Kato problems. Anyone have it to?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by KCS, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. KCS

    KCS Member

    I bought 2 Kato SD40-2's durning the summer and got to run them for the first time today. I've never seen a Kato setup like these are. They have a copper strip running down both sides of the frame under the walk way that picks up current from the trucks. One of them only get's current when you push down on it. Anyone else have these type of Kato's with this problem who have found a way to fix it? Another thing to add is derailing. The wheels have plenty of side to side movement but no up and down movement. The trucks turn as they are supposed to clearing everything but they don't have any side to side rocking motion in the frame to compensate for the unforgiving unlevel track. They rock forward and backwards but don't rock side to side and this is a huge problem. I'm not sure if this is a new design they have but it sucks because I'm out of idea's and how to fix it. This is the first time I've ran into such a problem.
  2. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    A friend of mine has one of those locomotives. As you say, it runs fine on perfectly level track, but how many of us have that? It's going back to Kato via return mail.
  3. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    This was the first and only time Kato tried this system for electrical contacts. It didn't work, and they never repeated it. Their SD38-2 drive is identical on the outside, but has a much better electrical system.

    A short term fix is to bend the contacts from the board slightly outwards, but eventually there will be enough oxidation that you'll have to go back in there.

    The permanent fix is to solder a thin multi-strand wire from the pick-up wiper directly to the board. It's not hard to do and many have done so. If you ask on the Atlas forum, there are several threads about this and some good photos of how to do it.

    Scott Fraser
  4. KCS

    KCS Member

    Thanks Scott. See I had the guy's in our club have a look and they've never seen these before either. I guess this is why the guy I bought them from was trying to get rid of them. The club guy's said something about soldering a very small wire from the truck to the pick up bracket on the side of the motor which is soldered to the PC board on top of the motor. The thing is of how to do it because it will interfere with the underside of the walk way. I think I might be able to figure something out on this part but the biggest problem is the truck movement.

    I don't know if Kato will take these do to I'm a third hand buyer. Yesterday was the first time they have ever been run and I think I still have the warranty cards in the box's.
  5. IAIS 604

    IAIS 604 Member

    KCS -

    Ok, I just tried an Atlas forum search, and the wonderful photos of the fix in the thread I found have gone to the dreaded red X. I suggest you ask on the Atlas forum instead of searching - the person you need is:
    User Name: wnanney
    Real Name: Bill Nanney

    He has repaired several, so should be able to tell you how.

    Those that did it were 100% happy with their Katos, judging by their posts.

    Good Luck !
  6. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I'm going to leave that option open. Not use it yet but leave it open because I wrote a complaint to Kato about it. Why produce a locomotive and sell it without fully testing it's design first? It's a faulty design and they put it on the market. They should be reliable for for pulling in those products they put out because it's trash. That's a good way to loose customers. If they won't replace it or refund them as defect items or at least be curtious enough to send me new and better parts as a paying customer that I can replace them with then they can count on me never buying another item with their name on it. Why own some garbage that costs $80 bucks a pop and it not be worth anything more than a paper weight or be thrown in a trash can. We'll see what they have to say first. Better yet, as soon as I get of work tomorrow if I don't have to pull a double shift I'll call them.
  7. KCS

    KCS Member

    I contacted Kato via e-mail last night and got a fast response as to the last couple I sent took a few weeks to be replied to. The e-mail states as follows. :


    Thank you for your interest and support of our products.

    Please return both units, packed in their original boxes. Include your name,
    address, phone number and a copy of this e-mail with each unit.
    Remove any detail parts not installed, and keep those.

    Pack these boxes together in a larger box so that transit damage might be

    Insure for the replacement value.

    Send to:

    Attn: Repairs / Gilbert

    KATO USA, Inc.
    100 Remington Road
    Schaumburg, IL 60173

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    Best regards,

    Customer Service

    KATO USA, Inc.



    So the units will be replaced for free all except normal S&H. Thank's for the help guys.
  8. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

  9. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

  10. jspinner

    jspinner New Member

    Found this on fixing Kato SD40-2 pick up problems:

    First released in 1999, Kato's SD40-2 was infamous for poor running due to dodgy electrics, something of a suprise for those of us expecting Kato's legendary reliability. If you've got an SD40-2 prone to stopping suddenly, it's most likely to be because the electrical system relies on a poor system of contact strips to carry the current, and the solution is simple - hard-wire everything so it resembles a 'proper' Kato release.

    Go to this site for instructions on how to fix this problem.


  11. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

  12. jspinner

    jspinner New Member

    I also have several of these (Kato SD40-2) that I need to fix. The only problem I have is the info for the fix didn't say what gage of wire he used, any idea.

  13. KCS

    KCS Member

    Well, I'm getting to where I don't have much time because I'm always working. Plus if I spend that much money on something then I expect it to work right, right out of the box. I've never had a problem with any locomotive out of the box until I got these. I'll just let them give me new ones. Shipping and handling would be about the cost of two packs of cigarettes so I'm not really loosing anything if I stop smoking for a couple days.
  14. dsfraser

    dsfraser Member

    I don't know for sure, but I suspect something similar to the other wiring in the unit, say AWG28. HTH


Share This Page