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Khaul

Kato Standard SX power pack

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Khaul

I am trying to find information in the forums about the newish Kato SX power pack. There are a few mentions in the Kato new releases thread, but all in all the information is disperse and not easy to find with the search function.

 

Alright, for what I have read this is a PWM pack and like the equivalent Tomix packs it is possible for trains to remain stationary but with the lights on. That's interesting. I may want to get one. Now, the problem is that a wall wart needs to be purchased separately. The one needed for N provides 13.5V DC and 2.2A, I think. That rules out the Kato S adapter which gives AC.

 

Here there are some questions:

 

-does the Kato wall wart for the SX work in the 100-240V range?

-is it a balanced or unbalanced? I guess the power pack is built in a way in can deal with fluctuations, but who knows...

-if unbalanced then I could get a cheap one in ebay for about $7 that already comes with the Australian plug. Does that look like a good idea?

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Pablo

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kvp
5 hours ago, Khaul said:

Here there are some questions:

-does the Kato wall wart for the SX work in the 100-240V range?

-is it a balanced or unbalanced? I guess the power pack is built in a way in can deal with fluctuations, but who knows...

-if unbalanced then I could get a cheap one in ebay for about $7 that already comes with the Australian plug. Does that look like a good idea?

It's pretty much a standard switching mode power supply. This means it has a set output voltage and tries to maintain it regardless of the input voltage and the load as long as both stay within the design limits. The tricky part might be to get a 3rd party one that has a 13.5V output. The Kato power pack might or might not work with lower voltages. I'm pretty sure it will run with a 14V to 17V input, but it looks like it needs at least a bit more than it outputs. (13.5V in for 12V out and 17V in for 16V out) If you use your own, just make sure it's limited to a maximum of 2.2A current as the original packs.

 

ps: It might even work with 12V DC, but the maximal track voltage will be less than that and some accessories may not work. Getting a 14V DC 2A wall wart should be good for N scale. Just check the plug polarity before use!

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Yavianice
Posted (edited)

@Khaul I own 2 of the SX power packs. Even made a comparison video on Youtube of the S and SX for interior lighting. The wall plug is US, but 100-240V compatible.

Edited by Yavianice
fixed tag
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Khaul

Excellent, thanks Yavianice!

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Drunkenclam
Posted (edited)

It should have printed on the front the safe input voltage range

Most as standard are 100-240 But good idea to check.

Edited by Drunkenclam

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Khaul

I have just received the SX power pack. I tested it with almost all my rolling stock. These are my impressions:

 

-It works in a way similar to my other PWM power pack, a Tomix N-1001-CL

-trains seem to start is a smoother with the Kato SX. In particular my Kato C11 never worked very well with the Tomix controller but it runs wonderfully with the SX, even at walking speed. I am impressed. The Tomix 115-300 also runs very well. Not only the interior lights but also the headlights are lit when stationary.

-in the minus side most of the Kato trains make a little buzzing sound when stationary when the lights on.

 

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Yavianice
1 hour ago, Khaul said:

-in the minus side most of the Kato trains make a little buzzing sound when stationary when the lights on.

It's not as bad for me as it is for Tomix trains, those buzz more. I really like my Power Pack SX until I found out about it making my TGVs narcoleptic, which I reported to KATO. Will report back when I hear back from them

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kvp

Warning: If you can hear the trains buzz, it's a low frequency PWM drive. That could overheat and seriously damage coreless motors. Do not run coreless motors with a low frequency PWM signal!

 

On the other hand Tomix CL packs are higher frequency (above 22kHz) and mostly safe for every train motor, except low voltage (usually 3V or 5V) micromotors that can't tolerate 12V PWM at all.

 

ps: the buzzing could be a sideeffect of an unfiltered (semi DC) 3rd party power pack used with the Kato SX controller, that could be fixed by adding parallel filter capacitors between the power pack and the Kato controller (may need a series current limiting coil before the caps if they are very large). A smoothed DC pack would be better though.

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Yavianice

When my trains buzz (only some of them do) it's only when driving very slowly/virtually stationary. When driving slightly faster, the buzzing stops.

 

@kvp I only use all official KATO products, including power packs, tracks, cords, splitters, PSU etc.

 

ps: the buzzing could be a sideeffect of an unfiltered (semi DC) 3rd party power pack used with the Kato SX controller, that could be fixed by adding parallel filter capacitors between the power pack and the Kato controller (may need a series current limiting coil before the caps if they are very large). A smoothed DC pack would be better though.

Edited by Yavianice

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kvp
6 hours ago, Yavianice said:

When my trains buzz (only some of them do) it's only when driving very slowly/virtually stationary. When driving slightly faster, the buzzing stops.

 

@kvp I only use all official KATO products, including power packs, tracks, cords, splitters, PSU etc.

 

Slow and stationary buzzing means an audible drive frequency which is bad. On the other hand, a PWM drive is essentially pure flat DC at 100%, regardless of the frequency, so should be always silent. Your system seem to operate normally for a low frequency PWM system, but imho you should not use a system like that for coreless and similarly sensitive motors.

 

The strange thing is that according to multiple sources, the Kato SX pack should be using a 105 kHz PWM drive signal, which sould be completly inaudible and safe.

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Khaul

I have been googling about problems with the SX using Japanese words for "buzz" and found virtually nothing. No evidence of fried motors or problems with coreless ones. As I said my only model with a coreless motor, the Kato C11, runs like a dream with the SX and there is no buzzing at all. If the SX works at such high frequency, could the buzzing be cause by a harmonic?

