manual switches

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by justind, Sep 10, 2001.

  1. justind

    justind Member

    I am probably weird, but I like the old manual switches from know, the ones you actually switched by hand with a little plastic arm (that would break a little too easily). One reason, I admit, was the ease of wiring (it required none) and I always thought they looked cool...and in the prototype someone had to jump down and switch these things, which meant the engine had to least in the past before they all became automated. I had some automatic ones (as that seems to be about the only thing you can find anymore) and wired them up to the Accessories port on my controller, flipped the switch and it worked...once! Has never worked again, and I am now having to use them by hand, which is a pain since they don't really have throw arms. I don't know what I did but it must have blown something, very disheartening. However, as no one else has this problem, I just probably need to invest in better swithces, but it didn't really matter to me. Anyway, am I the only one who likes the old manual switches? I see them on a couple of the old layouts, but even on those that are supposedly the most "prototypical" I see that the switches are all automated. Maybe it is human nature not to want to walk over and flip thes things.
  2. Catt

    Catt Guest

    I suppose it really depends on the type of layout your building. On my old switching layout (Nscale)the turnouts are all manual,but on the new one only the yard turnouts will be.
  3. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

  4. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi justind!
    Hey, you're certainly not alone. I'm one of those guys that believes in the "fast food" approach to layout wiring - cheap, fast, & easy. :D
    I use manual (Peco) switches, & use a bamboo skewer to manually uncouple the cars.
    I could give you some reason that it's more prototypical to stop the train, & manually throw the switch, but lets face it, the real reason is , it's less work, & less wiring, two things I like to avoid.
    You didn't mention what kind of switches you have. It sounds like you're using the trusty old Atlas Snap Switches, with the push-button momentary switch. It's not uncommon for those to burn out. Generally, they work pretty well in the manual mode though.
  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    switch wiring

    I have wired all my turnouts with peco turnout switches, however have not yet put the momentary swithes on. I just touch the wires together to get that short burst of leckie. By the time I work out which wire is which, it's quicker to go round and change the turnout manually! I also intend to put a capacitor discharge unit in as well to stop blowing the turnout switches. Wiring is something that I definitely need to tidy up one of these days.:rolleyes:
  6. justind

    justind Member

    Using Power-loc

    I don't have a layout yet, I am running power-loc track and minimal scenery and structures. But in looking to purchase track supplies, I don't see manual switches advertised anywhere. I just purchased the Walthers catalog, so there is a good chance I can find some in there.
    I too cannot wire for love nor money, and like the appearance of manual switches anyway. At the time, I am using automatic switches manually (becuase they fried).
  7. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Justin,
    If you want my advice, and if you haven't started your layout, use PECO track and points. To my mind (50 years using them) they are the most realiable on the market just like the Atlas track. Only Peco points can use the Peco PL10 point motor attached underneath the point and only uses 3 wires to make it move, two are ties in together (Any two on one side) the other two are to move the point. One side of a 16v transformer goes to the two you tied together, and the other side for making either side of the point move through stud and contact or momentary switch.

  8. droyen_flyboy

    droyen_flyboy New Member

    I used the tortise (sp?) slow motion switch machines for my layout (Nscale) with the Peco turnouts. The machines work well BUT I found that they would not snap the switch every time. The problem was the wire provided with the machines was not stiff enough. I had to buy some larger diameter wire to provide the neccessary stiffness to throw the Peco switches.
  9. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Dave, welcome to the gauge.
  10. Donn Welton

    Donn Welton Member

    Switch motors with lights


    What size wire did you use? Will 24 gauge work or does one need something thicker? And see my new thread of Tuesday, 9/18.
  11. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    SNAP power

    There are circuits around you can put together that uses a capacitor. It sends a pulse to the switch machine that is of very short duration and prevents burn outs. I found a very reliable circuit in one of those electonics for model railroad books published by Klambach. Manual switching is OK but sometimes awkward depending on where and how far from the front of the layout they are.
  12. droyen_flyboy

    droyen_flyboy New Member

    tortose switches

    Donn, I don't know the gauge of the wire that I used. I know that I did not get it at a hobby shop. I got it at a place up the road that does fabricating, welding etc. It was just a bit larger diameter that the wire that was supplied and it was some type of steel. I had to drill the hole in the arm out with a pin set to accept the larger gauge. Look around at local shops. The stiffer the better
  13. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    switch wire

    What about using a piece of large size paper clips? They're pretty sturdy.
  14. billk

    billk Active Member

    Or pieces cut from bicycle spokes, or bristles from a steel brush, or ... ??

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