Atlas switch machines

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by racedirector, Apr 10, 2004.

  1. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Hi All

    I have some second hand Atlas switch machines coming for my hidden staging yards. Having never used them before, I know nothing about them.

    Firstly, what are they? By that I mean are the soleniod type or something else....

    Secondly, what voltage and type of power (AC/DC) do they require?

    Sorry for such a basic question, but these came recommended for hidden staging.

  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi Bruce,
    Thay are twin-coil solenoid types.

    Atlas is recommending 16-18VAC. You can run them on AC
    or DC. Remember to use a momentary contact switch
    (do not leave power applied to the coil as it will burn out.)

    They consume a lot of power, and your power-pack may or
    may not be up to the job, especially if you are switching more
    than one at a time (like a crossover) unless you are using a
    capacitive discharge unit (CDU.)

    Right now I have mine on a separate 24VDC supply, and
    it throws them purty hard.:wave:
  3. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    I don't know from your post if they are under-table or above,
    or if they are attached to turnouts or not. Electrically, it makes
    no difference. Some of the under-table now have 2 sets of
    relay contacts on them for indicators or frog power.:) :)
  4. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Thanks Cid

    That helps alot.

    Oh, and they are a mixture of above and below versions - other than that I don't know much :)

  5. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Ok, just an additional question tacked onto this one. I am going to build a power supply specifically for the turnout motors and a capacitor discharge unit/diode matrix or two.

    Which of these transformers would be better?:

    1. 24V 3A 72VA Single Winding
    2. 9V - 24V 5A 60VA Multi-Tap
    3. 12V - 30V 6A 100VA Muli-Tap
    4. 12V - 30V 8A 120VA Multi-Tap

  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    for my CDUs, I use
    -an old Lionel Transformer 14-16V AC,
    -the AC output from a train set power pack.
    For my Tortoise machines, I use another old power pack with a brdge rectifier.
    The CDU should tell you what power it requires.
    You shouldn't need a great deal of amperage unless you are throwing a lot of turnouts at once. A CDU and a diode matrix will let you select a siding and line it up with one button. It also keeps your switch machines from cooking if the button sticks on.
  7. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Thanks David

    I have actually just posted a broader view of what I am looking to do in this thread:

    It is a combination of things that I don;t have enough knowledge on :)

  8. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    RD, I use a 12 volt 8 amp xformer for my power supply. I rectify it to DC so wind up with about 10 1/2 volts. I use it for both my Tortoise and Switchmaster machines as well as various twin solenoid types, Atlas, Peco, Rix, and NJ International. 10 1/2 volts is pretty low for these, so I'm told, but they work fine, and do so even when throwing four at once through a diode matrix. The solenoid type consume lots of current. My original 3 amp 12 volt supply couldn't throw more than two reliably. A move to 24 volts made litle differance. Amps are what you need, I guess the cdu's provide what is needed, I don't know much about them, built one 20 years ago following a published schenatic but using some hefty caps. Too powerful, I could weld my stud/contact together, forget push buttons! It packed quite a wallop even 24 hours after being powered down. I'm sure its not difficult to get the right balance between the ability to provide a short burst of appropriate power and a quick recharge time. I just don't see why they're considered neeeded, when a 5 to 8 amp xformer will do the job just fine. Maybe the concern for relatively high power lurking beneath the benchwork. I have mine fused to 6 amp and haven't ever blown a fuse.
  9. racedirector

    racedirector Member

    Thanks Gary

    I see "amps" are the key for effective swicth control. I might just go with the #4 transformer above.

    I still like the idea of a CDU to safeguard the switch machines though.


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