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Posted
As a long time reader and lurker on this board, I have not made many contributions, but I enjoy and learn so much from the many contributers. And now I have a point to make - just letting off steam, I guess.
Recently I expanded my layout and put in an Atlas curved switch (72 and 54) because it served my purpose in as much as the width of my table is only 60 inches. I anticipated some enjoyment and satisfaction from running trains through the switch, but that is not what I got. The front wheels of my steamers shuttered and jumped off the track when using the 54 R of the switch. It is not a sometime problem, but an always problem. The switch looks great, but shouldn't the switch do more than look great. If I file down the points or make some tother adjustment, it will probably work. BUt my point is, why should I have to do this? For the price of the switch, shouldn't the manufacturere do this before the consumer buys it? Why must I make the adjustment? And the instructiokns to the switch are no better because they tell the consumer that trains will have trouble running through the switch due to its length. As the kids say, what's with that? Nothing will come of this note, but I feel better letting off some steam. Continue posting, guys. Folks like me enjoy reading the contributions
 
Posts: 18 | Location: new york | Registered:: February 10, 2002Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of NYC Fan
Posted
I feel your pain! Atlas switches, for those of us who invested in them, are disconcerting to say the least. And my real beef is that Atlas O will do nothing about the crummy switches they sold until they fail...and apparently they will fail...and by that time they have already been installed and/or ballasted into a layout and have to be removed, destroying scenery.

And what about the fact that MTH Premier and Lionel Scale sized steam engines stall out on 072, 5, 7.5 and wider switches, because of roller contact problems and the distance between hot rails on these switches. Mad


Skip
TCA 84-20613
 
Posts: 1966 | Location: New York | Registered:: November 16, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
And what about the fact that MTH Premier and Lionel Scale sized engines stall out on 072, 5, 7.5 and wider switches, because of roller contact problems and the distance between hot rails on these switches.



Not to sound dumb, but that happens with my 0-72 switches too! Virtually non of my traditional OR scale locomotives will cross them without stalling out! This is infuriating as these things, even though I only have three of them, were expensive as heck. Is there anything one can do about it?
 
Posts: 9 | Registered:: January 25, 2006Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of Chugman
Posted
I am having the same problem with all my Atlas switches and may have found a solution. I have one especially troubling area where I have two 072 switches back to back. My longest engines won't run through without stalling but a shorter one does? The shorter one is a Lionel 10 wheeler steam engine that we have installed a jumper wire between the engine and the tender pickup rollers. We are next going to try a jumper wire between the rollers on my Lionel Dash 8 to see if the same thing happens. If that works too, then it will be installing wires on all of my engines. Maybe it isn't just a switch problem?


Chugman
 
Posts: 678 | Location: Suburban Chicago | Registered:: January 21, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Pardon the stupid question, but what is a "jumper wire" and what do you do with it?
 
Posts: 9 | Registered:: January 25, 2006Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Gdm60,

Life is too short to be disappointed with a hoby. Trash the Atlas switch and go to www.rossswitches.com. You can get manual, remote with the DZ1000, or with the DZ2500 in the same 072/054 configuration. Don't be afraid to call them at 1-800-331-1395. They're great on the phone and have helped me with my rookie questions.

I have Atlas track and they marry up to RCS easily. Just cut off the locking tab on the track and use the Atlas track connector that came with the track.

Atlas didn't even answer my last email.

Good luck, have fun!

John
TCA 05-59325

BTW, I bought mine on the OGR buy/sell board for half price.
 
Posts: 391 | Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 09, 2005Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
John,
People like to collect certain trains and train equipment, for some of these people getting rid of the Atlas switches might be pretty hard. I agree however and as far as I am concerned I stay away from Atlas switches because of the constant problems with them.
NASA/Dave
 
Posts: 77 | Registered:: January 21, 2006Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Quite some time ago, I also posted on problems I was having with the Atlas curved turnout. Not a single modern vintage steam or diesel engine of mine would go through it without some sort of problem. Someone (sorry, I don't remember who) had responded with the design of a custom machined part that had solved all his problems. After some thought, I decided to solve my problem by removing all of them from my layout and rearrange the track so I did not need them. Very disappointing as they look great. IMO Atlas O priority is on the appearance of their turnouts, and place a low priority on fixing functional issues that so many of us have.
 
Posts: 22 | Location: Cincinnati, Ohio | Registered:: August 25, 2002Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
This is a sad commentary on a company we all respect for so many well engineered products. However, all of these comments are true regarding these switches. I have 35 of them on my layout, designed and built before these issues surfaced and now I am frequently frustrated by these problems.

I have had to run jumper wires to the switches from known points on the layout where track power is strong. I use my meter to test where the signal disappears on the switch, then run a wire to the point and solder it to the side of the offending rail. Unfortunately, soldering to nickel silver is not very effective with conventional soldering equipment and sometimes that is quite frustrating.

At one time Atlas offered to replace the offending switches free of charge but I did not take them up on the offer in order to save my sanity. Having to change out all those pieces, re-install new ones, wrestle to fit them into tightly fitted track still in place on both ends of the switch (ever try to force that?), then pray the new ones were better (not confident of this) is not a recipe for happiness in my 3-rail world. Don't ever use them in a yard, it will drive you either insane or to drink, believe me.

I also don't relish spending another $1,000 with Ross to replace them, and then fit them in the track plan with slightly differnt end-to-end dimensions than Atlas. That idea is an engineering challenge that "is an insult of with which I will not put" (Winston Churchill).

Thus, I am in a conundrum of Atlas's manufacture, making do with a poorly designed product with a half-a---- fix.

Peter Bowler, Akron
 
Posts: 1508 | Location: Akron, OH, USA | Registered:: April 25, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Peter

I have had no problem soldering to Atlas NS track. I use a 100/140 Weller iron and radio solder. On the black rails I drill a small hole and insert the wire through it, makes a very secure joint. I have Atlas O54 switches. Most of my steamers will not go through the switch without a big clunk as if it is falling off a ledge. I wish I would have spent the money and bought Ross switches. Gargraves track mates pretty easily to Atlas. I think Atlas track is the best on the market,my previous layout was GG and I had problems with it.

Dale H
 
Posts: 1223 | Location: Pa | Registered:: February 14, 2002Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Stop messing around. Remove the switch and return it if you can, or sell it.
Buy another switch, Ross or whatever, and chalk up your loss to experience.

Atlas makes great locos and rolling stock, and nice looking track, but their switches are more trouble than they are worth.

Now, a bunch of people will post how they have nothing but joy with their Atlas switches, and there must be something wrong with us if we're having problems. Don't bother. There are enough people reporting problems to show that it's an Atlas problem, not ours.
 
Posts: 1397 | Location: Glendale, CA USA | Registered:: March 28, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I have been as hard as anyone here on Atlas switches, specifically over their very inadequate electrical design.

But in some fairness to Atlas, they make a wide variety of switches, and there is a huge variety of equipment out there spanning sixty years in age and Beep to Big Boy in size... in an industry where the dominant players don't speak to each other and can't even agree on common coupler dimensions, let alone something as complicated and tradeoff-ridden as track and equipment standards. Expecting anyone's switches to work with everything out there, out of the box without adjustment, strikes me as a little on the un-realistic side.

