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Posted
What is the reliability of Atlas switches now that they have fixed problems they experienced with the first generation? Spoke to them at York and they feel they have solved the wiring problems. Any experience personally? Would like to move forward with a large order asap and would like feedback. Thanks to all.
 
Posts: 262 | Location: New Castle, DE., USA | Registered:: November 01, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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it doesn't matter to me whether they have or have not. i have the first generation on the layout and slowly but surely they are failing. replacing them is nearly impossible without major upheaval, so i am left to do wiring "bridges" on the working track. also a pain, but not as much.

i have one more (age friendly) layout in me. it will be ross switches for that one.


Fabulous Forrest at the Brewer Ave & Pacific RR
 
Posts: 1673 | Location: Winter Park, FL | Registered:: July 31, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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My question is, why Atlas? They are not really cheaper than Ross, and Ross mates with Atlas track without transition joiners (you just need to loosen the last tie on the Ross switch).
 
Posts: 342 | Location: Wadsworth, IL | Registered:: February 12, 2008 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Hi ogaugede,

The problems with Atlas switches have only been partially addressed. The center rail wiring across the legs has been improved, but it's still good practice to wire your track as if they were still suspect. This is especially true if you intend to run DCS (for signal purposes). The switch motors and activation buttons on the other hand are still a problem. It's best to use a capacitive discharge circuit to drive the switch motors. That will protect them from burning out. Atlas introduced a new circuit board to drive their switches at York that includes this protection. I believe they are being priced at $20@. Frankly, I think Atlas should include one of these boards with each new switch.

IMHO, none of the problems with Atlas switches are deal breakers. As long as you know how to build robustness into the system from the start they will largely be trouble free.


Dave
 
Posts: 889 | Location: Lynnwood,WA,USA | Registered:: February 22, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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i have several of the atlas newer 7.5's on my 200' loop of track and they work great for me. i have 4 sets of wires suppying power to the loop . no special wiring on the switches ,all my proto 2 engines run great .

if you use ross switches, i would use ross or gargraves on the straights and ross preformed curves. i still have a few ross switches in the yards, they are still a very smooth switch.

i had a mix of gargraves and atlas track as i was switching over to atlas . the rail and tie size difference drove me nuts.

jim
 
Posts: 410 | Location: north central-ohio | Registered:: December 30, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
The switch motors and activation buttons on the other hand are still a problem.



that is why i used z-stuff switch motors and controllers.


Fabulous Forrest at the Brewer Ave & Pacific RR
 
Posts: 1673 | Location: Winter Park, FL | Registered:: July 31, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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The difference in tie size makes mixing Ross switches with Atlas track rather unsightly.


TCA Member 04-57350
 
Posts: 466 | Location: Traverse City, MI | Registered:: June 14, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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When Atlas first announced their track system I considered what was available on the market, since I wanted to build a simple layout in my home after running a train shop for the better part of the early 1990’s.

After visiting Milburn Trains I decided on the Atlas system and invested over $2000 in track and switches. (First generation) While my story has been told on this forum before (with inaccurate comments and conclusions from fellow forum members), the fact is that after the track was put down the switches continued to fail. (The cause has also been well documented)

The continual tearing up of track and the stone walling by Atlas of a poorly designed product has left my layout unfinished. Yes, they replaced my switches when I made enough noise, but they simply replaced the first generation switches with another group of first generations switches, which ultimately failed.

I am sure their current switches are better then what I have sitting in the original boxes, however it illustrates the integrity of a company that never truthfully addressed a very poorly designed expensive product. For that reason, I have a problem with Atlas O despite their upscale presence in the O Gauge market. I am currently considering what to do with my inventory of Atlas track in 72” and 63” radius plus my Atlas switches. I am seriously considering Fastrack by Lionel given the reliable reviews I have read.

