Monday, August 26, 2013

TCS Z2 in a Kato JR 117 series motor car

Well it's been quite awhile since I've posted any new installs.  It's not that I haven't been doing any, it's just that the types of installs I've been doing I had already covered.  But here's something new, how about a Japanese train.

This Kato set is typical of Japanese passenger trains.  It's a double ended train with a control car at each end and the motor is inside one of the middle cars.  So it actually takes 3 decoders to activate the head and tail lights and the motor.  In this post I'll install the decoder for the motor and will address the end cars later.

The plastic interior comes off by carefully prying off the outside tabs on each side on both ends.  Then pry the interior from the frame at the point shown in this photo to release the interior tabs.

I took a look at the decoder offered by Kato for their Japanese prototype trains but could not see how that would work with this model.  That decoder seems to be designed to use with some of the later releases that have a hatch on the bottom to install the decoder.  I settled on the TCS Z2 for this installation.

After getting the car all the way apart I was able to identify 3 possible locations that the Z2 could fit into.

A - There was room within the roof under the raised part but the wires would be very visible inside the windows.

B - There is a large pocket in the frame here but I was afraid of the decoder rubbing on the drive shaft.

C - I took the conservative approach and chose to just place the decoder inside near one of the ends.

To get the motor out, remove one of the trucks by releasing the 4 tabs as shown in this photo.  Then remove the assembly while pulling the drive shaft out from the motor.  The motor can then be removed while pulling it away from the other drive shaft.

The front and a rear ends to this car need to be established so that when we later add decoders to the end cars so the lights will be coordinated with the motion of the motor car.  To do this I referred to the instruction sheet that comes with the set.  These sheets are in Japanese but I have found the drawing shown below to be very helpful. The cars of this train are numbered 1 to 6 with the motor being in car number 3.  These types of trains are bi-directional and when they reach the end of their run, the operator walks to the control cab at the other end so there really is no front or back. For DCC purposes I like to think of car 1 as being the front.  The writing and arrows under the end cars refer to a destination.

Drawings like this one are in the instructions of each Japanese train set I have seen and are very useful in assembling your train in the correct order.

The orange and gray motor wires are cut at 2-1/2 inches.  These motors are identical to the ones in Kato's American prototype locomotives except there are no flywheels.  The brush assemblies are removed from the motor and these wires soldered to the brush caps.  Then the brush assemblies are re-installed in the motor.  The white magnet on the motor faces down.

After the decoder wires are connected to the motor brushes and the motor is re-installed, the plastic interior piece can be placed between the motor wires as shown here.  Then carefully guide the interior into place on the frame while guiding the orange and gray wires to pass through the gaps between.

The red and black wires can then be cut to the length needed to reach the exposed part of the contact strips and soldered there.  Red to the right and black to the left.  The decoder and wires are held in place with a small amount of adhesive.

Here is the completed motor car.  At a low angle the decoder should be barely visible.  To hide it further, the decoder and wires could be painted a color to match the interior.

OK, so that takes care of the motor car.  This train and ones similar to it also have end cars with both head and tail lights in each one.  that will be covered in a future post.