Still, Atlas' continued apparently-willful ignorance of the electrical issues, and mechanical issues if there are repeated problems with a specific part (I have not seen this myself, just electrical issues), really does rankle. If they at least appeared to be trying to improve things, it would buy a lot of goodwill with me, and I suspect most O Gauge operators. (They did try once, replacing the molded-in wires with the present external weenie wires... that was a start, but didn't fix the problem.)

Whenever this all gets too annoying for me, I just go spend some time (and money) on one of my other hobbies... old cars, R/C airplanes, the house. Helps keep the train world in perspective.

Ed


Carmel, Monterey, & Foggy Gulch RR
 
Posts: 2225 | Location: Monterey CA USA | Registered:: January 02, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of wsdimenna
Posted
Best thing to do is pull all the wires, except for common ground wire
rewire and reconnect electrical head center rail, ATlas cut it (this is the big issue)and the metal doesn't solder. The connecting wire is about 22-24 gauge and probably is melted if you have run multiple engines on the block. Doubt it survives much over three amp draw. The first derailment that shorts fries this wire.

I've opted to do classification yard with Ross.
 
Posts: 1567 | Location: Western NY: | Registered:: February 06, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of Chugman
Posted
The jumper wire is just a wire that is connected between both pickup rollers on the engine. It doesn't seem like it should be neccesary but on the first engine that we tried it worked great. The shorter steam engine that it is on just crawls through all my Atlas switches and doesn't stall anywhere. We had checked electrical continuity on all the rails through these switches and they were fine but the engines still stalled while going through them.

I am not defending Atlas switches or engines as I have had more than my share of problems with both. I am of the current opinion that the wiring and pickup roller spacing on my engines is more my problem than the Atlas switches. Why my Atlas diesel won't run on any of my switches without sparking and shorting out is another problem. I love the appearance of all the Atlas products but their quality and reliability have been sorely lacking for me. I know everyone on this forum swears by Atlas engines and I believe your comments, but that has not been my experience unfortunately. My Atlas diesel is forced to sit on an unpowered siding for looks.


Chugman
 
Posts: 678 | Location: Suburban Chicago | Registered:: January 21, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of NYC Fan
Posted
quote:
This is a sad commentary on a company we all respect for so many well engineered products.


If this well respected company were to do the right thing, they would issue a recall and offer to correct the problem before their well respected customers have to be aggravated by their poorly engineered products.


Skip
TCA 84-20613
 
Posts: 1966 | Location: New York | Registered:: November 16, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
If the problem is only that of a needed jumper wire I fail to comprehend a grave situatioin.

Granted, few planned to add jumpers. But we are constantly doing "this" and "that" to tune up our efforts. Folks, the sky is not falling. In fact after the first couple of jumpers you will feel so much more accomplished. You may even go on to add some electrical do dads from which your fear of the unknown held you back.

Reread the Dale H. post a few back. That man seems to have a healthy attitude.

In all honesty, disregarding ego, is our workmanship as perfect as we expect of others? I know when I mess up the realistic graciousness of others is a fresh breath of air. One of the reasons that are cited for the acceptance of peoples problems frequently reflects on the overall pattern of that individual's (enity) generally conduct.
 
Posts: 672 | Location: south eastern Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 03, 2004Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
WOW, you just saved me from making a big stupid and expensive mistake. Thanks goodness for this forumn.

Sam
 
Posts: 38 | Location: Marion, Iowa | Registered:: December 14, 2005Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
GP
Posted
I wonder if anyone from Atlas O reads this board??
If so, maybe they would comment on their switches??
GP
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Atlanta, GA, USA | Registered:: December 02, 2000Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I will throw in my two cents here. Sure, it is real easy now that we know what the problem is. However, many of us built our layouts long before we knew there was a problem. Years ago I purchased quite a number of Atlas switches and built my layout. Scenery completely done, ballasted, weathered rail, etc. Then one night we are running the trains, and suddenly an engine dies on a switch that is has taken 100's of times before without a problem. I spent an incredible amount of time trying to figure this out. Imagine it happens again with a different engine on another switch. Is it my wiring? The engine? It comes down to it must be a switch. Oh boy, I replace it with an new Atlas switch. 3 months later another one goes. Phone calls, ripping out sections of the layout etc. Eventually, they all stop working. I figure out the problem, not the exact problem, but know it is the Atlas switch. Now, my entire mainlines must be ripped out and redone. I replaced with Ross. I really like Atlas stuff, the company and their dedication to doing rolling stock and motive power in a prototypical fashion. This is constructive criticism. It did not ruin my life, but a bit frustrating yes. The people lucky enough to have this information and if they have the soldering skill can now purchase Atlas turnouts. But that does leave an awful lot of people out of the equation, does it not?


The Central Boulevard System
Visit my Layout http://204.156.4.220/memberpages2/frame.asp?sid=1080
 
Posts: 1990 | Location: North Jersey | Registered:: March 29, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
From Tom Thorpe
quote:
Reread the Dale H. post a few back. That man seems to have a healthy attitude.
From Dale H.
quote:
I wish I would have spent the money and bought Ross switches.

We're not talking about the workmanship of a hobbyist or modeler, we're talking about the products of a for-profit enterprise. Either they deliver value or they don't. These are products that retail for $50 to $150 dollars.

I'm glad you can be gracious with your time and money. After spending the money, and more time fiddling with switches than running my layout, I have run out.
 
Posts: 1397 | Location: Glendale, CA USA | Registered:: March 28, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I've had my share of switch problems over the last 50 yrs and I suspect anyone who has been in the hobby that long long has experienced the same thing. Problems are to be expected like it or not. I don't know how many switches Atlas sells in a year but I'd bet that defective units to the customer is less than 5%. That's not bad for a $100.00 item. The last computer that I bought I had to return twice in a 6 month period so it's just not the lowly Atlas switch that has problems. As far as Atlas recalling their switches - it's not going to happen and I don't expect them to. I know the pain of tearing up a good portion of a layout to correct problems but that's part of the hobby. If we want everything to run smooth for years and years perhaps were in the wrong hobby. That's just my take on things.


Wild Mary.
"Riding The Wild Mary"
 
Posts: 204 | Location: Baltimore, MD. | Registered:: September 25, 2004Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I guess my problem with the Lionel 0-72s is that they have never worked properly at all. The stalling and outright shorting, particularly on one of the units, was apparent from Day One of their use.
 
Posts: 9 | Registered:: January 25, 2006Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Wild Mary,
What have you done to fix your Atlas switches?
 
Posts: 1397 | Location: Glendale, CA USA | Registered:: March 28, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I have started to build my layout (which is planned as all Atlas) so I am very interested in this thread.

It seems to me that most of the problems are

1) Failure of the switch to carry current from one leg to another

2) Stalling engines due to roller pickup spacing not working well with breaks in the center rail.

As far as 1 goes I would never count on a switch to transmit electricity. On my old layout I wired jumpers to all legs of the switch. Of course these were Gargraves switches that had all legs isolated but if I can't see the wire I don't trust it to carry current.

For 2) it seems like this is a problem endemic to wide radius switches. Even on the Ross website they say you may need to wire relays up for their longer switches.

Are there other major issues that I haven't touched on?

Mark
 
Posts: 227 | Location: Syracuse, NY USA | Registered:: July 10, 2000Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Originally posted by tom thorpe:
If the problem is only that of a needed jumper wire I fail to comprehend a grave situatioin.