Jerry
 
Posts: 354 | Location: Chatham, NJ | Registered:: October 13, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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None of my post war engines will run across the 7.5s. I was sent a fix plate which when installed has improved the performance. I still have to run a pretty good speed to prevent stalling. Can anyone else comment on this issue? Does Atlas now make its long switches so that pw will not stall? Thanks
 
Posts: 169 | Registered:: December 15, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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The Atlas 6924 control board addresses not only the switch motor burn out problem but also adds electric non-derail to the spring loaded switch points. The board also integrates to the 6931 dwarf signal and the complete custom signal system. More importantly it also address dead spots on the switches by providing the ability to power rail sections that should increase the ability of engines to travel a switch with out stopping.

I recently purchased several O-54 switches for less than $50 and the relay board for an additional $15. (20) relay boards are on order. Some one would have to tell me if the DZ 2500 switch motor is capable of power routing with out an additional relay (DZ 1008A). The Ross Switches that I have worked on for the Fort Pitt Hi-railers had no additional wiring added to them. While the Atlas switch was suppose to simply plug together and work, the Ross Switch requires wiring work, at the least power/common lead drops done before installation.

The newer switches are wired externally on the back, the wiring was not visible on older switches. It was small wiring embedded in the plastic strip under the rail (it either failed, or did not work in the beginning). IMO the newer switch wiring could also fail. I would think it prudent to supply power and ground feeds around all Atlas switches, at least the mainline, higher amperage, switches. A small, used once in a while siding, may not require such intensity.

I am retrofitting my existing 16 switches to operate via the 6924 board and am adding 6931 dwarf lights. It is an extensive rewire but to date I have not had to lift a switch off my layout to customize it to handle electric non-derail or power routing. The hardest thing to do is provide the two small isolated ground rail sections for the electric non-derail inputs. The most recent (7) new switches that were added, easily customized to accept wiring from the 6924 board. This same work would have to be done to a Ross switch.

While the majority of my engines will work well on my layout, there are a few that can be trouble-some. A lot of the problem is the close proximity of many of the switches. My layout could be considered a switching layout. I'm anxious to get this project done just to see if there is a marked improvement.

Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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So Mike, my question is and has been for the last five years, why would anyone in their right mind pay $50, $60 or whatever for Atlas switches only to have to solder wires, drill holes, buy extra boards or whatever fixes are required to make an expensive, obviously poorly designed product function to their original design specifications? (the newer switches are wired externally on the back, the wiring was not visible on older switches. It was small wiring embedded in the plastic strip under the rail (it either failed, or did not work in the beginning). IMO the newer switch wiring could also fail) Your comments summarize my problems with Atlas, a company that has never come clean with the O Gauge community on the issues with their switches. They should have done a recall on their defective products rather than letting their Public Relations Department cover up their flawed design.
 
Posts: 354 | Location: Chatham, NJ | Registered:: October 13, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Jerry:
I hope you do well with your Ross, or Fast Track Switches Smile Smile
Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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On the new Atlas switches, the center rail jumpers on the underside of the turnout are attached with small screws. I have 5 turnouts less than a year old and have had to remove all 5 and tighten the screws. They haven't fixed the problem in my opinion - just created a different one.


TCA 07-61090

Why work when you can play with trains?
 
Posts: 234 | Location: Elkton, MD | Registered:: January 01, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by canalman:
On the new Atlas switches, the center rail jumpers on the underside of the turnout are attached with small screws. I have 5 turnouts less than a year old and have had to remove all 5 and tighten the screws. They haven't fixed the problem in my opinion - just created a different one.


Thanks canalman:
I'll tighten the screws before I complete the installation. Some of the jumpers are spot soldered on one end and screwed on the other. Some of the metal in the switch will not accept solder. Interesting, that confirms my thoughts when I first looked at the new wiring method.
Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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This whole wiring problem with Atlas switches is much ado about nothing.

Adding power drops on both ends of a switch was and is standard operational procedure for GarGraves and Ross switches. That's because they don't supply third rail power across the switch. If you want continuous power, you either have to solder jumpers across the center rail gaps or provide additional drops.

So I don't see the problem. Simply add power drops on each end and be done with it. It's a little added insurance and it's still good operational procedure. What's the big deal? If Atlas had never put in the wire, there wouldn't be any reason to complain.

