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A year and a half ago I bought a large box of Bachmann with lots of turnouts, tracks etc on ebay. New condition. I've spent the time since frustrated with adjusting it in attempts to just keep the train on the track. Little of my layout has flat sections, much is either going up or down. I fiddle and fiddled. I had replaced some parts of it with Kato. After doing yet another section (the turnouts in the Bachman seem to go toast quickly) with Kato replacement I realized Hmmm I didn't even wonder if it would be OK, I just assumed it would be with the kato'

My wonderful wife said 'just use Kato. Its so much less frustrating'.

Gradually I've done that. At the moment a bit of my track is flextrack, there are two remaining bachman turnouts and maybe 2 feet of track. And it RUNS! And it looks beautiful. The hodgepodge of tracks I'd always thought I'd neaten up with ballast and stuff. Now I'm really looking forwards to painting and eventually ballasting my track.

I actually RAN TRAINS today. For the first time.

Despite similar appearances, in my mind there is no doubt that the Kato is much better
 

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Congratulations. It is a real pleasure when trains run flawlessly.
 

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Congratulations!

A year and a half ago I bought a large box of Bachmann with lots of turnouts, tracks etc on ebay. New condition. I've spent the time since frustrated with adjusting it in attempts to just keep the train on the track. Little of my layout has flat sections, much is either going up or down. I fiddle and fiddled. I had replaced some parts of it with Kato. After doing yet another section (the turnouts in the Bachman seem to go toast quickly) with Kato replacement I realized Hmmm I didn't even wonder if it would be OK, I just assumed it would be with the kato'

My wonderful wife said 'just use Kato. Its so much less frustrating'.

Gradually I've done that. At the moment a bit of my track is flextrack, there are two remaining bachman turnouts and maybe 2 feet of track. And it RUNS! And it looks beautiful. The hodgepodge of tracks I'd always thought I'd neaten up with ballast and stuff. Now I'm really looking forwards to painting and eventually ballasting my track.

I actually RAN TRAINS today. For the first time.

Despite similar appearances, in my mind there is no doubt that the Kato is much better
DavidJones;

Congratulations on running trains! You, and your wonderfully smart wife, are both quite correct. Kato Unitrack turnouts are much better than Bachmann EZ-Track turnouts. In fact, every single other turnout on the market is, "much better than the Bachmann EZ-Track turnout!" They are junk. That's why they "go to toast quickly." The attached file has lots of general info on turnouts, and ends with my personal rankings of seven brands of commercial turnouts. Bachmann came in dead last! It even beat out my other perennial "least favorite turnout", the Atlas "Snap Switch."

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
 

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Congratulations!



DavidJones;

Congratulations on running trains! You, and your wonderfully smart wife, are both quite correct. Kato Unitrack turnouts are much better than Bachmann EZ-Track turnouts. In fact, every single other turnout on the market is, "much better than the Bachmann EZ-Track turnout!" They are junk. That's why they "go to toast quickly." The attached file has lots of general info on turnouts, and ends with my personal rankings of seven brands of commercial turnouts. Bachmann came in dead last! It even beat out my other perennial "least favorite turnout", the Atlas "Snap Switch."

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment 526930
Kato turnouts come without controlers, and they ain`t cheap!
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A kato turnout with the controller is still cheaper than the bachmann turnout. Not to mention, with the Kato turnout, you only need to buy it once and it works. But Kato isstill less money than Bachmann
 

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Kato turnouts come without controlers, and they ain`t cheap!
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I bought two Kato turnout switches and IMHO they are a bit flimsy SO I bought some switches specifically Double Pole Double Throw Momentary On-Off-On switches for the turnouts and DPDT On-Off for the lighting and mounted them and the train controller in one box. The four across the bottom are "up" for the turns and "down" for straight through, just flip and let go. The controller box was carefully cut to mount on this larger box (3 years of Army Training and Signal Corps experience here)

549679
 

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I bought two Kato turnout switches and IMHO they are a bit flimsy SO I bought some switches specifically Double Pole Double Throw Momentary On-Off-On switches for the turnouts and DPDT On-Off for the lighting and mounted them and the train controller in one box. The four across the bottom are "up" for the turns and "down" for straight through, just flip and let go. The controller box was carefully cut to mount on this larger box (3 years of Army Training and Signal Corps experience here)

