HO Atlas Automatic Switches

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by gregbva123, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    Are HO Atlas Automatic Switches any good? Does anyone have any problems with them?

  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The Atlas automated switches have been around for a long time, and are reasonably dependable. Their real beauty is in the fact that Atlas has a complete system for controlling turnouts, and it is fairly easy to install and operate.
    There are two drawbacks, the "snap" of the switch machine, when it is activated, and hiding the switch machines from view.
  3. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    In my case, I use the Atlas Mark II (not the 'Snap Switch') and have removed all of the Atlas switch machines going to Tortoise slo-motion under the table mounts or hand operated ground throws by Caboose Industries.

    That way, I don't have to hide or disguise the machine and my operations have become more realistic.


    Roger Hensley – madisonrails@railfan.net
    == http://cid.railfan.net/eci_new.html ==
    == East Central Indiana HO Scale Railroad ==
  4. vanda32547

    vanda32547 Member

    Atlas Snap Switch Machines

    It is possible to convert the hard to hide part of the switch and use under table switch machines to activate your turnouts. That is what I have done and they work very well for the money invested. Plus if you eventually have a problem the switch machine is easy to change out with out disturbing your scenery since it comes from below the layout. :D
  5. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    Wow, a lot of good ideas and thanks.


    Keep posting
  6. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    How hard would it be to replace the 16 Atlas Snap-Switches with the tortoise under the layout switches.

    Can I take off the Atlas Snap-Switches and use the same Switch Turnout and add the under the layout tortoise machines? What would be the cost too?

  7. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Yes. That's what I did. However, the Tortoise has DC applied to it constantly rather than momentarily as with the Atlas. I simply use a dpdt switch to set the direction and a 9 volt DC power source to power them. I also make use of their method of connecting LEDs to them for LEDs on my control panel.

    I paid $12 or $13US for my Tortys, but I understand that they are a little more now. When I remove the Atlas switch machine, I cut off the mounting tabs to make a better looking turnout.

    I made my power supply and then began converting one at a time until I had all of the turnouts converted. The others, I cut off the mounting tabs and installed a ground throw on.

    Does it take some time? Yes. Is it worth it? I certainly think so. There is no more snap, just a slo motion of the points to the closure rail. I love it.
  8. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another trick that some of the guys in the modular club that I belong use for power routing is to drill a small hole in a dpdt slide switch handle, then run a piece of stiff wire under the table to a lever under the throw bar. The dpdt switch is mounted in alignment with the throw bar so that moving the switch, throws the points. At the same time the contacts on the dpdt switch are used for power routing. It is much less expensive than Tortoise machines. My experience with Atlas turnouts has not been good. They used to use sheet metal stampings for the points, I don't know if they still do. The problem I had with them was a tendency for the wire crimps that held the points to the through bar would loosen over time, and then the points would lay over causing the guage to go way wide and drop the trains on the ballast. I repaired some by filing short pieces of rail to fit, and soldering them to the points to reinforce them. That solved the problem, but it took me better than 3 hours of filing and fitting for each switch.
  9. gregbva123

    gregbva123 Member

    Thanks for the posts.

    Keep Posting

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