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kvp
3 hours ago, Khaul said:

I have been googling about problems with the SX using Japanese words for "buzz" and found virtually nothing. No evidence of fried motors or problems with coreless ones. As I said my only model with a coreless motor, the Kato C11, runs like a dream with the SX and there is no buzzing at all. If the SX works at such high frequency, could the buzzing be cause by a harmonic?

Harmonics are up from the base frequency and not down. If the motor cars have chokes (current limiting coils) in them, that would be a bad thing though. Afaik Kato only used a filter cap in the past and Tomix has no such thing at all because of CL compatibility. Both should be safe.

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kvp

A bit of a new info, the sound seems to be around 1.5 kHz and its harmonics. This seems like a mechanical vibration issue or a motor car specific interference. Mechanical vibration could happen if the PWM drive frequency could vibrate the drivetrain at an even multiply of its harmonic frequency and the torque is not yet enough to make it move.

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cteno4

Where did the info come from and that it’s at 1.5khz?

 

jeff

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kvp
2 hours ago, cteno4 said:

Where did the info come from and that it’s at 1.5khz?

I fed the recorded video into a spectrum analyzer. Strong line around 1.5 and slightly weaker at double. Then the train starts moving and the lines turn into clouds centered around the two frequencies. Looks like vibration or interference to me.

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cteno4

Cool, makes sense it’s mechanical vibration. Just why is the 105k pulses causing it at 1/70 the frequency in the mechanical.

 

jeff

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Khaul
42 minutes ago, kvp said:

I fed the recorded video into a spectrum analyzer. Strong line around 1.5 and slightly weaker at double. Then the train starts moving and the lines turn into clouds centered around the two frequencies. Looks like vibration or interference to me.

 

So nothing to worry about then?

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Khaul
1 minute ago, cteno4 said:

Cool, makes sense it’s mechanical vibration. Just why is the 105k pulses causing it at 1/70 the frequency in the mechanical.

 

jeff

 

Resonance perhaps?

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chadbag
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

Cool, makes sense it’s mechanical vibration. Just why is the 105k pulses causing it at 1/70 the frequency in the mechanical.

 

 

There is a reason kvp has his own bat signal 🙂

 

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cteno4

Yes it’s resonance in the mech and or shell that’s producing the 1.5k sound. Question is how is it getting to 1.5k from 105k pwm cycles if that is the cause.

 

Makes it with the shell off, right? I’ve had running vibrations in locos that you only hear with the shell on resonating and acting as a speaker diagram.

 

jeff

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Khaul

I have solved some horrible noises by adding rubber band pieces to the motor mount. I’ll do some experimentation with and without shell to see if I can find how to cancel this vibration.

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Yavianice

So, as I mentioned in my Narcoleptic TGV thread, KATO casually mentioned that I should have been using a noise canceler to run european trains. I thought it was only necessary when trains are operated with a sound box. How nice of them.

 

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10507786

 

Could this thing not have been included in the first place with every kato power pack sx? what would be the reason they did not?

 

Also fun how this item is not stocked in european train shops as far as I can tell. Great!

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kvp
1 hour ago, Yavianice said:

So, as I mentioned in my Narcoleptic TGV thread, KATO casually mentioned that I should have been using a noise canceler to run european trains. I thought it was only necessary when trains are operated with a sound box. How nice of them.

https://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10507786

Could this thing not have been included in the first place with every kato power pack sx? what would be the reason they did not?

Also fun how this item is not stocked in european train shops as far as I can tell. Great!

This disables the CL functionality and filters out most of the PWM signal into a flat DC voltage. Essentially you loose the constant lighting and the slow speed capabilities that comes with using a PWM drive signal. In theory this should only be used with old european trains that otherwise could not be run with high frequency using DCC decoders. (there is a low frequency PWM option just for these old motors in many decoders) I'm pretty sure this isn't the right solution as these trains should be DCC friendly if not fully DCC ready.

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Yavianice

Well, that's what KATO Japan said when I showed them this post. And their official website (found here http://www.katomodels.com/hobbycenter/product/kato/000775.php) of the product also points to using it with European vehicles from KATO. I find it too bizarre. 

 

To be honest, I am starting to think someone at KATO messed up, realised it when the KATO Power Pack was already in production, and then quickly produced this. As the plug adapter is CE 100-240V, it is - unbelievable - to me that they would have not taken into account that all their European models, even the ones for the japanese market in traditional green KATO sleeves, are not compatible with what they said is the replacement of the KATO Power Pack S.

 

Oh and in case anyone is wondering, yes I did point out to KATO Japan that I do not use a soundbox.

 

Edited by Yavianice
some more clarification

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kvp
3 hours ago, Yavianice said:

To be honest, I am starting to think someone at KATO messed up, realised it when the KATO Power Pack was already in production, and then quickly produced this. As the plug adapter is CE 100-240V, it is - unbelievable - to me that they would have not taken into account that all their European models, even the ones for the japanese market in traditional green KATO sleeves, are not compatible with what they said is the replacement of the KATO Power Pack S.

Oh and in case anyone is wondering, yes I did point out to KATO Japan that I do not use a soundbox.

To be fair it looks like some kind of mandatory filtering was added that causes this side effect. Most european Kato trains are DCC ready and you remove the filter circuit with the analog plug during DCC installation. The output of the new pack is similar to a DCC decoder's motor output. The difference is that the analog plug and the filter is still there in analog mode.

 

Considering that some of the japanese trains also have some problems, this might be a design issue. Especially if it's dependent on auxiliary loads (like car lights).

 

Imho it doesn't really matter which Kato PWM throttle you use, the sound pack, the sx or the bluetooth one, all of them are PWM. The old pack was smooth linear DC, as simple as you can get.

 

It would be interesting to see the signal difference between Kato and Tomix PWM/CL packs. (like push-pull PWM drive signals versus chopped ones)

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