Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Bernard

KATO Decoders

Recommended Posts

Guest Bernard

Has anyone used the new Kato decoders? It looks like they are easy to install and made for Japanese passenger trains. I use lenz & Digitrax decoders but still haven't tried doing the head & tail lights.

Share this post


Link to post
kwt

I've been trying to find these but seem to only be available in Japan.  They are made by Digitrax.

Share this post


Link to post
Darren Jeffries

I've been trying to find these but seem to only be available in Japan.  They are made by Digitrax.

 

Welcome KWT.... Do Hobbysearch Japan do these? It would make sense to find a good source of them as most people seem to have a predomonantly Kato orientated Bullet train fleet.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Bernard

Hi kwt,

And welcome to the forum. The KATO decoders are really hard to find and I'm curious get some feedback on them. They look like they are made especially for the KATO Japanese passenger trains because you can get 3 different types. One for the motor, one for the head & tail lights, and one for the interior passenger car lights. Take a look at Newhall Station and see if he carries them and is in the USA.

JNS told you about Hobby Search in Japan and another is Plaza Japan, they used to carry them. If you still can't find them, try the Katousa website or Kato Japan (which you will also find on the Katousa website.)

 

It also looks like from what I can tell, it's more like a slide in decoder without soddering. I've been using the Digitrax 123 decode & lenz mini decoder on my trains.

 

It seems to me that DCC isn't as popular in Japan because of space issues. it's hard for most modelers to have permanent layouts.

If you are able to purchase them please give some feedback.

 

 

Update: Here is the link for the decoders form KatoJapan

http://www.katomodels.com/product/nmi/dcc_decoder_e.shtml

Share this post


Link to post
Guest bill937ca

 

It seems to me that DCC isn't as popular in Japan because of space issues. it's hard for most modelers to have permanent layouts.

 

 

Most layouts in Japan are temporary.  DCC is probably too much trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Bernard

That's what I thought but is Kato still making these decoders? The one for the motor looks like it just slips in but little is known about this product.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest Bernard

kwt,

I forgot to mention you can accomplish converting your Japanese Model RR trains by also using other type of decoders the the below link for the motor:

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/product_p/245-dz123.htm

 

and this one for the head and tail car lights:

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/product_p/245-dz123.htm

 

I've done it many times and the Kato trains for the motor are really easy. If you have any questions I how to do it I'm glad to help.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

At least the EM13 motor decoder will be coming to the states in April or May. The new Southern Pacific GS4 is advertised as taking one of those, and many US websites are taking preorders. Looks like they'll be $22 MSRP.

 

The FR11 Headlight decoder may be making an appearance too. The Zephyr passenger car set released last year was advertised as working with it, and at least one site (Horizon Hobbies) is taking pre-orders for it, too.

Share this post


Link to post
kwt

The California Zephyr and the Santa Fe Super Chief takes the FL12 Tail light decoder.  Plaza Japan will have them for time to time on their Ebay store.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

Sorry, I meant FL12, not FR13. The FR13 is the interior light decoder. As near as I can tell, there is no plan to release the FR13 in the US. There is another company...and darn it all, I can't find a link...that provides DC and DCC boards to work with Kato interior lighting units.

Share this post


Link to post
hbr245b

I've no experience of converting non DCC friendly trains to DCC - do you have any suitable links with instructions as to which decoders are suitable for the head/tail lights (your links below are to the same page?) and how the installation/conversion is performed - my one Japanese train is a 12 car Kato Nozomi 500, although I might buy some more in the future.

 

Do you know if the Kato 11-210 LED kit fits my train?

 

kwt,

I forgot to mention you can accomplish converting your Japanese Model RR trains by also using other type of decoders the the below link for the motor:

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/product_p/245-dz123.htm

 

and this one for the head and tail car lights:

http://www.modeltrainstuff.com/product_p/245-dz123.htm

 

I've done it many times and the Kato trains for the motor are really easy. If you have any questions I how to do it I'm glad to help.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

Hi hbr245b,

 

I just doubled checked with someone who installed decoders in a Kato 700 Shinkansen. He said you need 3 Digitrax's DZ123 decoders to do the job. 1 decoder for the motor, 1 decoder to the head car where you have to isolate the LED for the head light to the decoder, and 1 decoder for the tail light where you have to isolate the LED. You can then program the light on each car BUT they can't be reversed. The head car can only be the head (white light) and same with the tail, red. (not like when they were DC where you can interchange them) He had step by step photos of how to do it but has lost them. Digitrax just released a new decoder DZ125 I think to replace the DZ123, but I'm not sure.

If you don't put in the head & tail light decoders, both red & white lights will always be on, but won't cause any damage to the train. I estimate it will cost about $60.

Share this post


Link to post
hbr245b

OK - thanks for the info. I'll probably proceed with the project in a couple of weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

My recommendation would be to not use DZ123/5s for the headlights/taillights. These decoders are designed to drive a motor, and so expect a load between the orange and grey lines. You cannot just cut the motor leads off, but must insert a resistor between these leads to use these decoders as simple function-only decoders. This takes up valuable space in the passenger cars. Get a smaller and cheaper function-only decoder for the end cars. It must have at least two functions: One for the headlights and one for the taillights. Digitrax TL4 is a fine one, but there are others, too (Train Control Systems FL4; Lenz 101XF).

