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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Age
    53
    Posts
    96

    Kato GS4 -DCC No Lights?

    Well after 5 months of waiting to run my Kato N Scale GS4 (I'm DCC only) I finally got the retrofit kit for DCC in the mail. I installed the wheel spacers, installed the EM13 Decoder and put her on the track. Well the loco runs but it has not lights! I swear when I ran it before the lights worked!. Nothing I do seems to get the lights to work? I thought they did under DCC? Could have the original DCC shorting problem fried the lights?

    I'm getting rather frustrated with this loco. It ran all of 3 feet before BOTH traction tires came off. I tried for a half hour to reseat the tires before I fixed the problem permantanly with an exacto knife! No tires, no problem, loco runs and pulls the basic consist just fine, just NO LIGHTS!!!

    anyone with any ideas out there? (Sorry for the cross post from the A forum but I'm pretty frustrated!)

    thanks,

    Kevin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Lake Charles, LA
    Age
    70
    Posts
    476
    I am still waiting for a replacement for my original GS4 which was a piece of junk. I can't help with the light problem, but wondering if the new release of GS4's will fix (1) the decoder problem, (2) the traction tire problem, and (3) the derail problem. I have heard of the decoder retrofit, and if the new release isn't fixed from the factory mine is being returned for a refund. I have waited and watched and no Kato information about problems 2 & 3.
    My original GS4 shorted out, as did everyones who installed the decoder before we knew of the lack of isolation, but the engine is still a piece of junk if the traction tires and the derail problems exist. What happened to Kato quality????
    DocGeoff - Imagineer of the nearly famous "no Name RR," and occasional beach bum....

  3. #3
    I have heard a few people complain of Kato GS-4s throwing traction tires. And apparently they're a pita to put back on. This is the first time I've heard about one losing its lights. I can't see how installing a decoder would affect the lights, because the GS4's lighting circuits aren't routed through the decoder... the EM13 is a motor control only decoder. From the GS-4 I have learned that Kato's quality is in the mechanism (not including traction tires), not in the electronics. I'm told that with the GG1 they're leaving the decoder to the decoder companies instead of doing something proprietary. That I find comforting.

    Kevin; I'd call Kato tech support. They are normally very helpful. 1-847-781-9500

    Best!
    Randall Roberts

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Ipswich, Australia
    Age
    54
    Posts
    4,029
    Maybe the light board has come loose somehow, the boiler shell comes off easily to check, it happened to mine when I first got it. Mine's running ok with the spacers and EM13 including the lights, and after slipping them back on after the first time they came off I've had no more problems with the traction tyres. It's had probably 8 hours total running on the club's Ntrak layout with no problems or derailments. If they announced a Santa Fe 4-8-4 tomorrow I'd order every road number they do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Island of Misfit Toy Trains
    Age
    56
    Posts
    2,740
    Kato quality for steamers is not on the same level as their diesels.
    Those who recall the original production of Mikados can attest to less than desirable traction, broken drawbars, do-it-yourself details... and forget about an easy DCC conversion on the Mikado. Kato has managed to produce excellent diesels year after year... but... they are not quite as good in the steamer field. They did create a replacement driver for the Mikado which greatly improved its pulling capicity... beefed up the drawbar... and added the detail parts... but still NOT DCC FRIENDLY. It almost didn't surprise me that the DCC on the GS4 didn't work correctly... it was too perfect that Kato got the traction tire, details and good drawbar right on the first attempt. They still don't have the DCC down to a science on the steamers... as they do for the diesels.

    While this is no excuse for putting out a product that was tauted as DCC ready... as long as Kato stands behind their product by providing a fix for ALL of the issues in a timely manner... it will be hard to dispute the value for the money of this product. Unfortunately... we... the consumers... continue to be the Guinea Pigs for inadequate quality control by many of the manufacturers and I hope that Kato doesn't make this a habit.
    Grandpa "Joe",
    Burlington Rio Grande & Pacific
    A fictitious precursor to the
    BN merger and Amtrak


    Zephyrs Through the Rockies.

    Rail Images Album: http://www.trainboard.com/railimages...name/calzephyr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Brisbane Australia
    Age
    50
    Posts
    409
    Check my decoder install on how to remove the boiler shell. You'll find that the light board has 2 fingers that contact the frame. These can loosen off causing the problem you are having. Bending them in slightly should fix it.


    Regards

    Phill
    UP & SP
    Digitrax Super Chief Radio

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    San Diego
    Age
    53
    Posts
    2,306
    Quote Originally Posted by Calzephyr View Post
    While this is no excuse for putting out a product
    That's a bit testy, isn't it? It's not like it was painted with lead paint, or had a rubber O ring that froze when the temperature dropped. :tb-biggrin: You survived, the problem was fixed (for free), and now everything is fine. If we beach enough, maybe they will stop trying and all we'll be left with are those fine Rivarossi turntable Queens gathering dust...
    Tony Burzio
    San Diego, CA

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Age
    53
    Posts
    96
    UP Phil,

    I found your decoder instructions and followed them to remove the boiler shell. I checked the lightboard and replaced the shell and now the lights work!!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

    Kevin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Age
    77
    Posts
    1,700
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Burzio View Post
    ...If we beach enough, maybe they will stop trying and all we'll be left with are those fine Rivarossi turntable Queens gathering dust...
    Yes, let's not dissuade Kato and others from keeping on keeping on to produce steam. There are thousands left to produce. And there is an element of learning associated with steam. Some don't get it right the first or second time and some it takes 30 to 40 years of producing crap before they get it right, and some never do.

    I would suggest that some of them forget everything they think they know and dump the so-called experts that keep advising them wrongfully. There are more experts among the amateur modelers on the various forums than any other place and if some of the manufacturers don't try to hire them, they should at least listen to them.


    Ben
    I'm not a child. I'm a hobbyist!
    -WKRP's "The Big Guy" as his N Scale train travels a loop of track on his office desk.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Island of Misfit Toy Trains
    Age
    56
    Posts
    2,740

    It was 3:00 am when I wrote that post...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Burzio View Post
    That's a bit testy, isn't it? It's not like it was painted with lead paint, or had a rubber O ring that froze when the temperature dropped. :tb-biggrin: You survived, the problem was fixed (for free), and now everything is fine. If we beach enough, maybe they will stop trying and all we'll be left with are those fine Rivarossi turntable Queens gathering dust...
    I need to re-read my posts before I put them in :embarassed: Seems I projected the wrong emotion. I'm still a staunch Katoholic.

    I actually meant that "I" am not trying to make excuses for Kato's mistake. But... they did make one and are paying dearly... just as other manufacturers have when something goes wrong.

    They did fix the problem; however, their aura of near engineering perfection may have now suffered to the point where many will be wary of giving them a 'free-pass' on any new steam locomotive projects they attempt.
    Grandpa "Joe",
    Burlington Rio Grande & Pacific
    A fictitious precursor to the
    BN merger and Amtrak


    Zephyrs Through the Rockies.

    Rail Images Album: http://www.trainboard.com/railimages...name/calzephyr

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