Frog powering via ground throw

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Tap, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. Tap

    Tap Member

    Hey guys, on my ho switching layout where i am using atlas turnouts, my switchers do not stop stalling every time they hit a turnout or crossing, i'm not sure if the crossing is fixable, but at least i'd like to fix the turnouts.

    Is there any way i can fix this?

    note that i plan to use ground throws for the switching.

    anyone can help me here???!
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I've had that problem with some Atlas turnouts. I took a wire and touched the ends to the tracks immediately before the turnout and a rail on the turnout to determine if I needed to solder any power connections. Trial and error showed me where to connect wires as my loco moved through the turnout.
  3. Tap

    Tap Member

    i forgot to add that it stalls at the frog... that kinda changes the situation.
    i dont really want to use the atlas snap switches so i guess i could not use the atlas relay.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Tap: are these the turnouts with metal frogs?
    Caboose or somebody make a hand throw with a little switch in it. You might be able to fit a microswitch so trhat it's pushed by the throwrod on the turnout. You can use a slide switch as a hand throw and electric switch (small rod through the switch button to the turnout).
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The Atlas Snap Relay does not physically attach to the turnout or switch machine, but it works and is actuated with momentary switches/buttons like any twin coil switch machine. Because it is physically independent, it could be located anywhere you want to wire it. Has contacts to both power frog and run indicating lights. Could easily be used instead of buying contacts for Peco switch machines.

    Only real drawbacks are

    1) that the extra current draw during turnout throw may cause you to need a capacitive discharge circuit (advisable anyway for twin coil switch machines)

    2) does not work in conjunction with Tortoise and other stall-type switch machines. But Tortoisi (sp?) have their own built-in contacts anyway.

    Trust me, once you have powered your frogs through a contact (for correct polarity), you will never accept anything less again. This assumes you have metal frogs. :)

    yours in not stalling on turnouts

    yours in throwing turnouts
  6. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Sorry, I didn't your original question well enough.

    On Atlas turnouts, there are 3 likely reasons for stalling:

    1) dirty track. Not likely in your case since it happens at virtually all turnouts and crossings.

    2) rivets and tabs are loose on the turnouts. A picture of your specific turnout would help in diagnosis because the design has changed a little over the years. In general on Atlas turnouts, there is a metal tab that electrically connects the closure rail to the adjacent stock rail. There is also a type of hinge - used to be a grommet - that hinges the points (parts that move) to the closure rails. These hinges have to conduct the electrical power. Again, it is unlikely that all your turnouts have loose connections at these places.

    3) the insulated frogs. Atlas turnouts and crossings have plastic covered or insulated metal frogs with no power in that section. Chances are your switcher only has functioning electrical pickup on one or two wheels on each side, and that this wheel(s) are on the insulated section when it stalls.

    Fixes for #3:

    If your Atlas turnout has a metal, not plastic, frog - only a few do - it is possible to attach a jumper to the frog with a tiny screw. The jumper must go to an electrical contact that changes polarity when you throw the turnout. Caboose Industries makes a ground throw that has a contact built in for this purpose. Others put a slide or toggle switch in their throw mechanism by putting a wire through the slide or toggle switch handle to accomplish the polarity change.

    If your Atlas turnouts have plastic frogs the only fix is to improve the pickup of your switcher - a good idea anyway. First, check the existing pickups. Are all the wheel wipers in place and making good electrical contact? Fix any that aren't first. Then add wipers to any drive wheels that don't have any. An alternative to wheel wipers is sliding shoes that lightly rub the rail. Ends have to be turned up so the shoes don't snag. The sliding shoes are a little more visible than wheel wipers but are a somewhat more reliable contact. If there is room, add weight to the engine. This will improve both pulling power and electrical contact. With small switching engines, there is no such thing as too much electrical contact.

    Hope this helps more.
  7. Tap

    Tap Member

    the frogs are metal, i might check out the hand throw by caboose industries. Thanks alot!

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