Granted, few planned to add jumpers. But we are constantly doing "this" and "that" to tune up our efforts. Folks, the sky is not falling. In fact after the first couple of jumpers you will feel so much more accomplished. You may even go on to add some electrical do dads from which your fear of the unknown held you back.


I believe you are over simplifying the soldering of jumper wires to AtlasO track. The heavy rail sucks heat from the soldering gun at an alarming rate, before you know it plastic ties are starting to melt.


Tom Grimason
NJ Northern DIV
UP Subdivision
 
Posts: 2007 | Location: Haworth, NJ | Registered:: September 23, 2000Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of wsdimenna
Posted
quote:
ut I'd bet that defective units to the customer is less than 5%.


With the center rail beng cut at head of turnout about two inches down (jumper wire) and the fact that this rail can not be soldered (its a alloy of a different nature), well I call that 100% defective.
 
Posts: 1567 | Location: Western NY: | Registered:: February 06, 2001Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Gentlemen,

For those of you who haven't hooked up your Atlas turnouts, or who are considering buying them because you think they're cheaper than Ross, let me post a little economic lesson.

I just went to the Atlas web site for this info. For the turnout in question, O54/O72 but in NS, a plus for Atlas, the price, with switch machine was $72.95.

The price list I just received from RCS for the same turnout, although not with NS rails, BUT with the DZ1000 switch machine is $74.95.

I fail to see where there's a saving with Atlas on this switch. The DZ is a better machine, in my opinion, AND I consider my time to rewire something which is touted as plug and play worth one heck of a lot more than $2.00.

I will admit that a fair number of the RCS are at the $74.95 price point, and suppliers do discount Atlas, but I'd rather forgo a couple of pieces of rolling stock, and have a layout that's operational to my satisfaction.

Just my $.02 worth.

John
TCA 05-59325
 
Posts: 391 | Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 09, 2005Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
A big AMEN, I have been a faithful Atlas O customer since the 96-97 intro-
but lots of switch problems. I am in the process of building a large layout,
and the power drops out,on what is suppossed to be a newer version switch.
Now I have to pull the switch out completely,and try to do the research
from the forum to soder or whatever,so the dang thing works. s
And I have also had center points just plain come out.
I tryed Gorilla Glue this past weekend,so far it's holding !

How about a recall program, Atlas O ?
 
Posts: 23 | Registered:: October 17, 2003Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
John

I purchased Atlas switches because I had Atlas track. Price was not a factor in my decision. I was just trying to save a little work and avoid alignment headaches. I did not know their switches would be plagued with problems. After mating some Atlas track with GG and Lionel tubular I then only realized it was not a big problem.

Dale H
 
Posts: 1223 | Location: Pa | Registered:: February 14, 2002Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
The front wheels of my steamers shuttered and jumped off the track when using the 54 R of the switch.
What ever happened to the original question/problem of this thread. He did not say anything about the electrical properties of the switch. It is a DERAILING problem. I don't have any answer but I do have a question. Do your engines go thru regular O54 switches and O54 curves OK?

quote:
the price, with switch machine was $72.95
The problem with that argument is that you are using MSRP. Atlas switches can be had for the $30 range from internet hobby shops. Try to get a discount on Ross switches.

I've asked Nor... er, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, about his many Atlas switches and he says he has no problems with them. I only have a few but I have had no problems either. Not with derailing nor electrical. But I am not foolish, I don't expect a switch to forward the electrical power. I run feeders to all three legs. I have heard that if you park a loco or a lighted passenger car on them you can burn up the underside jumpers but I have not had that problem either.

Where ever you have two or more switches in a row of any make you run the risk of stalling locos account of the roller spacings and the dead rail spacings. I would not try to install crossovers or yard leads without relay switched feeds to the rails between the points and the frog.

The trick to soldering without melting nearby things such as plastic ties is too use a BIG soldering iron or big soldering gun (my preferred method). You need a lot of heat FAST to heat up the immediate area you want to solder so the solder flows and you can remove the heat source before the heat has time to flow along the rail to the ties. With small soldering irons/guns you'll melt all of the switch ties to a puddle of plastic before you get the rail hot enough to melt solder (if you are ever able to). Heat sinks clamped to the rail on either side help to.

Wyhogg

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Wyhogg,
 
Posts: 664 | Registered:: June 01, 2004Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
I believe you are over simplifying the soldering of jumper wires to AtlasO track. The heavy rail sucks heat from the soldering gun at an alarming rate, before you know it plastic ties are starting to melt.


I just tried to solder to a piece of Atlas track I had lying around and I didn't have any problems. Maybe it wasn't quite as easy as soldering to gargraves but I didn't melt any ties.

Mark
 
Posts: 227 | Location: Syracuse, NY USA | Registered:: July 10, 2000Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Originally posted by Al T:
Wild Mary,
What have you done to fix your Atlas switches?


Nothing yet. They're waiting to be installed on my new layout when we have our retirement home built in the next two yrs. But you can bet they'll be rewired before installation. Wink


Wild Mary.
"Riding The Wild Mary"
 
Posts: 204 | Location: Baltimore, MD. | Registered:: September 25, 2004Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
In response to the original question which was why the large steam locomotive keeps derailing on the O54 route of the switch, the answer I can only conclude is that the locomotive requires 072 minimum radius trackage. Without a MFR and Model Number of the locomotive, I cannot be certain if that is your only problem. In the past, I had purchased some "Curve within a Curve" O72/O54 switches in hopes of "squeaking by" with my Lionel 2-10-4 Pennsy. The engine didn't like the O54 route and the tender disliked it even more with its centipede like trucks. I simply could not use the switch. That was not Atlas's fault but rather the outcome of my "expieriment". I can only suggest to those who do not currently own but may, even remotely, someday purchase large steam engines, that you do not, under any circumstances wander into anything less than an O72 minimum radius on any track work, regardless of MFR.

With respect to the "stalling out" problem. In the recent past, I have posted my solution to this problem several times, and others have posted theirs as well. One thing in common with the most reliable of the solutions, requiring no modification whatesoever to any equipment (locomotives), incorporates the use of relays to power the closure rails as necessary which reduces the dead zone. This phenomenon exists in most large track switches, regardless of MFR. Aside from this problem, I have had no other significant problems with Atlas track or switches. The solid nickel silver T-Rail is realistic looking and has excellent electrical conductivity, more so than steel or tin. It also necessary to feed the track on all three or four (in the case of the new double slip switch) routes of the switch and DO NOT RELY ON THE SWITCH FOR TRACK FEED CONTINUITY.

Finally, soldering is no problem. I use a Weller Soldering Station set to 800 degrees and have had excellent results drilling a hole in the lower web of the rail to pass a "tinned wire" through. Pre-tinning is mandatory when soldering wires. Using the aforemention technique, I am even able to solder wires to the switch point rails without melting the ties. One other thing required is a damp sponge to (1) Clean the soldering iron tip prior to each solderding proceedure, and (2) Cool the rail immediatley after the solder flows "toward the heat source" from both the Pre-tinned wire as well as the rail.

If Ross, Gargraves or others made a solid nickel silver T-Rail switch, I would but it as well. We finally have what the H-O guys have had for decades, realistic Solid Nickel Silver T-Rail track.
 
