Critique of Kato DPDT Switch #24-832

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by pikeyser, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. pikeyser

    pikeyser New Member

    Hello Forum Members,
    Please allow me to share my experiences using the Kato Double Pole Double Throw Center Off electrical switch that can be used to wire a Reverse Loop into an N-scale track plan. I am writing about Kato Model #24-832.

    Because my N-scale track plan is layed out using Kato Unitrack, I thought that there would be an advantage using the Kato DPDT product to change the polarity of the Direct Current powering the track.

    I bought three Kato Model 24-832 switches, each costing $3.25. The almost square switch measures about an inch on each side. It is approximately 5/16th of an inch thick. The toggle that allows you to direct the current is an additional 1/4 inch, bringing the total height of the switch to about 9/16th of an inch. The switch comes with two screws and no instructions. Kato uses color coding, white and blue, to help the user wire the product.

    The wires are attached using compression contact connectors. On top of each contact is a raised button that must be compressed to allign two expanding metal holes that will accept 20 or 22 guage wire. These compression buttons must be pushed using the tip of an awl or tooth pick. This process is awkward.

    I wired one switch and installed it into my layout just to see if I had everything wired correctly. At this point I was not concerned with the Reverse Loop configuration. I wanted to see how the switch operated. It seemed to work. The initial position allowed the trains to run in one direction. The center off position stopped the trains; and, the other toggle position allowed the trains to run in the opposite direction.

    Everything seemed right, so I wired and installed the other two switches in the appropriate places in the Reverse Loop. I could not successfully run any of the Kato Locomotives through this portion of the track without losing power. I learned that I could wiggle the wires in certain Kato switches to get the trains to move. Then it occurred to me that I was dealing with a situation of inconsistent or intermittant continuity within the switches. Although I had screwed the switches to a board, I tried to stabilize the wiring. But nothing worked. Nothing improved the situation. I worked with these switches for about a week...a total waste of time.

    I went to Radio Shack and bought three Double Pole Double Throw Center Off, Model #275-653, switches, for $3.99 each. I also bought a Project Box, 6 inches x 3 inches x 2 inches, Model #270-1805, for $3.79. I wired the switches according to, "Your Guide To Easy Model Railroad Wiring", by Andy Sperandeo, published by Kalmbach Books, Waukesha, WI 53187-1612, Book # 12093. I mounted the switches in the Project Box and mounted the box on a board. Everything worked. I got the book from the library.

    I used 18 guage wire within the switches and going from the power pack to the terminal strips. Kato uses mostly 20 or 22 guage wire in their feeder wires.

    Atlas also has a Double Pole Double Throw Center Off switch, Model #220. I have seen this switch used successfully by N-scale modelers. I have also seen the Radio Shack equivalent used successfully to change the polarity of the track.

    The Radio Shack product seems to be more heavy duty allowing greater reliability and significantly greater longevity of the product. I hope this was helpful. Paul

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