Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
quinntopia

My 1st Japanese EMU! KATO 787....any ideas on how to install a decoder?

Recommended Posts

quinntopia

Here it is!  Just arrived today from PlazaJapan, my very first Japanese locomotive / set, the "Relay Tsubame" 787!  This thing looks just ultra awesome and the detail (and packaging!) by Kato is incredible!

P1090751.jpg

However, the one challenge I have to face is installing a DCC decoder into it.  I have a couple of extra multi-function decoders (Viessman, very similar to the Lenz Micro decoders) that I want to use for the motor, and will probably get some of the decoders CaptOblivious lists on his site for the lights.

 

My real challenge (as most of you Japanese modellers know by now all too well I am sure) is that the motor is not locoted in a convenient place (apparantly, hidden away under the seats of the motor car) which makes decoder installation a very interesting challenge!  I've found plenty of articles on installing in various EF's and so forth, but haven't found something specific to these Kato EMU's that seems to provide the solution I am looking for.

 

Does anyone have any ideas that can help me out?

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

There are a few pictorials on this site; you'll have to search for them. But if you can post photos of the motor car, in various states of disassembly, I bet we can figure this one out :D

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Here's as far as I've gotten, or shall I say, as far as I dare go.  Shell is removed, tabs on side lifted (which raises the 'seating area' cover where the motor is), and the infamous I I remember this from my Thalys!) 'white plastic tab' is removed, but there seems to be something else holding the 'seating area' cover to the motor, no obvious latches / screws on the bottom... any ideas?

P1090759.jpg

Can you see my photos? Not sure if Picassa is working with this forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

Quinnitopia - First off congratulations on the 787 Tsubame it's a really nice looking train.

 

Putting in a decoder isn't that hard at all and there are a lot of step by step tutorials here that would apply to that train. CaptO is excellent at leading members on the right path and I'm sure he will post a link for you to follow or talk you thought it.

 

First off, I suggest you test the new train out on DC just to make sure everything okay and that you are happy with the performance.

 

I see from you're last post that you got the shell off and are looking at the motor. To access the motor there are a couple of things you must do first. On the side of the plastic seats strip, you will see a total of 8 clips that fasten to the chassis, take a small screwdriver and carefully pry them from the chassis. Next turn the chassis over to the truck side and remove the plastic piece that hides the underside of the motor. After you do this you will see the 2 drive shafts going to the truck gears set in a slot. In that slot you will see a set of "pincers" which are attached to the underside of the plastic seats. Take the screwdriver and carefully pry them away from the chassis. Repeat this step for the other side. Now the seats should be free from the chassis and you now have access to the motor. Do you have it?

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Ahh...found them! The 4 on the sides were obvious, but I had to remove the undercarriage piece to get to the four that were nearly hidden deep in the chassis.

 

I think I'm at the point where I can follow Bernards post on his Kato 500 Nozomi Shinkansen install from here on out.  Gulp! We'll see!  :o

P1090761.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

I'm glad you found that post. There is one thing I am now doing differently, I now use double stick foam mounting tape to set the decoder in the chassis. It makes it look a lot neater.

Please post photos of the install, it will help other members in the future. ;)

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

Quinn…some of your photos are coming through, some are not. The very last one you posted is very tiny…not terribly helpful :( Could you post it again?

 

Glad you figured out how to get it apart. Honestly, that's the hard part! The rest is figuring out which seats you want to obscure…

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Bernard:

Will do!  Thanks for the tip on the double-sided foam tape, sounds like a good idea!  A couple of questions

 

1. I can't tell from your photos, but did you route your wires from the motor to the decoder up through the plastic seats strip?  

2.  Do you still, or is it necessary to, use the "Kapton" isolating tape? Would normal black electrical tape work just as well?

 

Your post is a great help, and I'll be sure to keep photos of my progress along the way so that I can share my experience with others.  BTW, the Viessmann decoders I had planned on using would probably work, but as these were designed for some version of NEM 651 interfaces, I'm not going to use them.  Plus, the wires are NOT color coded, and I don't want to try and decipher these for my first install.  Instead, I'm going to order some Lenz Mini-golds and a pair of  Lenz LF101XF for the  cab cars (the LF101's are on sale at DCCtrain for $18.25) per the Captain's recomendation.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

Kapton tape is nice, in that it is thin, and holds up well to high heat. That said, electrical tape will work just as well, if the extra thickness of it isn't a problem. It doesn't stick quite as well though, I've noticed.

