Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
bc6

Which one should I get Tomix or Kato Portram?

Recommended Posts

bc6

At first I wasnt really interested in the Portram's but now theyre starting to grow on me. Ive never owned any Tomix products so Im not famiar with the brand. Ive heard horror stories about some of their other trains.To a certain extent Im a hardcore Kato enthusiast but I know Kato cant make everything I want in N gauge. So my question is should I get the Tomix or Kato Portram, Im really itching to buy something for my trains.

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca

There will be big difference is in price Tomix bodies are 1,400 Yen (or cheaper), the motorized chassis 3,300 Yen (or cheaper) for the Tomytec unit. This is about $40 US through some dealers.

 

The Kato tram isn't available to pre-order yet so the price isn't etched in stone, but it probably will be 9,975 Yen (or cheaper). That's about $107 US. That will get you a full interior, head and tail lights etc. The question is how trouble free will the tiny under floor motors be? This is something new and its development will probably determine the release date. I won't be surprised if its not until spring 2010, although Kato currently says December 2009.  They have been long delayed on their releases before.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

bc6 - if the horror stories you're referring to are about the Tomix trains they probably are about the conversion from DC to DCC. (Alpine & I are probably the 2 members who have had difficultly with this conversion)

If you are running DC you'll be fine.

As Bill has noted there is a big price difference between the 2 manufactures. I've ordered 2 Tomytec trams for my layout but that track they will be running on will be DC.

Share this post


Link to post
bc6

Bernard youre right I was thinking about the horror stories you and alpine had converting some Tomix to dcc. I was also thinking about the running characteristics of the Tomix Portrams vs the Kato Portrams. From the videos that Ive seen, to tell you the truth I haven't seen enough lol it seem that the Tomix Portrams just fly. The Kato Portrams on the other hand are silk like butter at low speed which is what Im looking for in the Tomix Portram. I think bill hit the nail on the head so thats where my issues lie at.

Share this post


Link to post
Bernard

bc6 - Wait and see what the other members who have already gotten their Tomytec trams think of them. A lot of us ordered/pre-ordered them.

Share this post


Link to post
bill937ca

Bernard youre right I was thinking about the horror stories you and alpine had converting some Tomix to dcc. I was also thinking about the running characteristics of the Tomix Portrams vs the Kato Portrams. From the videos that Ive seen, to tell you the truth I haven't seen enough lol it seem that the Tomix Portrams just fly. The Kato Portrams on the other hand are silk like butter at low speed which is what Im looking for in the Tomix Portram. I think bill hit the nail on the head so thats where my issues lie at.

 

How is Kato going to put a DCC decoder in the Portram LRV and have a full interior?  This is N gauge! I suspect Kato may intent-expect this car to be DC and run on a simple loop in the background.

 

Remember that display in the videos was a professionally built display.  Kato may have adjusted the current flow with diodes in antiparallel pairs (and each pair will reduce the voltage about 0.7V) to slow the LRV down.  Great if you have the time and knowledge.  Or they could be using a Z scale power maximum 9vdc (but don't use that for your bigger trains).  Remember the small Kato power trucks are speed demons too!!!

 

Tomix is part of a very large toy company in Japan and gets a very large share of the first train market so slow speed may less of a priority. By comparsion kato seems to be focused on adults who will buy a system: power pack, ground level track, elevated viaduct track for Shinkansens and other trains, the trains themselves, the Diotown elevated train station, the whole range of Diotown products and now the Unitram system.  These people spend quite a bit of money in total. By themselves none of these product lines are really extensive.  The Diotown range seems only enough to do a small train station scene rather the city core I would like to do. I expect that the Unitram line will seem too little to many once it is released.  I believe Kato only sees it as a piece of a larger system rather something that should stand on its own. After all, the  prototype Portram is a small, very limited operation.  There are lots of other low floor LRV designs that could be modeled.

Share this post


Link to post
Martijn Meerts

What worries me most about the Kato Portram is the weight. They opted to model the entire interior, which means a tiny motor and a very light frame. A light frame means terrible running unless the track and wheels are cleaned twice a day ;)

 

Also, soldering a decoder into the Kato Portram means you'll easily see it through the windows, I doubt there's any space to hide it somewhere.

 

 

The Tomytec versions seem to have a frame with a decent amount of weight, although obviously you'll see the whole thing through the windows. As with Kato, you won't be able to hide the decoder in the Tomytec version, but since the frame is already visible, it doesn't really matter if the decoder is visible too.

 

Of course, with the Tomytec version, you'll have to somehow add your own head and tail lights.

 

 

As for the Tomix and DCC thing. I have built decoders into several Tomix trains without any noticable issues, and I won't not buy a train just because it's Tomix.

 

 

Personally, I went with the Tomytec versions. I have all 7 colours on order, 3 of them with motor.

Share this post


Link to post
alpineaustralia

I'm staying silent for fear of being seen to labour a point.

Share this post


Link to post
serenityFan

Remember that display in the videos was a professionally built display.  Kato may have adjusted the current flow with diodes in antiparallel pairs (and each pair will reduce the voltage about 0.7V) to slow the LRV down.  Great if you have the time and knowledge.  Or they could be using a Z scale power maximum 9vdc (but don't use that for your bigger trains).  Remember the small Kato power trucks are speed demons too!!!

 

This is another electronic aspect that is new to me. So if you use a reduced voltage power supply, will you get smoother low speed running?

 

As for the Tomix vs Kato: tomix is available now, kato has no confirmed release date (well they have a date, sort of). If you can't wait then just get the tomix first  :grin

Share this post


Link to post
nightshade

Have one tomix myself the power chasis takes up about 90 - 95% of the space

like how kato looks like  (but can live without the full interior) (this thing can navigate some extreme

curves ... :)  )

Share this post


Link to post
KenS

Remember that display in the videos was a professionally built display.  Kato may have adjusted the current flow with diodes in antiparallel pairs (and each pair will reduce the voltage about 0.7V) to slow the LRV down.  Great if you have the time and knowledge.  Or they could be using a Z scale power maximum 9vdc (but don't use that for your bigger trains).  Remember the small Kato power trucks are speed demons too!!!

 

This is another electronic aspect that is new to me. So if you use a reduced voltage power supply, will you get smoother low speed running?

 

I missed this when it was originally posted.

 

Tram models often use motors with a lower maximum voltage than regular trains. For example, my Tomix N-400 power pack, which came with a wide-tram rail set, puts out a maximum rated voltage of 9 volts, rather than the 12 (often 14) typical of most N-gauge model trains. And I think that's appropriate for the typical Tomix tram model (I don't own any).

 

What this means is that if you use a normal N power-pack (12V) turning it up beyond about the 3/4 mark is over-driving the motor (assuming the throttle is linear), and it's probably going way beyond scale maximum speed for the prototype.

 

And even on a 9V pack, full throttle may be much more than you want for a tram that's ambling along at 20-40 kph. For example, a Modemo tram on my pack runs at a reasonable top speed with just 1/3 throttle, and at half throttle it begins to look "too fast". 

 

At the same time, the throttle knob may be raising the voltage in small discrete steps as it is turned, and in any case very minor changes will be less smooth than they would be if you were turning the knob over a wider range.  So if you use a lower-voltage pack, or reduce the output in some reasonably linear way, you'll probably have a smoother control over acceleration and braking since you're using more of the range of the throttle knob to get the same voltage.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×