Jerry, my understanding is that Steve Horvath(?)from Atlas offered to come to your layout and help you but you didn't take him up on his offer. Is that not correct?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: DennisB,
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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The Atlas switch machine is great for passive non-derailing, the best layout-top machine I've found for this. It's also very easy to throw by hand or by unpowered remote (aka "long stick of leftover basswood").

One of these days I'll pick up some of the 6924 board and hook these puppies up to the ASC3000's. 6924's seem like a prerequisite for these machines, I can't imagine hooking up without it. But I doubt I'll bother with the electric non-derailing. Who needs the hassle, when a NMRA-weighted consist works without it?

The only thing I wish the 6924's had in them is a TMCC or DCC decoder.


Cheers,
Bob
http://npfrailway.com/default.aspx
"Hauling Glory to the Dead Beat since 1996"
 
Posts: 1478 | Location: Stampede Pass, WA | Registered:: October 22, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Having worked with the new back wired O-54 switches yesterday I would suggest tha Atlas is not done redesigning the feed system for their switches. The key part that seem to be at issue is the V shaped cast piece in the middle of it all. The piece is steel, copper clad, and then blackened making it difficult if not almost imposible to solder to. On the back rewire there are screws that actually attach the wires to this pieces. The attachment is through the plastic and the actual electrical connections depends on the screw as part of the electrical circuit. With my Fluke 87III VOM I would consistantly get 50 to 60 ohms of resistant measuring through this connection. I would think poor at best.

First correction. If a mechanical attachment is to be used the ring crimp on the end of the wire should touching the metal rail and the screw should be brass.

A better correction would be if the V shaped piece was cast brass. Though I realize this would be significantly more expensive it would be much easier to deal with on a work-around in that a drop wire could be easily attached to it. If brass or nickle silver, a spot solder similar to the other attachments to the rails could be used instead of the mechanical connection. All other power rails are nickle silver and once the black material is removed easy to solder to. All other power rails also attach to other power rails in other pieces of track, leaving this middle black V to be attached to wiring with two small screws.

Atlas Input would be appreciated.

Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Dennis, that is not correct. Hypothetically if Steve Horvath came to my house what would he do, wire each switch externally as Jim Barrett instructed me to do when the problem first came up? The fact is Atlas replaced first generation switches with another batch of first generation switches, which also failed, requiring me to rip up much of the scenery and track work as I did the first time. What is generally not know is I went to their offices in Hillside twice to exchange the switches and purchase a couple of ALP44 engines + cars. There is much more to this story that is not worth repeating, the issue is simply a poor switch design that Atlas refused to acknowledge. Jerry
 
Posts: 354 | Location: Chatham, NJ | Registered:: October 13, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Wow!
I am reading this thread with great interest. The following is a tentative layout plan of an all-Atlas track layout for my attic. I have plenty of time for redesign and discussion because the attic isn't finished and probably won't get done for another year. As you can see, this layout represents a huge investment in Atlas track and switches, $4000+. There are over 50 switches.



I am probably very naïve. My current experience is solely with postwar and modern tinplate switches. However, these are the questions I have formulated so far.

1. I have a huge investment in SC-2's and ASC 3000's. Will I be able to use Atlas switches out of the box with these components?
2. If I don't get this new circuit board, what kind of operating reliability am I is limited to?

I really appreciate everyone's opinions...With a $4000+ outlay, I want out-of the box reliability and a minimal of problems!


Peter Condro
TCA 83-19115

I have York Fever all year round!
 
