Wiring KATO Unitrack

JamesHetzel Jul 30, 2012

  1. JamesHetzel

    JamesHetzel TrainBoard Member

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    Perhaps it's been whipped to death, but....If I make my own powered unijoiners for a DCC system, How do i know which rail should be Blue wire and which should be White wire? I will have approx 21 blocks both rails insuated. Some track power will be to KATO feeder track, other will be my own. Does it matter? it seems to me if the KATO feeder has the blueon the right, and the next block I put the blue on the left i will a bunch of reverse polarity. Yes? Please help. I am at the wiring phase of construction.....Thank you very much. J&MH Railroad.
     
  2. Jerry Tarvid

    Jerry Tarvid TrainBoard Member

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    Big YES to power shorts! You will need to be consistent in wiring track feeders, regardless of the type of feeders you use. There are various methods of helping you keep this straight. I actually like the one where someone placed a Rail A sticker on one side of a box car and a Rail B sticker on the other side of the box car and pushed it around the layout as they were wiring in the feeders. I have found the best approach is to turn track power on after wiring in a block of feeders to check for shorts. That way I only have to check the last block of connections before moving on to the next.

    Jerry
     
  3. JamesHetzel

    JamesHetzel TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the hint. Checking each section as i go makes sense. Is there any way to check using a multimeter?
     
  4. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

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    Yes there is.

    Does you meter have a continuity option if so then use it for the following test, if not the use the Ohm meter set to the lowest.

    1. Attach your feeders to the track.
    2. Make a temp connection (before soldering if that is what you plan to do) of the feeder to the buss.
    3. Touch one meter probe to each side of the insulator. If you get very low resistance or in continuity mode the meter beeps (or what ever indicator it uses) then the feeder is wired correct.
      • If you do not get the results in step 3 then go to step 4
    4. Touch one meter probe to one rail on the left side of the insulator and the other probe on the other rail on the right side of the insulator. If you get very low resistance or in continuity mode the meter beeps (or what ever indicator it uses) then the feeder is NOT wired correct.

    But as said before, just wire one block at a time and then turn on your system. If the system shows a short the you know that you have just wired it wrong.

    Gary
     
  5. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    This may not be your preference, but I did away with the idea of Kato feeders, and etc. Needlessly expensive, poorly made, and fiddly to work with. I just soldered feeders on the rails the "old fashioned" way, and if well done, virtually disappear!!
    Also, as I wrote in another post.....I just spray paint one side of an old boxcar red, and one side black - and use it to drop appropriate color coded feeders (red and black in my case) every three to four feet, and on every leg of every turnout.........no sense making it harder than it needs to be.:wink:
     
  6. JamesHetzel

    JamesHetzel TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you, and thank you for your service to the Country. I do like the plug and play option of unitrack, but for many blocks (21) that gets expensive. You're right, I'll do it the old fashioned way. Jim J & MH railroad
     
  7. JamesHetzel

    JamesHetzel TrainBoard Member

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    Thank you for the advice and for your time. Jim....J & MH Railroad
     
  8. Mike_R

    Mike_R New Member

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  9. JKramer328

    JKramer328 TrainBoard Member

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    Easiest way is the connector for KATO power is SIMPLE BLUE WIRE ONE SIDE/WHITE WIRE OTHER SIDE. SECRET IS: the connector has a KATO LOGO on it. ** MAKE SURE ** THE KATO LOGO is showing..
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  10. JKramer328

    JKramer328 TrainBoard Member

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    When using the UNITRACK power feeder wire make sure you put the connector with the KATO SYMBOL facing out away from the track. This IS on the directions of most packages. Obviously some ARE in Japanese though. This will ensure you have correct polarity.

    Sent from my moto z3 using Tapatalk
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  11. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm an old skool modeler building an N Scale DC railroad, but I'm providing a simple DCC input for the future when I want to experiment with it.

    My control panel and layout wiring respects Kato's wire colors (Blue/White for track power, Red/Black for turnouts). Is there any sort of recognized wire color for DCC track power? There won't be much of it, just an input length to a DPDT toggle which will provide a selection for DC or DCC.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  12. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

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    Not really , but orange and grey would work . That is the colors used for motor connection in DCC .....Mike
     
  13. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I like that suggestion. (y) It's a logical choice, as I've not used either of those wire colors yet. I'll see if I have some. Thanks Mike!
     

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