View attachment 549679

Wooky_Choo_Baca;

Maybe you can answer a question about Kato turnouts for me. I don't own any Kato turnouts, since I make my own, and don't use roadbed track. I've seen the inside of both the Kato turnout, and the Bachmann one, in repair videos. The Kato uses a single coil, instead of the more common twin-coil arrangement found in Atlas, Bachmann, & Peco switch machines. It also looks like Kato turnouts have only two wires between their controller, and the turnout itself. Instead of the three wires used by twin-coil machines.
From this I deduced that Kato was probably using DC current reversal to change the polarity of the single coil, and have it attract one of the two permanent magnets on opposite ends of a sliding rod, which moves the points. Can you confirm that Kato turnouts use DC current reversal to operate? On those spring-loaded DPDT- c/o toggle switches you use, is the control wire going out to the turnout connected to the center terminal and positive & negative DC wires connected to the two outer terminals? (old Navy radar guy here)

Thanks;

Traction Fan 🙂
 

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Yes, Kato turnouts use DC power to operate the coil and you reverse polarity thru the coil to throw it in either direction
 

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Thank You for YOUR Service TF, a Navy Brat here and Army Veteran as well. While I haven't seen the innards of any turnout, what BigLionGuy said is true the Katos operate on DC current and by changing the polarity (and why a DPDT switch is used) throws the points to one track or the other. I'd have to look at the switch to remember the exact wiring but what you said sounds familiar. It's also my understanding, and experienced this on my present layout, when points are thrown the frog changes polarity and one leg of track loses power and vice versa. This is a DC track, when I do the rewire on the upcoming redo / rebuild to DCC I'll be doing as Mike Fifer said to put insul-connectors on the outbound of the turnouts and install buss drops to each to ensure power on all track at all times and let the frog hop back and forth with the proper polarity

549694
 

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Going through the N Scale posts from way back when to now and found this lil gem

 

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Thank You for YOUR Service TF, a Navy Brat here and Army Veteran as well. While I haven't seen the innards of any turnout, what BigLionGuy said is true the Katos operate on DC current and by changing the polarity (and why a DPDT switch is used) throws the points to one track or the other. I'd have to look at the switch to remember the exact wiring but what you said sounds familiar. It's also my understanding, and experienced this on my present layout, when points are thrown the frog changes polarity and one leg of track loses power and vice versa. This is a DC track, when I do the rewire on the upcoming redo / rebuild to DCC I'll be doing as Mike Fifer said to put insul-connectors on the outbound of the turnouts and install buss drops to each to ensure power on all track at all times and let the frog hop back and forth with the proper polarity

View attachment 549694
Wooky_Choo_Bacca and biglionelguy;


Thank you both for your responses. There is a set of electrical contacts inside the Kato turnout that electrically form a SPDT switch. I wasn't sure of their purpose, but if the frog changes polarity when the points are thrown, that's probably what those contacts do. My next question has to do with the "DCC friendly/compatible configuration advertised on some turnouts, and whether or not the Kato turnout has it. Is the Kato turnout's frog electrically insulated from all the other rails in the turnout? If, as I suspect, it is, that would make it what's called an "isolated frog." That's one part of the DCC friendly configuration. another is are having the two point rails insulated from each other, ( a plastic throwbar would do this, as the Kato turnout has separate pivots for those two rails.) The last provision for DCC friendly is having each point rail jumpered to its nearest stock rail. Can either of you verify that the DCC friendly/compatible configuration is designed into the Kato turnout? I know that the Micro Engineering , Atlas code 55, and Peco unifrog turnouts have this feature from the factory, and others, like the Peco Electrofrog, can be modified to have it.

Thanks again. Any information appreciated.

Traction Fan
 

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Just from looking at the externals of the Kato turnouts and what I've understood from video watching is that the points sliding back and forth is what changes the polarity of the frog, point touching one track it's (+) and when thrown it breaks contact in transit and when touches the other rail then becomes (-). There is a definite gap betwixt it all while in motion. Like I said I don't know the innards as all mine were brand new when laid down and the double crossover was to be considered as 4 turnouts as all 4 points throw at the same time with the same/one switch throw
 
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