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Captain,

 

Here's a larger photo.  Picasa seems somewhat finicky about when to show the image, which is not unusual as I had similar problems on other forums.  And you're right...it seems like getting to the motor is the hardest part. Despite the somewhat obvious similarities between Bernards 500 and my 787 with the shells off, my 787 had another piece on the bottom of the chassis that was covering the 4 hidden tabs that come down from the seats through the metal chassis and can only be removed once that bottom piece (shown in the photo) is removed.  Thankfully, I've learned to be very delicate and patient anytime you start to remove shells and so forth! 

P1090761.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

What's really amazing about this train (and which I'll be going on about on my blog!) is the tremendous amount of quality that Kato puts into these - particularly for the price.  I've been very aware of the American profile engines Kato produces (but don't have any) and have enjoyed my Kato Thalys, but this set really blows me away considering the price!  About $160 from Plaza Japan for a seven car set? That's $22 a car! AND one of those has a motor! Unbelievable (maybe I just got a crazy deal, but it seems like there are a lot of 'sets' in this price range)!  The packaging is beautiful (love the case it comes in, what a cool thing that is) and the detail, so far, in the casting and 'couplers' is outstanding.  Very exciting.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

Captain,

 

Here's a larger photo.  Picasa seems somewhat finicky about when to show the image, which is not unusual as I had similar problems on other forums.  And you're right...it seems like getting to the motor is the hardest part. Despite the somewhat obvious similarities between Bernards 500 and my 787 with the shells off, my 787 had another piece on the bottom of the chassis that was covering the 4 hidden tabs that come down from the seats through the metal chassis and can only be removed once that bottom piece (shown in the photo) is removed.  Thankfully, I've learned to be very delicate and patient anytime you start to remove shells and so forth! 

 

P1090761.JPG

 

VERY helpful. What's that little pocket to the right of the motor? Looks like a promising place to stash a decoder!

 

What's really amazing about this train (and which I'll be going on about on my blog!) is the tremendous amount of quality that Kato puts into these - particularly for the price.  I've been very aware of the American profile engines Kato produces (but don't have any) and have enjoyed my Kato Thalys, but this set really blows me away considering the price!  About $160 from Plaza Japan for a seven car set? That's $22 a car! AND one of those has a motor! Unbelievable (maybe I just got a crazy deal, but it seems like there are a lot of 'sets' in this price range)!  The packaging is beautiful (love the case it comes in, what a cool thing that is) and the detail, so far, in the casting and 'couplers' is outstanding.  Very exciting.

 

I don't want to know how much you're paying for your European trains, then! I consider $200 to be a rather high for a basic set…maybe I'm just spoiled? :P

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

I use Kapton tape because it is very thin. Here is a link to an ebay store that sells it for $5.00 USD a roll and free shipping.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Kapton-Polyimide-Electrical-Tape-1-4-x-36-yds-roll_W0QQitemZ130259316844QQihZ003QQcategoryZ109475QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1742.m153.l1262?_trksid=p1742.m153.l1262

 

And if you don't like ebay stores, Tony's Train supply also has it at $12.75 plus shipping:

http://www.tonystrains.com/products/dccaccess_acc.htm

 

As for placement of wires, you only need to use 4. I solder onto the brass leads and simply let the wires rest on the already make openings and let them sit on top of the seats and try to hind them as best as possible.  ;D

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Thanks Bernard.

 

Captain,

What's that little pocket to the right of the motor? Looks like a promising place to stash a decoder!

 

Hah! Funny, I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out!  I've just been looking at the motor!  You are right....it is just the right size for the Viessman decoder I was going to install...I think the Lenz is the same size (if not smaller), but I need to do some homework.....

 

I don't want to know how much you're paying for your European trains

 

You don't!  In fact, i don't like thinking about it!  :-[  However, I was into O Gauge before I switched to N Scale, and any decent diesel would cost at least $400 or more, and a basic box car was north of $50!  So even European stuff in N looks 'cheap' by comparison!  My expereince is that a basic Minitrix or Fleischmann diesel will run between $125 to $210, but the sets are typically over $300...and a set with DCC, that's up near $400 (e.g., this onehttp://quinntopia.blogspot.com/2009/01/locomotive-roster-dutch-ram-tee_03.html).  Of course, exchange rates can help or hurt in these things too!

Share this post


Link to post
mrpig

Quinn - congrats on your first Japanese EMU. It must be 787 week as mine arrived recently as well. I am out of decoders at the moment but a parcel is on the way from.MBK. I will be installing a TCS M1 and FL4's when they arrive. I will post photos once it is done but is probably still about a week away.

