This installation documentation is for the N-scale KATO E7. This installation uses the K0D8-G decoder, 1/4-inch Kapton Tape and was performed and photographed by TCS' Dan M.
NOTE: Like many N-scale KATO installations, insulation of the track power rails from the motor contacts is necessary. Not insulating the track and motor contacts will result in a decoder burn-out! TCS recommends the use of 1/4 inch Kapton tape (TCS PN:1256) to wrap and insulate the track power rails from the motor. This insulation is a REQUIREMENT for DCC AND DC operation with a decoder.
This pre-production un-decorated model was generously provided to TCS by KATO USA
To remove the shell from the chassis, start by spreading the rear of the shell while simultaneously pulling down on the rear truck. This will release the clips on the rear which hold the shell on. Once the rear has been released, you can leverage the chassis downward to release the rest of the shell. On the engine we received, the front clips were rather tight, so it may take more force than you expect to release it. Use caution and take care when removing the shell!
The motor tab clip must be removed to release the DC board from the locomotive. Once un-clipped, slide the board forward and lift up. Note that there is a second retaining clip mid-ship which holds down the rear of the board.
Shown with the original DC board removed.
Next, the track power rails must be removed and insulated. To do this, start by lifting the center of the rails off the alignment pin. Once released from the pin, slide the entire rail forward until it is no longer held down in the rear, then slide it backward and lift out. Take care not to bend the rails during this process!
Our recommendation is to start this process by scoring the track power rails prior to removal so that you can align the tape. Cut the tape to a sharp edge, and avoid getting skin oils on the tape as much as possible. When taping the rails, wrap the tape starting at the top and moving TOWARD the motor pickup - this will prevent the tape from having any gap on the motor tab side. ONLY WRAP ONCE AROUND ending your wrap overlapping on the TOP.
Reverse the process from above to replace the rails into their original positions, now properly insulated! Note that it is good practice to press down slightly where the tape is located to make sure the rails are properly seated against the chassis and do not interfere with the decoder installation.
Bend the motor tabs outward, and place the decoder onto the chassis. Make sure that the decoder is being properly held down by the rear retaining clip. While applying some downward force, bend the motor tabs back into place and replace the motor clip. The clip will click into place, and should be flush with the board. If the clip is not properly installed, it may come loose, resulting in no motor control!
With the decoder installation complete, you may replace the shell and get on the rails!
Important Soldering Tip
Please do not use any flux either liquid or paste on the mother board. Over time, the acidic properties of liquid or paste flux will begin eating away at the fiberglass PCB and will damage it. Use only Rosin-core solder or no-clean flux approved for electronics use.
TCS recommends the use of Kester "44" Sn63 Pb37, .015" diameter Rosin-core solder. Kester part number 24-6337-0007.
You can order this solder from the following retailers:
Digikey - PN:KE1110-ND
Techni-Tool - PN:488SO6775
Other solder tips
When stripping wire, only strip a tiny little bit of the insulation. Strip no more than a 1/32 of an inch. When the wire gets tinned with solder, the insulation will shrink back more. Try to not expose any more wire than half the length of the solder pad at most. In no case should solder or exposed wire wire ever be outside the boundary of the the solder pad you are attaching a wire to.
Click here for important information on properly Stripping and Tinning wire