series production then it's very simple to convert them, Kato part number 11-703 is all you need. They look better, and would enable you to run your models with the more recent production.

 

I have an eight car 165 Series set formed KuMoHa-MoHa-SaHaShi-SaRo-SaRo-KuMoHa-MoHa-KuHa, with a KuMoNi 83-800 luggage/parcels car coupled to one end, this uses Kato 10-332 and 10-333 along with a 4057 and a pair of 4059s.

 

If you want something shorter but still realistic then you can make a four car set by adding a SaHa 153 (4039) between the MoHa and KuHa. The KuMoHa and MoHa would have been kept as a pair on the real railway, as they're both powered but share one pantograph and compressor.

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Hi and welcome!

 

The denotations will seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of things, it will seem interesting and fun~ I'm still learning them in the process!

 

As for N scale, the best bet is actually to start with a starter set, that had everything you need to get started..  Tracks enough for a simple oval layout, power controller for the layout, and a basic set of trains (either 3 or 4 cars long) with motor so you can just sit it down and have some fun ~ The 2 big brands, Kato or Tomix, carry this option. Being new to the hobby, I especially find this video both educational and interesting!

 

 

There are a wide variety of trains and their various sets to choose from, in fact, so much so many that many of us turn to collecting trains instead of actually running them... I think a lot of us are guilty of having more trains than we can run...

 

Have fun and see how you like the hobby. Some of us here have impressive and amazing layouts that we can learn from ~ Cheers!

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so much to read and take in but im understanding more now. thanks.

my power pack came in the mail, without the MoHa power train, i wont be able to see the light inside my KuMoHa even though i already installed the LED?

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so much to read and take in but im understanding more now. thanks.

my power pack came in the mail, without the MoHa power train, i wont be able to see the light inside my KuMoHa even though i already installed the LED?

 

Nope, you will still be able to see your lights. Being a Kato KuMoHa, I would assume it is a end car with directional lights; i.e. head and tail lights (white/ warm white & red)? With that, it means the wheel bogies are already installed with electrical pickups, hence the interior lights would work when installed. The lighting of the interior of the trains do not depend on the motor car (MoHa)., but more on whether or not there are electrical pickups on the wheel bogies ~

 

Hoped that helped!  :)

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ok yea i figured that out after posting the question and i took apart the train to test whether have i installed the led wrongly or is it other problem. i also tested the head light on the feeder track but the light wont come up, so im assuming something is wrong with the feeder track as its not picking up any electrical power from the power pack. the power pack show solid green light so i assume the power pack is working fine.

 

will bring both the feeder track and the train to the shop later to ask them have a look *hope they will help me with my broken japanese*

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Is this the kato power pack? If so do you have the directional lever in the up or down position? The throttle does have a middle position that is horizontal that sends no power to the track.

 

Jeff

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ah it was in middle, let me try it in a different position.

 

edit: ah the headlight is on but the passenger light isn't working. must have done something wrong to it.

Edited by chinti
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Chinti,

 

Cool, now you have power to the tracks and can fiddle with the light to get it working.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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thanks to everyone help and i finally fixed all the lighting and its working now. this is really awesome and a lot of fun even though all im doing was fixing the lights.

found a great shop in akihabara that sell tons of used n gauge stuff, kinda hard to search though not knowing what i wan.

for now im aiming to get the latest JR H5. cant get a proper track yet due to no space in my house in japan, will probably design first and grab it when im heading back malaysia in june.

 

edit: was reading around so it seems like DCC is the best way to go if i wan multiple tracks and train line. wiring the track seems complicated to me for now, will continue read and watch youtube video about it.

 

DSC_0940.jpg

Edited by chinti
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Chinti

 

Hey great. That's the best way to learn, have a little problem and work it thru like that! It builds quickly that way.

 

Dcc is neat, but a whole bother layer of complexity and cost. You can do quite a lot with just plain DC. Dcc is great with a larger layout and running more trains in a complex way. Dcc is not very big in Japan yet and the only Dcc ready trains are some of katos newer models with decoder slots built in. All others you have to open up the motor car and wire the decoder in between the motor and the pickups. Not horrible, just another layer of fiddling and cost. Also the directional headlights and taillights on most Japanese models won't work on Dcc so to make them directional you need an additional decoder for each of the end cars to control the head and tail lights. There is also some fiddling to do with programming the decoders (you do this with your Dcc controller or software running on a computer to set the features and address of the decoder), again not horrid, but another fiddling step some stumble on some.

