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Thread: Kato passenger car lighting - new option?

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    Default Kato passenger car lighting - new option?

    I was poking around on everyone’s favorite auction site and found a new lighting kit that fits Kato passenger cars. It apparently has constant brightness (with 2 settings) and capacitors to eliminate flicker.

    Anyone heard of this or (better yet) tried it? Sounds like a very reasonable alternative to the “official” lighting kits for these cars. Has every feature I want (and none that I don’t want... I don’t want to pay for decoders with my lighting kits!)

    Here’s the product: https://www.ebay.com/itm/N-scale-int...o/133386587369

    I’m tempted to order a set to try them out...

    Thanks,

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    I was poking around on everyone’s favorite auction site and found a new lighting kit that fits Kato passenger cars. It apparently has constant brightness (with 2 settings) and capacitors to eliminate flicker.

    Anyone heard of this or (better yet) tried it? Sounds like a very reasonable alternative to the “official” lighting kits for these cars. Has every feature I want (and none that I don’t want... I don’t want to pay for decoders with my lighting kits!)

    Here’s the product: https://www.ebay.com/itm/N-scale-int...o/133386587369

    I’m tempted to order a set to try them out...

    Thanks,

    Jim
    THAT is very interesting! The price is slightly better than the official Kato set. This kit has seven units, Kato's has six, both the same price. And it has the capacity built in so no flickering due to dirty rails/wheels, which often happens when you are running at train shows.

    Also, this one does not require the clear plastic "light bar" that distributes the light across the car from one LED. One thing I don't like about the Kato one is that one end of the car is brighter than the other end. This kit seems to avoid that by spacing many LEDs and not just having a super bright one at one end.

    I wonder if the color temperature is selectable or you have to indicate that when ordering.

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    Well I went ahead and ordered. The seller asked me what type of lighting I want (I selected warm white) but then also said they were out of stock and will take 2 weeks before they ship. So - NO, the color isn’t selectable (in the sense of user-selectable. It’s hard selected.)

    And - I agree with kingmeow - cheaper, capacitors to reduce/eliminate flicker, no light bar.... if it’s good quality they’ll sell bunches of them. If for no other reason than I’ll want them for ALL my Kato passenger cars!

    Stay tuned... I’ll post a review once they arrive.

    Jim

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    Wow those do seem great and really make up for the short comings of the Kato kits
    Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Divison in 1954

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    I have a big set of kato metro trains I want to light up, this looks good.

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    I'm excited to hear your review. It sounds like you do have a choice but they are just out of stock right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Well I went ahead and ordered. The seller asked me what type of lighting I want (I selected warm white) but then also said they were out of stock and will take 2 weeks before they ship. So - NO, the color isn’t selectable (in the sense of user-selectable. It’s hard selected.)

    And - I agree with kingmeow - cheaper, capacitors to reduce/eliminate flicker, no light bar.... if it’s good quality they’ll sell bunches of them. If for no other reason than I’ll want them for ALL my Kato passenger cars!

    Stay tuned... I’ll post a review once they arrive.

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sodapop View Post
    I'm excited to hear your review. It sounds like you do have a choice but they are just out of stock right now?
    Yes, apparently the current global situation shut down their factory. They sent me an email right away explaining (and apologizing for) this, and said they are getting back up and running but it may be up to 2 weeks before they ship. Disappointed for sure, but I credit them for letting me know right away.

    With a 2 week manufacturing cycle and perhaps up to two weeks for shipping, it may be a month before I see these kits. So we’ll see; if they’re well made and have all the features they say, it’s probably worth the wait. And if not, I’m only out $45.

    AGAIN - stay tuned. I’ll publish my review when they arrive. Don’t expect to see it until June though.

    Jim

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    UPDATE: So the seller emailed me this weekend saying they’re having production issues and it will probably be a month before they ship. NOT HAPPY. They gave me the option to cancel if I want. I didn’t, because I still want to try this out. Glad they’re updating me. But frustrated because I was under the impression that these were in stock.

    I still promise to post a review once they arrive.... or to let everyone know if they don’t.

    Again... stay tuned...

    Jim

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    Same story with me too.

    Usually sellers like this sell a ton of little electronics products but this guy ONLY sells his lighting kits, yet ran out of the only product he sells and is waiting for his factory to make more? It feels like a slight red-flag but like you I'm waiting. If they do ever arrive and work though, they'll be cheaper than the kato kits, easier to install, and have built-in capacitors.

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    Jumbo: any update on these? I’ve been holding off on installing any more of the Kato lighting sets pending your review.

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    Sorry... no updates. I would be surprised if I get mine before July, given the production delays and shipping that I mentioned earlier.

    However, this will encourage me to poke at the seller for an update.

    I’ll let everyone know when I receive them.