Posts: 5286 | Location: Richmond VA USA | Registered:: August 03, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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DennisB is correct that the wiring issue goes away if you put drops after every switch. Had I know that before I built the first phase of my platform, it would have saved me a lot of work. I had about 25 switches installed and the track ballast down before I realized what was going on. Ripping up the track to get the switches out left me with a very bad feeling about Atlas. I added drops to the track at the same time I rewired the switches (Atlas patches) and the electrical problem was solved. About 6 months ago, I added an addition to the platform with 5 more turnouts and didn't add the drops during the testing phase. Four of the switches were for side tracks and that's when I realized the new switches had the same problem as Mike CT stated. I tightened the screws and will add drops before screwing down and ballasting the track.
I have had to replace multiple switch motors because of problems caused by the manual switch. I have had several that had plastic "flash" left in them that can cause them to stick "on" and that results in a fried switch motor. I even had one that caused a short everytime it was operated in one direction. I am in the process of replacing the switch motors and switches with the DZ-2500 module as money permits.
I made the decision to stick it out with Atlas switches because they look good, fit well with the Atlas track and I have finally figured out how to patch them to make them reliable. Bobdavisnpf is correct that the passive non-derailing also works well.


TCA 07-61090

Why work when you can play with trains?
 
Posts: 234 | Location: Elkton, MD | Registered:: January 01, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Peter - I have been monitoring this forum for almost 2 years now while trying to figure out how to improve operational reliability of my layout. The Atlas track (not including the turnouts) has been great. Although Ross switches get good press, they too suffer some of the issues mentioned in the link in my previous post. Although I initially felt it was design issues at Atlas, some of the problems (#5 & #6) are common and just compatibility issues between old and new. Binding in the switch motors can be avoided if you are almost anal about keeping them level with the turnout (or use the ZW-2500 motor). Using the capacitive discharge unit will prevent burnout if you use the Atlas motor. The drops after every switch are a must. I just soldered the wire to the bottom of the first section rails after every switch but the Atlas shoe with the wire attached will work as well. I am finally at the point where things are running pretty well.


TCA 07-61090

Why work when you can play with trains?
 
Posts: 234 | Location: Elkton, MD | Registered:: January 01, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Jerry,

Nevertheless, the point is to add center rail power drops on each end of the switch as you would have to do on either GarGraves or Ross switches. Is that not what Jim Barrett also said?
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Canalman: My experience with Atlas switches is very similar to yours, as are my "fixes" and conclusions. I installed about 40 of them in the 2002--2004 time period. One by one as dead spots developed I did the extra wiring. I had a switch motor burn out due to a sticking switch control button (Atlas replaced it at no charge), and I also had a couple of other switch control buttons fail (but I had spares from controlling two switches from one controller in several places). All-in-all, it was a frustrating couple of years.
The non-electrical, non-derailing feature does work fine with just about every type of rolling stock and locos. It was just very disappointing that a top-notch company like Atlas would come out with a product with the kind of flaws discussed here many times, and essentially not admitting them.
Would I go with Atlas switches if I was starting over now? Tough call -- they look great, and the newer ones seem to have taken care of most of the early problems. I prefer having switch controllers with red/green lights, as do the Z-Stuff DZ units on Ross switches. The Atlas and Ross switches do not look good together, so if you have Atlas track you may want to go with Atlas switches. With usual mail order discounts, you generally will pay less for equivalent Atlas switches than Ross. I also have Ross switches, and their reliabilty is unbeatable.
 
Posts: 106 | Location: Bethlehem, PA | Registered:: February 13, 2008 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by canalman:
Although Ross switches get good press, they too suffer some of the issues mentioned in the link in my previous post.


I was curious about this comment - and went to the linked page. Found nothing about Ross. Do you mean they suffer from some of the same problems as Atlas - and if so - could you be more specific?
 
Posts: 845 | Location: Oakland/Mariposa, CA | Registered:: December 31, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DennisB:
Jerry,

Nevertheless, the point is to add center rail power drops on each end of the switch as you would have to do on either GarGraves or Ross switches. Is that not what Jim Barrett also said?


The point to be noted is that the center power rails of a switch would be feed from three different drops. The current wiring would still supply power to the cast V piece via two (2) mechanical connections that are IMO poor. The possibility still exist that you would loose power to this critical part of the switch even though you are doing everything to "work-around" the switch's wiring.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by CZ10:
quote:
Originally posted by canalman:
Although Ross switches get good press, they too suffer some of the issues mentioned in the link in my previous post.


I was curious about this comment - and went to the linked page. Found nothing about Ross. Do you mean they suffer from some of the same problems as Atlas - and if so - could you be more specific?


