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Thread: Kato Unitrack turnout reliability (n-scale)

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    Default Kato Unitrack turnout reliability (n-scale)

    Back in the days it was known that the Kato Unitrack #4 turnouts are not reliable and it was advised to go with the #6 turnouts (with which I never had any problems). Fast forward few years (me working with the O gauge in the meantime) is this still the case? I see there is also a Compact Electric Turnout (20-240) with 6" radius. This compact turnout is part of the layout I am looking to build but I am wondering if I should rework the track to use #6 turnouts.

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    I think #4s are ok now - but find they are best when not stacked together. By this I mean ensuring some straight track leading off all sides.
    Just another n-scaler.

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    This is another reason why I went to Tomix fine track. Their turnouts I have no issues whatsoever, even when stacking them! I have four turnouts connected with a three way and no problems with derailment or DCC issues. Here’s a great blog comparing the two.http://www.trainweb.org/tomix/track/...ck_systems.htm
    Cheers!
    Clayton

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    That's a good question. All the stuff I've read about needing to modify a Kato #4 is a decade old or so - I have no idea if Kato tweaked their manufacturing process somewhere along the line and that is no longer necessary, or if people are still encountering the same issues today. Hopefully some current Kato users will notice this thread and weight in.

    Tomix is an alternative as @MoPac said. Their standard turnout is slightly larger than a Kato #4. We talk about the frog numbers... both Kato and Tomix actually talk about them in terms of the radius of the curve made by the diverging route and the length of the turnout, so the turnout frog numbers are an approximation anyway.

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    Only turnouts with straight routes can be considered for number status. Because most model switches have a straight and curved routes giving them numbers is wrong. Even though it makes you sound like you speak Railroad. Because Unitrack has such a limited selection of turnouts, Wide and Narrow might be better names.

    As far as I know, the problem with the switches is limited to American trains, so the engineers in Japan have made no changes.
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    How about Bullet-Proof and Not-So-Bullet Proof?



    Doug
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    Any projectile larger and more powerful than a BB from a half charged air gun will cause damage.

    So will AC power or any power applied longer than a couple microseconds.

    Because Japanese layouts are almost always temporary, Kato and Tomix design and build very robust track.
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    I wondered the same thing. I recently purchased a pair of #4 switches and didn't have to modify them.

    I had a friend buy the two single crossover tracks, which uses the #4 switches, and he still had the same known derailing issues. He had to fix the crossover tracks using the notch fix in the straight rail.
    Jerry

    If you haven't broken something along the way, you haven't learned anything.

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    Isn't it easy enough to look and see if the notches are there or not? If not, Kato hasn't really done anything to them.

    Doug
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    I have some #4's and as long as you follow basic turnout rules (like don't have them immediately coming off a curve) and that you do a little work on them with a very small file (Harbor Freight has a nice selection of mini files), they seem to be ok. I'd rather use #6's, which I do on the mainline, but that's more of an appearance thing.

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    Right. They are like almost every other commercial standard switch ever made. They require a bit of tweaking to make them reliable.

    Doug
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    www.irwinsjournal.com/a1g/a1glocos/

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    It’s a hit or miss as far as reliability goes. I have over 20 Kato #4s bought at various times within the last 2 years, some will work fine and some will cause derailments. Since I haven’t permanently glued down the tracks yet, I might pull all of them out to find tune them just in case.

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