 

So I would suggest start with DC as its simple and off the shelf and you can do a lot with a small layout with it. Then grow into Dcc later as it will be an additional cost, effort and learning to do. It's probably a couple hundred dollars got get an entry level Dcc controller and a couple decoders to start with.

 

Lots of folks here on the forum do Dcc so great resource if you start to go that direction.

 

Jeff

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Yep, I would say to get what you have working first. Look for the MoHa and KuHa to complete the set, and get some track together.

 

If you want to run Shinkansen later then you need curves of at least 315mm radius, the 165 Series will be fine on 282mm radius but plan ahead, if you don't already own a complete loop of track.

 

If you haven't bought any turnouts/points then look up Kato V1, it has enough track to build a passing loop so you can have two trains on the track and isolate one in the loop line. It's also designed to work with the 20-806 Island Platform set (this fits between the two lines) which in turn works with the 23-200 Overhead Station. All of these just clip together after adding the stickers included, you might want a few drops of glue to hold the smaller details on but they will all fit back into their boxes for storage, if you're thinking about being able to pack the layout away.

 

If you find yourself enjoying assembling trains then look up the Tomytec Railway Collection range, these come as static models to which you add motors, metal wheels for unpowered cars, and scale pantographs in place of the plastic ones. The boxes tell you which parts you need to buy to get them running, and if you're happy with cutting parts from sprues and drilling tiny holes then you'll have no problem building them. They don't run quite as well as Kato but they're a way of getting hold of some trains which nobody else makes models of, and they're fun to put together.

 

Bandai B Train Shortys are the same idea, but drastically shortened to produce a chibi/super deformed look.

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Chinti

 

Yes before you jump in too far it's great to try a few other bits like the Tomytec trains, Btrain shorties etc, you may find something particularly speaks to you! Also maybe buy a tomytec structure. They are already painted and detailed you just snap them together, cone in 2-10 minutes. Also maybe pick up a small greenmax plastic structure that you have to glue together and paint (you can just prime all the parts with cheap gray primer lacquer spray paint then paint with inexpensive craft acrylic paints). Also there are sankei laser cut colored chipboard (hard cardboard) kits that glue together with white glue, but only usually Require a spray of matte clear lacquer once done (before windows go in though) to seal up and maybe a little weathering (you can even use 100 yen store makeup to do this on the cheap) if you want to get fancy.

 

But try a few things early on here and you may find certain aspects of the hobby really excite you while others don't or you realize you may like them but they will take some time to grow into and learn.

 

Also look around for a smaller train focused hobby shop there in Tokyo area that has a rental layout. You can usually even rent a train as well to run on the layout. This will give you ideas on what you like to collect, run, and model. Some shops have some workshops to try like building a ttrak module or staff that may be great to talk with! Get out to check out Nariichi san's shop at model train plus 3-18-1 Gamo-Kotobukicho, Koshigaya-shi, Saitama-ken. He is a very friendly chap and building a layout in the store currently. I'm sure some others here may have recommendations for small shops with friendly staff in the Tokyo area.

 

Cheers

 

Jeff

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went around looking for 165 series today but no luck and i found the 153 series which have the exact same color as my kumoha 165.

is it ok to make a set with KuMoHa 165, MoHa 152, SaRo 165, and KuHa 153?

 

edit: does the motor train wheels supposed to be static and not spinning when its off the track? the MoHa 152 i got seems like it and it wont move down the rail onto the track.

 

edit: so i figured out something is wrong with my MoHa wheels as it wont connects to the track, the motor seems to be working fine when i manually move it around for the wheels to stay connected to the track. also how do i install lighting kit in this kind of train? i dont see any place that would allow me to plug in the lighting kit as well as there isn't any copper strip below the shell there to connect to the copper strip provided by the lighting kit. 

 

DSC_0942.jpg

 

what is the kit for the head/tail light call? been googling around but couldn't find any answer to it. seems like i would need a whole kit including the passenger seat, doesnt look the same from my KuMoHa headlight parts.

 

DSC_0943.jpg

 

edit: found the headlight kit, its 11-200. not sure if it would fit that passenger seat. its sold out everywhere at the moment though.

Edited by chinti
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went around looking for 165 series today but no luck and i found the 153 series which have the exact same color as my kumoha 165.

is it ok to make a set with KuMoHa 165, MoHa 152, SaRo 165, and KuHa 153?