A Ross switch has to be prewired, (installing wiring that is suspect but included in the Atlas Switch) Usually this is done from the bottom before a Ross switch is installed and usually soldered. A couple of different power and common leads to sections of the switch that are isolated from the normal track flow. I really don't know if it is a problem, it is just part of properly installing a Ross or apparently in this matter an Atlas switch.

It might be better if Atlas supply their switches without the wiring we are discussing here. Add installation instruction on "how to wire" and leave it to the installer.


Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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CZ10 - A friend of mine is building a platform with Atlas track and he went with Ross switches because of the issues I have had. The larger radius turnouts allow the shoe on some cars and conventional engines to contact the center rail on Ross the same as with Atlas. If it is a coil coupler, it will uncouple each time it crosses the switch.
He also experiences the problem with the derailments when cars with the shoe "forward" cross the switches. He just picked up a bunch of new trucks at York with the shoe in the trailing edge but hasn't tried replacing them yet to see if it corrects that problem. It did for Atlas switches. Jim Barrett suggested using a Dremel tool to grind off the sharp edge of the rail and to grind a ramp on the shoe to fix this problem. I had already changed trucks so I didn't try that but it sounds like it should work for Ross as well as Atlas.


TCA 07-61090

Why work when you can play with trains?
 
Posts: 234 | Location: Elkton, MD | Registered:: January 01, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Peter Condro:
Wow!
I am reading this thread with great interest. The following is a tentative layout plan of an all-Atlas track layout for my attic. I have plenty of time for redesign and discussion because the attic isn't finished and probably won't get done for another year. As you can see, this layout represents a huge investment in Atlas track and switches, $4000+. There are over 50 switches.

Dr:
Let me assure you as my Doctor does me about my blood pressure. If you are committed to this it will get corrected.

I am probably very naïve. My current experience is solely with postwar and modern tinplate switches. However, these are the questions I have formulated so far.

1. I have a huge investment in SC-2's and ASC 3000's. Will I be able to use Atlas switches out of the box with these components?

Yes, though 50 switches would take (13 ASC) maybe a few less SC-2. You should also review currently posted installation guides for the 6924 relay board. It is designed to work with the ASC and the Atlas switch motors to inhibit burn out. It also adds features that may be advantages to your lay out.

2. If I don't get this new circuit board, what kind of operating reliability am I is limited to?

The relay board most likely increases reliability when switches are in close proximity to other switches, crosses or uncoupler sections where the center power rail is interrupted. By power routing specific dead sections of track at the right time, it increases the probability of contact to the power rail. The same kind of power routing is also discussed on the Ross website.

Switch motor reliability is also increase by the board in that it inhibits burn out by timing out power to a mommentary source before it does damage. I would hope that it also supplies 18 volts to the switch motors in that Atlas motors appear to work well at that voltage.

The reliability not address is correctable if we supply the right information to Atlas. They are a responsive company and IMO with good information make the right decisions to supply a reliable product. It is and has been a wiring problem that is correctable.

I pulled this information from another post that I had done previously on the 6924 relay board.

Atlas has additional information and wiring diagrams posted on their website for the new 6924 Universal Switch controller. From their website.


Non-derail circuit board

Universal Switch Control Board - Non-Derail Wiring Instructions

Universal Switch Control Board - Installing the “Power Routing” for Closure Rails

Installing the JP-1 Jumper and adding the Atlas 6931 dwarf signal or external panel LED's.

Adding Turnout Control Indication

Using Tortoise Switch Motors with the USCB

Click on the underlined phrases to link to the appropriate drawing.


I really appreciate everyone's opinions...With a $4000+ outlay, I want out-of the box reliability and a minimal of problems!


Best wishes on your project. I really like the layout.

Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Mike CT:
quote:
Originally posted by DennisB:
Jerry,

Nevertheless, the point is to add center rail power drops on each end of the switch as you would have to do on either GarGraves or Ross switches. Is that not what Jim Barrett also said?


