American Flyer Switches

|
Want to post a reply to this topic?
Login or register for an acount to join our online community today!

American Flyer Switches

  • I bought a pair of American Flyer switches (#720) from a reputable source and they arrived today.

    Aside from the fact that one of the bulbs was burned out in one of the switches, the switches don't seem to be working properly.

    Let me begin with a simple question.  If the button on each switch is set to Regular Operation, shouldn't there be power on each leg of the Y at all times?   In other words, if I understand the Regular Operation correctly, there will always be power at each end of the straight track and at the end of the diverging track.  Unfortunately, there isn' always power at each end of the switch.

     When both switches are set to run an engine straight through, the diverging track of the left hand switch has no power, but the two ends of the straight through track of the left hand switch have power and all three legs of the right hand switch have power.

    When both switches are set to run the engine through the diverging track, there is no power on either diverging track.

    There are other configurations where power is lost, but I will stop here to get some feedback.

    Incidentally, the power routing feature of the "2 Train Operation" seems to be working properly, but I have a question about that setting.  When I first tested the switches, I had the wire terminal set up in such a fashion that when I flipped one switch setting to divergent, I lost power on the mainline.  So I needed to move the wire terminal to a point on the mainline where power would not be lost.  In other words, the wire terminal needed to be placed "below" the switches, not "above" them to prevent loss of power to the engine.  Does that make sense?  What would happen if I wired the mainline both above and below the switches which I would like to do to maintain full voltage to the engine at the far end of the layout.

    I hope this all makes sense and that someone will have some advice.  I am wondering if I am going to have to return the switches as defective.  Or, am I doing something wrong?

    Thanks.

    Rich

    Replies to this thread are ordered from "oldest to newest".   To reverse this order, click here.
    To learn about more about sorting options, visit our FAQ page.
  • After posting this message last night, I decided to sleep on it and then further analyze it this morning.

    One thing that I realized is that it apparently matters which side of the layout the wire terminal is positioned when clamping it onto the track.  Yesterday, I had positioned the terminal "above" the switches, that is beyond the upper two legs of the switch.  This morning, I repositioned the wire terminal on the other side of the layout "below" the switches, that is before the bottom single leg of the switch.   (I tried to post a series of diagrams but I am having a hard time linking them so I may try that later). 

    In Regular Operation, when both switches are set to run an engine straight through, the diverging track of the left hand switch has no power, but the two ends of the straight through track of the left hand switch have power and all three legs of the right hand switch have power.  When both switches are set to run the engine through the diverging track, there is power on both diverging tracks but no power "above" the switches on the upper portion of the layout.  I then tried the same set up with my original switches and they operate the same way.  That is weird because I thought that when the button is set for Regular Operation, every track is constantly powered.  Not that I would want to do this, but if an engine is in the upper portion of the layout "above" the switches and both switches are thrown to diverge, power is lost in the upper portion of the layout.  I didn't think that was supposed to happen in Regular Operation.   It happens with my original switches the same way.  Any thoughts or ideas?

    The 2 Train Operation performs correctly, routing power either straight through over divergent, depending upon which way the switches are thrown.  However, this raises a question.  I want to add a set of wires at the far end of my layout, the upper portion "above" the switches to maintain full power to the engine motor.  In 2 Train Operation, if the switches are set for divergent, will power be cut off to the upper portion of the layout, as happens now with the single wire terminal in place "below" the switches, or will the addtional set of wires placed in the upper portion of the layout keep power on in that section even though the switches are set to diverge?

    I get exhausted just typing this let alone trying to comprehend it.

    Rich

  •  The additional terminal and wires placed in what you refer to as the "upper" portion of the layout will keep the power on in that section.  If you ever want to not have power in that area a simple double pole single throw (on-off) switch can be used on those wires to turn the power on and off in the "upper" portion.

    Pete

     

    "You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light."  - Edward Abbey -

  • Hi Rich,

    Do you have both switches set to the two train operation, or both to regular operation when doing your test?

    Jim

  • Let me see if I can post these four diagrams of my new switch with the button set to Regular Operation.

    As to whether there is power in a leg of the switch, Y stands for Yes, while N stands for No.

