What did I buy????

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by ezdays, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Hey, I've got all my track in place and have actually ran some trains around it. I've had a few problems with some curves that I had to change a bit, but the only problems I seem to have left are all with my turnouts. I don't know if I did the wrong thing, but I bought all Life Like (#7804 and #7805) turnouts. I bought them because I thought that's all my LHS had. I now see that they also have Atlas.

    I've already had one fall apart on me. Aside from that, what's happening is that I can run an engine through a turnout and it will run through fine, then the next time it will derail... Or, I can run OK in one direction consistantly and the engine will derail going in the other direction... Or, I can run one engine OK through a turnout and a different engine will derail or hang up halfway through the turnout. Not all turnouts are doing this, just a few.

    I don't mind continuing to troubleshoot the problems, but my main concern is that I don't have decent turnouts and I won't ever get them to work right. If this is so, let me know now before I waste a couple more days. :rolleyes: Of course if I have to change them out, there goes the budget.:p

    Otherwise, all my curves are OK and my grades are fine. I've been paying attention to what's been said here on The Gauge and it's paying off.:)


  2. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Don. What kind of couplers do you have? I had trouble similar to your and after pulling my hair out for quite a while discovered that the little wire thing below the MT coupler was hanging up on the switches and derailing the engines. I pushed them all in a fraction and that took care of the engine derailments. Just a thought for you to check.
    I have Atlas switches
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I had thought of that, and had bent one pin already and had lost another and that engine is the one that derails the most. Since I posted this I had found another defective turnout. It is not transferring the voltage without pressing down on the movable leg (I know there's a correct term for that piece, but you know what I'm talking about):rolleyes:

  4. coachsig

    coachsig Member


    Same trouble with LL turnouts..power through them is less than reliable...same with Bachmann in my experience.....worked hours trying to figure out the stalls and derailments.........finally switched to Atlas and Peco and troubles appear to have been solved even with the track not being attached securely.

    For what it's worth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    Like coachsig I use mostly peco and a few atlas switches.
    Don, it is possible to solder a feeder wire to the movable rails. Not easy as then you need DPDT switches to change the current. I have tried it as sometimes even peco switches needs help.
    Probably more complex than you want.
    Just check to see that the movable rail is very clean where it meets the track. It also needs to be held firmly in place. Are you using switch machines?
  6. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks for the inputs. The turnouts have switches built in, but I haven't hooked them up to power yet since they have a tab to switch them manually. I think a lot of my problems are the moveable rails. Some of them appear very loose and could easily catch onto a coupler pin. Some are so loose that they do not make electrical contact. The pivots are held in place with plastic bushings that don't seem to hold very well.

    One technique I use to troublshoot electronics is to interchange parts between a known working one and one in question. I can swap turnouts and try to isolate the cause.

    I still think the LL units are built kinda shoddy. I don't have an Atlas one to compare to, but I will by this time tomorrow. :D

  7. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Don I've used Peco for years with no problem. I 've used Atlas some in the past, they worked OK but like their flex track they just look to wayyyyyyyyyy out of scale to suit me. I wouldn't use LL or Bachman for the resaons you mentioned.
  8. davidstrains

    davidstrains Active Member

    The others have said about all there is on your turnout problem. The solution is a better turnout. I use Peco as others have. Atlas is also a good choice but not as good as the Peco's. My advise is cut your losses and make the switch before you do something that may cause mayhem to your sanity, layout, an engine or two or the family pet.:D
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I think what I found kinda comfirms what you all have been saying. I returned two LL turnouts that were broken beyond fixing and got two Atlas ones. I was able to fix another one, but it didn't last. I replace one LL that was causing derailments with one of the Atlas units, and that fixed that problem. I still have two LL units that I can run trains in the straight direction, but not throught the curve and that's because I have no transfer of power through the movable rails.

    The LL units are held in place with plastic collars or bushings that seem to work loose, whereas the Atlas ones are held together with metal that is swedged so they will not fall apart. I know this isn't news to most of you, but in case someone like myself is just starting, they may read this a be saved a few hours time and a few bucks in replacement parts.

    The did not have Peco at that store, but I will call around and find some. I still have about six more LL's to change out. I'm just glad I found this out at this stage.;)

    D:cool: N
  10. Don, the Peco are harder to find, a bit more expensive than Atlas, but my experience has been they are worth the extra cash in better reliabability and appearance. RTW or Affair With Trains could order them for you, or you can get them where I bought mine, Rio Grande Hobbies (4Nscale.com). You can get Code 80 or Code 55 (my preference).

    A nice feature of the Pecos is that they route power based on the position of the switch, saving a bit of wiring for small sidings. The one downside to Peco is those points actually have small contacts to transfer power to the stock rails, and these have to be cleaned from time to time to maintain conductivity. A bit of rubbing alcohol and a toothpick, and they are easily cleaned.
  11. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Thanks Verne, I got the LL's and Atlas at Hobby Bench there on Bell Rd. Not very plesent people to deal with. They were very skeptical ("gee, these look like they were installed in your layout"), but they did exchange them (with additional cash to cover the price difference). I'm just guessing, but I'll bet that a Peco turnout from Rio Grande will be cheaper than what I paid for the Atlas ones yesterday.:eek: Plus no sales tax, I don't have to drive 50 miles each way and nicer people to deal with.:)

    I installed both the Atlas ones and they cured both problems. Most of the other LL's are still a headache, all dealing with the way they're put together.


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