We received our allotment of the Kato HO SD80/90 Mac this morning and began evaluating and testing decoder options. After smoking a decoder we traced the cause to short between the RH motor brush lead and the trace on the loco circuit bd that conveys RH wheel pick-up. If the RH motor brush lead is not cut short enough when assembled at the factory, it overlaps the RH pick-up trace and shorts. This is remedied by simply trimming the RH motor brush lead shorter to prevent overlap. The problem does not occur in DC operation because the leads are intended to be shorted by the DC jumper plugs.
There is plenty of room for decoder installation, the TTE/RS2 is the cleanest with a direct plug in, no wires. Other conventional decoders with the NMRA harness and plug will also work. If you want to implement alternating “Ditch Lites” be sure to select a 4 function decoder.
For sound, the Soundtraxx DSD150 series with the NMRA harness and plug fits nicely and will operate alternating “Ditch Lites”. We are evaluating speaker options.
The loco is consistent with Kato’s fine detail and smooth running.
Since this is a limited release, order soon or wait till the next issue.