    I refer to the switch on the left side of the diagram as the "right hand switch" and the switch on the right side of the diagram as the "left hand switch".  Hope that helps rather than confuses.

    In this first diagram, both switches are set to run engine straight through the switches. As you can see, there is no power on the divergent leg of the left hand switch.  Shouldn't that leg be powered?

    In this second diagram, both switches are set to diverge and run the engine through the inner oval.  Power is shut off to the upper end of the layout.  Is this supposed to happen in Regular Operation?

    In this third diagram, with the right hand switch set to run straight through and the left hand switch set to diverge, all of the legs of both switches are powered.  This is the situation that I would expect.

    In this fourth diagram, with the left hand switch set to run straight through and the right hand switch set to diverge, all of the legs of both switches are powered except for the diverging leg of the left hand switch.   Is this supposed to happen in Regular Operation?

    This situation occurs not only with the used pair of switches that I just purchased but also with my original pair of switches.  Again, the four diagrams shown here are with the buttons set on the switches for Regular Operation.

    Rich

  • Sturgeon-Phish

    Hi Rich,

    Do you have both switches set to the two train operation, or both to regular operation when doing your test?

    Jim

    Jim,

    I have tried it both ways, but my main concern is when both switches are set for "Regular Operation".

    I just posted a set of 4 diagrams illustrating the results for Regular Operation.

    If it would help, I can also post the results when both switches are set for "2 Train Operation".

    Rich

  •  

  • Timboy
    Richhotrain: When I have switches with rails that malfunction electrically, it is usually because the contacts underneath have become corroded and/or gunked up. When I take the metal plate off the back and clean/shine those contacts up, the problem ceases. - Big, Bad Timboy

     

    Tim,

    I wondered about that.  What do you use to clean the cotacts?

    Rich

  •  

  • I used a very light grit sand paper to clean the copper contacts and got the diverging leg of the left hand switch to work properly.  So, now, in the first and fourth diagrams, all of the legs of each switch are powered in Regular Operation.

    However, in the second diagram where power is lost in the upper portion of the layout when both switches are thrown to divergent, that situation continues to exist.  That seems wrong to me since my understanding is that the power should remain uninterrupted in Regular Operation.

    I will look at that situation further tomorrow.

    Rich

  •  

  • Timboy
    Richhotrain: I also clean the contacts that power the "regular" and "two-train" button when I clean switch contacts. I didn't mention that in my previous post on cleaning my switch contacts. - Big, Bad Timboy

     

    Tim,

    That was the first contact that I cleaned.  That alone seemed to make the difference.

    Everything seems to be working fine now with one exception.  On both the new switches that I recently purchased as well as my original switches, with the button on both switches (left hand and right hand)set to Regular Operation, if the engine is "above" the switches and I throw both switch levers to divergent, power is cut above the switches and the engine halts.  From everything I understand about Regular Operation, all tracks should remain powered.  Has anyone else experienced this "problem"?

    Rich

  •  

  • Timboy
    Richhotrain: If I would be experiencing what you describe and I have done everything to ensure that the switches are working properly, then I would turn my attention to the track and assume that the current is not flowing through it continuously. I would look for a bad mechanical connection at a track section. I would use a jumper wire with alligator clips to jump the current from a known good section to elsewhere until I located the bad spot, if I could not find it any other way. I have never been stumped yet on a problem with my own layout or the operation of anything on it, but sometimes it takes a lot of trial-and-error work and detective work by me to debug the problem. -Big, Bad Timboy

    Tim,

    Thanks.

    I have been testing the legs of the switch itself for power.  When I throw the switch control levers to divergent and power is cut to the upper portion of the layout above the switches, there is a physical interruption of power on the leg of the switch for the straight through rails.  I cannot remember at the moment which rail loses power but it is only one of the two rails.  The other rail of that one leg still has power when I test it. 

    So, any poor rail connections aside, the problem must be in the switch itself.  Both the left and right hand switch lose power in the straight through leg when thrown to divergent.

    I keep asking if power is supposed to be continuous in that situation with the buttons set to Regular Operation but, so far, no one has confirmed this one way or another.

    Rich

  •