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Alternate for Kato FL12 head/taillight decoder


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Hello all - I’ve been trying to find Kato FL12 decoders for sale for the head and taillight function for three Kato Shinkansen train sets I have, but they seem to be out of production and are very hard to find.

 

Does anyone know of an alternate decoder that will work? Ideally plug and play, but a little modification and wiring would be ok as well.

 

thank you very much for any help you can provide.

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They are out of stock, but not out of production. I could purchase a few FL12, FR11 and EM13 at the end of last year. The best is to register to get notified when they are available. 

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Some larger retailers like Tam Tam Hobby shop have stock of FL12 so I'd imagine they are still around, but probably not manufactured in large enough numbers for export. I know Gaugemaster in the UK were going to do a 3 decoder pack for the Hitachi Class 800s.

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the FL12/EM13 decoders are made in batches.  They tend to be restocked fairly often but when they come back into stock its worth picking up a few.  

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To all - thanks so much for the helpful advice.  I will try the above suggestions.

 

thanks again,

tom

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gavino200
On 1/19/2022 at 9:38 PM, chadbag said:

I don't know if the Zimo version is a relabeled KATO (Digitrax) or if Zimo came out with their own version (to go with their EM13 compatible motor decoders), but this is the Zimo version.  Of course it is out of stock but is another thing to watch for and get on waiting lists for:

 

https://store.sbs4dcc.com/ZIMOMX605SLHeadlight-TaillightDCCFunctionDecoder-KatoJapanTypes.a.aspx

 

 

 

I can't imagine that Zimo would risk their reputation by selling Digitrax decoders under their name. I've actually never owned a Zimo decoder but lately I've been hearing a lot of people on the iTrain website singing their praises. This has come up a lot in relation to problems people have getting Digitrax decoders to play well with iTrain. People have been telling me to ditch the Digitrax and switch to Zimo. So it'd be ironic if Zimo were selling rebranded Digitrax decoders.

 

I'm a bit confused by some of the features mentioned in the link you gave. They seem like features of a motor decoder, not a function decoder. But then again I don't understand these things very deeply.

 

Feature Summary:

14, 28, 128 speed steps

3-way adjustable back-EMF

Selectable frequency for noiseless operation

For all DC motors including coreless

3-point or 28-step speed table

5 digit addressing

All US lighting effects with programmable timing and dimming

Free mapping, NMRA mapping or Swiss mapping function control

NMRA bidirectional communication (RailCom)

Short circuit protection

Thermal protection

Reliable overload protection

User updateable firmware

Editable and updatable sound files

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3 minutes ago, gavino200 said:

I can't imagine that Zimo would risk their reputation by selling Digitrax decoders under their name. I've actually never owned a Zimo decoder but lately I've been hearing a lot of people on the iTrain website singing their praises. This has come up a lot in relation to problems people have getting Digitrax decoders to play well with iTrain. People have been telling me to ditch the Digitrax and switch to Zimo. So it'd be ironic if Zimo were selling rebranded Digitrax decoders.

 

I was speaking specifically of the FL12 style ones only.  I doubt it too but it could be if they wanted to pair them with their EM13 compatible decoder (which is definitely a Zimo).

 

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gavino200
10 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 

I was speaking specifically of the FL12 style ones only.

 

 

Yes, that was clear.

 

10 minutes ago, chadbag said:

 I doubt it too but it could be if they wanted to pair them with their EM13 compatible decoder (which is definitely a Zimo).

 

I think I'll try to find out. I'd prefer to switch from the Digitrax/Kato FL12. I've always found it a bit glitchy to program.

 

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I sold all my EM13 and use either the JNSF D&H board that was posted in the forum using D&H DH05 or PD05 or I have a Zimo in my ICE4 and may get a few more of them for general use.  (I also bastardized a nano Zimo onto the D&H board as a one-off).

 

But I don't mind using the FL12 from KATO (Digitrax) as that just controls the lights and up until this Zimo came out there really weren't any other options for the lights for those KATO made for them.  So I don't mind using the KATO FL12 (and FR11 for those few trains that have KATO branded internal carriage lighting -- for my own boards I use whatever function decoders I happen to have).

 

 

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gavino200
11 minutes ago, chadbag said:

I sold all my EM13 and use either the JNSF D&H board that was posted in the forum using D&H DH05 or PD05 or I have a Zimo in my ICE4 and may get a few more of them for general use.  (I also bastardized a nano Zimo onto the D&H board as a one-off).

 

 

 

I'm curious, was your reason for ditching the EM13 solely RailCom related? Or were you having other problems with them?

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1 hour ago, gavino200 said:

 

I'm curious, was your reason for ditching the EM13 solely RailCom related? Or were you having other problems with them?

 

Initial reason was Railcom related.  Lots of other reasons I can't even recall anymore played a part on top of that.  But Railcom was what got me off the path...

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