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Kiran

Kato Eurostar interior lights

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James-SNMB

I have a (very late) answer to your question. I also have a Kato Eurostar e300 (new livery) that I was hoping to someday add lighting to, and had been researching this very question in the past month when I happened to stumble on your thread. I can share everything I've learned in a lenghty reply. Buckle up.

 

Unfortunately, the short answer to your question is no. This model will not accept any of the Kato passenger car lighting modules. The intermediate cars do not have electrical pickups on the trucks. So we're out of luck on that front.

 

I was quite surprised to learn this, given that I have the Kato TGV duplex (carmillion) and ICE 4 models which both accept these lighting modules, as listed and shown in the manuals. The Eurostar manual does not mention car lighting. Hobbysearch also does not list the lighting kits as accessories for this model.

 

Strangely, some other (non-Japanese) vendors do list this lighting module as an accessory. The only conclusion that I can come to is that they've made a mistake, or Kato made different versions of this model (I doubt it. I got mine from plazajapan, for what it's worth).

 

But we're not totally out of luck if we want to light our Eurostars. Some more googling located this YouTube video: 

 

They used Rapido's easy peasy passenger car lighting, which I found here: https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/rapido-n-102021-easy-peasy-passenger-car-lighting-set/

 

The advantage is that this will provide flicker free lighting, and you turn them on and off by waving a magnet over the cars to trip the magnetic reed switch hidden inside each lighting module, so there's no external switches. The disadvantage is that it uses batteries which will have to be replaced periodically. I didn't think those batteries would last too long, and some more googling suggested that about 10 hours of operation is about all we could expect. It's not like I run the train constantly or would need the lights on all the time, bit I'm no that keen on opening up these cars every few months or so. I'm scared I'll do some damage one day, and was having enough trouble opening one car up last night (my first ever attempt, and I gave up before doing any damage. I think. I need some soft/plastic wedges to help pry it open and not do any damage. Either way, I'm going to have to figure it out to light this model, or my TGV or ICE 4, and I'm sure I will, but I'm not sure I want to make a habit of it.

 

I did some more searching on these lighting kits and found a post where someone had done some math on some alternate battery types, about halfway down the page here: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/214510/2436741.aspx

 

They calculated that the standard LR41 should give 18.5 hours (not the 10 I had previously thought) and the battery holders would also accept SR41 batteries which should last 27.5 hours. They also note that SR45 batteries would last an impressive 40.75 hours, but would take some minor modifications to the stock battery holders (I'm not convinced I have those skills yet). Still, even the SR41 would probably lead to me only needing to change the batteries once a year.

 

That's what I found so far for off the shelf solutions, but we could always try some other more custom options.

 

Sticking with a battery powered solution, we could pick up our own latching magnetic reed switches, like these, https://www.layouts4u.net/electrical-items/switches/latching-reed-switch, use an led light strip and try a larger battery. But I'm not sure how much success we would have trying to shoehorn in a larger battery and still keep it hidden, so I don't think this is much better (or any cheaper) than Rapido's product.

 

I have read where people have wired their passenger cars together somehow and powered them from a single source. There ought to be plenty of room in the dummy end unit to stuff some batteries. Alternatively, we could try to figure out how to connect it to the headlight/twilight module and then we'd be running off track power. Throw in a capacitor to manage the flicker, and this might be a pretty good solution. However, I haven't seen a lot of clear examples on how to run wires between cars, and keep them hidden. Then there's the matter of disconnecting the cars, which now also requires disconnecting a wire somehow, although I'm sure there are tiny wiring connectors out there that we could try. (I leave my train assembles on the track at all times, so it wouldn't something I would have to do much, if ever).

 

So I would like to see more details on this type of solution before I went down that road, but I haven't got that far in my research. I fear it would involve drilling tiny holes into the ends of each car, which is somewhat heartbreaking on such a nicely constructed module. And there doesn't look like there's much room to hide wires.

 

I'm not sure how we could modify or replace the existing trucks to give each car electrical pickup to use, but that would be another potential options, and then maybe we could make the Kato lighting kits work. But that seems unlikely to be practical.

 

I think that's all I could come up with. Hopefully that's useful to you or someone else (or for myself to reference when I finally get around to lighting this train someday). I see the Rapido's option with the SR41 battery (or trying to modify for the SR45) as being the simplest (and therefore best) option for now, but the ability of being to use track power would be tempting, so I may consider wiring the cars together if I can figure it out. That would be too advanced for me at the moment, so I would build my skills for a few (many?) years before attempting something like that.

 

But it's been almost 5 months since your post. Did you find a solution? Do you have any other ideas other than what I listed above? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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