Posts: 177 | Location: Brockton, Massachusetts | Registered:: January 09, 2003Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Mark, for the record, what is your soldering iron, setting, prep and solder used?

Which takes more time and effort, adding a jumper or riping out a switch and reinstallation?

Another thing I do not get is how few power feeds must you be runing to these tracks that a failure of a factory jumper wire affects your operation?

Did you look at that little factory wire and think "Wow, this will be great for the next ten years"?

I feed three rail track every 4 sections and before, after and between every turnout and crossing. On two rail we use a 18 gauge drop to the 10 gauge buss on each and every piece of rail.

Any engineering will call for margin or redundancy. Like it or not, as do-it-your-selfers we are functioning in an engineering capacity. That's one of the beauties of these forums. We have an opportunity to help one another. We find out that a "That's good enough" or a "That will do" attitude is a short cut to failure.

Maybe in this plug and play world some have unrealistic expectations, I find this whole thing an adventure.

Just look at the positive energy going on with the RS1 problem on another thread.

Those guys are going to discover something that will help everyone.

Using Atlas' soldered prewired rail joiners makes it easy even for a beginner. Just drop the Atlas leads to a buss. 12 gauge buss on a small pike 10 gauge on a good size pike.

Over the course of two years I have installed somewhere around 90 some Atlas switches and two dozen Ross using the above discipline and have yet to experience power failure. Really love those Ross switch machines!
 
Posts: 672 | Location: south eastern Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 03, 2004Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
i put two O72/O54 switches on my layout because i thought they looked so good...i just had to have them.

i finally had to take one out and reconfigure through that area. too many problems, including derailing and the throw arm jamming for no apparent reason (resulting in derailments).

i still have the other, but have to give it the "eye" to keep it working.

the rest of my atlas switches work fine and i am very happy with them. i did have one with the transfer/jumper wire embedded in the plastic (the old design) that had "surfaced" before the plastic hardened and was shorting out whenever an engine put its weight on the switch.

i do not use the atlas motors. i replaced with the z-stuff motors.

my layout


Fabulous Forrest at the Brewer Ave & Pacific RR
 
Posts: 1046 | Location: Winter Park, FL | Registered:: July 31, 2002Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
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Posted
quote:
Originally posted by tom thorpe:
Mark, for the record, what is your soldering iron, setting, prep and solder used?




I just have a cheap Radio Shack pencil-style soldering iron. There are no settings to it but I think it is 40 watts.

Solder was Radio Shack rosin-core solder. I also tried some special silver solder I had for another project. They both seemed to work about the same.

As far as prep I did none.

Like I said, the solder didn't wet the rails as much as it does on Gargraves but it did bond. I tried chipping it off afterwards (which you can usually due if you don't have a good bond) but it didn't budge.

I did not try soldering to the center rail, but I think that it should be no problem after the blackening is removed. I couldn't solder to Gargraves center rail either until I ground the blackening off.

Back to the switches themselves, has aybody compared the #5 and #7.5? Is the #5 any better as far as not having problems with dead spots?

Mark
 
Posts: 227 | Location: Syracuse, NY USA | Registered:: July 10, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I'm not sure if I'm relieved, or more worried than before, to find that I'm not the only one having problems with Atlas switches. I bought 15 switches and I just finished wiring up the first level.

Much to my chagrin, the front trucks on half of my engines derail when they go through (althought he problem usually occurs when they are going through "the wrong way" - before purchase I was led to believe that the springs inside were soft enough to let engines through. I've been playing around with loosening the spring, but now I'm trying to find a way to wire up an automatic switching device using an isolated rail -- without burning out the switch machine.

Is this the kind of derailing problem that others are having?

I can't afford to toss the 15 switches -- I'm eager to read about solutions that people have found.
THanks,
Sandy
 
Posts: 137 | Location: NY, NY | Registered:: May 16, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I just read something in the last post that I have read in other 3-rail posts about the engine going thru the wrong way and derailing. That doesnt sound like something they would do on a real railroad or am I missing something.
Has the problem with the Atlas switches occurred in 2 rail as I have read nothing on the ie forums about this problem?
 
Posts: 41 | Location: Oroville Ca | Registered:: January 12, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
SANDYSIMON;


Did you know that the spring tension in the switch motors is adjustable. I presume you are using the Atlas Switch motors that came with the switches. I can actually run cars through the spring switch, although I usually align the switch correctly before running through.

If your front trucks are not spring loaded, I can see where you would have derailments since it is similar to pushing a truck that has no car weighting it down, through the switch points.

Good luck!
 
Posts: 177 | Location: Brockton, Massachusetts | Registered:: January 09, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
MarkHedges: What size solder are you using? I use very thin solder. It measures only .030 when measured with a dial micrometer. If the solder is too big it will require more heat to melt. It should take no longer than 10 - 15 seconds to make the connection. Then, as I posted earlier on in this thread, you must immediately take your damp sponge and cool the railhead.

Good Luck!!
 
Posts: 177 | Location: Brockton, Massachusetts | Registered:: January 09, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
the engine going thru the wrong way and derailing. That doesnt sound like something they would do on a real railroad or am I missing something.
I assume you are refering to "running through" a switch, trailing thru the points that are lined for the opposite route than the one you are using? The Atlas switches are designed to do this and the spring that keeps the points in the proper position yet lets them spring out of the way, is somewhat adjustable. Model steam engines with very little downward force on the front truck have a tendency to derail doing this.

Yes real railroads use spring switches like this. They are not real common but I would not call them rare either. Just like the model ones, don't back up a real train that is part way thru one either Eek

Real spring switches are becoming fewer and fewer though. Heavier trains tend to flex the rails more and can pick the points if not equipped with electrical switch point locks (and thus signals to indicate such). Also in snowy and icy weather they don't always fully snap back to the mainline position and thus cause delays as signals stop the next train and the crew must operate the switch by hand. Mainline facing point movements over spring switches are always signalled even in dark non-signal territory. (If it is not then all trains must stop and a crew member must inspect the spring switch before moving over it). Trailing point movements may or may not be signalled if it is not equipped with an electrical point lock.

Many yards have what are commonly called "rubber switches". They are designed to be run thru when lined against your movement. Unlike spring switches however these do not spring back to their original alignment. The first wheels simply cause the points (and switchstand target) to flop over to the alignment you are using. Thus they are also called "flopover switches".

Wyhogg
 
Posts: 664 | Registered:: June 01, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
GDM60: Back to your original question on derailments. You did not mention whether or not you were running against the switch or simply having derailments running through a correctly aligned switch. Could you please clarify, as this thread is getting off track from your original question. I suspect that your locomotive simply requires 072 or larger radii to operate.
 
Posts: 177 | Location: Brockton, Massachusetts | Registered:: January 09, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I have a question! I just built my layout and I used all Atlas track and switches, I have not wired any switches yet as I run my trains using the springs on the switches. When I wire them up to my SC-2 to control the switch with my CAB-1 is all this crap going too happen? Should I leave well enough alonr and not wire them up?
 