 

And, while you do end up fixing one car as the head, and the other as the tail, the lights will auto-reverse when the train runs backwards (if you set the addys of all three decoders the same), so this shouldn't be a problem. Moreover, if it is somehow an issue, you can always re-program the decoders (just swap the ordinary direction of travel bit in CV29).

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

(warning! blatant blog plug)

 

As for how to actually install the decoder. As soon as my (fried!!) DZ163 gets back from the shop (any day now), I'll be installing it (back) into my KIHA 110, including wiring it up to the head/taillights. If you want lots of pictures, you are welcome to follow along at my blog. I wired the decoder to the pickups and motor here: http://akihabara.artificial-science.org/?p=31 and I will be posting the head/taillight installation here: http://akihabara.artificial-science.org/?cat=19

 

There will be cutting of traces and soldering of wire. Also, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

Seriously, though, soldering is fun! Whee! If you don't have one, you'll need a soldering iron. RadioShack's 15 watt number is great, and will only set you back US$9, plus solder and accessories (I laid out about $40 for an iron, a stand, solder, solder wick, and helping hands). Plenty of soldering tutorials on the web to help you get started. I recommend finding an old circuit board you don't care about and playing around with it first.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

CaptO,

Thanks for the post. If you can post a step by step photo description of the head & tail light install I think everyone who plans to do this in the future would be most grateful.

Share this post


Link to post
alpineaustralia

I am completely new to the hobby and have been unashamedly emailing overseas stores asking about them.

I have found some of the decoders on the web as follows:

 

Kato 29-351 and 29-352

 

PlazaJapan are still awaiting a shipment and say that it will some time.

 

Eurolok ( a US store) is expecting a shipment of the within the next week. Try them at WWW.EUROLOKSHOP.COM

 

Kato 29-353

 

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230196592740&ssPageName=ADME:B:DBS:AU:1123

 

I am awaiting receipt of some of the decoders and I will post an update about installation once I get them.

 

Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

Alpineaustralia,

Welcome to the hobby, I'm sure you are going to have a lot of fun with it. The Kato decoders are hard to come by and we haven't found anybody who has used them yet. I've used Lenz and digitrax decoders with very good success. What DCC system are you using?

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

I've been hearing rumblings of the EM13 beginning to ship here in the states. Walthers site (http://www.walthers.com/exec/locate/381-29351) seems to think some dealers have them. I'm gonna make some phone calls on Monday :D

Share this post


Link to post
alpineaustralia

Hi Bernard - yes thank you. Seems like a great hobby but I must admit I am surprised by the relatively poor info flow from the N gauge manufacturers generally.  Most times websites and the instructions that come with the shinkansen trains and decoders are almost always in Japanese only. A process of trial and error.

 

I obtained a Kato 29-351 (EM13) decoder and 4 Kato 29-353 decoders which I have installed with the Kato 11-210 LED lights and they look great. The Kato 29-351 (EM13) decoder was dead easy to install. Idiot proof really. The LED lights and the Kato 29-353 decoders were a little trickier butonly because the parts involved are so small.

 

I have purchased from the UK (over the internet) the Bachmann Dynamis system. I have yet to set it up but based on the few little test that I have run with wires (rather than track) it seems to work a treat.

 

I had to buy the decoders and the Dynamis from the UK.  All I can say is thank god that the Aussie dollar is strong at the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Martijn Meerts

Alpine, the Japanese manufacturers don't expect things to be sold outside of Japan much, so they can't be bothered to add translated documentation. I've noticed though that Tomix recently started adding an english instruction sheet to their track cleaning car.

 

 

As for Kato's decoders, they should be available from Japan, I'm guessing you can get them directly from the Kato Hobby store as well. But these decoders are VERY limited functionality wise. Of course, it really depends on what you want to achieve with your trains. Decoders by Lenz, Digitrax, etc. all have a lot more features and are more programmable than Kato's decoders.

 

Personally, I use Lenz Gold mini, which on paper is a very good decoder. I have built them into a variety of trains, but I haven't been able to really test them yet due to lack of space. I can't even really set up a simple oval to test at the moment. The problem with the Lenz decoder is that it has so many programmable options, it's hard to figure out what's what. For function decoders I use the smaller Uhlenbrock function decoder. These are nice and small, so they can be hidden out of sight, and without modifying the head/tail car. They also have direction dependent outputs, so you can have either white or red lights depending on what direction the train travels. For internal lighting, I don't use any decoders, so it's an always-on affair. I could add a function decoder per car, but that gets expensive if you have several 16-part shinkansen ;)

 

I have a Kato 800 series shinkansen which has interior lighting in all cars, Lenz Gold mini in the motorcar, and Uhlenbrock function mini in the end cars. Works great, although it was a bit of experimenting to get the head/tail lights to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest bill937ca

Hi Bernard - yes thank you. Seems like a great hobby but I must admit I am surprised by the relatively poor info flow from the N gauge manufacturers generally.  Most times websites and the instructions that come with the shinkansen trains and decoders are almost always in Japanese only.

 

We are only a tiny fragment of the Japanese market. For the most part the train market is going to the Japanese vendors rather than Japanese train vendors coming to us. I also find that the line between toys and scale model trains is much more blurred in Japan than North America or Europe.  Plastic models are offered as premiums with products and in vending machines and some of these are sought after by modelers.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

Martijn,

Do you have any photos of how you connected the wires of the decoder to the Head & taillights on the 800? CaptO did a nice job of showing where to attach the wires but as you said it might take a bit of fiddling.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...