Atlas n turnouts

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Harpo, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Harpo

    Harpo Member

    Many very happy greetings to all;
    First, let me share this: just out of hospital after third LONG round of chemo - 7 weeks there w/recovery time and am finally feeling really excellent w/ prognosis also excellent. Still shaky, wobbly, weak, but GOOD! Very ready to get back into the swing of things. It is sooo good to be reading the gauge again, and puttering about with MRailroading stuff!!!

    Looking for suggestions about an atlas switch switch problem, which has been going on for many months. Every loco I have stalls at low speeds going across the frog...not on all switches but on two or three in particular. I have done the following
    1. Checked across rails w/voltmeter (OK)
    2. Checked for debris in frog & all molded plastic rail guard sections (Clear)
    3. Checked for adequate flange clearance in those areas (OK)
    4. Checked track gauge, loco wheel gauge (OK)

    Also, strangely enough, all locomotives seem to run more smoothly in a clockwise direction than they do in counter-clockwise. Are the gremlins at work or what? Any ideas?
    Thanks much!

    Harpo Rob
  2. John Hubbard

    John Hubbard New Member

    Harpo, no advice from me on the turnout gremlins, I'm fighting one myself, just a note to say I'm glad to hear you're doing so well.
  3. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    Are the turnouts code 55 or code 80?
  4. Harpo

    Harpo Member

    Right...turnouts are code 80; I should also add that rail has been thoroughly cleaned as have the drivers and pick up wheels on locos...

  5. storm

    storm Member

    there is nothing more useless then atlas turnouts. replace them with pico and all will be fixed.
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Not real familiar with Atlas N turnouts, but have used plenty in HO in my time. You have already checked the obvious causes. Less obvious causes that may be present:

    1) check for flatness in the vertical plane. Sometimes there is a hump or dip, especially near the frog. Lay a straight edge or ruler acroos the rails near the frog, and make sure they are all the same height. Being at different heights could cause interruption in electical contact.

    2) the tabs or connections that link the stock rails to the points and/or closure rails could be making intermittent contact - electrical contact that is breaking when a locomotive is on the turnout. Try a voltmeter with a locomotive stalled - if you still have voltage every where (on the rails), then it is the wheels breaking contact with the rail. If you have no voltage on the rails when the locomotive stalls, then it is failure of these electrical connectors in the turnout. Note that only one connector has to be intermittent to cause the stall!

    Virtually all pre-fab turnouts have some flaws in design or manufacture. Atlas is the most widely used in North America so you here the most about their problems. Peco turnouts have their share of controversies and problems too, although the percentage may well be less than with Atlas. I would hope so for the difference in price!

    Hope this helps and that you are a long-term survivor.
  7. Cadillac_SD9

    Cadillac_SD9 Member

    The throw bars may not be throwing all the way to touch the rail causing evry thing from the throw bar back to frog to be dead. Also the frogs are plastic so going at slow speeds may cuse the stall. Try to run a six axle engine across it at slow speeds. See if that stals. But if you buy peco switches some of the frogs are metal and require some wiring. The train club that I belong to has tons of pecos that have plastic frogs. and they work fine. The pecos have a spring in them so that the snap over and hold there positions once thrown. Thats I could think of.
  8. GRSJr

    GRSJr Member

    When you tire of Atlas and Peco turnout problems. get UniTrack turnouts to replace them. They're bullet-proof.
    They'll work right out of the box and forever after. And, you don't ever have to clean the rails.
  9. Meiriongwril

    Meiriongwril Member

    Aaah - but they really don't look protoypical ......
  10. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    mine too

    I have same problem with my atlas turnouts and small MP15 switcher or Life Like sw9. I have to increase speed to prevent stalling, or run a 2 unit consist. As for peco, every switch has given me problems. It's like, after you throw the switch, you have to put pressure on it for it to route the electricity to the track. It lines the switches ok, but not enough for current to pass.

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