Author Topic: Question about Kato passenger car light systems  (Read 1292 times)

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Loren Perry

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Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« on: September 15, 2014, 06:56:14 PM »
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I imagine not many on this board run their trains in night time settings, but my layout has been built for just that - hundreds of lights are everywhere, so naturally I want to add scale lighting to my trains as well. I've just installed Kato's excellent passenger car lighting kits in their Santa Fe Super Chief cars and their Southern Pacific Daylight cars. Kato has done a wonderful job in designing and manufacturing these light systems as well as the cars themselves which are magnificent pieces of sophisticated engineering. And on my DC layout, the lights work great, even when the locomotives are running at reduced speeds. Little to almost no flickering is seen, even on turnouts. I imagine on DCC, they would be even better, but not by much.

My question involves installing the lighting kits in the Daylight articulated cars. The two unit chair cars were a little tricky to disassemble and reassemble (for me, anyway) but everything went well and the lights work beautifully.

But the three unit diner-kitchen-coffee shop car is another matter. There seems to be no provision for lighting the center kitchen unit, just the two outer units. Written instruction sheets are barely usable due to language limitations and references to non-US cars, and no mention is made of dealing with the articulated cars. My cars came with no useful paperwork describing assembly, so I had to figure things out by trial and error.

So my question is this: Does anyone know if lights can be installed in the center kitchen unit of the Daylight three-unit-dining car? If so, how? (And yes, I know the real Daylight ran during the day and lights are not as important as on a Super Chief, but it still looks "dynamite" when running all lit up.)

peteski

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2014, 02:43:23 AM »
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Loren,
I did install the Kato lighting units in that set, but that was couple of years ago and I don't remember if I illuminated all three sections. I'll try to take that set out tomorrow ant take a look at it.  I seem to recall that the way they have the electric pickup strips set up between the cars, it was a pain to reassemble everything.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
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OldEastRR

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2014, 06:07:25 AM »
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Are there electrical contacts on the kitchen's trucks? Is there a vertical slot at one end of the interior casting where the LED assembly goes? Are there tabs on the tops of the "glass" inserts? If you have a parts diagram with an exploded view of the car you can see this. Otherwise you'll have to at least remove the car body from the chassis to find out. But if all those details are there, the car is ready for lighting. HOW you install that lighting kit, however, I have no idea.

randgust

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2014, 07:37:21 AM »
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I've changed all of mine over to Rapido 'easy peasy' systems.   So if anybody needs any of the Kato bulbs, parts, etc. PM me.

superchief

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 08:24:31 AM »
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Loren, I did not install lights in the daylight cars but was looking at the 3 axle trucks once the GS4 tender trucks sold out, ordered some without even looking, only the end 2 axle trucks have electrical pickup has the center 3 axle trucks do NOT have a brass strip, so unless there is some wire or something between the outer cars and the center kitchen car I would say you would have to find a way to add them yourself, Good luck, Gordon

Loren Perry

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 02:38:53 PM »
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1. There are no electrical contacts in the trucks at the articulated joint for any of the multi-unit cars - only at the ends. The three-axle trucks have no visible means of adding power collecting bearing strips. But the three units all share a set of "pass-through" copper strips that electrically connect the two outermost two-axle trucks so that if one is lifted off the rails, the other truck continues to light the two outer units.
2. There is no obvious mounting location, or slot, for the LED casting.
3. The glass inserts have no unusual features along their tops to hold the clear light bar.
4. The car came with no exploded diagram or any other illustrated parts breakdown. None of them did in my set.

It seems to me the center unit of the dining car was purposely designed with no means of illumination using the standard Kato lighting kits. But I don't like to assume anything and was hoping someone out there has some inside knowledge. I've sent an e-mail to Kato about this question and am awaiting a response.


