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Kato Turnouts

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  • Member since
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  • From: NC Piedmont
  • 154 posts
Kato Turnouts
Posted by dad1218 on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 3:38 PM

   How do you wire a DPDT switch to operate Kato turnouts? I was previousely using Atlas selector switches to control them. I was wanting to make a layout scematic and use toggles on the scematic.

  If it matters the turnouts are #4 & #6 in N scale.

                         Gary

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:07 AM

What kind of switch machines do these turnouts have?

If they are twin-coil machines (like Atlas or Peco) then you would control them with a single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) momentary contact toggle.  If they are slow-motion "stall" motors (like Tortoise) then you would use a DPDT (not momentary) toggle.

If the turnout flips quickly from one side to the other, they are probably twin-coil.  Also, if you are using the Atlas pushbuttons (I think you're wrong about them being called the Atlas "selector" model) then you've probably got twin-coils.

This is a "selector:"

This is what Atlas calls a "switch control box:"

The pictures are not the same scale.  The "selector" is much larger.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:30 PM

I believe that Kato uses twin-coil machines, just like Atlas and Life-Like...

For panel control of twin-coil machines, the main consideration is that they take a momentary surge of comparatively high power, and then MUST be protected from continuous power flow (lest the magic smoke waft out of the casing.)  If you want to use toggles, there are two choices:

  1. SPDT momentary toggles - usually have the handle centered, so they don't tell you which way the points are thrown.  Push to desired side to operate machine, handle returns to center.
  2. If you want the handle to remain in the 'this way' direction, combine an ordinary SPDT toggle with a normally-off pushbutton.  Power goes to the button, then the center pole of the toggle, thence to the machine coils.

A third, much less expensive, option is the stud and probe method.  Switch machine coil wires are attached to the back sides of studs in the track lines on the panel (I personally use 6/32 brass screws, but that is hardly the only option.)  Power is delivered through a probe (a stereo plug with power at the tip only) that is touched to the stud to complete the circuit.

  • Pro - simple, very inexpensive and absolutely will not stick and fry a switch machine.
  • Con - the probe has to be stowed in a safe manner, and requires indicator lamps and separate wiring to indicate which way switches are thrown.

My panel indicators are powered through contacts on my Rix and KTM twin coil machines.  I don't know if Kato offers this option.  I stow the probe in a dead stereo jack on the side of the panel enclosure, handy and easy to find in a hurry.

I also use a fourth option involving rotary panel switches with pointer knobs - expensive, complex, not for the faint of heart and not recommended unless you are using analog DC and the MZL control system.

Chuck (modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

  • Member since
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  • From: NC Piedmont
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Posted by dad1218 on Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:25 PM

   Kato does use twin coil machines, but like LGB with 2 leads instead of 3 like Atlas. I was using a dedicated .5 amp transformer, a single pole momentary pushbutton and Atlas Twins.

               Gary

  • Member since
    December 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:42 PM

Two leads total, or two leads for each coil?  Two leads for each coil is the way Peco machines are built, but the normal way of wiring them is to make one side common, so they look like Atlas wiring with only 3 leads.

If it's two leads total, it sounds like they are using a DC coil which is polarity dependent.  If so, then you probably just want to get a DPDT momentary contact toggle for each turnout, wired up like the Atlas Twins.  My guess is that you would take your input power and run it to the two center posts of the DPDT(M), and then run the turnout to the two posts on one end.  Finally, run wires in a crossing X pattern between the 4 corner posts of the DPDT(M).  Schematically, that's what each of the sliders in an Atlas Twin looks like.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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Posted by dad1218 on Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:45 PM

 Thanks MisterBeasley,

     That is what I was wanting to know. I will probably use the non-momentary DPDT and use my momentary push button so I will know the position of the turnout.

    They are 2 lead total.

             Gary

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:09 PM
Actually, the Kato turnouts are not twin coil switch machines, they are single coil switch machines, and you reverse the polarity of the coil to throw the switch. If you want to throw them using a toggle, I would suggest using the circuit shown on this page:http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=33795. It uses a SPDT toggle and a capacitor, and results in much simpler wiring.
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Posted by CNCharlie on Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:26 PM

Why not use Kato controllers? I do and find them much nicer to use than the Atlas ones.

Previous posts are correct in that they are DC motors.

CN Charlie

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: NC Piedmont
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Posted by dad1218 on Friday, July 18, 2008 4:29 PM

  I don't understand how using a spdt would work in both directions. I took it that the ground is the 12v- lead. A stdp would probably do okay if you used an external momentary push button. I went ahead and wrote the schematic down. But it don't look any simpler to me than just using a dpdt switch and crossing one side of it.

  I don't like the way the Kato controllers look and I only have one working. I already had the Atlas twins, that is why I used them.

                 Gary

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Friday, July 18, 2008 7:45 PM
 dad1218 wrote:


  I don't understand how using a spdt would work in both directions...


When you switch the SPDT to +12, the capacitor charges through the switch coil and throws the switch one way. When you switch the SPDT to ground, the capacitor discharges through the coil and throws the switch the other way.

There is nothing wrong with using DPDT and a pushbutton, but I do see some advantages to this circuit:

1. One motion is required to throw the switch - switch the toggle and the switch throws, instead of switching the toggle and then pushing the button. 

2. Less likely to have a false indication of switch position - with the toggle and pushbutton, if someone switches the toggle and then for some reason never pushes the button to actually throw the switch, the toggle will show the wrong indication.

3. You get the advantage of a capacitor discharge circuit - you do not have to worry about burning up the switch machine by holding the button down too long. The voltage will only be applied to the switch machine long enough to charge or discharge the capacitor.

  • Member since
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  • From: NC Piedmont
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Posted by dad1218 on Friday, July 18, 2008 8:19 PM

  Ok, I understand, forgot about the capacitor thing. I do have a question about it. When the switch is set to 12v+ could it be left there without burning up the coil machine? And I did see where you could have led indicator lights added too.

                Gary

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Christiana, TN
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Posted by CSX Robert on Friday, July 18, 2008 8:53 PM
Yes, you can leave it switched to the +12.  Once the capacitor charges(which only takes a fraction of a second), no current will flow through it or the coil.
  • Member since
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  • From: NC Piedmont
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Posted by dad1218 on Saturday, July 19, 2008 12:21 PM

   Good. Does it matter what type of capacitor is used?

                    Gary

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