Posts: 421 | Location: White Plains, NY | Registered:: May 06, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I also have had numerous problems with Atlas switches; in fact I’m in the process of replacing all 25. I’ve had to grind down portions of the switch to prevent sparking and shorting, there have been dead spots on the larger and curve switches and some of them just went dead (no power through the switch). Let’s not mention all the switch machines I’ve had to replace as they burn out all the time. Mad

So I replaced the problem switches with Ross and everything now works fine.

If I had known about all these problems prior I would have bought the Ross switches in the first place as the price difference is not that much especially when you take into account you have to replace the Atlas ones in a short time.
Confused
 
Posts: 116 | Location: Nassau, NY | Registered:: June 13, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Originally posted by NYC 428:

So I replaced the problem switches with Ross and everything now works fine.



What are you doing with the old Atlas switches? I may be interested in them if the price is right.

Mark
 
Posts: 227 | Location: Syracuse, NY USA | Registered:: July 10, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Clearly many people have had problems with these switches. I have never experienced the drailing problem, thus do not comment on it. All 35 of my switches are Atlas O-72 or O-72 Wye. My idea (this was before Atlas increased the lineup to include larger radius and curved switches) was to be able to run any size engine anywhere on the layout, inlcuding the yard.

I have had to run jumpers to 1/3 of the switches, but not all yet.

I appreciate the advice of Dale and others about how to do this more effectively and it is probably time for an investment in newer soldering equipment to facilitate the process.

I understand all the comments positive and negative about Atlas track, but I still do regret falling for the marketing hype without really knowing what I was doing when I bought all those switches. The fact is, I enjoy running trains and doing scenery on my layout, but since I do not especially enjoy electrical wiring or tweaking a finished layout, this frustrates me more than it would people with better tool skills and more patience with this part of the hobby.

Perhaps there are good reasons why most custom professionally built layouts we see in the magazines often use track products other than AtlasO.

Do the NMRA scales of layouts like HO or N gauge experience these type problems?

Peter
 
Posts: 1508 | Location: Akron, OH, USA | Registered:: April 25, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
While I have been back in the hobby for the past 5 – 6 years, I have learned so much more in the last month just by lurking about on this forum.

I have planned a very busy, new, 7’ X 12’ layout with two main loops (one 0-45, the other 0-54). The plan calls for 10 switches (0-72’s, 0-45’s, and 0-36’s). All of my current locomotives (I especially love my K-Line PRR Mikado) and rolling stock is 0-31 size. Since IMHO big engines look funny of little layouts, I can’t imagine that I will ever buy pieces that can’t run on 0-31 (okay, maybe one or two 0-42 pieces Roll Eyes).

I am ready to buy my switches tomorrow, and hence have a dilemma! I like the look and the price of the Atlas switches, however am now somewhat concerned about the reported electrical problems of these switches.

Am I correct in boiling down the electrical concerns with the Atlas switches to be a failure in the jumper wires? To fix the power issue, is the remedy just to replace the jumper wire with a heavier guage wire?

I have looked into the Ross switches, as recommended by several persons on the forum, but am disappointed that they do not come in 0-36 or 0-45 sizes. I am also surprised by the cost. The best price on the Ross’s that I can find is $70 per switch versus $42 per switch for Atlas. For my layout the difference between Ross and Atlas would be about $280 (which is enough to pay for the rest of my track!)

While I totally agree with the posts that one should just be able to drop in a switch, for $280 bucks, I am willing to spend an afternoon modifying these switches as I have a brand new Weller that is just calling out for use.

Whyogg – you mention that heat sinks clamped to either side of the rail help. Could you please elaborate on how this is done?

Thanks,

Jim
 
Posts: 2 | Registered:: January 27, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of wsdimenna
Posted
quote:
Am I correct in boiling down the electrical concerns with the Atlas switches to be a failure in the jumper wires? To fix the power issue, is the remedy just to replace the jumper wire with a heavier guage wire?


Yes, except for jumper under center rail portion at head of turnout, the others are easily dealt with. a soldered wire to joiner on ends of turnout solve my issues. The center rail on head (center portion) of turnout requires a connection Reconnecting that segment by soldering "is impossible?" or nearly so. If atlas made this portion one piece my problem would disappear.

atlas doesn't make an 045 either. The 054 will work on your layout.

bill d
 
Posts: 1567 | Location: Western NY: | Registered:: February 06, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:


atlas doesn't make an 045 either. The 054 will work on your layout.

bill d


Atlas does make an 045 switch. It is relatively new. But depending on how you are using it an 054 may be better.

Mark
 
Posts: 227 | Location: Syracuse, NY USA | Registered:: July 10, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Yes real railroads use spring switches like this. They are not real common but I would not call them rare either.


Strasburg RR uses them at the depot passing siding, Groffs, and the jct at the Prr main line! Wink

quote:
Whyogg – you mention that heat sinks clamped to either side of the rail help. Could you please elaborate on how this is done?


For Atlas O track, Use aligator Clips about one tie away on each side that you plan to solder. Wink


http://www.bcmrrc.com/
member:BCMRRC, TCA & LCCA
 
Posts: 6440 | Location: Bogota, NJ | Registered:: May 30, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I had a number of engines that would stall out on various Atlas switches. Usually, the problem was the roller pick up spacing on the offending engines that could not bridge the center rail gap in those switches. Sometimes narrow pickups would prematurely slide off the center rail causing the short. My fix was to extend an energized rail into gap just enough to shorten the space to bridge the engine pickups. Needless to say, adding an extra pickup to a tender once and awhile also was a fix..Thanks, Michael
 
Posts: 427 | Location: Marietta,Pa. | Registered:: August 31, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Wyhogg – you mention that heat sinks clamped to either side of the rail help. Could you please elaborate on how this is done?
As mentioned above, you can simply use alligator clips. I sometimes use them. I have also taken small pieces of cloth, soaked them with water, then clamped them to the rail using alligator clips. The water in the cloth makes a really good heatsink. Just don't let it go dry.

The heat sinks I usually use are actually made as heatsinks for soldering. They are heavier metal than alligator clips and have much more contact area. Unfortunately I don't know where to get them. I got mine from the US Army when I was working on radar and guidance systems. I have seen heatsink clips at RadioShack years ago but never tried theirs.

A friend of mine has several very small C-clamps. They are only a little more than an inch long and maybe 3/4 inch deep. They work great as heatsinks for soldering rail.

Wyhogg
 
Posts: 664 | Registered:: June 01, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Please indulge one more question regarding the Atlas switches and the electrical problem.

I already have a couple of Atlas switches. One apparently is an older switch that I'm guessing has the wires to the track sandwitched between the rail and the plastic strip under the rail. The other apparently is a newer issue switch (with a UV compatible sticker on the outside of the box)that has easy to see jumper wires.

On the newer switch I see four jumper wires. Two of them are on the inside (hot) rail and the other two are on the ouside (negative) rails. Did Altas fix the electrical issue with these newer switches? Or are these wires still inadequate?

On the older switches, is the electrical fix to also add heavier gauge jumper wires to the outside rail?

Thanks,

Jim
 
Posts: 2 | Registered:: January 27, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
On the newer switch I see four jumper wires. Two of them are on the inside (hot) rail and the other two are on the ouside (negative) rails. Did Altas fix the electrical issue with these newer switches? Or are these wires still inadequate?


