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Hi all!


Alk76

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Greetings from Italy!
I've been interested in railway models since I was a child. At that time my father built me a little layout in H0, rolling stock we had was mostly Italian and German. Then I grew up and "discover" N-gauge, bought a MiniTrix starter set (again, German trains 😄), but never had enough time and money to invest further into the hobby. I'm also fond of Japan and I had a chance to visit it about ten years ago, and I was blown away at the variety of trains you can find there because of all the private companies they have! Nowadays I finally decided to get back on track (pun intended) and ordered my first 0-series Shinkansen and a starter track set (both Kato), hopefully they will be shipped by the end of the month. As a newbie I've already found lots of useful threads in this forum, but still have some doubts so... see you soon in the "electrical issues" subforum 😅

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disturbman

Hi Alk, welcome aboard!

Well, if you trains and tracks still haven't shipped, I'm not sure what kind of "electrical issues" you can have 😉

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, disturbman said:

Well, if you trains and tracks still haven't shipped, I'm not sure what kind of "electrical issues" you can have 😉

 

Not sure if I'm allowed to elaborate in this subforum, but I'll try...

 

I orderered the Kato M2 starter set from Amazon.jp 

Here in Italy wall sockets work with native 220v, so the included Kato Powerpack SX (100v) won't work out-of-the box. If I got it right I theoretically have two options:

 

  1. buy a stepdown converter (so I have: wall socket -> stepdown converter -> Kato Transformer -> Kato Powerpack SX -> Tracks).
  2. buy a generic wall wart with correct voltage/amperage to connect directly to the Kato Powerpack (wall socket -> wall wart -> Kato Powerpack SX -> Tracks).

 

With option 1 I can use the original Kato Transformer and its PWM feature that allows better train performances at low speeds, but if something bad happens to the converter in a worst case scenario I can fry everything. On the other hand, option 2 seems "electrically safer" (is it?), but removing the Kato transformer means no PWM.

 

Did I understand right? If so, which would be the best option? I feel clueless 😑


 

 

 

Edited by Alk76
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disturbman

Not needed, Kato and Tomix controllers are normally rated 110-220V. You just need to change the plug or buy an adapter; though I would recommend the plug if you can, adapters are not recommended for prolonged usage.

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Welcome Alk, glad you found us and Japanese trains!

 

Plug adapter should be fine, it’s usually the very high current drawing devices that can cause issues with the mechanical connections in an adapter or cheap adapters that don’t give good solid connections. High amp devices will cause plugs to heat up some due to the bit of resistance in the mechanical connections (if there is not good contact and only a small area of contact on the plug all the current will have to go through a small area) and cheap plug adapters may not take heat well and weaken and fail with time. Controllers draw a very small amount of current. Plug adapters also stick out a lot so can easily get bashed and broken that way.


some countries want all plugs fused so it’s good to get a plug adapter that has an appropriate fuse built in if you are plugging in a devise that does not have a fused plug or internal fuse. controllers have built in fuses so not an issue,

 

jeff

 

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Just confirm on the controller or it’s wall wart transformer that it says 100-220v 50/60hz. That’s the universal kind that will work anywhere, just have to Mach the plug to socket. Some older ones were specific to 100v, 120v, or 220v and either 50 or 60hz. But sounds like you are getting a new one and most everything these days are going to the universal transformers, but always wise to check!

 

cheers,

 

jeff

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