 

Bernard - I checked out the link you posted on the custom 787. He does some very nice work.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

Gordon - He certainly does do great work on customizing his 787 but I wouldn't have the guts to cut mine the way he did to his.

 

Quinn - I don't know if you saw this thread here at the forum but this is one serious decoder install and the above guy did it. ;)

http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,823.msg5662.html#msg5662

Share this post


Link to post
scott

Very nice--but the only way I could see the pictures was reply, copy the url, and paste that into another tab.  ???

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Yeah, not sure what the deal is with the photos...they seemed to work okay yesterday sometimes, and now I don't see anything either!  >:(

 

I'm going to see if I can find the password for another photo sharing site....Picasa has been an issue for me with another forum.

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Okay, went and loaded the photos at photobucket.com.  They seem to work better (so far) than they did with Picasa.  Of course, you'll have to be the judge of that!  Here's one more photo of the cab car....

P1090752.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

You know…you might try a Digitrax DN143k2 for this set.

http://digitrax.com/prd_mobdec_dn143k2.php

 

This decoder was designed for the Kato Budd RDC, which has a similar recess in the frame…you'd have to cut off the fancy headlight stuff, since your car doesn't have headlights, and you might have to cut a small opening in the plastic seats, but this might be the easiest installation route, and you'd get something nearly hidden. Plus, minimal soldering!

 

But, depending on the dimensions of that opening, a TCS Z2 might fit rather well

http://www.tcsdcc.com/DecoderSelection/Z%20Series.html

There's a chance with the Z2, unlike the DN143k2, that it could be totally hidden in the recess.

 

Could you measure that recess for us, including the depth (watch out for the drive shaft though!)

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

CORRECTED!  DID NOT MEASURE CORRECTLY! :P

 

The recess is exactly 9mm 14mm square, and the depth is about 4mm.  The drive shaft is a bit larger under the recess near the motor, so the 4mm depth is pushing it near the motor end-say 3mm max but safer to go with 2mm or avoid that area of the recess altogether.  There seems to be enough clearance between the driveshaft and the floor of the recess to lay a decoder flat on the bottom, but not sure if the tolerances are the same on every model.  I'd prefer to have at least 1mm above the floor to be safe. 

 

Unfortunately (or not) the Lenz's are on the way!  I'll be sure to post back w/photos when I get ready to install my decoders.

Share this post


Link to post
CaptOblivious

Unfortunately (or not) the Lenz's are on the way!  I'll be sure to post back w/photos when I get ready to install my decoders.

 

The Lenz Gold mini is actually shorter than the Z2 (11mm v. 12.5mm), which makes it a good choice if you were willing to mill out the frame a little bit—a good choice, because it minimizes the amount of milling necessary. My bet is you don't want to do that, though :D

Share this post


Link to post
mrpig

Just checked my 787 and the pocket measures 14 x 14mm. Which makes it the same as the 888 Kamome and sunrise express. No milling required.

So here is how I did those two using a TCS M1. Photos are not the best cos they were not taken during the install. Will do a proper thread once my chip arrives for the 787.

 

Photo 1.

I cut off all wires not needed. Ran the red & black up each side and the orange & gray through the middle of the clip. The decoder is mounted on double sided foam tape to give it clearance from the drive shaft.

 

Photo 2.

Here you can see the foam tape. there is a piece on each side of the pocket....... And the bit of lint has now been removed from the truck. Couldn't even see it until I took the photo.

 

Photo 3.

Notice here there are 4 pieces of Kapton tape. There is a double wrap around the pickup rails at the motor contacts. At the left of the pic you will see 2 pieces I placed on the chassis because I was lazy with the power wires. I just tinned about 5mm if wire and poked it in between the floor and pickup rail, which makes the pickup strip bend down ever so slightly. Probably would not need the tape here if you just solder straight to the strip.

 

Photo 4.

The finished product with the motor wires soldered to the motor contacts. The Kapton tape can take the heat of soldering if you are quick, that is one of the reasons it is used for the insulation on a lot of aircraft wiring. Remember to disable the functions for any wires you cut off. Just in case.

post-150-13569922536673_thumb.jpg

post-150-13569922537042_thumb.jpg

post-150-13569922537341_thumb.jpg

post-150-13569922537602_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
quinntopia

Who was that poster that said the recess was 9mm square?  Where is he? Doesn't he know how to use a ruler!  :'(

 

I stand humbled before the forum...corrected my post above!  :'(

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...