The point to be noted is that the center power rails of a switch would be feed from three different drops. The current wiring would still supply power to the cast V piece via two (2) mechanical connections that are IMO poor. The possibility still exist that you would loose power to this critical part of the switch even though you are doing everything to "work-around" the switch's wiring.


Which cast piece are you talking about? Are you referring to the cast metal piece between the two inside outer rails? Mike, as far as I know, there is no connection to that cast piece on any switches. There's no reason for it to be powered. In fact, the GarGraves cast piece and, I believe, the Ross as well are plastic.

If you're talking about the center rail V piece,it only needs to be in contact with the short center rail piece leading into the switch.

Regardless, that wire would not ever be an issue if you have power drops on all sides of the switch. If you only rely on it for power across the switch to rest of the layout, then the entire power draw has to travel through that wire. This was a problem when it had to carry many amps to power a string of passenger cars or if there was a dead short.

And I repeat, feeding power to all ends of the switch is standard operating procedure for GarGraves, Ross and Atlas switches. It is not a "work around" as you put it.
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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A bit of clarification concerning the discussion and what canalman and I have refered to.

Here is a picture of the "V" in the center of the switch. This piece is steel with a copper coating and then anodized black. I have removed the black from the top of the rail. The "V" is copper in color.


Back side of a new switch out of the box. "V" is attached to external wiring on the switch with two scews top and bottom of this picture. The wire has a crimp ring well installed and the screws are installed in threaded(tapped) holes in the "V" The plastic has not been removed between the "V" and the crimp ring, conductivity is dependent on the screw.


A closer look at one of the connections.


Another view of the connection. Note the space between the screw and the crimp ring on top of the plastic.

The other connection poor at best also space between the scew and crimp ring.


Other connections are done to the nickel silver rail with spot weld/solder and seem to be well done, though still through the plastic.



The structure of the switch allows you to apply drop wires off the nickel silver track (blacken center rail) at three locations. base of the switch, through leg, and the out or wye leg. Two of the three supply power to the center "V" pictured above through exterior wiring and the connections shown above. Even if you are installing the switch as Dennis B has stated, you could still find that center "V" with out power because of poor connections. It is not attached to the stub rail at the base of the switch other than through the wiring connections shown. They need to be improved.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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On the Atlas switches I have, that 'V' piece is copper clad alumium!
This is the reason for the screw instead of solder.


Pat Zak
"Relax, Don't Worry, Have a Home Brew"
 
Posts: 1756 | Location: Illinois | Registered:: July 29, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by eZAK:
On the Atlas switches I have, that 'V' piece is copper clad alumium!
This is the reason for the screw instead of solder.


Which explains why soldering to it is not an option.
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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I've not had the conductivity and motor burnout problems. The switches are around three years old.

However, I've had problems with the throw bar linkagewear and sluggish switch movement.

We're in the process of replacing the above label switch machines with the Atlas below table machines. Thus far, the "snap" is much improved. We're cutting the linkage and boring a hole so that we can offset the hole and not have to remove the switch.

The Atlas dwarf lights don't work properly with the under table switch machine unless you remove the boards for the lights and connect to the new taps on the under table switch machine. This requires providing 12vdc, and inserting a resister. (I think it's a 1/4w 1k, but I'd need to double check.) Steve Horvath was kind enough to provide a wiring diagram.

Another advantage is that we're able to remove the diodes from the dwarf light circuits for paired switches.

Carl


Carl Heinz
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Southern California | Registered:: December 22, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Just bought 3 pairs of Atlas switches at York. Since then, I have found this thread relating problems with these switches, and , I did a search for Atlas Switches searching for a better price then the almost 70 cent per adapter retail price for Atlas to Gargraves adapters. In the course of that search, I stumbled upon a posting of seventeen pages of problems and trial and error fixes for these switches. I am sure not going to fasten these switchs down until I get answers to some questions.
1) Where and when did Jim Barrett offer his opinions on these switches?

2) I think I am hearing in some posts on the subject that Zstuff motors
can be used in place of the Atlas motors on these switches.
Is that correct?
3) Does anybody know of a cheaper source for the Atlas to Gargraves
adapters or is there another way to connect the two?

