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Wiring atlas turnouts

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Wiring atlas turnouts
Posted by Jason on Sunday, February 11, 2018 5:04 PM

some success on this front, so far I have done two, with one working and the other creating sparks. Everything was wired correctly according to Model Railroader books and instruction from Atlas.  The turnouts are Atlas N code 55 #5 and the machines are atlas under table. 

The turnouts are at least 7 years old. 

My thought is that the turnout is defective but I am open to any other suggestions. 

Jason

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Posted by Jason on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:10 AM

Just to add as well when the switch is aligned I get smooth running, when the switch is thrown iget sparks and loss of power at the frog.

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Monday, February 12, 2018 11:48 AM

I've never heard of a turnout creating sparks. Is it dirty, are tiny pieces of wire touching the rails? When does it make sparks, all of the time or only when a train crosses over it?

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by Jason on Monday, February 12, 2018 3:28 PM

I get good contact when the switch is set straight, no issues.  However whent the switch is thrown sparks come from the frog and their is power loss.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, February 12, 2018 4:33 PM

Hello all,

Jason
...when the switch is thrown sparks come from the frog and their is power loss.

I apologize, I’m confused- -does this happen when the points contact the diverging rail and frog immediately or when a loco or rolling stock passes over the frog?

How long has this been happening?

Did something change?

New ballast, Sudden derailments where there were previously none?

If this happens only when the switch is thrown, with no traffic, I would check the gaps between the frog and the rails.

Passing a magnet over the area, with the power off, might reveal some hidden "treasure".

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, February 12, 2018 5:07 PM

Welcome to the forum.

At least in HO, the Atlas frog is supposed to be insulated.

If it is wired correctly the wire going to the frog only will be carrying one polarity(if that's the right word)  It is either + or - or if it's DCC N or S. 

There should be no pathway for a short, but if you see sparks, that's what is going on.  

There is probably a fix by cutting gaps in the frog departure rails, but I think I would replace that turnout.

 Edit metal debris, undocumented turnout modifications could also be a cause.
 
 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by zstripe on Monday, February 12, 2018 10:37 PM

Jason

Just to add as well when the switch is aligned I get smooth running, when the switch is thrown iget sparks and loss of power at the frog.

 

Does Your Atlas under table machine have the relay in it to power the insulated frog? If it does. You have a wrong wire connected to the frog.......if it sparks when switched the frog is the same polarity as when it is straight so it sparks....+ and negative - will spark when touched together. Sounds like a wiring problem to me. Or a frog that is not completely insulated like it should be, you can have a factory jumper which is under the frog touching one another. You can do a continuity test without the power on By touching a probe to the frog and then to each point rail with all wires removed from the frog and you should get no reading...if you do...then a jumper under the frog could be defective. Take some time and read these tips from the Atlas forums about You're turnout....see if that will help You:
http://forum.atlasrr.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=69052

You should mention what You are running......DC or DCC......The continuity test would be the same for both though. Running DCC the divergent rail the one near the frog would need to be an insulated joiner or it would short, like what I think is happening. It's hard to give advice without seeing what going on, Your info is vague on that.

Good Luck! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 4:40 AM

Jason

some success on this front, so far I have done two, with one working and the other creating sparks. Everything was wired correctly according to Model Railroader books and instruction from Atlas.  

My thought is that the turnout is defective but I am open to any other suggestions. 

Jason 

An unwired turnout does not spark. So, if yours sparks, it is either the wiring or a fault in the under table switch. There should be no need to toss the turnout. 

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Jason on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:16 PM

Rich

Dumb question but I have noticed my atlas switch machines “caving in” at the cylinder part, is that normal?

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Posted by zstripe on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:22 PM

Sounds to Me, that they are melted and that would surely make some sparks.

Probably would short out Your power source if it hasn't done that already.

Inside that cylinder is a moving solenoid that slides back and forth when electrically charged by the switch control..if it can't slide it can get stuck with a positive and negative current touching one another which it appears to show at Your switch. Toss the switch machine and replace it with new. If You did not harm Your power supply, it should work properly.

Good Luck!

Frank

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 9:31 PM

 They usually end up melting the wire and opening the circuit, so probbaly OK there on the sparks.

The cause is holding the button down too long. Your best bet is to get a capacitor discharge power supply like the Circuitron Snapper and connect that up. Not only will the switches snap nicely into position, if you hold the button down a bit too long, the current is limited to keep from melting the switch machines. 

                            --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Jason on Thursday, February 15, 2018 6:39 PM

Randy

I know about the snapper.  My layout is currently DC and the snapper is great but this is the year I am switching to NCE DCC. From what I understand the snapper is not compatible with DCC.  My intent was to use the atlas relays for switching operations on spurs non mainline sidings etc. This is done for the operator to have to manually switch tracks, get permission etc.  I am not a fan of the flip switches or knobs which are all manual. The main line would all be DCC and controlled by CTC.  My goal is to have a full simulation of rail operation.  

Unless I missed something I would love to incorporate the snapper system into my layout but as far as I know it is not DCC compatible.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 16, 2018 7:25 AM

 Just because you run traisn with DCC doesn't mean you have to run the switch motors on DCC. In fact, unless there is an alternate option like buttons, it's awkward with ANY brand system to switch back and forth between loco running and switch throwing.

 But if you do go to DCC control, the decoders for this automatically only send a short pulse and can't "hold the button down" and melt the switch motor.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by DigitalGriffin on Friday, February 16, 2018 3:20 PM

Only way to tell if there is a short is get a volt meter with Voltage and Ohm reading settings.  You can often get them for free from Harbor freight with a coupon

Don - Specializing in layout DC->DCC conversions

Modeling C&O transition era and steel industries There's Nothing Like Big Steam!

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Posted by Jason on Wednesday, March 07, 2018 4:59 PM
So my trains run on DCC I can still utilize AC power for my switch machines?
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 08, 2018 7:11 AM

 Yes. The switch machine is in no way connected to the rails. 

                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by SouthPenn on Thursday, March 08, 2018 11:51 AM

Before you go to DCC, you might want to check out RailPro. You can leave your switches and wiring just the way they are. ( you still need to fix your short ) You can use your DC power supply too.

This site has good prices and free shipping.

South Penn
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Posted by Jason on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:31 PM

Thank you

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