 

 

Yes it is possible, provided that the couplers are correct. Usually, Kato couplers do connect together, but please be careful some do not. As for prototypically correct, I'm not sure if I have seen one like that before but I think a lot of us here might be able to answer that ~

 

 

 

edit: does the motor train wheels supposed to be static and not spinning when its off the track? the MoHa 152 i got seems like it and it wont move down the rail onto the track.

 

 

It's supposed to be static. It will only move when connected to a power source; i.e. not free wheeling. The other cars are trailer cars so they can move around very freely on or off the tracks.

 

 

 

 

edit: so i figured out something is wrong with my MoHa wheels as it wont connects to the track, the motor seems to be working fine when i manually move it around for the wheels to stay connected to the track. also how do i install lighting kit in this kind of train? i dont see any place that would allow me to plug in the lighting kit. what is the kit for the head/tail light call? been googling around but couldn't find any answer to it.

 

DSC_0942.jpg

 

Oh dear, I think you got a really old set, one with the blocky motor unit. These units so not cater for interior lights (I think) so installing a light might be a problem here. The newer motor units have ready gaps for you to insert the copper strips that come with the Kato lighting kits into them..

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i already change the coupler for all of them so they are now connected to each other, tested on the track and able to move freely. 

also all my 153 unit doesnt have a copper strip below the shell to connect the lighting, does kato sell the copper strip so i can install lighting kit?

this is what it looks like without the copper strip below the shell. photo doesnt belong to me but its the same.

 

img_7.jpg

 

edit: found out i would need old lighting kit 11-201

Edited by chinti
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You seem to have a bunch of mixed cars, from various years. They can be run together if you make sure the couplers are matching. The old motor car would probably need a third party lighting kit that can be connected to the brass pickup strips. The trailers have place for the pickups but you have to go and hunt down the strips somewhere as old stuff is not really in production anymore, but some shops might have them. If one of your cab cars is without pickup strips, that means there is no head/tail light either. For older cars and newer tomytec kits, this is normal as they are not meant to be lit.

 

Personally i would say it's easier to buy new(er) complete sets in bookcases that are supported by the manufacturer, but buying ancient stuff car by car is much cheaper and fun to make them work. You will have some trouble with the old trains and it's hard to get any parts for them, but not impossible. One word of caution about complete sets: some sets are trailer only, so always make sure that you buy one with a motor car, unless you plan to extended another powered set or you are getting a rake of locomotive hauled coaches.

 

ps: Could you please make a photo of your 4 cars and tell us which car is which and what problems you have/had with them? Imho this could make it easier for us to help.

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ah i knew they were old but i din't know they were so ancient. all of them are using the same couplers now so the connecting part is fixed.

 

below is my KuHa 153-52.

im trying to figure out how to install head/tail lights for this as the passenger seat doesn't look like the newer passenger seat which have a big compartment part at the front for the light. also look at the end of the passenger seat, there is two holes but not a proper slot for the passenger light kit, i figure i would need to solder the LED to the copper strip else the lighting kit wont stay put.

 

DSC_0944.jpg

 

below is my SaRo 165

same problem with this one, only two holes and not a proper slot for the light kit.

 

DSC_0946.jpg

 

and below is what it looks like under the shell for both the SaRo and KuHa

it doesnt contain the copper strip, so i would need to find it so i can install the lighting kit.

 

DSC_0945.jpg

 

no problem with my KuMoHa 165-138

as for my MoHa 152-145, it is the old motor as seen in the photo from previous reply. trying to figure out way to install lighting kit to it.

 

im having a lot of fun though, taking apart them, researching for stuff to fixed any problem i could find on them.

 

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Good news is that the older cab car looks like it has the space for the front lights and the two slots at the back are meant for the brass strips to bend up and go into the back compartement, where you could put older lighting kits. It's possible to get brass strips that can be cut to length with a scissor and you can make them longer, so you can fold them through the two slots and then back to the floor, which would allow the newer spring contacts to work. A bit of a double side tape would help here to keep everything where you put them.

 

Also for the motor car, you might be able to get 3rd party lighting kits with spring contacts, that can be routed (with some isolation wrapping in the middle) to the two motor pickup strips.

 

ps: brass is a copper alloy that is springier than pure copper and most of these pickup strips use it to have a better contact with the bogie pickups

Edited by kvp
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im thinking the kato 11-201 lighting kit would help for the passenger light as they come with the copper strip as well. and the good news is i just called the shop in akihabara and they have the 11-201 kit in stock.

will bring the motor car to the shop next week and ask for advise on any available 3rd party lighting kits they have.

 

edit: is it possible to connect the brass to the brass on the motor car? or will that destroy my motor?

Edited by chinti
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