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Webskipper

Kato Unitram Layout

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Webskipper

Hey Unitram fans!

 

I'd like to make my Holiday Portram layout into a permanent one.  Too cool to put away. Already ordered a White Centram.

 

I used Unitrak 20-170 8.5" Radius curves, regular straights, bumpers, single catenary poles, a long engine house, and soldered up an auto-reverser.

 

Catch is that the bar counter is only 11 inches wide. So I was limited to a winding single track plan.

 

Can I get some measurements on the Unitram tracks, and plates?

 

I can create 360 degree turns or reverse Loop(s) so the Trams can stay in motion. Or I can terminate the Unitram tracks with bumpers and use auto-reversing modules.

 

I'm just looking add a realistic Tram Track along the L Shaped counter.

 

Also, what is the difference between the V50 and Starter set without the Tram and power pack? Is the Accessory Kit the same in each kit?

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IST

As far as I know (and how I see the information about the V50 product in Plaza Japan's webshop), the difference between the starter set and the V50 is only the tram and the powerpack which can not found in the V50. So the accesory kit should be the same in each kit. But I do not have the V50, so this is not for sure.

What data do interest you about the tracks and plates?

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David

The starter is a big box containing a red portram in a jewel case, a power pack and adapter, and a big green box with all the track and accessory parts - the green box is exactly the same box you get in the V50 package, so everything in the V50 is in the starter.

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Webskipper

What data do interest you about the tracks and plates?

 

Thanks Ist. I read your thread about Tram.  Good Thread.

 

I have seen pictures of the kits but, need more information. Looking for individual dimensions on the plates.

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KenS

See the attached, which came from the bottom of this Diotown page on Kato's Japanese website for the size of the building sites.

 

The 124mm straight section without the track (as seen on the right side of diagram) is 185mm from the edge adjacent to the track to the far side (although that dimension seems wrong given the others, and should be 186mm, I measured it twice; I think the extra mm comes from gaps between plates).

The 124mm length of track that clips to these is 62mm wide.

The corner (with track) seen lower left is 248mm square.  It's actually built-up of several sub-parts, which you can see in the photo: two irregular track parts, the little square on the corner, and the odd-shaped building/street part.

 

All plates are about 7mm thick, but where the clips that hold them together go they can be more like 8mm because the clips don't always sit flat.

 

The straight track section has what looks like 12.5mm outside the outer rail (and has been said elsewhere the track centers are 25mm).

 

Each side of straight street (two lanes plus drains, not counting sidewalk) is exactly 50mm (each lane is about 23mm between the lines). That leaves 23mm for the sidewalk.

 

Note: the 23mm lane is a scale 3.45m, which is huge for Japan.  The older Tokyo expressways were built with 3.25m lanes (although some newer ones are larger, up to 3.5m).  Typical widths for major roads appear to go down to about 3m although the range I found in some document was 3 - 3.5m, so the plate isn't "wrong", just atypical.

 

Although I bought these to use with my tram line, I had elctrical continuity problems. Either the joiners just weren't working well, or my Modemo trams were having contact problems on one curve (but not others). So I abandoned that plan and decided to use ordinary track (Tomix) and likely build my own grade crossings where needed (I'm not doing in-street tram lines).

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to2leo

I have electrical pickup problem with my Modemo, Bawa and even Kato trams.  Aside from Kato's LRV, it looks like all other brands have electrical problem.

 

I wonder if anyone have a solution for this?

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Webskipper

I picked up a V50 set today.  Lots of room for creativity, just a small layout.

 

Corner Plate: 9.75 X 9.75 inches

 

Track Plate: 2.5 X 4.875 inches

 

Waiting on a quote for 4 of the V54 Expansion Sets. Then it'll fit the bar counter nicely. Already rebuilt the Long Engine House 23-300 to accommodate the Unitram 33mm track spacing. The engine house doubles as a dust cover so I can avoid handling the Trams.

 

Didn't do any testing so I'd expect the same results as you found.  Either the feeder piece is loose or the track joiners are.

 

Do a continuity check on one piece of track to make sure that the feeder is tight. Looks like there is room to use your own copper wire and curl it backwards for a tensioned contact rather than rely on the "spikes".

 

Ok, they tease you with the pictures of the Lighted Tram Station.  http://www.katomodels.com/product/images/tlr0600/tlr0600_v_2.jpg

 

What do we need here? 3mm LEDs?

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Webskipper

My hobby store said that Kato said the Western Unitram sets will be released "later" this year.

 

All they really need to do is remove the arrows and add an arrow decal sheet.

 

maybe the prices and the rest of the Unitram track and Diotown will be available in the US "later" as well.

 

Ordered 4 sets of Unitram Expansion track V54 today.

 

Huge wishlist of trees, shrubbery, flowers, characters, scenery pieces, and vehicles building up.

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cteno4

Webskipper,

 

there are lots of led options out there. smaller surface mount leds (smd) give better, smaller spots of light more like individual lights in rooms so you dont end up glowing the whole building with a larger led. you can get these as loose ones down to like 1mm square if you are into micro soldering or larger that are easier to handle and also get them prewired with short leads on them. There are also led strips where you can just feed the strip 12-16v dc to run them (you can usually cut these down into sections of 3 leds each). easy to get small quantities of all of these from http://www.trainaidsa.com or go on ebay to find some bulk distributors.

 

there are a number of threads where folks have discussed lighting structures with leds here on the forum like

 

http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,3788.0.html

 

fiber optics is another solution to do little point lights where you want something tiny and specific. the plastic stuff is cheap and easy to use (dont use the glass stuff unless you want to have glass slivers in your fingers!)

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

Sweet but how do you connect them to the 12v tracks?

