Your help and experience needed (turnouts and such)

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by EngineerKyle, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Hi all, :wave:

    Well, I have a problem that needs fixing and a quick survey to take;

    The problem is an Atlas code 100 #6 turnout. The inside rail is no longer being energized from the point, because the rivet has stopped conducting electricity. I thought I might wire a short jumper from the other inner rail to the dead one between the rivet and the frog. Can I do this or is there a better fix? Will it still be DCC Friendly? Would this modification defeat the purpose of the insulated frog?

    And now the survey;

    I’ve only been in this hobby one year, but I can see it will be a life’s work (off and on).

    How long does some of this stuff last with proper maintenance? Will turnouts like mine last decades, years or months? And how ‘bout switch motors like the Atlas under the table solenoid jobs? What about Tortoises? Do Athrean BB’s have life expectancy? Do Atlas locos hold up longer than others? How about other stuff like scenery and landscaping materials that are made from vegetation?

    Thanks in advance for you time and collective brain power!

    Kyle :rolleyes:
  2. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Yes, adding a jumper is the correct fix. It shouldn't change any of the wiring or characteristics of the turnout. If you look carefully, near the grommet there should be a tab that touches the adjacent stock (outside rail). It is likely that the tab is no longer making good contact. You want to jumper from the stock rail to the adjacent closure rail or grommet. The point should be getting power at the hinge, not from contact with the stock rail. Point to stock rail contact is almost always an unreliable electrical current path, the one exception being Peco turnouts.

    With decent maintenance, a lot of model railorading equipment made in the '50s, '60s, and '70s is still working fine. I don't have statistics to back me up, but I believe more damage occurs in storage and handling than when installed and being used. An Atlas turnout "tuned" and left in place will work for many years. By "tuned" I mean fixing any problems such as blunt points, electrical path failures (like yours), out of gauge, etc. Very few prefab turnouts are perfect from the get go. It is the taking the turnouts up, storing them, and re-laying them in your next layout that causes problems - especially the taking up.

    Atlas switch motors last forever if they are not mistreated. Most common cause of problems are dirt in the solenoid tube, and burning of the coils by energizing for too long a time period. You can almost eliminate the second by using a capacitive discharge (CD) unit to power your switch motors. Torotises have an even better track record, from what I have heard.

    Athearn BB's are known for their durability, reliability, and "growl". Until the Horizon take-over of Athearn, parts were readily available. The new production from China - Bachmann Spectrum, Lifelike/P2K, and Atlas - durability is a question mark. They are a big step above Athearn BB in detail and running qualities. But extra parts are not made and stocked as a matter of course. If you send one in under warranty, you usually get the whole locomotive replaced. Bowser/Stewart are still made in the US, and Bowser does stock parts for eveything they make.

    Scenery: Plaster is very durable. Foam is relatively new, but I see no reason to doubt its durability. Paper mache may mold or have other problems over time. Lichen and natural plant matter tends to dry out over time, even when treated with glycerine. I do know flourescent lighting can cause noticeable color fading from the UV light. Fix is to install UV shields over the tubes.

    Others may have different experiences.

    yours in training
  3. Noooooo I think that every thing was said that had to be said.
    I coudn't have done any beter my self, an A+ from the teachetbounce7

  4. hminky

    hminky Member

  5. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    Thanks all, my "jumper" is similar to the top half of Harold's first pic. Works now. Thanks all.


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