Atlas Snap Switches

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by iis612, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. iis612

    iis612 Member

    I have read somewhere that these are intended for 18" radius...
    Can anyone confirm this?
    I have a few, but I am very reluctant to put them to use. I don't really like them. I can't exactly quantify that though. I will probably just ship them off to the Ebay demons.
  2. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Snap switches are toys. If you require something more than playing with toys...Dump them....In my layout I'm using exclusively Peco mediums and large turnouts. Best there is...IMHO...
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    AFAIK, Snap switches come in 18" radius. They may have added some others, but I haven't heard.
    One little joggle: there is a 1 1/2" straight piece before the points where the curve starts, so you can't pull out a curved section and drop a switch in its place.
    Also, the switches are curved all the way through while prototype switches are straight through the frog and a bit each side. Circular switches like these are usually found only in street car tracks. (Just a warning; some nit picker may come to see your trains.)
  4. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    If I knew then what I know now, I would have gone with another switch, maybe even manual. I'm not happy with the Atlas switches. The train goes whatever dirction it chooses no matter what position the switch is set at and if you're lucky, the rest of your cars might make it through in one piece. If you're an employee of Atlas... You know my distress as I'm trying to operate twelve of these... Kiss my butt.
  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    First and foremost those snap switches can be use quite well for some areas and smaller layouts and small switching layouts.

    The thing to remember you can use that curve 2 ways.You can use it as it was intended or by reversing the curve you swing the diverging track parallel to the "through" track.Of course by using flex track the same goal can be accomplish.

    The sad part is many modelers doesn't fully understand how useful these switches can be in certain applications and thus unjustly condemn them.

    I have use snaps switches on several of my smaller ISLs and on one 4x6 foot layout.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Jeff,If you are having problems with the Atlas switch then you need to make some minor adjustments..
    I use nothing but Atlas switches as does both HO clubs except the "front" layout at the Bucyrus club which has hand laid track and switches and our Atlas switches works flawlessly.
  7. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Brakie is correct...You can make some improvements to these switches, but it's a matter of how much you can stand fiddling with them :cry:. Up until my new layout (had 3 before..) I had used the Snap and Custom line switches (among others), and I had had enough of fiddlin'...So I went with Pecos...Haven't had a SINGLE problem with them...:mrgreen:
  8. Bones

    Bones Member

    I don't have any recent (last was 10+ years ago) experience with the HO snap switches.
    I do have very recent experience with the N scale custom line and snap switches, though.
    The snap switches are very iffy, and often require more work than they're worth, for reliable operation. (or any operation... at times)
    The Custom Line manual turnouts are very decent. Reliable, cheap, drops in the same footprint as the snap switches. (as long as you use the same turnout # such as #5, #6, etc)
    The only real drawback is a problem you have with the snap switches, as well. The guard rails are injection molded plastic, and designed to let the wheel flange support the axles. Well... that's not the way prototype switches work, and it makes for a sloppy / unreliable setup in modelling.

    So... if you have the money, I would recommend upgrading to a higher quality turnout, such as those listed in previous posts. If not... tinker away, or go with manual throws.
  9. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Can you list the minor adjustments? My freight derails at almost every switch. They want to head off in a direction that they're not supposed to be heading. My Finest engine, (dcc sound) almost went flying off the table. I almost had a heart attack.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Jeff,My list of corrections is short since I have very little problems but,I will share this with you as I believe its a very good tutorial.

    Atlas Custom Line Turnout Tips -

    Now,as a quick check you may want to ensure the points are closed and staying close as the train passes through the switch and check the switch to be sure the rails are in gauge.
    This happen to me..I had one switch that cause me problems even tho' everything was in order..Upon closer inspection I found one rail was higher then the other at the joint even tho' both rails was in their joiners..I had left a O Scale spike* laying where the switch went and without realizing I installed the track joint on this spike.:oops:

    *The O Scale spikes holds the track better then a HO scale spike because its longer and goes deeper in the roadbed for a better hold..
  11. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Thanks for the info. I've heard that there was a way to tune the frogs too.

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