Well if you do NOT have feeder wires, BOTh powered and Common on ALL points of the switch [ i.e. everywhere the middle rail is cut] and you push through 18v for a TMCC or DCS, those 20 Ga wires may NOT be able to hold the current should a train derail at the switch. PLAY IT SAFE and ADD FEEDER WIRES to ALL POINTS of the SWITCH!
The next switch release will have heavier 16 Ga jumper wires wich will correct the problems for those who refuse to add feeder wires to all points of the switch.


http://www.bcmrrc.com/
member:BCMRRC, TCA & LCCA
 
Posts: 6440 | Location: Bogota, NJ | Registered:: May 30, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of Peter Condro
Posted
This has been an incrdible discussion. I really have to think this one through.
This is the track list from RRtrack for my "layout of the future".



Item list for Copy of AtlasPeboValleyCrossing5short.rrt

NUMBER DESCRIPTION PRICE TOTAL
(16) Atlas 6015 1.25 in straight 1.70 27.20
(150) Atlas 6050 10.0 inch straight 3.25 487.50
(25) Atlas 6051 4.50 inch straight 2.50 62.50
(47) Atlas 6052 1.75 inch straight 1.70 79.90
(50) Atlas 6053 5.5 inch straight 2.75 137.50
(54) Atlas O 6058 40 inch straight 12.00 648.00
(73) Atlas 6060 O54 22.5° curve 3.25 237.25
(2) Atlas 6061 O54 11.25° curve 2.50 5.00
(2) Atlas 6063 O72 11.25° curve 3.00 6.00
(2) Atlas 6068 O36 7.5° curve 3.00 6.00
(14) Atlas 6070 O54 left-hand turnout 49.95 699.30
(1) Atlas (6076) righthand O-36 turnout 52.95 52.95
(8) Atlas 6070 short O54 lefthand turnout 49.95 399.60
(14) Atlas 6071 O54 right-hand turnout 49.95 699.30
(8) Atlas 6071 short O54 righthand turnout 49.95 399.60
(1) Atlas 6073 O72 right-hand turnout 49.95 49.95
(1) Atlas 6074 O72 'Y' ±11.25° 49.95 49.95
(2) Atlas 6085 O45 lefthand turnout 49.95 99.90
(4) Atlas 6086 O45 righthand turnout 49.95 199.80
(2) Atlas 6080 90° cross 10.45 20.90
(24) Atlas 6040 snap-on bumper 1.85 44.40
(1) Atlas 6059 uncoupling track 10.45 10.45
(1) Atlas 6921 double truss bridge 112.95 112.95
Total of 502 items costing 4535.90

This is before I get my volume discount.
HOWEVER...
This is big bucks to spend knowingly on problems.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Peter Condro,


Peter Condro
TCA 83-19115

I have York Fever all year round!
 
Posts: 3689 | Location: Richmond VA USA | Registered:: August 03, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Pete

I ordered all my Atlas (I have 7, 30 foot long loops) from Justrains,thought they were the cheapest. All I can say is that all 4 of my O54 steel turnouts have problems with steamers going through the curved side. I fixed all the electrical problems,including accidental switch machine burnout and some day I will take a look and see if I can fix the clunking through the switch problem.Had I known before hand what I was in for I would not have purchased them. I spent a lot of time which could have otherwise been spent on building the layout. Cars with slideshoes also seem to be a problem. My O72 turnouts work OK,as do the Atlas crossovers I bought. I dont own any Ross switches but I can tell you the crossovers made by Frank Curtis years ago still work flawlessly. I mated these to the Atlas track with no problem. Maybe there are some who have Atlas switches and do not have a problem,perhaps I just got a bad batch. Even if I got free replacements it would be a lot of work tearing up the track and replacing them. Good luck with your layout,it looks like a nice plan.

Dale H
 
Posts: 1222 | Location: Pa | Registered:: February 14, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Dale,

I'm in the middle of building a second level to my layout, with most of my switches on the first level. Now is the time for me to do any repairs that may be required -- once there is a second layer above them.

Could you summarize all the fixes that should be done now?

I also bought all my switches from Justrains. I found them to be very helpful.

Regards,
Sandy
 
Posts: 137 | Location: NY, NY | Registered:: May 16, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Could you summarize all the fixes that should be done now?


Well I will start:

Do you have rolling stock with Slider shoes?
if so grind on a 45 degree angle all ends of the middle power rail that are flat facing in a switch. [where the rail ends at the frog area]
Make sure you add Power feeds - both power and common to each leg of each turnout.


http://www.bcmrrc.com/
member:BCMRRC, TCA & LCCA
 
Posts: 6440 | Location: Bogota, NJ | Registered:: May 30, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Sandy

Turn the switch over,anywhere you see a jumper wire replace it with a heavier wire,at least 18 gauge preferably 16 gauge. When soldering take care not to melt the plastic. Alligator clips can act as heat sinks when soldering and aluminum foil can be place on the plastic rail in case the solder drips.When soldering to the black rail you must remove the black or what I do when possible is to drill a small hole through the black rail, insert the wire then melt solder in the hole. You can also secure a joint by soldering a small wire jumping both sides of the joint. This is a bit unsightly but effective. You can paint the joint black.My layout is more toy train oriented so this does not bother me too much.You need at least a 100 watt soldering gun,I use a Weller 100/140. Dont waste your money on Radio Shack guns they are junk. However their replacement tips for Weller are much better than the stock Weller tips.
I throw my Atlas switches using a relay and interval timers. You can also throw them with capacitors. You can buy discharge machines or make them yourself cheaply. If you know how to solder and wire they are easy to make. The switch machines can be thrown with the pushbutton in a conventional manner,but if you hold the button too long you will burn out the machine.
Atlas also includes plastic inserts to prevent slideshoe snagging,but I have not had much luck getting them to stay in and the shoes still snag. Altering the shoes and rails as suggested in the previous post may be the way to go.

Dale H
 
Posts: 1222 | Location: Pa | Registered:: February 14, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
JEEZ LOUISE, I've got about a $600 actual dollar investment in Atlas switches
that are sitting on a shelf waiting for construction to start. It's absolutely
B###S### to think that before I install one of these that I've got to start by replacing wiring that was under-engineered. Then I need to add small segments of
rail or solder on the longer switches to help keep them from stalling, again due to poor engineering. Then I need to make sure I don't burn up the under-engineered switch machines. Then I can figure out why my engines go "clunk" each time they go through the D### things? Mind you, I'm not tenative with a soldering iron but why should ANYONE spend money on what I consider to be a premium item that doesn't work the way it should?

I don't read much about people using Gargraves or Ross switches having these issues. Come to think of it, I don't think there have been a lot of complaints about FastTrack or RealTrax turnouts either. I guess we should hear some comments from people using the other brands of turnouts. Are you experiencing the same kinds of problems?


Considering the numbers of users that have contacted Atlas regarding numerous turnout issues it's unconscionable that an actual recall hasn't been issued. I remember seeing that they had issued a retrofit kit of some kind to help with the stalling problems but why haven't the new switches been re-engineered to work correctly? This is also far from the first thread I've read about problems with Atlas turnouts.

I love the look and ease of use with Atlas track but this thread's been the straw that broke this camels back with regard to their turnouts. Hey Atlas, 1400
page views in two days, people are sure interested in your switches.

I thought THESE trains were all about fun?
 
