Wiring with Kato Connectors

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As you know if you've read my article on integrated roadbed track, I am a big fan of Kato Unitrack. Unlike most manufacturers, Kato actually uses electrical connectors to hook up their Unitrack to their powerpacks. They sell both feeder tracks and Unijoiner sets wired with connectors that mate to a complementary one on their power packs. They use the same connectors for wiring their turnouts as well. While some wiring accessories with these connectors are available from Kato, if you're like me there may come a time when you need to do some of your own custom wiring. Many people just cut off the supplied connectors. But I prefer to use these connectors for all of my track and switch wiring. If you'd like to do this too, here is what you need to know.

These connectors are not proprietary to Kato, but they are most commonly used in radio controlled hobby applications. The connectors Kato uses are called Mini Tamiya/Kyosho connectors. The tamiya connector is the female housing with male pins. The kyosho is the male connector with female pins and the clip tab that holds it to the tamiya connector. Kato uses these connectors with 22 gauge blue/white pair for track power, red/black pair for turnout switching.

These connectors can be obtained from Maxx Products. A kit with housings and pins for one tamiya and one koyosho connector sells for $1.50 at the time of this writing. It is part no. 2913. Individual tamiya and koysho connector housings and pins sell for $1.00 each. The tamiya is part no. 2917 and the koyosho is part no. 2914. These require a standard molex type crimp tool capable of crimping .062" diameter pins, such as the GC/Waldorm W-HT-1921.

When using these connectors you need to be aware that the pins are not standard .062" pins. Although you use a standard crimper, the .062" pins themselves are slightly larger than those supplied with the mini tamiya/koyosho connectors and won't fit properly if you use them to replace any of the pins that come with the connector housings. Ironically, Maxx Products does not sell the pins separately, so you need to crimp carefully.

I have used these connectors to make adapters for connecting my Digitrax Zephyr to standard Kato feeder cables and also in making similar adapters for connecting Kato turnouts to Digitrax DS64 stationary decoder turnout controllers and am very pleased with the results.