Really worried,
Please help!!!
 
Posts: 35 | Registered:: January 23, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
2) I think I am hearing in some posts on the subject that Zstuff motors
can be used in place of the Atlas motors on these switches.
Is that correct?


yes, and preferred in my opinion.


"quote:
Originally posted by eZAK:
On the Atlas switches I have, that 'V' piece is copper clad alumium!
This is the reason for the screw instead of solder.


Which explains why soldering to it is not an option."

and why would they do that??? explains why i had such a problem when one of those "v's" lost power and i tried to solder a connection to it.


Fabulous Forrest at the Brewer Ave & Pacific RR
 
Posts: 1673 | Location: Winter Park, FL | Registered:: July 31, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by taylorra:

3) Does anybody know of a cheaper source for the Atlas to Gargraves
adapters or is there another way to connect the two?

Really worried,
Please help!!!


You don't need the adapter. You can use an Atlas rail joiner if you cut off the the very bottom of the GraGraves rail to allow the rail joiner to slip on to the GarGraves track.
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
Even if you are installing the switch as Dennis B has stated, you could still find that center "V" with out power because of poor connections.


Then I would make it SOP to check those connections before installation.
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by DennisB:
quote:
Even if you are installing the switch as Dennis B has stated, you could still find that center "V" with out power because of poor connections.


Then I would make it SOP to check those connections before installation.


Which is exactly what I did. Unfortunately the screws stripped out on the first switch I worked on. The tapped holes were not in the middle of the rail, only through the flange, and I probably tightened the screw too tight stripping the threads only increasing the problem. At that point I was thinking this project needs a little more thought. Which brings us pretty close to page two of this thread. It was never my intent to bash Atlas about any of their products. I own over twenty of these switches some installed in 2002 when I first started. The majority of my power is also Atlas. Since my first purchase I have seen Atlas address problems with the track system and make changes. I would hope this thread leads to an excellent, trouble free switch product, that is already competitively priced.

Michael C. Thompson
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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quote:
It was never my intent to bash Atlas about any of their products. I own over twenty of these switches some installed in 2002 when I first started. The majority of my power is also Atlas. Since my first purchase I have seen Atlas address problems with the track system and make changes. I would hope this thread leads to an excellent, trouble free switch product, that is already competitively priced.


Mike, you have made some excellent points. My concern is with those who do bash a product the minute a problem crops up instead of trying to understand what's causing it. Atlas has beefed up their switches and, yes, there's always room for improvement. You do what I do, which is to address a potential problem before it's too late.

Dennis Brennan
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Thanks Dennis:
It has been good talking to you.
Best wishes
Mike CT
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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[quote]Adding power drops on both ends of a switch was and is standard operational procedure for GarGraves and Ross switches. That's because they don't supply third rail power across the switch. If you want continuous power, you either have to solder jumpers across the center rail gaps or provide additional drops.[/quote)

Guys,
This statement is unequivically NOT true. Our RossReady switch line come prewired with switch machine installed. The wiring BARS, yes tinplated heavy gauge steel bars, are hand SOLDERED to all appropriate rails on the switch. And we have been doing this since before Atlas came on the scene. Our manual switches, which are not pre wired (for those who want to save a some $ and do it themselves), can be ordered pre wired as well for a $5.95 charge. Ross Custom Switches, standing proudly behind our American made products. Happy railroading!


Steve
President/CEO
Ross Custom Switches
 
Posts: 446 | Location: 45 CHURCH ST NORWICH CT 06360 | Registered:: February 06, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Thank you Steve:
I apologize for any mis-information concerning Ross Switches that I may have contributed to this thread. Ross is an excellent sponsor of this forum and their input is greatly appreciated. Oops.
Mike CT

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mike CT,
 
Posts: 2603 | Location: Western PA, (Beaver Valley) | Registered:: January 18, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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I also apologize, Steve. I was thinking of your manual switches. I was not aware of The RossReady prewired switch line.

Dennis Brennan
 
Posts: 1489 | Registered:: March 04, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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