 

I can sacrifice a Unitram or Unitrack connector to feed them wherever needed rather than a million feet of wire.

 

Thinking the SMD LEDs - Prewired 3528 will be the choice.

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cteno4

webskipper,

 

i would just run a separate lighting bus wire for lighting and then connect your structure lighting from that, its not that much wire and the led lighting is pretty low amperage. if you plan on running dcc on the unitram then you could run it off the track power, but i would split them as to not do anything to cause any problems with the dcc signals. if you are not running dcc then you will need a constant voltage supply for the building leds so you cant use track power.

 

another thread here on connecting ideas for buildings for lighting

 

http://www.jnsforum.com/index.php/topic,3983.0.html

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

I bet Kato just used a single passenger car lighting kit.

 

That explains the reflective strip on the roof of the Tram station. Feeds right off the track potential.

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cteno4

webskipper,

 

which page did you see the lighted platform on? your image links is not working.

 

curious to see what they may have done.

 

problem with using track power is that when the tram is not running the lights are out!

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

Which link Jeff?

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KenS

I think he means the link for the "lighted station", which doesn't work.  Kato doesn't always let you link to images on their site.  Did you mean the lighted tram station that appears about halfway down this page:

 

http://www.katomodels.com/n/tlr0600/

 

The caption says "Standard interior light", but from the text elsewhere on the page I think that's a reference to the interior lighting of the tram, not the station. I suspect the lighted tram stop is custom, not a standard part.  But perhaps they have plans to add a light to it later.

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bill937ca

I think he means the link for the "lighted station", which doesn't work.  Kato doesn't always let you link to images on their site.  Did you mean the lighted tram station that appears about halfway down this page:

 

http://www.katomodels.com/n/tlr0600/

 

The caption says "Standard interior light", but from the text elsewhere on the page I think that's a reference to the interior lighting of the tram, not the station. I suspect the lighted tram stop is custom, not a standard part.  But perhaps they have plans to add a light to it later.

 

I think the light on the lighted tram station might be coming from the tram.  You get a similar effect in a subway when the station lights are out and a train enters the darkened station with its interior lights on. The light moves along the platform with the train and lights up the whole platform.

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cteno4

Ken,

 

thanks for finding the photo. hmm does look like a couple of lights there on the roof of the platform, but could be from the light of the tram, hard to tell. perhaps just a couple of leds in the roof.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Webskipper

Clearly 2 amber LEDs.  Look at the shadows. The lamp over the lady with the bags is almost 12 o'clock. Nice job hiding the wires.

 

Doesn't Kato make lighted accessories like lamp posts, etc?

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cteno4

yah youre right on the shadows.

 

nope i dont think they make any lighted street lights. they do have a lighting kit for structures which i think is just an led lamp and a plug to fit into the hole of the bottom of the structure.

 

i think this may have been done custom for the shoot to show off the car lighting (something that modemo trams dont have!)

 

cheers

 

jeff

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bill937ca

i think this may have been done custom for the shoot to show off the car lighting (something that modemo trams dont have!)

 

It might have been added for display at JAM or to enhance the photo shoot. Kato makes two tram stops.  If they had lights the price would be higher.

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10123778

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/image/10123778a/20/1

 

http://www.1999.co.jp/eng/10028410

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Webskipper

Thanks. My second Tram Stop is on its way with the Silver Tram.  Looks like Miniatronics is the closest winner to match my modern theme.

 

Didn't see the structure lighting kit. Kato USA is still plagued by the E.D. ads even after their brief server downtime.

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leon

As I understand are the Kato tramrails superior to the Tomix rails. I purchased the Kato tram startset and the quality of the track is perfect. On pictures I notice that Tomix rail looks less perfect.

 

However: Tomix understands modeltram fans. We need only street track in N-scale. Embedding is easy, we do not need the very expensive extensions that Kato delivers anno 2011.

 

When do we get the compromise?

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brill27mcb

As I understand are the Kato tramrails superior to the Tomix rails. I purchased the Kato tram startset and the quality of the track is perfect. On pictures I notice that Tomix rail looks less perfect.

 

However: Tomix understands modeltram fans. We need only street track in N-scale. Embedding is easy, we do not need the very expensive extensions that Kato delivers anno 2011.

 

When do we get the compromise?

 

I have no issues with the quality of Tomix Wide Tram track, especially now that it is pre-made. It it well made and is far more flexible than the Kato Unitram plates for building something more complex than a basic loop or some variation of one. The Kato Unitram is a better-modeled track, with painted surfaces, and you get not just the two tracks, but four traffic lanes, sidewalks and surface area for buildings. If you are modeling Japan and want something that looks good and is super easy straight from the box, Unitram does very well. Beyond that (single track, non-urban, more complex layout or multiple routes, for example), I think Tomix offers the better choice. Luckily for us all, these two companies are now in a tramway competition of sorts, and hopefully that means further good products from both lie ahead!

 

Rich K.

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bill937ca

As I understand are the Kato tramrails superior to the Tomix rails. I purchased the Kato tram startset and the quality of the track is perfect. On pictures I notice that Tomix rail looks less perfect.

 

Tomix offers a far wider range of track items than Kato.  Kato has never offered a tight radius switch for railroad applications let alone trams. Junctions are major activity centers on tram networks which Unitram doesn't do. At least Tomix offers tight radius switches and crossovers. I really don't think Kato rails are at all superior, it just represents a more sterile form of urban environment. Kato restricts trams to roundy, roundy all day long.

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leon

Thanx Rich,

 

I'm a newbie here, want to create a modeltramway in N. What I mean is that the rail itself of Kato seems better composed (see attachmant of Tomix).

I have also a question: do Kato trams run properly on Tomix rails v.v.?

 

Best regards, Leon

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