Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

DC powered Atlas Switches with DCC powered track? Will It work?

589 views
11 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 8 posts
DC powered Atlas Switches with DCC powered track? Will It work?
Posted by Avmus on Sunday, November 24, 2019 12:29 PM

Recently back into the hobby after years away. I currently have everything DC with several remote controlled Atlas switches. Can I keep those running off my DC powerpack, but wire the track using a Power Cab. IF not what is the easiest way to power remote switches for turnouts via DCC. I am looking into converting to a PowerCab setup, but I am not sure how to keep my turnouts remote contolled. Sorry for such a noob question, I looked for answers to no avail.

Tags: DC , DCC , Remote
  • Member since
    October 2010
  • 151 posts
Posted by Billwiz on Friday, November 29, 2019 8:18 PM

I do not actually know but would like to know the answer as well. Responding to bump this up. 

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • 4,398 posts
Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, November 29, 2019 8:36 PM

The Atlas switch machines are independent of track power.  Keep your DC power pack for powering the switch machines. 
 
You would find a CD power supply would work better than DC power and safer, should a switch hang on it will burn up the switch machine rather quickly.  The CD (Capacitor Discharge) power supply gives the turnout coils a blast of current and goes away.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 6,177 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, November 29, 2019 10:01 PM

Welcome to the Model Railroader forums. Your first few posts are delayed by moderation, but that will end soon. Please stick around with us and join in the conversations.

.

The answer is yes, you can use the current power pack to run the Atlas switch machines and a DCC system to run the trains.

.

Mel's suggestion for a Capacitive Discharge unit for better performance and safety is a good one. The current power pack can be the voltage source for the capacitve discharge unit.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    September 2004
  • From: Dearborn Station
  • 18,397 posts
Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 30, 2019 4:25 AM

Avmus

Recently back into the hobby after years away. I currently have everything DC with several remote controlled Atlas switches. Can I keep those running off my DC powerpack, but wire the track using a Power Cab.  

That is how I run my layout. I have Atlas Custom Line turnouts controlled by Tortoises which are DC powered by an MRC 1370. I also wire all of my signals and control panels to the same DC power pack(s). The track is all wired to buses that connect to my NCE PH-Pro 5 amp system.

What type of switching devices are you using?

Rich

Alton Junction

  • Member since
    September 2014
  • From: 10,430’ (3,179 m)
  • 1,106 posts
Posted by jjdamnit on Tuesday, December 3, 2019 10:45 AM

Hello All,

When I converted my pike from DC control to DCC control I kept my turnout motors DC.

I use both Atlas and PECO solenoid type turnout motors. 

Rather than using a DC power pack I bought a Plugin transformer, AKA "wall wart".

It is a Miniatronics brand and the output is 16 VAC @ 800 mA.

This is wired to a single-pole, single-throw, toggle switch so I can turn off the power at the control panel, without having to unplug it.

From there it powers two (2) Capacitive Discharge Units. One CDU powers half the turnouts and the other powers the other half of the turnouts.

Some have commented that one CDU would suffice but I chose to split the load across two (2) CDUs wired in parallel.

There are several crossovers where both turnout motors are activated simultaneously. Some are paired Atlas and some are paired PECO.

Before installing the CDUs the 16 VAC transformer didn't have enough "oomph" to move the paired PECO turnout motors simultaneously. With the CDUs both machines move in sync.

I use Atlas #0056 switch control boxes to activate the turnout motors whether Atlas or PECO.

Hope this helps.

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

  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 8 posts
Posted by Avmus on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 4:57 PM

Awesome info! thanks

  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 8 posts
Posted by Avmus on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 4:58 PM

Thanks for the reply. Everything right now is Atlas as that is what I am used to from 20 years ago. Figured I would get back into it where I left off. 

  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 8 posts
Posted by Avmus on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 5:00 PM

Great info. I really want to get my track DCC and convert a few loco's but will take your model under heavy consideration going forward.

  • Member since
    November 2019
  • 8 posts
Posted by Avmus on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 5:02 PM

Thank you so much to everyone. Great info!!!!!Itching to get the track to DCC but really like how my switches are right now. 

  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Michigan
  • 234 posts
Posted by Over50 on Thursday, December 5, 2019 4:46 PM

Avmus

Thank you so much to everyone. Great info!!!!!Itching to get the track to DCC but really like how my switches are right now. 

 

 

Just to comment, I've been using a DIY built capacitive discharge power supply for my Atlas switch machines since the mid-70's.

At the time RMC had a contributor by the name of Don Feihmann (not sure of the last name spelling) who designed the CD power supply plus illustrated how to selectively power up to 10 switch machines with a single miniature push button via one amp diodes in a matrix configuration.

The beauty of the diode matrix is you can selectively route trains through multiple turnouts with one push of the button. One or multiples of the same turnouts can be activated for different routing of the trains thanks to the unidirectional function of a diode where current will only pass through it in one direction.

I don't know the article dates but MR has published a few articles that depict how to create/use a diode matrix to control powering Atlas switch machines.

EDIT: I looked through my documentation folder and found the RMC issues I noted. The RMC January 1973 and February issues contained the 2-part article series by Don Fiehmann, with the capacitive discharge power supply design and components in the January issue and the diode matrix design and function description with pictorials in the February issue.

You might be able to find these 2 issues online or at a model RR show.

  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 27,021 posts
Posted by rrinker on Thursday, December 5, 2019 5:41 PM

 MR also published CD power supply circuits. They got included in a book Kalbach published called Practical Electronic Projects for Model Railroaders by Peter Throne. That's where I got the circuit for the one I used, back in the say when I still used solenoid switch motors (Atlas Snap Track N scale to be exact). I never used a CD unit with any or my HO layouts, and I had turnouts of all ages, some dating back to the early 60's if not older - never burned one out. But the Atlas N, and the newer Atlas HO ones, are MUCH more delicate and easy to burn out - after installing the CD unit on my N scale layout, I never burned out another switch machine ever.

Might find a copy of the book at a train show or something, it's long out of print. The CD units can be built despite the designs being 40+ years old, the components are still available. Some of the other circuits like the flashers and so forth, you might have a hard time sourcing the parts. And others, like the high frequency lighting for contants lighting of locos and passenger cars, are entirely unecessary with DCC. 

 There are also tons of CD schematics on the internet. Really there are about 5 components, they are SUPER easy and cheap to make. A great beginner electronic circuit.

                                    --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!