PECO switch Machine help

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by rtmiles, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. rtmiles

    rtmiles New Member

    Ok, it is late and I am get frusterated. I am using peco electro-frog switches with peco switch machines. The problem I am having is that when I install the switch machine to the switch and try it out it only snaps to one side. When I take the switch off and just try the switch machine it works fine. Has anyone had this issue before? :curse:


  2. berraf

    berraf Member

    Many times "rtmiles"! Many times...
    A guess is that you mount the switchmachine pin into the wrong hole in the switch so it´s not able to work proparly.
    I done this many times mostly because my eyes need many glasses to see the little hole that are trying to hide away from me :p
    When you have the motor mounted does it sound in both directions?
    If not so you have a electric problem...and who doesn´t :)
  3. rtmiles

    rtmiles New Member

    berraf, thanks for the reply. I have tried both pin holes with no luck. Is there something I have to do to the track, ie drill a new hole,..? Should I just try a new type of switch machine, ie a tortoise...? I hate to have to spend moeny on new machines but im about to take a hammer to these....:curse:


  4. berraf

    berraf Member

    Dear rtmiles, don´t give up :wave:
    Let us go to the bottom with this issue. Is it this motor you are using?
    And you are using peco track?
    Do you know the number of the turnout?

    Could you take a picture of it all when you have the motor mounted to the switch?
    A really close picture :)
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    After you mount the machine to the switch, do you move the points back and forth? look to see if the pin moves as well.
    In N, the switch machine can be mounted on either side, so you use whichever hole is appropriate.
    Did you add any electrical switch to the switch machine?
    If it throws both ways not attached, you have wired it right.
  6. rtmiles

    rtmiles New Member

    Thanks for the replies guys. The picture is of the machine I am using. I can snap the switch back and forth by hand without any problems. Is it possible that the AC unit I am using is not putting out enough power to run the switch when it is connected. I looked last night and the PECO guide says max 16VAC and my transformer, an old train transformer, says max output 7VA. Im not sure if VA is the same as VAC but if it is I am using a little less than half of the switches max rating.


  7. berraf

    berraf Member

    Okej rtmiles, Peco switches are quite heavy on the power so you should test with a trafo that gives enough power before you test anything else.
    The switch has a spring that holds the tongues in the right place som the motor needs to work mucj to harder when it´s mounted to the switch.
    In my opinion you have a working switchmotor if you have another trafo :)
  8. magliaro

    magliaro New Member

    VA is NOT VAC. VA is short for "volt-amp", and refers to the product of volts x amps.
    In DC, this is equivalent to watts (i.e. if you output 10 volts DC, and you can output a maximum of 2 amps, you have a 20 watt total power capacity). But this is not true in AC. Here's a good write-up on what a volt-amp is:

    VAC is "volts AC". In your case, your power pack's AC terminals output 16 volts AC.

    In your case, it's a 16VAC output. 7VA = 16 volts x ? amps. This means you can only
    output 7/16 = slightly less than half an amp. That is mighty low for switch machines.
    If you had a beefier transformer, it might solve your problem.

    I have fussed with those Peco machines myself many times. I've usually mounted them under the table with a wire linkage that I made myself. I've never actually mounted them directly to the turnouts the way Peco designed them to fit. In any event, I have OFTEN found them to be very fussy in one direction or the other. The throw wire has to be dead straight and dead vertical going up through the throwbar, or the Peco machine can get hung up.

    In your case, I would bet that the weak power supply is the first thing to fix. The machine will move fine with nothing connected to it (as you've already seen). But it probably doesn't have any reserve to overcome friction or load. If you've got a bigger power pack with a higher VA rating, try it, and let us know what happens.

    Frankly, I've never been a big fan of the Peco machines, for precisely this reason.
  9. rtmiles

    rtmiles New Member

    Thanks for the replys guys, I am going to see if I can find a good ac transformer. Any suggestions on that end. I will have to order one online as my local hobby shop doen't carry much of anything....


  10. sidetracked

    sidetracked Member

    rt,, if you make it up here this weekend i might have one that will work,,,, I will check it in a little bit,,,,,, but watch the weather,,, supposed to turn icy,,,,,, also might check out the local radio shack,,,,,, ,,,,,, I will get back to you on what i got,,,,,, ,,,,,, later,,,, st
  11. magliaro

    magliaro New Member

    Here's a very inexpensive and effective way to go: item number 56-589

    16 VAC 2.5 amp
    40 VA "wall wart". Only costs $4.95. You cut the jack off
    the end and just solder on to the wires. I'd suggest mounting it under the layout, and soldering the leads to a terminal strip of some sort. Then you can just run leads from the terminal strip to anywhere you need to for your turnouts.

    I've ordered from Hosfelt Electronics many times - always prompt and reliable.
  12. rtmiles

    rtmiles New Member

    Well, I have a switch..:) I went to Radio Shack and got a 12.6 volt 1.2 amp power transformer that I hard wired, only thing they had. It works but is still week but at least I know where the problem is. I am going to order a 16volt ~3amp transformer off the internet tonight. They are only like $10 bucks or less. Now I can finally start to hook everything up and get some track down:D..

    Thanks again for all the help....:thumb:

  13. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hi rt,

    Another way to make this work, which probably needs to be done anyway, is to use a CDU.
    The cap will provide the power surge needed rather than the power pack. Your
    pushbuttons will thank you for reducing the arcing!!:D
  14. berraf

    berraf Member

    I´m so glad that it works for you now. It´s so frustrating when things don´t work the way they should.
    Good luck with your progress on your layout.
  15. Kaustav

    Kaustav Guest

    Help; Peco switch machine stuck to one side. :(

    Well, I was seeking help on the internet and reviving this old thread. I have exactly the same problem as mentioned here in three out of my 12-turnouts small layout... butI am using the under the table turnout motors by mounting them directly with the turnout, using a Peco CDU (powered by 16 VAC power output), have solid soldering on the wiring - but still it just moves only to one side! I am using Peco stud and probe for momentary contacts.

    When I try to throw the switch, they move easily to one direction. then while trying to reverse them, I see (and hear sound) that the machine tries to move and then returns to the original position without throwing the switch at all. A few times, it also got stuck in between.

    Any help will be highly appreciated...

    Thanks in advance...

  16. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member


    How hard is it to separate the switch machine from the switch?

    I don't have any personal experience with these things, but I have done a lot of trouble shooting as a modeler, and as an automotive technician.

    Having reviewed the earlier posts in this thread, it seems likely you have enough power, as most of your switches work.

    it is possible for this kind of mechanism to be weak on one coil, so it will throw harder in one direction than the other. with an automotive power door lock, which is very similar, you might get a door that would lock, but not unlock electrically , or visa versa.

    With your switch mechanism, there is also a possibility of a problem with the set up causing a bind, that doesn't allow the full travel. buy separating the switch machine, you can run in free, and see if it makes the same sound throwing both ways, and test it for strength against you finger. If it works fine when free then your can experiment with the installation, to see if you can make some improvements there, if not then you might need to replace it.

    Bill Nelson

Share This Page