I'm about to snap...

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by J. Steffen, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    Ok, I know there are a few of you out there that think this is a family forum but I'm about to snap. I'm running the Atlas Snap switches and I have one word to describe Atlas's product. CRAP... They seem to want to send the consist off into any dirction that they choose. Half of the rolling stock goes one way and the other half wants to go the other way. I was about to take a five lb. sledge to my layout when I took a deep breath and walked away. I've shared my **** poor mood with my wife and as you might guess, she's not pleased...
  2. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    I used to have Atlas snap switches. I had a problem with turnouts not throwing all the way. There are two things that helped me.

    1. Nailing down the switch machines really tight. If they can't shimmy on their mounts the full force of the snap will go into the turnout.

    2. Checking to see if the trucks on the rolling stock or some low-hanging part was snagging the turnout or motor.

    I hope that helps.
  3. J. Steffen

    J. Steffen Member

    I'm going to look for some nails and then take the rest of your advice.

  4. zachary

    zachary Member

    they like to be picky i have some number six turnouts and the motors after a while they start working
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The snap switches are not Atlas' best offering, but they can be made to work reasonably well. However, be sure that your rolling stock wheels are all in gauge as well, since that is the "other half" of the equation. If you do not have an NMRA gauge, now is the time...! ;)

    To get the snap switches to work better...

    1. Check all the appropriate dimensions with your NMRA gauge - flangeways, gauge of track, etc, etc.

    2. Check to make sure the rivets that hold the pivoting ends of the point (movable) rails are snug, but not too tight. A **light** tap with a punch and a hammer can tighten them up if needed, but BE CAREFUL! (Do not do this when you feel like this - :curse: - or you may have to throw out the turnout ;) :D)

    3. Check to make sure that the point rails are in good shape. Since they are made from bent metal, as opposed to real rail, they can sometimes fall over or get bent slightly. Also check the ends that are trapped in the throw bar to make sure there is not too much play. As long as the throw can hold them tight to either side, there should be no problem.

    4. If the point rails are not tight to the stock rails when trown to either side, bend or file them for a better fit. You can also (slightly) notch the stock rail so that the point rail snugs right into the side of the stock rail. Also file the end of the point rail to give it a bit of a rounded end so it is harder for the wheels to "pick the point".

    If you are using the Atlas switch machines in combination with the turnouts (snap switches) then the advice about having things well secured is good. Since the little slug snaps back and forth with quite a bit of force, you need to make sure that the machine itself and the turnout are not moving so that the full force of the motion goes to throwing the points, not moving the whole turnout.

    Hope that helps.


    PS - Thanks for keeping your rant "family-rated". ;)
  6. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Another point to check is that the turnout is flat. If it is spiked down too tightly the ties can get sidtorted and the track goes out of gauge. Or you can have a ripple along the length. I try to have my turnouts un-spiked unless there are several in a row.
  7. jesso

    jesso Member

    One thing that we did to make our switches work consistently was to take a very thin piece of cardstock and glue it to the inside of of the plastic guides that are on either side of the frog. That way, the space between the rail and the guide was made less and it forced the wheels to stay on the correct rail. Also check to make sure if you have couplers that have a metal clip hanging down that it is higher than the track. We had that problem with several Kadee couplers. Once we bent up the clip a little, no more problems.

    The cardstock fixed at least 95% of any switch problems our club was having on the layout.

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