    Jim

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    I just emailed the seller and he says that they will be back in stock in "the coming week." So hopefully, you will get yours soon.

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    I also received a reply:
    Production is almost complete and now they are doing quality control checks and everything is “ above standard at the moment.” They said they should ship this week.

    As soon as I receive them I’ll get a review up.

    Jim

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    UPDATE: I just received word from the seller that they are ready to ship! Seller asked to confirm color and that he’d send an extra set AND ship express as an apology for the delay. (Was having some doubts for a bit, but in fairness to the seller he at least stayed in communication.

    Hopefully I’ll see these in the next two weeks.

    Jim

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    Yeah I'm looking forward to the bonus lights

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    THEY HAVE ARRIVED!!

    I’ll post some observations later this evening followed by a more detailed review.

    Jim

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    OK, I have installed these lighting kits into a set of Budd passenger cars that I purchased new many years ago. Way back before Kato made complete train sets.

    Bottom line: I am very happy with the product! They provide a nice even light within the car. There are three different light levels that can be selected by a switch (but you'd have to take the unit out of the car to change the switch. So - not a trivial thing to do.) The color I chose is "warm white" which I thought would be closer to incandescent than it is; still, for the cars of mid-century that were generally lighted with fluorescent lighting the warm white work well. As far as flickering - well, it's not like it has a true "keep alive" circuit, but there's enough there for momentary drop-outs. So - no flickering, but it's not going to stay lit for several seconds when you turn the power off either; it cuts out fairly quick (but there is a noticeable delay, which is why they don't flicker.)

    I'll post a more thorough review once I do a few experiments. And - if I can figure out how to post photos I'll put some in as well.

    More to come.

    Jim

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    I was looking at these the other night. Looking forward to your photos.

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    Default Review - Part 1

    OK, I've finally found some time to post my comments on these new lighting kits. As I've already stated, I am very happy with them and will definitely buy some more.

    The company that makes them is called HKTILC and they actually have a website... I guess lighting kits is what they do. They're based in Hong Kong, and judging from the instructions (and the eBay ad that I responded to) I'm guessing they are using a translation software to translate into English.

    When the box arrived and I removed the bubble wrap, the first photo shows what I had.

    Instructions were on the back.

    The package had two sets of 7 kits. This included the printed circuit boards along with the necessary contacts. (It turned out that they included a couple extra contacts.)

    I carefully cut away the first board... turns out it wasn't really necessary; they easily break off the tab.

    Then I went ahead and installed the first kit. Installation was very easy - just slide the contacts into the slots, and then work the vertical part of the circuit board into the slot. (Unlike the Kato kits where you have to fiddle around with the diffuser and reflector and get them JUST SO so they don't fall out when you reassemble the car...)

    So far so good. Now for the tests!
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Review - Part 2 - TESTS

    Each of the kits has a TINY switch on the board that has three positions (not the two that were advertised - a bonus!) to select three light levels. All of them come set to "S" - standard. This is a medium-level light. In the center position is "L" (Low light) and the last position is "H" (any guesses as to what H stands for?)

    I have four identical (except for road number) streamlined coaches so decided to compare these all side-by-side to pick my favorite. (Three of these would get these kits, and the last I installed a (very) old Kato lighting kit that used an incandescent bulb.)

    Putting them on the track, they lit up right away (YAY - no defects!) Apologies for not including a photo comparing the three light levels; the lighting in my model train room isn't very good right now and they didn't turn out so well. So you'll have to take my word for it that the BEST choice for light level is... it depends. And I genuinely mean that. With normal ambient lighting in my model train room, HIGH was too bright; and LOW was too subtle. If the light level was lower, then I'd choose LOW. (In low light conditions it looked more realistic.) But since I don't have dimmers on any of my lights I decided that STANDARD was good enough. (I can turn some on and some off to lower the light level but not evenly across the layout.) Frankly, unless you are in a very bright room, I doubt that HIGH would make much sense. But that's just me.

    The kits were available in one of three colors - light bulb (3000K), warm white (5000K), and bright white (6000K). Mine were "warm white" which I chose because mid-century passenger cars generally were lit with fluorescent lighting. Below are two photos comparing these to a Kato kit that has an incandescent bulb (Kato on left, LED on right - one photo comparing light level of STANDARD to Kato, one comparing light level of HIGH to Kato.)

    I then put the four cars together into a train and rolled them around the layout to see how well they do with flicker. While the Kato light had noticeable flicker, the LED lights did not. (HOWEVER - the ability of the lights to stay lit with power interrupted is at best momentary. There is a noticeable delay if power is turned off before they start to dim, but it's milliseconds at best... barely able to be noticed. But I guess enough to eliminate flicker and that's all I care about.)

    In the next part I'll share some comments and a few technical details.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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