Posts: 171 | Registered:: September 12, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Total of 502 items costing 4535.90

This is before I get my volume discount.
HOWEVER...
This is big bucks to spend knowingly on probems.

Peter Condro
TCA 83-19115


Peter,

By my count you need 53 turnouts. Impressive, but that's a lot of re-wiring before installation. I know that it gets easier on the right side of the learning curve but heck.

I'm in the process of building my layout 14 x 23, and decided to use RCS. To help reduce the expense I've decided to use either Atlas or GarGraves flex.

It may take a little longer but, hey, that's what modeling is all about.

Good luck, it's a tough decision.

John
TCA 05-59325
 
Posts: 391 | Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 09, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I'm the guy that started this discussion. I ws just a little ticked off to spend good money on a product that doesn't do what it says it would do. However, I am amazed that over 1400 viewers came to this thread. But that aside, why should I the consumer be involved with fixes and rewiring of a product fresh out of the box? If I bought a new car, should I have to make alterations to the carburator to make it run? I think not. I certainly hope that somebody from Atlas becomes aware of this thread and realizes that all is not well in Atlas Land - especially with an annnounced 10% price increase on all products.
 
Posts: 18 | Location: new york | Registered:: February 10, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
It's absolutely
B###S### to think that before I install one of these that I've got to start by replacing wiring that was under-engineered. Then I need to add small segments of
rail or solder on the longer switches to help keep them from stalling, again due to poor engineering. Then I need to make sure I don't burn up the under-engineered switch machines. Then I can figure out why my engines go "clunk" each time they go through the D### things? Mind you, I'm not tenative with a soldering iron but why should ANYONE spend money on what I consider to be a premium item that doesn't work the way it should?

I don't read much about people using Gargraves or Ross switches having these issues.


People using Ross and gargraves need to do the same. Any realistic switch installed needs power and common wiring esp at all the points. Gargraves and ROss you still have to compensate for the sliding shoes. See the numerous Jim barett articles in OGR and in the backshop videos.

Realtrax and fastract are prewired for this with metal buss lines in the roadbed, the same as the 022,027 type switches that Lionel makes.

As for the stalling, it's not bad engineering, it's the geometry of the curve. the wider the radius and/or angle, the bigger the gap.


http://www.bcmrrc.com/
member:BCMRRC, TCA & LCCA
 
Posts: 6440 | Location: Bogota, NJ | Registered:: May 30, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
why should I the consumer be involved with fixes and rewiring of a product fresh out of the box? If I bought a new car, should I have to make alterations to the carburator to make it run? I think not. I certainly hope that somebody from Atlas becomes aware of this thread and realizes that all is not well in Atlas Land - especially with an annnounced 10% price increase on all products


Bullseye!

Ubfortunately, gdm60, they're probably aware of these postings, as well as all the others on this subject, but IMO, without an out-of-the-box solution, how could they post an answer.

John
 
Posts: 391 | Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 09, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Anybody wants some Ross switches? I am selling them because i do not like the
looks of them alongside my Atlas track!! See the buy sell board for a great
deal!!

Gunny
 
Posts: 1069 | Location: Ellsworth Me USA | Registered:: September 11, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
People using Ross and gargraves need to do the same. Any realistic switch installed needs power and common wiring esp at all the points. Gargraves


prrhorseshoecurve: I understand that I may have to attach additional feeders to track and switches around my layout. But the "internal" factory wiring of the Atlas switches is too small for the current draws of O gauge railroading (yes I know they supposedly upgraded that wiring in more recent releases but what about the thousands of earlier versions?)


quote:
Realtrax and fastract are prewired for this with metal buss lines in the roadbed, the same as the 022,027 type switches that Lionel makes.


So are the Atlas switches, just not with heavy enough wire.

quote:
As for the stalling, it's not bad engineering, it's the geometry of the curve. the wider the radius and/or angle, the bigger the gap.


Are you also saying that my engines will stall on ALL larger radius switches, straight out of the box, regardless of manufacturer? And that all engines go clunk through these other switches? And that their switch machines are also prone to a short life span?


I find that hard to believe and I'd really like to hear from more users of other manufacturers switches. Guys, please tell us your turnout experience.


I thought THESE trains were all about fun?
 
Posts: 171 | Registered:: September 12, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
For all my atlas switches her eis what i have done, take what you need. First i install the atlas power feeds to each end of the switch (3 total). This has solved all my power issues. ALso i remove all the black topping from the center rail witha sanding block.
No for the issue of yoru front wheels jumping, i have this problem and it is not on all engines. It is the depth of the frogs that cause problems. Example: i have a set of lionel Fa-2's that will bump thru the frogs, but all my lionel f-3's don't have this problem. It has to do with the size of the flanges. Try slowly running your steamer thru to see where the wheels jump.
Also before sodering try this easier trick. Drill a small hole thru the bottom of the flange of the rail. THen thread the wire thru the hole, wrap it around itself and sodder it there. It requires a whole lot less heat to do it this way.

Bill
 
Posts: 794 | Location: wilmington De. | Registered:: February 18, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
As a result of previous threads on the electrical problem with Atlas switches, I solved the problem by selling them all. I'll be going with Ross switches from now on. I'm amazed that Atlas won't deal with this issue.
 
Posts: 969 | Location: Wakefield, Quebec, Canada | Registered:: January 12, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
I really wish people would specify what version of the Atlas switches they have. Some posters here have mentioned Atlas switches they "bought years ago...". If thats your case I don't think its fair to Atlas for you to be saying how much Atlas's switches' suck. Atlas has since beefed up the jumper wires underneath. The newer jumper wires can be PLAINLY seen underneath and each the wire is screwed in place on each end. And if you have power going to the track itself on each side of the switch (I had always assumed that was "standard procedure" anyway) why would switch jumper wires ever be an issue?? AS far as roller spacing issues it seems to me that thats an issue with every manufacture's switch. Atlas or Ross your gonna have to add relays to the larger switches to power the correct rails to get every engine made through without stalling. Why is Atlas being singled out for that? The problem I DO see with the Atlas switches are the flimsy switch motors which can be burned up if engaged to long...

I would really like to hear from people who have the NEWER Atlas switches ANDare using the newer dimpled track joiners who have had the jumper wires fail....

I have anticipated buying a large amount of Atlas #5 swicthes. I'd like to get a firmer handle on exactly whats wrong with them...
 
Posts: 1501 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered:: August 30, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of wsdimenna
Posted
The problem at head of turnout with flimsy connecting wire between center rails is present on ALL Atlas tunouts. A simple derailment will short out that wire. An overload , passenger cars sitting on track while engines run elsware on block will cause this wire to melt. No matter when the ATls turnout was made. This head center rail piece needs to be one not two. This is a manufacturing issue.

This is not a joiner issue. That thin gauge gauge wire is fine with a single engine or two on track and no derailments (childern have tendency to touch). the other portions of the turnout can be wired by easily soldering a lead to a joiner.
The only small wire left on turnout is the common connector between the outside rails.

As note
All the wire leads here are on joiners on the whole system.
 
Posts: 1567 | Location: Western NY: | Registered:: February 06, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post


Page 3              page 1     page 2


Posted
quote:
Originally posted by wsdimenna:
The problem at head of turnout with flimsy connecting wire between center rails is present on ALL Atlas tunouts.

