Opinions in switches

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by revandy, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. revandy

    revandy Member

    I am in the process of rebuilding my layout, This AM, I was reading on the Guage about a switch problem one of our members is having and the thought occurred to me and my comment was, if a problem is going to occur, the biggest percentage of the time, the switch is the culprit. So, the question is, what do you consider to be the best switch on the market? any pro and cons to consider. etc.

    Rev. Andy
  2. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I have found Peco switches to be the best but then I haven't had experience with any other type of switch other than Atlas
  3. mhdishere

    mhdishere Member

    I'm going to give a synopsis of what I've read here and elsewhere about turnouts, I don't have a layout right now and when I do I'm going to try hand-laying, so I have no firsthand experience. I'm also not going to get into brands, only the potential problem areas. I'm also going to stick with reliability issues causing derailments or other operational problems, not detail level or long-term durability.

    There are three main problem areas in turnouts, mechanical, electrical, and installation.

    Mechanical: The turnout is out of gauge, or becomes out of gauge during use. The best way to head off these problems is to go over the turnout before installation with an NMRA standards gauge, if you buy a turnout that's out of gauge bring it back for a new one. If the turnout becomes out of gauge after installation you'll either have to get the rails back in gauge or replace the turnout. You can also run a truck thru the turnout, listen for places where the wheels are hitting the frog or points, if there's a problem file carefully until the wheels run thru smoothly.

    Electrical: This is particularly a problem on the turnout points, if they don't get proper power the engine will stall or run poorly. A good rule of thumb is that no piece of rail should ever rely upon mechanical contact with another piece of rail for power transfer. The one place you do that is the one place you'll get some crud, ballast glue, or whatever. Some modellers solder jumpers between the points and stock rails for this reason. A little effort before installation can head off a major headache down the road.

    Installation: This is probably where most of the problems actually occur. The turnout should be flat, not twisted and as level as your track plan will allow, especially side-to-side (meaning the train shouldn't be tipped as it goes over the turnout). The subroadbed should be solid and the roadbed shouldn't interfere with the movement of the points.

    I know lots of folks who swear by Atlas turnouts, and lots who swear at them. It seems that just about any brand can be made to work reliably with a little effort up front and care in installation. Likewise any brand can cause problems.
  4. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    I have delt with both, And my choice is Peco.
    I will use Atlas if from my old stock, but will not buy them again.
    Over the years I found Peco to be of stronger material.
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I also use Peco exclusively. For one thing, they snap into place without the need for additional turnout controls. The other thing is that they are so well-made in the first place that issues such as filing down the points never seem to even come up.

    The downside of Peco, if you're a stickler for such detail, is that the ties are not quite North American prototype, unless you buy their new line. These unfortunately are more expensive than the original line and only come in code 87.

    Still, I have been very happy with Peco and have had no problems at all.

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    I tried some of the other brands of switches over the years but,I always return to the Atlas switch..So,for me its the Atlas switch. :thumb:

Share This Page