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Kato GS4 -DCC No Lights?

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by kverdon, May 25, 2008.

  1. kverdon

    kverdon TrainBoard Member

    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. DocGeoff

    DocGeoff TrainBoard Member

    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????
     
  3. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

    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!
     
  4. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    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. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    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.
     
  6. UP_Phill

    UP_Phill TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    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.
     
  7. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    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...
     
  8. kverdon

    kverdon TrainBoard Member

    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. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    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
     
  10. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

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

    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.
     
  11. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

    The GS-4 is DCC ready... with a proprietary connector for a proprietary decoder. Is the tender too small for an NMRA standard 8 pin connector? It doesn't look like it to me, but I haven't actually measured.

    Best!
     
  12. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    I imagine there would be room, Con-Cor had one in their GS4. Why not the European NEM 651 six pin DCC connector? Its smaller than the NMRA 8 pin style, or maybe it's time the old fogeys at NMRA looked beyond HO and designed a DCC socket standard for N scale, when DCC started out you were barely able to fit a decoder in an N scale hi-cube boxcar. Today the 8 pin socket can be harder to fit in than the decoder itself, eg; Walthers 0-8-0.

    Even without a connector the GS4 is an easier conversion than the Mikado, or most other N scale steam for that matter.
     
  13. Lownen

    Lownen TrainBoard Member

    Apparently the 6 pin connector is for N scale, at least according to Loy's Toys:
    NMRA Plug and Socket: Valuable Information from Loy's Toys

    I can't find my DCC book with the specs on the different connector standards for different scales.
     
  14. alhoop

    alhoop TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    My Rivarossi 0-8-0s, 2-8-2s, 4-6-2s, and a lone 2-8-8-2 run just fine thank you. Not a turntable Queen in the bunch, maybe in most cases it is not the locomotive?

    Check out this 0-8-0, it's stock except for a led headlight and an added pilot truck.
    File is about 7mb.

    Http://members.cox.net/fayehoop/slow080.wmv
    Al
     
  15. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Great looking 0-8-0. The locomotive ran great but the darned 'slinky effect' of the Micro-train cars took away some of the realism. No reason to cast aspersions on Rivarossi based on that video.
     
  16. NikkiB

    NikkiB TrainBoard Member

    As for the 6 pin harness, one has to remember that the 8 pin configuration (4x2) is an American standard. 8x1 is not only a viable configuration, but one of the european standards. I have never seen a 6 pin harness off the shelf. It would be interesting to be an engineer in the design room and hear the reasons for this somewhat peculuar configuration. This might be an attempt by Kato to devise a new "standard". At a minimum, the US component of Kato's business is reactionary compared to the Japanese market.
     
  17. TrainGuy

    TrainGuy TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

    Just a note about Kato and N Scale Steam.
    They have been doing steam for quite some time. Many of us have their locos tooled and imported under the Con-Cor name from the 70's. They also have been producing Japanese steam models for some time.
    In my estimation aside from the 2 issues of the wheels shorting and traction tire coming loose the GS4 is one of the nicest engineered locos on the market today. N Scale tooling and detailing has come a long way from 1969 when I purchased my first Atlas Mikado. Kato has steped up and provided a fix for the short and the traction tire issue is what it is.
     
  18. TrainGuy

    TrainGuy TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter Advertiser

    Just a note about Kato and N Scale Steam.
    They have been doing steam for quite some time. Many of us have their locos tooled and imported under the Con-Cor name from the 70's. They also have been producing Japanese steam models for some time.
    In my estimation aside from the 2 issues of the wheels shorting and traction tire coming loose the GS4 is one of the nicest engineered locos on the market today. N Scale tooling and detailing has come a long way from 1969 when I purchased my first Atlas Mikado. Kato has steped up and provided a fix for the short and the traction tire issue is what it is.
     

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