What does ROSS use??


quote:
Passenger cars sitting on track while engines run elsware on block will cause this wire to melt. No matter when the ATls turnout was made.

If there are track power connections to the track the passenger cars are sitting on why would this be an issue??
 
Posts: 1501 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered:: August 30, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Guys, Atlas is fully aware of all these problems. When I first listed all these issues on their forum, all their sycnophants ganged up on me to tell me not to bash Atlas. Atlas refuses to fix most of their switch issues. At my hobby store ,the most problem switches being returned for " defects " are Atlas. The insert to fit in the frog space to shorten the rail gap was promised 3 years ago and to my knowledge is still not available. All their o-guage is produced with an ho mindset. That is why ,though their engines are the most detailed, they generally are the most fragile to handle. Their switches are the same ,basically ho wire and components, that were never meant to adequately support o-guage needs. I have had to fix most of my Atlas switches or my engines so that the 2 will function together....MADDAD
 
Posts: 427 | Location: Marietta,Pa. | Registered:: August 31, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
My layout had all the new Atlas dimpled joiners installed from the beginning. I originally had the older switches, and replaced 8 or so with the new Atlas switches with the Yellow UV sticker on the box. I wire power feeds and grounds at the ends of all sides of all switches. I run power feeds anyway every other section of track. Eventually I had the same problems. I conducted my own experiment. As each one went dead, I replaced with a Ross, and did nothing else. I ran an engine. It died on the new Atlas switch. Put in a Ross. Every engine worked. Put back in the Atlas, all engines died. I did this eight times in different locations around the layout.

Then I read on the forum the how to fix the switches, I just did not have the time. I had just finished soldering about 160 connections to the control panel, and the kids were just tired of not having the layout running. Poor excuse? Who cares? I just replaced everything with Ross, and we have been running ever since.

Here are two questions. Does this problem lie only with the small minority of people that read the forum and/or are experienced model railroaders? Or, are these the only people that purchase Atlas switches?

I can only report what happened here at our house. Are we wrong? Are we lazy? Unskilled? We have had 99% pure fun with O gauge and still are. We easily got past the one problem we have had and stiil enjoy all the products from all the vendors.


The Central Boulevard System
Visit my Layout http://204.156.4.220/memberpages2/frame.asp?sid=1080
 
Posts: 1990 | Location: North Jersey | Registered:: March 29, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
For what it is WORTH!

I have about 800 ft of ATLAS track on the overhead Model RR.

EVERY JOINT has beeen SOLDERED, and every SWITCH has required a JUMPER.

I have replaced about half of the switch motors, I also have to fire them with 24VAC it get them to switch tracks.

I DO NOT THINK MUCH OF ALAS TRACK.

MAP
 
Posts: 765 | Location: Tulsa,Okla,usa | Registered:: September 02, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Originally posted by Pete Kruimer:
My layout had all the new Atlas dimpled joiners installed from the beginning. I originally had the older switches, and replaced 8 or so with the new Atlas switches with the Yellow UV sticker on the box. I wire power feeds and grounds at the ends of all sides of all switches. I run power feeds anyway every other section of track. Eventually I had the same problems. I conducted my own experiment. As each one went dead, I replaced with a Ross, and did nothing else. I ran an engine. It died on the new Atlas switch. Put in a Ross. Every engine worked. Put back in the Atlas, all engines died. I did this eight times in different locations around the layout.

Then I read on the forum the how to fix the switches, I just did not have the time. I had just finished soldering about 160 connections to the control panel, and the kids were just tired of not having the layout running. Poor excuse? Who cares? I just replaced everything with Ross, and we have been running ever since.

Here are two questions. Does this problem lie only with the small minority of people that read the forum and/or are experienced model railroaders? Or, are these the only people that purchase Atlas switches?

I can only report what happened here at our house. Are we wrong? Are we lazy? Unskilled? We have had 99% pure fun with O gauge and still are. We easily got past the one problem we have had and stiil enjoy all the products from all the vendors.


Pete,

The jumper wires on the newer switches still failed??
 
Posts: 1501 | Location: Long Island, NY | Registered:: August 30, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Picture of Peter Condro
Posted
Wow! This is a very provocative thread.
All the comments here are well thought out. Many of the posters are people I have met or have listened to/spoken to over the years... and have come to respect. Their frustration with Atlas O switches is clearly felt. My own plans are now up in the air. Luckily, I have at least a year to year and a half before I will have a finished attic. I have many options. Either, I will go to Ross custom switches. Atlas will fix the problem, and I will remain with Atlas. I will switch everything to FasTrack. Or, Super O will return on its 50th anniversary... Wink


Peter Condro
TCA 83-19115

I have York Fever all year round!
 
Posts: 3689 | Location: Richmond VA USA | Registered:: August 03, 2000 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
My biggest issue with Atlas is that their loco's operate poorly on their own turnouts.

The SDP-35's have a blind flange that is metal and has a traction tire. This blind flange was causing a short on an 0-72 turnout.

A- why is the blind wheel so wide?
B- Why is it necessary to have 6 traction tires where only 4 will do?

Atlas, I am sending an invoice for clear enamel plus labor for the 30+ turnouts that I need to fix Roll Eyes

Cesar
 
Posts: 315 | Location: Camp Hill, PA | Registered:: March 05, 2001 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Forest,
I enjoyed your pictures and Layout very very much, fantastic work!
NASA/Dave
 
Posts: 77 | Registered:: January 21, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Terriffic!! i have already purchased my Atlas track for my planned elevated section..which includes two O-54 turnouts.

Let me ask you guys this...if my Atlas switches should fail, can they be exactly swapped out for O-54 Ross switches...or do they differ somewhat in size???

Thanks,

Rick
 
Posts: 149 | Location: Sewell, NJ USA | Registered:: December 30, 2003 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
Rick,
-
If you measure the Atlas center rail of the two legs and call Ross (1-800-331-1395)they'll be able to answer that question. They also read this forum and may answer you here.

Just curious, can you return them since you haven't used them yet and spend $150 on the Ross switches?

John
TCA 05-59325
 
Posts: 391 | Location: Lansdale, Pennsylvania | Registered:: August 09, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
quote:
Now, a bunch of people will post how they have nothing but joy with their Atlas switches, and there must be something wrong with us if we're having problems. Don't bother. There are enough people reporting problems to show that it's an Atlas problem, not ours.
It seems someone disagrees with you, and thinks that the people complaining are either stupid or aren't telling the truth.


Comments on Atlas switches.

No mention of the rail that's cut and isn't connected to the joiner, as discussed by wsdimenna:
quote:
Yes, except for jumper under center rail portion at head of turnout, the others are easily dealt with. a soldered wire to joiner on ends of turnout solve my issues. The center rail on head (center portion) of turnout requires a connection Reconnecting that segment by soldering "is impossible?" or nearly so. If atlas made this portion one piece my problem would disappear.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: turbodiesel,
 
Posts: 95 | Registered:: October 19, 2004 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Posted
There was a old post with a picture on how to rewire the atlas switch to fix the continuity problem. I thought I had that picture and was going to post it here but can not find it. Does anyone have that picture and if so could you please post it.
 
Posts: 111 | Location: Peachtree City, Ga. USA | Registered:: July 24, 2002 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post


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