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Lionel O72 tubular switch throws weakly and incompletely to out position

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  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 61 posts
Lionel O72 tubular switch throws weakly and incompletely to out position
Posted by KeithL on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 6:49 PM

I have a Lionel 6-5166 O72 tubular switch that suddenly started to throw weakly and incompletely to the out position while still throwing strongly and completely to the through position.

I checked the current to throw the switch to the out position, and it's normal. When operated manually, the switch is loosey-goosey in both directions. Just all the sudden, it doesn't have much oomph going to the out position.

Has anyone experienced this specific issue or something similar to it? What was the cause?

  • Member since
    March 2013
  • 551 posts
Posted by BigAl 956 on Thursday, November 9, 2023 9:19 AM

Typically thats a broblem with the wiper inside the switch motor. Open it up and do some cleaning. That might get it it going again.

  • Member since
    June 2023
  • 74 posts
Posted by James Huff on Thursday, November 9, 2023 1:45 PM

Are you powering you 072 switches via track power or fixed voltage?

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 61 posts
Posted by KeithL on Thursday, November 9, 2023 4:07 PM

James Huff

Are you powering you 072 switches via track power or fixed voltage?

 

Fixed voltage--14v. The switch was working perfectly for over 20 years until this sudden change in one direction.

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: US
  • 61 posts
Posted by KeithL on Wednesday, November 22, 2023 6:09 PM

Gentlemen, thank you for your suggestions. Here's the outcome:

The problem had to do with the contacts in the switch machine. Cleaning them helped slightly with the weak direction (the out position). I'll see over time if the improvement is enough so that trains don't derail. If so, great.

The actual issue, though, wasn't dirt. It's that one of the brass strips on the base of the switch machine, on which a bronze contact slides, is partially worn away, compromising the electrical connection. Movement to the out position is associated with the worn brass strip. This results in the switch machine having less oomph in that direction. Here's a picture. It's the brass strip on the left.

[Sorry, can't get photo to appear.]

If it turns out that the less-than-perfect throw to the out position is causing derailments, I'll either replace the switch machine, which seems to be available, or I'll replace the switch with a Ross tubular O72 switch. I've already replaced a different Lionel O72 switch with the Ross switch, and it's outstanding.

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