Author Topic: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience  (Read 1876 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SAH

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 832
  • Respect: +198
Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« on: April 06, 2014, 09:23:17 PM »
0
I'm considering building the new AC&Y west staging tracks with Unitrack but have never used the stuff before.   I've read the Kato literature but have a few questions.

How do GP9 & SD9 length wheelbase locos perform through the #4 turnouts?  They recommend #6 turnouts for "long" wheelbase locos.  Should I consider a SD9 to be a long wheelbase loco?

I've noted the #20-041 Feeder Track item.  Are there other ways to power the track?

Item #20-045 is the Snap Track Conversion Track.  Is it a worthwhile purchase if I'm using Code 55 track for the non-staging portion of the layout?

Thanks for your help.

Steve

glakedylan

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 876
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +58
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2014, 09:33:32 PM »
0
greetings, Steve

4 axle diesels might navigate #4 turnouts, but I would not recommend them. most things I have read about Kato #4s has been less than complimentary. you may wish to search the forum here or other forums to find those recommendations. as far as I have heard #4s are troublesome at best even in the way track attaches to the diverging route.

kato track can have wires soldered to the bottom of rails or you can purchase rail joiners that have wires for powering the track connected. no special track has to be used.

I hope this helps

Gary
"...that each may live for all,
and all may care for each..."

reinhardtjh

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1795
  • Respect: +116
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 06:02:47 AM »
0
Steve,
  It's been a while now since I've had an operating Unitrack layout.  I've got an HCD that had an oval loop with passing sidings on each long side.  There was a small yard and an industrial switching area off each of the passing sidings.  Each passing siding used #6's but everything else - yard and industry was #4's.  I took everything apart around 2011 to "upgrade" the HCD part and prepare for a more permanent setup and somewhere along the way I got sidetracked and it's still apart.  But as I recall these are answers to your questions:

How do GP9 & SD9 length wheelbase locos perform through the #4 turnouts?  They recommend #6 turnouts for "long" wheelbase locos.  Should I consider a SD9 to be a long wheelbase loco?
  I think it depends a lot on speed.  If you run your trains like a rocket as the Japanese usually do, then anything longer than a 4-wheel truck is going to be a long wheelbase for a #4.  At what should be "normal" speed for a model railroad I ran 4-coupled Bachmann Mountains (4-8-2) and Mintrix Decapods (2-10-0) locomotives through my #4's with no problems.  I also ran Atlas ALCo C-630's with no problems.

  I read all the online stuff about how to file your #4 points to avoid picking and such and I had really good intentions to do that, but I never did.  Never had any kind of problem with them either.  I don't know why.  Most of my #4's I bought back in the very early 90's but I did buy 2 or 3 in 2011 when I re-did some of the industrial trackwork and those worked okay too.  My old ones had the plug blocks that control the power routing options and the new ones have the screws in the underside.

I've noted the #20-041 Feeder Track item.  Are there other ways to power the track?
From Kato you have the option of the Feeder track or they sell the Terminal UniJoiner (24-818) which is a Blue/White set of wires soldered to a pair of UniJoiners.  The Feeder Track is nice, but does have one shortcoming.  The power contact is made by two feelers under a plastic hatch.  I found out the hard way that if you leave them in the garage or basement for, oh, say 5-7 years, they oxidize and then conductivity is poor.  I had to take them apart and shine them up to make them work well again. 

Google and you will find people that have, in effect, made their own Terminal UniJoiner by jamming a piece of 22 or 24 gauge wire into the joiner.  I haven't done this.  No idea of how well it works or how well it holds up.

Item #20-045 is the Snap Track Conversion Track.  Is it a worthwhile purchase if I'm using Code 55 track for the non-staging portion of the layout?

I bought one. Haven't used it.  It's supposed to go on the turntable lead to mate between the layout and the Atlas code 80 I plan to use on the turntable bridge.  Kind of expensive if you need more than a few.  I think people have worked out ways to mate non-Unitrack in several ways but I haven't tried. Yet.
John H. Reinhardt
PRRT&HS #8909
C&O HS #11530
N-Trak #7566

VonRyan

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 2792
  • Gender: Male
  • Partying like it's still 1944
  • Respect: +177
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 06:11:51 AM »
0
The conversion piece is only for if you plan to use Tomix track.
If not, all you need to do to connect Atlas track to Unitrack is to remove the Unijoiner and add normal rail joiners.

-Cody F.
Cody W Fisher - Modeler of the PRR, PRSL, GWR, SZD, and DRG

WWII Clerk/Administration Historian

Switchboard Technician - 33rd Signal Construction Battalion (reenacted)

Squadron Clerk - Capital Wing, Airmans Preservation Society

SAH

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 832
  • Respect: +198
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 07:17:32 AM »
0
Thanks for your replies gentlemen.