Are there electrical contacts on the kitchen's trucks? Is there a vertical slot at one end of the interior casting where the LED assembly goes? Are there tabs on the tops of the "glass" inserts? If you have a parts diagram with an exploded view of the car you can see this. Otherwise you'll have to at least remove the car body from the chassis to find out. But if all those details are there, the car is ready for lighting. HOW you install that lighting kit, however, I have no idea.

peteski

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 04:24:26 PM »
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I checked mine and I did install lights in all 3 units.  I don't recall how I did it, but I do remember that it was a pain.  I will take it apart probably Thursday or Friday to provide you with more info as to how I did it.

--- Peteski de Snarkski
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Frisco Larry

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 05:55:29 PM »
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Mine has lights in all three units.  The kitchen unit has a socket just like all of the other cars.  The three axle trucks do not have pick-ups, they should have had them.  A real bitch to get the cars back together.

Loren Perry

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 08:50:55 PM »
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Michael Conway at Kato/USA just sent me a reply along with a photo showing how the lights are installed in the center unit. If this is how my car looks inside (and I had it opened and examined it at length), then my mind is really going fast!

According to Michael's e-mail, installation is just like the other parts of this car with the exception that the notched clear light bar has to be shortened quite a bit to fit, and that's easy enough to do.

Anyway, I may be suffering from a severe case of "senior moment-itus" here. I'll let you all know how it turns out in a few days.

peteski

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2014, 09:43:59 PM »
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I had few moments before going to work tonight and I opened mine up.  Install wasn't as hard as I thought (I must have also separated the cars, and the brass strips were really difficult to reassemble - that might be what I remember).  As stated, the center car has all that is needed for installing the lighting unit.  There is a socket on one end of the car for the LED circuit and a shortened light bar will snap into place on the ceiling.

I'll try to take some photos tomorrow and post them here.  Except for having to snap off part of the light bar, the installation is no different than in any other car.
--- Peteski de Snarkski
--- Honorary Resident Curmudgeon

Loren Perry

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2014, 02:35:13 PM »
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Well, to begin: I've seldom felt so much like a fool as I do today. After removing the center unit's body shell as per Michael Conway's detailed instructions (he actually sent me a great photo showing how it's done), there was everything I needed to install the light kit right in front of me. Obviously it was there all the time, but for some reason my eye/brain system malfunctioned and simply didn't see it.

I now have a fully lighted Daylight thanks to Kato's patience and kindness. Not a big deal in the scheme of things, but these days I'll take whatever happiness I can find wherever I can find it.

Thank you all very much for your suggestions! Now it's on to the City of Los Angeles! And maybe I'll figure out a way to light my Con-Cor/Rivarossi and Micro-Trains heavyweights and my Con-Cor Budd cars in the future.

Ngineer

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2014, 02:59:54 PM »
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Little to almost no flickering is seen, even on turnouts.
How did you manage to do that (no flickering)? Did you solder the contacts to the copper strips?

Mine flicker while the train is moving (DCC), they stop flickering if the train stands still.

I have the newer LED lights (11-210), but not the newest with the improved clear part (11-212).

Javier

(Sorry to post twice, but I can't edit my previous post.)

Loren Perry

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Re: Question about Kato passenger car light systems
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2014, 03:58:30 PM »
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My Kato passenger car wheels are kept very clean for one thing as are the rails. I did notice one articulated chair car begin to flicker as did the three-unit diner, so I removed them from the layout and carefully cleaned their wheels. This solved the problem.

If this doesn't work for you, check every point where a piece of metal contacts another piece of metal. Also, check the small wire-like connections on the LED module where it contacts the copper leaf-springs. Mine were not properly aligned and I had to bend every single one outwards a little to make a good contact with the leaf spring contact. As they come from the factory, the "wires" contact the copper strips so far inboard that they almost come off the edges. I think this may be a design flaw with the Kato parts, but I could be wrong. I do know that until I did this, some flickering was noticed here and there.



How did you manage to do that (no flickering)? Did you solder the contacts to the copper strips?

Mine flicker while the train is moving (DCC), they stop flickering if the train stands still.

I have the newer LED lights (11-210), but not the newest with the improved clear part (11-212).

Javier

(Sorry to post twice, but I can't edit my previous post.)