Author Topic: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches  (Read 1145 times)

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Paradise275

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Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« on: August 06, 2014, 01:54:14 PM »
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Hi.
Our club is looking at changing some switches. How reliable are the Unitrack switches and motors compared to Peco.

Rick

pjm20

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 02:40:22 PM »
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I have had Unitrack switches for a number of years and never had a problem. I like them very much. I have heard of problems with the points on #4 turnouts, where you have to file the diverging rail to allow it to transition better, ie too thick.
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mightypurdue22

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 02:46:22 PM »
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I've owned a few Peco turnouts in the past with an N Scale Code 80 layout.  I would have to say I had more issues with the Pecos than I ever had with the Atlas turnouts on the same layout.  As for the Kato turnouts, my experience has been a short one, but I do like the #6s very much and believe they'll hold up for the long haul.

Dave

CrazyLynx

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 02:54:12 PM »
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Kato switches have been very reliable for me.  The only warning is - be VERY careful with getting glue in the mechanism (if you're doing any scenery or ballasting near them).

loyalton

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 08:19:49 PM »
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The turnout "motors" are nothing fancy. There's a solenoid inside the turnout. Their blue box control is a sprung momentary contact switch which can be replaced with a DPDT momentary contact switch. As such, it's a snap change, not a slow-motion machine, if you were wondering.

It's extremely reliable. If it ever hangs up, as CrazyLynx notes, it's because a bit of crud has gotten under the moving part of the turnout.

alhoop

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 09:38:39 PM »
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I have one Kato # 4 and several #6's and 2 crossovers. Have had problems with power routing on the #4 - not the points -internal.
No problems with the others.
Al

brokemoto

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 11:23:41 PM »
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I bought one #6, but have yet to use it.

The #4s are nothing but trouble.

jpec

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2014, 12:32:34 PM »
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As noted...#6's perform much better than the #4's...especially if you're running through them from the frog end and for some odd reason, #6's are cheaper.

Jeff
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carlso

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2014, 01:28:14 PM »
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On our club layout in Las Cruces we used 100% Unitrak with a rule of NO #4's. Guess what, some folks have used #4' in their area, and there have been problems with them. All of the #6's ( 30-35 units) work flawlessly. I experienced problem with one in my area because I got white glue/water mix inside and screwed up the mechanism. My bad not KATO's.

Carl
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VonRyan

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2014, 01:05:58 AM »
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Unitrak switches take some work to blend in to traditional track, and Peco switches are flawless and always available.
One recommendation with the Peco switches is to look into shimming the guardrails to make them perform even better.
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Freight Train

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2014, 09:43:55 PM »
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I've been using Unitrack on my current layout since 2004 and had problems with some of the turnouts with contact problems internally inside them. I either have power drops or lose contact where I have to giggle the throw mechanism to make contact. I believe the contacts inside the turnouts over time get a corrosion build up on them causing this problem. So to fix this problem I had to add feeds where the power drops occur and in other areas were the turnouts were used in a power routing configuration was to cut a rail and supply feed to the track with a use of a toggle switch to by pass the turnout. Seem like I have the most problems with the # 4's losing contacts and the # 6's with power drops ?  Other than that I experienced no other problems with the unitrack. My suggestion is if your club desides to use this track to wire it like you would with turnouts that don't have a power routing feature and not rely on just the Kato turnouts to do this.
Phoenix Southside Connecting Railroad (H0)
Moose River Railroad (N)

u18b

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2014, 10:20:59 PM »
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On the topic of power routing problems with the #4s.......

Some of you might not know that Kato had a labelling error on a run of the #4 turnouts.

The WORDS on the bottom of the turnout are BACKWARDS.

So when you follow the words to make them power routed--- oops!  You are actually doing the opposite!   :facepalm:

So check out your #4s to see if that is the problem.  They work fine-- they are just labeled backwards.

Here's how you can tell.  On any of the rail settings, there are two holes for one screw.  You choose where you want it right?
Well, look closely.  One of those options has the SPLIT contact points- the other has solid contacts.  The split side is the side for NON-power-routing (think- you are bridging a gap so power is ALWAYS on.).

If you want power routing, you use the solid contacts.

Forget what the words say.  Look at the contacts.  (and use a sharpie on the bottom to correct the error if you have the ones with bad label).



(I hope my memory is getting this right and I haven't gotten it backwards).

BTW-  I myself have some of these mis-labeled turnouts.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 09:13:39 AM by u18b »
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Freight Train

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Re: Any comments on the reliability of Unitrack switches
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2014, 10:38:18 PM »
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Ron, you are correct on the Kato description on how to setup the #4's for power routing and whether the user wanted live frog or not. Japanese read differently than we do which probably cause the translation error in the description. I was well aware of this before I started building my own layout. I took each number 4 and set the screws to where they needed to be and tested each one with a meter to make sure they funtion correctly before applying them onto the layout. But I could see this creating a headache for anyone who didn't know about this problem. I believe that Kato has corrected this problem on the bottom of the #4's.                Rick
Phoenix Southside Connecting Railroad (H0)
Moose River Railroad (N)