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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to Railroading - put together layout and cleaned track. Engine goes around layout well but at each turnout it almost comes to a complete stop and then starts back up by itself and continues. I have cleaned track and ensured turnout is completely closed in correct direction. not sure what problem is or how to fix- any ideas / help would be rat

Thanks:confused:
 

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Have you cleaned the wheel pickups?

What type or what kind of locomotive is this?

What brand and size turnout is this?
 

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I would guess the rail joiners are loose or the rivets in the point rails are.
 

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Atlas turnouts

yes i checked wheel pickups - 2 different Athern engines - not sure who made turnouts
igs59;

That's an Atlas "Snap Switch" turnout in your photo. You say the problem happens on several different turnouts, and with two different Athearn locomotives. Some early Athearn locos picked up power from one rail with the front truck, and power from the opposite rail with the rear truck.
The Atlas turnout in your photo has a plastic, "dead" frog that doesn't feed electricity up to the wheel rolling across it. If my guess about your Athearn locos is correct, then when a wheel, of either loco, got onto the plastic frog, of any of your Atlas turnouts, there would be only one wheel left to pick up power from that rail. Also the rail it would be trying to get power from could be the moving point rail.(depending on the loco's direction of travel through the turnout.) The Atlas is not a very good turnout in general, and the electrical connection to the point rails is far less than ideal. The attached file, "Improving Atlas turnouts" covers this problem, along with several others, and shows some fixes for them.

There are some things you can check.

1) Place one of your Athearn locos on the track, (not on a turnout) and hold it while applying power. Lift one end of the loco, until the wheels at that end are clear of the rails. Does the loco stop running? If it does then you have the electrical pickup situation that I theorized. If it keeps running with only one truck on the rails, then my guess was wrong, and your locos have all-wheel pickup.

2) Clean the end of the point rail on the outer side of that rail, and the stock rail at the place where the point rail butts up against it. Check with a multimeter to see if the point rail, and the short frog rail, have power on them.

3) Run the loco very slowly onto a turnout until it stops. Is there a wheel on top of the frog? Take a short piece of wire, and connect it from the stock rail for the selected route, to the wheel on top of the frog. Does the loco start back up?

Since your two Athearns stall on the turnouts, do you have a third, possibly non-Athearn, locomotive that has all-wheel power pickup? (It should keep running with one truck held up off the rails) Can that all-wheel pickup loco run smoothly through the turnouts?

If you find that the athearn locos do only pick up power from one rail with each truck, you have two possible solutions. You would either have to modify the Athearn locos so that they pickup power with all their wheels, or replace them with locos that come with all-wheel pickup from the factory. (nearly all new locomotives do)

At the turnout end of the problem, you also have two choices. You can do the modifications in the "Improving Atlas turnouts" file, or replace the turnouts with some that have powered metal frogs. Peco "Electrofrog" or "Unifrog" turnouts would be excellent choices. The second file, "All about turnouts has lots of information on turnouts in general and ratings of seven common brands.
Replacing turnouts can be expensive, especially if you have a lot of them. You can save money, at the expense of time, by making your own turnouts. You will also end up with a much better turnout than the Atlas ones you have now. The third file, "How I scratchbuild turnouts" explains all about the process of why, and how, I make my own.

good luck;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment How I scratch build turnouts new(8).pdf
 

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I use a voltmeter to pin point power loss remove all locos from the track start and follow the rails around with the meter leads it will tell you exactly where the power drops out.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
solved for most part

Thanks for all the Help and ideas. I worked on connections, cleaned track, tested engine, etc. Got it working better. Decided to look for newer nickel turnouts.

Thanks Again for quick help and ideas
 

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FYI, the newer Atlas nickel silver turnouts are NOT an exact match for the older Atlas brass ones. So, no matter what you replace it with, the other track will need adjustment.

I've tightened up the rivets on my older brass ones, but it requires removing and replacing.
 

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Multi-turnout problem

I'd change out the switch for one with nickel silver rails, and replace all the rail joiners...
J. Albert;

The OP says he has the same problem on all his turnouts. I don't know how many he has, but to use your solution (which I don't disagree with) he would need to replace them all, not just one. In my reply I suggested going to Peco Electrofrogs, or Unifrogs, since they both have metal frogs that can be powered. They also have nickel-silver rails, and are much better quality than the Atlas "Snap Switches" he has now.

However, before running out and spending a chunk of money replacing all of his turnouts, he may want to try the tests and fixes that I recommended.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Go Peco, not Atlas

Thanks for all the Help and ideas. I worked on connections, cleaned track, tested engine, etc. Got it working better. Decided to look for newer nickel turnouts.

Thanks Again for quick help and ideas
igs59;

If you are going to replace all your turnouts, to get nickel-silver rails, I strongly recommend that you buy Peco "Electrofrog", turnouts, instead of Atlas turnouts. The Pecos do have nickel-silver rails, but are also much better made, more reliable,(no derailments) and have metal frogs that can be powered. Powering the frogs will eliminate any stalling on turnouts, even for locos that don't have all-wheel pickup.
Pecos, like most turnouts, including Atlas "Custom Line"and apparently, (according to Denis461's response) even newer Atlas nickel-silver snap switches, don't have the unique geometry of older brass rail Atlas snap switches. You will need to use short pieces of flex track to fit them in place of your present turnouts. This is not difficult, and the much better Peco turnouts are well worth the bit of extra effort.

Though it's a good turnout in general, in your particular case, I recommend not buying Peco "Insulfrog" turnouts, since, like Atlas, they have plastic frogs that cannot be powered at all.

Good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Many people have suggested other brands of turnouts. You can save money, still use Atlas turnouts and solve your problem

Replace Atlas Snap Switches with Atlas Mark II switches!

Atlas Mark II switches do not have plastic frogs. Their frogs are all metal. Often, a wheel of an engine will bridge the frog and maintain electrical continuity. And if you need more reliable continuity, like the other brands, the frog can be switched with the turnout motor.
 
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