Kato and FVM SD70ACe

Virginian Railway Jan 22, 2015

  1. Virginian Railway

    Virginian Railway TrainBoard Member

    Hi guys, now that both the Kato and FVM SD70ACes have been out for awhile can anyone say how there's are doing so far? Personally I really like my FVMs. So how do you like your units so far?

    I want to get a Horsehead NS unit but I'm not sure if I should go with Kato or FVM. Could someone possibly put up a compassion of both? I know the FVM's windows are slightly off but I'm not to sure of how big of a deal it would be on a standard black unit. Thanks so much!
  2. Jim Reising

    Jim Reising TrainBoard Member

  3. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    I like them both!
  4. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

    I know I'll catch flak, but my Kato SD70ACe is the biggest piece of junk I've ever owned, and I'm including 1970s vintage Bachmanns in the mix. Every Kato bigger than an SD45 I've owned has had problems. My ACe derails (due to the trucks hitting on the chassis and limiting movement) and then it quit running. When it did run it wouldn't run in consist with any of my other big diesels (faster by quite a bit). My smaller Katos are great.
  5. rrjim1

    rrjim1 TrainBoard Member

    I haven't had a single problem with any of my FVM locos, they all run great. I purchased 2 Kato SD7OACes and the trucks keep falling off? In order to get them to run with any other locos you need to slow them way down and speed up the starting speed of the other brand locos. If they ran closer to scale speeds it would be so much easier to run with other locos!
  6. rogergperkins

    rogergperkins TrainBoard Member

    I have four Kato SD-70Ace locomotives despite the fact I model the steam era.
    Dcc decoder installation is completed in three of them. The fourth is at the shop for ESU LOKSOUND dcc installation.
    I am pleased with them and eager to get the fourth one back.
    Mine are CSX for what ever that indicates about release time.
  7. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

    I have two KATO Ace's ( SP & Rio Grande ) and they run perfect today as they did the day I took them out of boxes. I put TCS decoders in them myself. MY FVM Gevo's run perfectly with them, Oh, but of course, I put KATO motors into the Gevo's, so I guess I cheated. They look great together and consist together quite well.

  8. nscaler711

    nscaler711 TrainBoard Member

    Tell me more I hate my FVM GEVOs, they do not run well with any other manufacture out there (DC)... close with Atlas but otherwise i might as well run them as switchers... PM Me as to not murder this thread or start a new one... or if you have one, link please?
  9. Eugen Haenseler

    Eugen Haenseler TrainBoard Member

    I am a KATO – Fan!
    I like the mechanism they are power fool and smooth.

    When I got my SD70ACesI was disappointed!
    Not one of them was running out of the Box!!!
    I had to solder the Contact on the electric board.
    After this modification, I had now troubles anymore.
    rogergperkins likes this.
  10. u18b

    u18b TrainBoard Supporter

    Those of you with Kato SD70ACe electrical problems....

    Know that there is something of a design flaw in the earlier ones.
    Kato went with a different board design with this loco.

    Older boards had contacts that slipped into tight spots that "pinched" the contacts.

    It was a good system under DC. But the problem was that the DCC makers were using boards that were not EXACTLY the same thickness as the Kato boards.
    Anybody remember Digitrax recommending that you add some solder to the board. That would make it fatter and be grabbed when inserting the board.

    With the SD70ACe, Kato made a change. It is completely different.

    The new board slides into locks in the BACK- behind the motor, but NOT in the front.
    There are NO pincher slots in the front.

    Instead, Kato relies on the board FLEXING. The upward pressure of the board is SUPPOSED to be enough to make good contact in the front.

    Unfortunately, in the early runs, it was NOT enough.
    No reliable electrical contact with that board--- loco no run.

    DCC was sometimes WORSE.
    Some people were still adding solder because of the old way-- and this was an absolute disaster. Unless your solder puddles were EXACTLY the same height (statistically unlikely if impossible) then you would have UNEVEN contact. No power- dead loco.

    And TCS had early decoders that were a couple of microns (yes, microns) too fat. They got stuck in the frame and did not flex properly. I notified the company of exactly what was going on and they corrected their production problems.

    The VERY easy solution to all of this is simply....
    Cut a small piece of foam (even from the bottom of the foam the loco comes with) and jam it in the space under the LED at the front of the board.
    This will absolutely help in making positive contact with the flexing board touching the frame.

    In later runs, Kato added a bump about over the front flywheel. This bump was designed to make the board flex EVEN MORE.
    (ever notice how hard those boards can be to deal with?).

    Anyway. If you have one that was/is DOA in the box, then I bet a dollar to doughnuts that the problem is the above described contact problem.
    SecretWeapon likes this.
  11. ns737

    ns737 TrainBoard Supporter

    I have 6 of the kato sd70Ace's and they all run perfectly . I just made them dcc a month ago. changing to dcc is a slow process. i put tcs in all mine.
  12. Bob Horn

    Bob Horn TrainBoard Member

    I have some 15 ACe,s and the only problem I have had was with the early ones. They would tend to push the gears out the bottom of the trucks if asked to do too much( 74 cars, 2 locos) but running the offender in the opposite direction would get things back in place. Off the rail, push the bottom of the truck in place, runs like a champ. Bob.
  13. rogergperkins

    rogergperkins TrainBoard Member

    May I asked about your track system and whether all other locomotives ran without problems?
  14. Primavw

    Primavw TrainBoard Member

    Similar issues with my ACE's. The trucks fall out if you look at them funny. They ran great out of the box, but adding DCC has been troublesome. I've had to shim the DCC boards and solder the contacts, and performance has still been iffy. I added a digitrax board to my horsehead #1007 and it has been DOA ever since. No idea why.

    I haven't gotten my hands on FVM's yet, and despite the details being a little more accurate (domes on the cab roof), they look pretty comparable. My FVM GEVO runs great and the DCC install was almost too easy. If I ever complete my Heritage Unit fleet I may give FVM ACE's a try, but doubt I'll sell off the Kato's I have acquired thus far.
    Jim Reising likes this.
  15. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    I have about 20 Kato SD70ACe's and not a problem aside the yellow light tubes was had. All have decoders in them and run just fine.

    I have a bunch of the FVM units too and they are really good runners too.

    Not seen any of these issues being reported, so I guess I will keep my finger crossed.

    The only real lemon units I have are Atlas, so I stopped buying them 2-3 years ago.
  16. DarylK

    DarylK TrainBoard Member

    I have three Katos and 2 FVMs. I have been happy with all of them so far. One issue I have the the Katos is that the truck gears are so fine, they are more prone to pick up specks into the gears and then I have to take the trucks apart, fine the speck and remove it before the loco runs smooth again. The only issue with the FVMs is when I tried to gauge the wheel sets, the axle is easily bent.

    The FVM look better.

    In summary, future SD70Ace purchases will be FVM.

    Jim Reising likes this.

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