Sunday, October 21, 2018

Kato EF200 [3036-1] New Libery

Another version of the EF200 by Kato, same digital conversion as any other modern electric locomotive from Kato having the light board with smd led. In this post I'll focus just in the light board modification, as the rest is like explained in the previous post about another model of the EF200 (

Any small decoder can be installed under the roof, make sure to trim the decoder wires to the exact length so the decoder will be in the right position:

The first thing to do is to find the positive and negative lead of led. For that, the safest and easiest procedure in my opinion is to set the multimeter in diode testing position. When the red test lead is in the positive side and the black test lead in the negative the led will shine. If you place them in a wrong position or make a shor-circuit nothing will burn, it is a safe method to find the positive and negative terminals of the led:

The negative terminal of leds must be isolated to connect there the function wires of the decoder (white and yellow), and the positive terminals bust be rerouted to the wheel current after the resistor. For that, I did 3 cuts in the cooper tracks (see the red arrows in the photo below) and bridged two tracks (see the yellow square):

Finally, the decoder soldered in place:

And job finished!!

Kato EF200 [3018] Digitalization

I bought this second hand Kato EF200 model model in an auction. At first sight I was a little bit disappointed because it arrived without any of the accessories (couplers, horns, plates, ....), but looking it closer it had all accessories already installed and some nice and extra enhancements like front and rear hoses and details painted like the top of the pantograph and steps.

The light board was also changed, with only one led and the resistor changed to a value adjusted for analog operation:

My first idea is to use a D&H DH05 decoder, as it fits perfectly in the space under the pantograph plastic piece.

I changed the resistor by a higher one, 680 Ohm, and installed new led in each side. I had to solder them two times as the length has to be really precise to allow closing the case (in following photos you can see the exact and final shape I installed the led). I only soldered the positive lead of the led to the hole were it picks up the current after the resistor. The negative lead will be fed by the decoder function wires (white and yellow).

Remember to isolate with Kapton tape the current plates in the point were it could make contact with the motor plates. Same for any other metallic part like led terminals:

With cooper plates and light board in place, I tin the points where the decoder wires will be soldered, I cut the decoder wires to the right size and tin them, and solder the decoder in place:
  • White and yellow wires are soldered to the negative terminal of the led.
  • Orange and Grey wires are soldered to the motor cooper tabs
  • Red and Black are soldered directly to the cooper strips in the place were the light board narrows
You can see you don't need to disassemble completely the locomotive, there is no need to access directly to the motor!

The following is the final position of the led, bended 90º:

And that's the final step mounting again the locomotive, check the point where to solder the current pick up wires (red and black) as in this way you don't need to trim or sand the shell:

And the final result!

NOTE: After 5 minutes run, the Kapton tape was not properly installed and the rail current and motor wires caused a short-circuit. The decoder burned, and I replaced it by a Zimo MX616. I'm in love with this decoder!!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A Todo Tren 2018

This year we repeated the experience of organizing a train fair in the contemporary art museum Würth Museum La Rioja.

Four clubs participated in this edition:  AndeN 5, la Asociación de Amigos del Ferrocarril de La Rioja, CMFCB64, Club N Zaragoza (NZGZ) and ourselves, Club N Caldes.

For Club N Caldes was time to show new modules, doubling the length of our layout since our last exhibition. We had the Tôno Station (a 5 tracks station more than 2 meters long), the Yamadera module, the Trees Plantation and Sawmill, and a new curve. As in previous events, the organization and module disposition was carefully planned according to the museum instructions:

We all started mounting our layouts on Friday 29th, it was a hard work until darkness of night. But that allowed us to see our layouts illuminated, what is not possible during daily public exhibition:

And finally, time for the show!!! During Saturday all day and Sunday morning more than 2.000 people came to see our modules. There were plenty of children looking amazed our trains running and wishing to have one at home, we hope we inspired new hobbyists.

Being able to show our modules in the Wurth Museum is completely different from any other train fair. This is the only time I see the complete layout illuminated with natural light as the museum is a diaphanous space with glass walls to the exterior and the ceiling. Normally all exhibitions are held in closed buildings, and the rest of the year I have my modules in the garage.

You can see all the videos of our trains running in our youtube channel, here there are just some samples:

Finally, THANKS SO MUCH to all visitors who enjoyed the event, all the clubs who did the personal and financial effort to come (none of us are neither sponsored nor financed by any brand or company) and to the Würth Museum and the Würth company itself for helping and collaborating in the organization of this event. It wouldn't be possible without the help of any of them.