Making "Insulated" from "Standard" Kato "Unijoiners"

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by Grey One, Oct 20, 2007.

  1. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    The GandG is now undergoing "Electrification" for two train operations. Has anyone ever successfully changed an Standard Unijoiner into an insulated one?

    I'm open to suggestions.
  2. to2leo

    to2leo TrainBoard Member

    Hi Grey One,
    Just wondering why do all the hard work when you can purchase Kato INSULATED UNIJOINERS (20 EA), Product # 24-816, for around US$ 4.00?
  3. TrainBoard Member Advertiser

    Why not use an insulated Unijoiner?
  4. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Fare question:
    Because I have a growing pile of unneeded rail joiners, a shrinking budget and a personal desire to reuse wherever possible. At 20 cents each it will cost 40 cents per block. I have about 20 blocks. Beyond that, maybe it is easy.
  5. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Remove the metal rail joiner from the Unijoiner. Working from the bottom, insert the smallest of your precision screwdrivers at each end of the metal portion to straighten the little tabs that hold the rail joiner in the plastic part. The metal rail joiner then pops out fairly easily. The resulting joiner will hold the track sections together.

    It may be necessary to insulate the rail ends by painting them with several coats of clear lacquer, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.

    By the time you go to all this trouble you probably will be wishing you had sprung for the insulated Unijoiners. :)

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2007
  6. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Ben, To2 Leo, George - Thanks.
    You are right.
    So, I thought, hmm, when would something like this be worth it? Maybe in my engine terminal where I will have 8 to 12+ 9" "blocks". In those cases all I would need is to cut one rail with a razor saw.

    Oh well, sometimes I have a great idea. This is was not one. Die little thread. Die.
    Thanks again folks.
  7. AB&CRRone

    AB&CRRone TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter


    As an afterthought don't make the mistake I did with my first wiring of Unitrack. Very few insulated blocks are needed. Unitrack #6 switches are power routing and power routing can be selected with #4 switches, so the direction of the switch provides insulation for the other direction. A passing siding can be insulated simply by closing the switches at each end as long as there are no feeders to the siding. Insulation of a stub siding can be accomplished by closing one switch as long as the stub has no separate feeder.

    Forget everything you ever learned about traditional block wiring. Instead study your actual needs for insulating sidings and alternate routes and let the power routing switch provide the insulation wherever possible. I only needed insulated rail joiners for three major blocks for a layout occupying most of a 12' by 20' room, and for reverse sections and loops.

    Unfortunately, on the early part of my layout the Unitrack is glued down and ballasted, another mistake, but ripping it up to remove the insulated rail joiners is something I am considering. On that part of the layout I have sidings insulated by rail joiners and with feeders installed that the same could have been accomplished by the power routing switches and no feeders.

  8. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Good points. I'll reexamine my needs based on operations. I will definitely need to isolate the inner and outer ovals, the reverse loop. and the yard lead / yard area, and the engine terminal.
    Thanks again.

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