Atlas Code 55 turnouts -- Stalling problems...

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by lsk040365, Aug 10, 2004.

  1. lsk040365

    lsk040365 New Member


    I was wondering if there is something I can do to fix a problem with locos that are stalling as they pass through any of the code 55 Atlas turnouts I installed on my new layout? I noticed a small metal doughnut shaped tab on the side of the turnout and wondered if I should be attaching a wire or something to it to better electrify the turnout? All of the locos I have do this on these turnouts and they range from Atlas to Kato to etc...

    Thanks in advance,
  2. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    There might be 2 reasons why you locomotive stall when crossing the turnout.

    First, yes, that little metal thing sticking out is a connector for the frog. If you look closely, you can see there are gaps in all 4 rails going to the frog (the sharp point where the rails meet), so the frog is isolated and it can give you problems if you are running a very short locomotive. The frog has to be powered through a switch so it has correct polarity, which depends on the position of the points. It's easier to understand if you have a schematic, which I don't have right now (I'm at work).

    Another problem is the turnout itself. I switched from N to HO a year ago, so maybe they have fixed the issue with the turnouts, but 2 years ago there were problems with the clearance being really tight between the guard rail ant the stock rail, causing the wheels to lift up and ride on top of the rail. Try and look closely at the locomotive when it runs slow slow through the turnout, does it lift one side and then stall? can you push it (with no power) through the turnout and it slides freely, or doest it seems to get stuck at one point?. If it either get stuck or it raises up when going through the turnout, then you need to file the guard rail a little bit. I used to use a dremmel tool with a cutting disk then careful grinding the sides of the guardrail (between the guard rail and the stock rail).

  3. lsk040365

    lsk040365 New Member

    So what you are saying is that I cannot just attach the black wire or red wire to that tab and expect it to work, as it will short in one position or the other. I would have to wire it to the DPST switch I guess?

  4. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    Correct. Many switch machines such as Tortoises under the table swhitch has a DPDT (I think it is called 'double pole, double throw' but not sure) build in. , I have also seen some use the kind of micro dpdt swith you can buy at RadioShack both as switchthrow for holding the switch point and routing the power. I was looking for some previous threads describing this, but can't locate them right now.
    I have this link in my bookmarks, it kind of shows what I'm talking about
    and another bookmark

    Hope this helps
  5. Keith 55

    Keith 55 New Member

    Caboose Industries has just released a ground-throw that is designed just for Atlas code55 turnouts.
    It has a built in switch that controls the frog's polarity.
    You hook (+) and (-) wires to the ground-throw, and when you throw the points, the frog gets the correct polarity.
    I have been waiting for these for a year, and they should be available already.
    You can see them here:
    You can buy them here:

    I hope this helps.
  6. davidmbedard

    davidmbedard Member

    Check the gauge of the wheels on your locos. Does your rolling stock go through the turnout without any problems? If they go through without any issues, the fix the gauge of your locos. If they go through with issues, then it is the turnout. Ive had about 15 of these switches and every time ive had problems with them, it has always been the fault of the GAUGE of the wheels.

    Peco and everyother brand of switch under the sun are much more forgiving in regaurd to gauge.


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