The AC&Y was not known for high speed operation  :D so it appears the #4 turnouts should work fine.  Thanks for the tip on the 24-818 John.  That sounds like a clean solution.  Nix on the conversion piece per Cody's suggestion.

According to their literature a ladder built from #4's  yields the proper track centerlines for a concentric curve staging yard.  I only need three tracks so the cost is not prohibitive and I already own some of what I need as a result of other trials.  I need to post an update on the constantly evolving plan in the LE section.  Later this week perhaps.

Steve

brill27mcb

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Respect: +14
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2014, 04:53:54 PM »
0
In my experience, the issues with Kato's so-called "#4" turnouts have been overstated. Among other things, I run high-speed passenger trains from around the world over them, with no problems. They have a 481mm (19 1/4 inch) radius, which may be much larger than your minimum radius. The separate short "notched" straights that come with them also offer greater flexibility in design, especially for yards and ladder tracks. The frogs also look nicer. My understanding (from a old post by Charlie Vlk) is that Kato introduced the "#6" switch to be able to offer a lower-cost, designed-down option for the U.S. market place.

Rich K.

brill27mcb

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Respect: +14
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 04:58:09 PM »
0
...and as to the Kato Snap-Track Adapter track, as others have mentioned, it's unnecessary if you simply remove the Uni-joiner from the Kato track. Kato Unitrack and Tomix Fine Track are the metric equivalent of Code 80, so the adapter track is, too. You just need to adapt your rail joiners to keep the railheads at the same height as you make the transition from Code 80 to Code 55.

Rich K.

brokemoto

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 954
  • Respect: +52
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 06:11:20 PM »
0
I went upstairs and put the six axle diseasels that I had handy onto the track.  The diseasels that I tried were:  Kato PA and RSC-2; Atlas/Kato SD-9; Atlas RSD-4; LL PA(plastic frame), FM Erie, DL-109; C-C DL-109 E-7.

I ran all of them in both directions at thirty five SMPH through my most troublesome Kato #4.  There seems to be no consistency to these #4s causing derailments.  I have some that cause none, but there is one that causes enough derailments  to be annoying.  All of them cleared this troublesome turnout with the following exceptions:

C-C DL-109:  clears in forward but derails in reverse.
C-C E-7:  would not run.  I n all honesty, I have not tried to run this one in at least six years.  This seems to be a problem with the older C-Cs if you let them sit.

I do have some other six axle diesels:  Kato E-8; LL E-8 (plastic and metal frame);  LL E-7, E-6, SD-7;  C-C PA (newest issue, with flywheels), FM Erie; Atlas FM Trainmaster.  I did not have them where I could get them easily, so I did not try them.

I do not have the newer issue Atlas SD-7/SD-9.  I do not run anything newer than an RS-11, and even an RS-11 is pushing it.

Funny thing, the only steam that has consistent problems on the Kato #4s are the B-mann and Atlas eight wheelers.  They seem to like to pick the  points.  On the Atlas, it is the pilots, on the Bachpersonn, the tender trucks.  It does not seem to matter if it is trailing or facing; main or diverging.  Some of my eight wheelers have no problems, but others will not clear the Katos in one direction or the other.  My other steam, and I have quite a bit of it, has no problem.

The LL SWs derail frequently on these.  I seem to recall that the AC&Y had many FM road switchers.  You will be glad to know that both the Atlas and Bachmann FM road switchers will clear these.

I found my NYC  A-B-A set of Erie-builts while I was doing this test.  Funny, I had thought that I had sold them.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 06:15:29 PM by brokemoto »

eja

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 887
  • Gender: Male
  • Respect: +30
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2014, 06:14:23 PM »
0


I've noted the #20-041 Feeder Track item.  Are there other ways to power the track?



Steve


If you are considering the AC&Y you are aware of Fiffer's web site:  Check out his do it yourself track feeders at http://www.fiferhobby.com/html/how_to_make_kato_unitrack_feed.htmlpower 


eja
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 07:48:03 PM by eja »

reinhardtjh

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 1795
  • Respect: +116
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2014, 06:50:45 PM »
0
Mike Fifer's How-To pages for Unitrack are a treasure trove of goodness.  Don't pass them up.
John H. Reinhardt
PRRT&HS #8909
C&O HS #11530
N-Trak #7566

SAH

  • Crew
  • *
  • Posts: 832
  • Respect: +198
Re: Questions for those with Kato Unitrack Experience
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2014, 10:13:00 PM »
0
Thanks for your tips, testing and website references gentlemen.  Much appreciated.

Steve