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KATO European Locomotives running on a USA layout

2738 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Richard Johnson
I am a teacher at a high school in North Georgia and I will be starting a model railroad club at the school next year.

Since I teach history I wanted to add some variety to the locomotives and trains I already own, so I purchased a KATO TGV THALYS 10 car set that is produced for the European market. Once I received it I put it on my little KATO uni-track test track and the THALYS power unit went around 5 times and then stopped.

I was baffled and eventually sent the power unit to KATO USA to be repaired. KATO USA sent it back and I tried it again and much to my dismay
it still travels around the track 5 times and then stops.

I am running a Digitrax Zephyr command station that is DCC, but will run non DCC locomotives - I have other KATO USA locomotives that I don't have DCC cards in and they run fine out of the box. So my question for everyone on the forum is to ask if the European electrical standards are different from the USA ones and this will prevent me from getting this locomotive to run?

I was told some years back that it is the transformer that converts the electricity and that an electrical motor is an electrical motor - is this a false statement or could it be the card that is in the European KATO TGV and it doesn't like the signal that the Digitrax Zephyr is sending it?

Any help anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated.


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Hi & welcome to MRF,

If I read your post correctly you are running the Kato unit on a DCC set up on address 0 ?

Unfortunatly, despite what the manufactures say it is really a no no, especially with the smaller motors you get with N-Gauge. Basically they do not like it & suffer from overheating - just briefly listen to the noise an analogue locomotive makes on a DCC powered track - the noise tells you its not happy at all.

You may just be "lucky" with your other analogue locomotives but I would advise against running them on DCC.

Sorry to be negative, but hope this explains at least part of the problem.
QUOTE (NorthGeorgiaUSA @ 12 Apr 2008, 20:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the response.

So are you saying that all I would need to do is drop in a DCC decoder in the locomotive and all will be well with the world?

Basically, yes - although I'm not too sure about decoder fitting to "N" - hopefully it will be an easy install - what do the instructions say ?
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