Poor atlas track.

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by prodigy2k7, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    thanks rob
  2. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    You're welcome, Roger! I'm certainly not an expert on this but it's something I've learned the hard way and -- and others have told me similar things. Rob
  3. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    For what it is worth. Get rid of the Atlas switches. As I said earlier they will fail electrically.
  4. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    ok ummm for sale never used atlas switches .. lol
  5. John Hanske

    John Hanske New Member

    Roger, Here is a tip if you want to use the atlases. It's from an old timer in the hobby, and maybe there is a newer fix, but this one has stood the test of time. In order to avoid picking the points, file a 45 degree bevel in the inside part of the movable rails. The bevel should be in both the side to side and up and down axis of the switch. Next, make use of the nmra standards guage and shim as needed. Lester is correct, the electrical carrying abilities should not be trusted, so solder jumpers as need for good contact
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Good tips John. I've filed my Atlas turnout points and added jumpers to electrically failed turnouts with good results.
  7. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I decided to go with Atlas for my 1st N scale layout ( I already know that I'll use Peco turnouts and flextrack for my 2nd layout ).I'll buy the Atlas N scale turnouts next weekend )

    Ralph, could you please explain ( or even better post some pictures or give some link ) the procedure for adding the jumpers to the turnouts ?
    What is the size of the jumpers , and where on the rurnouts are they soldered ?
  8. eric halpin

    eric halpin Eric Halpin


    I have just installed 39 Atlas turnouts. Now that they are bought and installed I am not happy with the rail warpage, the raised frog issue and now you guys are inducating long term electrical problems. This non quality control problem is a major issue and I think MR and RMC should be serving the hobby better by evaluating this stuff. I did read an MR evaluation and they never indicated all these problems. I may just have to write a letter of complaint about this product.
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    It occurs to me that I may have misunderstood the original question. Were you talking about powered switch machines that fail to work or turnouts that no longer seem to conduct electricity and cause locos to stall on them or fail to run after passing through the turnout? I was referring to Atlas turnouts that used to work or never worked electrically that I repaired by soldering wires to help conduct power through the turnout.
    Sorry for any confusion.
  10. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    You're dealing with turnouts that were old when Noah came off the Ark. The wheels and flanges were considerably larger than they are now.

    If the trains aren't de-railing through the turnouts, just "clunking" through them, I'd suggest living with it. If it really bothers you, get some 0.010" styrene strip from Evergreen and glue them into the bottom of the flangeways, it'll prevent the clunking.

    The newer Mark IV turnouts have a reasonable frog, and don't "clunk" quite as much.

    Peco makes some fine turnouts, but given the exchange rate between the dollar and the pound, are about twice the price of Atlas turnouts.

    BT - why the 1st layout-2nd layout track strategy? The new Atlas code 55 track doesn't have the problems of the older code 80's - metal frogs, tighter flangeways, and scale-looking to boot.
  11. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    To Ralph: I'm talking about turnouts that fail to conduct electricity and cause locos to stall on them or fail to run after passing through the turnout.

    To Squidbait: The 1st layout-2nd layout strategy ?
    I want to build my 1st layout using what was available to me ( a 25" by 36" piece of hollow core door ) , using inexpensive sectional track available at any hobbys tore. My 1st idea was to use Fleischmann track because the minimum radius is even smaller than 9 3/4 " but it is very expensive. The Atlas code 80 track fits the bill. I'm in the process of soldering the rail joiners and painting the tracks now. I realised that the biggest problem is the electrical raliability of the turnouts, but it looks like Kato turnouts present the same problem anyway ( that's my opinion after reading various posts on various forums ) just that the MTBF ( mean time between failure ) is longer for Kato than for Atlas. So Atlas or Kato turnout I'll have to solder jumpers to the turnouts and I prefer to practice with cheaper Atlas turnouts.
    If I use Kato turnouts and want to keep 1 1/4 " between the inside and outside oval ( the way Atlas does it ) the track will be too close to the left edge of the benchwork because I need some space on the right side for a small hill
    And another reason is because I'm not ready to tackle flextrack for my 1st layout.

  12. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Thanks BT! OK, then that's what I thought. I run a loco over the turnout slowly to determine where the power fades. Then I take an approximately two foot long piece of wire with insulation cut off a little at each end, touch it to the track I know is live, and experiment with touching the other end along the turnout (along the same side of course) until the loco moves. This has worked on different locations along various Atlas turnouts. I find it all very weird and since I'm not an electrical genius I just fiddle until I know where a wire needs to go to fire that switch up! Then I drill appropriately located holes in my baseboard, solder one wire, feed it under the bench work and up through the other to solder the connection needed.

    I hope that helps!

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