Latest run of Kato GS4's

Randy Clark Feb 23, 2022

  1. Randy Clark

    Randy Clark TrainBoard Member

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    What does anyone think of the performance of the latest run of the 4449 Kato GS4? I have 2 older units that need motors and there are none available.

    I believe they are all more DCC friendly as to the original shorting problem.
     
  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    They have all the redesigned DCC improvements, plus the improved drivers which Kato came out with a few years later. There has been some issues found, where there are some burrs left on the motor frame (at screw holes) which can cause contact with the driver frame. Easy to check and fix (but I know of at least 3 locos which had the problem)

    Here is a short video of new run with an ESU LokSound 5 Nano
     
  3. Randy Clark

    Randy Clark TrainBoard Member

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    I have 4453 (1st run) and 4438 but both need new motors. You have go to speed step 40 for them to move and neither has a full feature decoder.

    Looks like it's time to sell them for parts and buy new. I could always leave them for roundhouse decorations. LOL!
     
  4. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Hi Randy
    I also have 1st run GS model of 4449
    IIRC... there was a shorting problem in the first run 4449 which required a plastic insert between the frame and drivers. I had an EM13 decoder added with the 'fix' by the hobby shop I bought it from. I got a Prodigy Advanced Squared DCC system specifically to run this model.
    I ran it at the club on DC mode. It ran well and pulled the 1st release of Morning Daylight consist. I actually do not have the subsequent 2nd run 4453 and 4438 supposedly had the shorting issue resolved.

    Did you run these two models with an EM13 decoder installed... and... how long before the motors failed?
    Problems with Kato models are very rare... so maybe these did not have the shorting 'fix' done.

    Now you have me curious... since I have been known to buy stuff and never run them. Still I am almost certain I skipped the 4453 and 4438.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2022
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  5. Mike Madonna

    Mike Madonna TrainBoard Member

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    Rick
    Nice work... as usual ;)
     
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  6. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    Rick,

    As Mike says, nice work. The chuffs are really dialed in, almost would think they are cam activated.
     
  7. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    I have one from the latest run that runs great, but the body has a slight side-to-side rocking as it runs. You can see this movement the most between the cab and tender (the cab is moving up and down and the tender is not). From the end, you can see the subtle rocking. The one in the video seems smoother. Is what mine is doing common?
     
  8. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Oh sorry Rick...
    I meant to commend you on the sound install for the GS4.
    At first I thought it was a stock Kato GS4 with a Loksound DCC factory installed... but those have not been released yet.
     
  9. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    My unit from 12 years ago has done that since day 1, never been able to fix. You may want to check that all the drivers are seated properly: carefully remove the two screws on the plastic holder across the drivers, and ensure the nuts are sitting flush in frame.
     
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  10. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    If the model bobs, it may be worth checking driver quartering. It could also be a sign of a driving wheel not being circular or having an off-center axle, both of which are probably unfixable.
     
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  11. tonkphilip

    tonkphilip TrainBoard Member

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    Tehachapifan, I have an UP FEF instead of the GS4 so it may not be the same. But, the UP FEF has an equalizing chassis like the prototype, so it adjusts for dips in the track and provides very good adhesion and electrical pick up. But, this gives it a very slight rolling motion somewhat like a real steam engine! All, in all I love it, as the smoothest best pulling and reliable locomotive that I own. - Tonkphilip
     
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  12. 308GTSi

    308GTSi TrainBoard Member

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    I bought a Kato 4449 second hand in November 2021. It has only had 1 run but goes great pulling 17 Daylight coaches with ease.

    How can I identify which year my 4449 was manufactured so I can be aware of faults which may occur ?

    IMG_3750.JPG

    IMG_3749.JPG
     
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  13. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    “SP Lines” and the front number boards (vs mid body) have the DCC correction.
     
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  14. Randy Clark

    Randy Clark TrainBoard Member

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    Both of mine have many, many hours of operation on them. My 4453 has the DCC insulating fix on the drivers. Machines don't run forever without maintenance so I am not trying to complain in the slightest. Unfortunately, I don't think Kato has replacement motors for them in the parts department. They don't have any other flaws just slow startup. It's too bad the GS4 mechanisms are so complicated to disassemble. At least I think so.
     
  15. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    They are out of stock, but with the new release, would assume they will be back in stock soon. Yep, servicing the GS4 isn’t for the faint of heart.
     
  16. Randy Clark

    Randy Clark TrainBoard Member

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    I have had one apart before to add the insulation behind the drivers but that was a long time ago...
     
  17. BertCripe

    BertCripe TrainBoard Member

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    I just received one of the latest runs. #4433 in black. I have changed the address and CVs to slow it down to about 55 mph max. The issue I have is that the headlight is always on and in reverse the tender light doesn't come on. The JMRI page for light controls is blank for the EM13 decoder. Otherwise seems to be a good running loco.
     
  18. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky November 18, 2022 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

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    Bert,

    There is no tender light in the stock loco, and the EM13 doesn't support one (it is motor only). For proper control of front lights (Headlight, Mars Light) and a working tender light, you need to put a more full featured decoder in, install a light in tender, and run wires from decoder in tender to a modified front lighting board.
     
  19. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

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    Interesting that this is coming up on this thread since my 'Zimo' question was transferred to the DCC Forum.

    I know that Kato is behind the curve on parts supplies for their steam locomotives (maybe diesels too). I cannot get EM13 boards to convert my DC models I recently purchased. I did find that Zimo has some substitutions for the EM13, DCC motor only and DCC/sound.

    There are some videos on YT that show installation and mods to control lights for Zimo. Not for the inexperienced such as myself. I was surprised that Kato did not provide for easy light control with the EM13. VERY disappointed with that aspect of Kato DCC wiring.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2022
  20. NorsemanJack

    NorsemanJack TrainBoard Member

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    That jewel box suggests it is one of the earlier releases, but as another poster shared, the "Lines" scheme came after the first runs. I had one from the last run in jewel boxes. I don't believe the upgraded drivers came until the next runs (which came in cardboard boxes). I bought a set of the upgraded drivers, but never had to use them (I've since sold the loco). While there is some disagreement, a lot of folks believe that the original drivers were fine as long as somebody didn't abuse the loco by setting it on the track and then shoving it back and forth to confirm it was on the rails. Nobody on this forum would be so foolish....
     

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