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Hi & thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm a N00B at this so please bear with me and with any responses please write them out as if you're talking to a 10 year old with pictures if possible as my understanding is very basic.

I'm helping my dad out with his HO & O scale layouts and after working with his 022's on the O setup I was wondering if I could take a Red/Green HO signal and wire it to the 3 leads on an Atlas powered switch to at least give me an idea if the switch flipped.

The reason for this is the layout is kind of hard to see as it sits behind the O layout and you can't see the switches to see if they've flipped. I essentially want to have a visual confirmation. I'd considered the Atlas #57 lighted switch control as an add on as well but they seem to be discontinued for what I'd guess is a manufacturing defect.

So please, any help or responses would be welcome and IDEAS! I'm good with a soldering iron and I'm decent at wiring, just need a solution to this problem. THANKS!
 

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On a few of my turnouts, I added some copper wire fingers to the switch point mechanism Basically a two way switch connected to a DC supply voltage which is always on. This lit up a red/green indicator next to the turnout.

There are other ways to accomplish this, but can get complicated and may not be idiot proof.
For example, if you use the electrical switch to change the indicator, and the turnout does not move, the indicator will show wrong.

http://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=46690
 

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Monitoring turnouts

Hi & thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm a N00B at this so please bear with me and with any responses please write them out as if you're talking to a 10 year old with pictures if possible as my understanding is very basic.

I'm helping my dad out with his HO & O scale layouts and after working with his 022's on the O setup I was wondering if I could take a Red/Green HO signal and wire it to the 3 leads on an Atlas powered switch to at least give me an idea if the switch flipped.

The reason for this is the layout is kind of hard to see as it sits behind the O layout and you can't see the switches to see if they've flipped. I essentially want to have a visual confirmation. I'd considered the Atlas #57 lighted switch control as an add on as well but they seem to be discontinued for what I'd guess is a manufacturing defect.

So please, any help or responses would be welcome and IDEAS! I'm good with a soldering iron and I'm decent at wiring, just need a solution to this problem. THANKS!
Chi_Twn_Luv;

I'm guessing that by the "three leads of an Atlas powered switch;" you are referring to red,green, and black wires that supply a short burst of electricity to change the route a train will take when it passes through the switch. If that's correct then the short answer is no, you can't do it that way. If you did hook the signal up to those three wires it's lights would be instantly burned out the first time anyone "flipped the switch." I'm going to give you some words to use on your response to this. The only point of doing that is to have clear communication, by using the same names for a given item. Please don't be offended, I'm not trying to nitpick your words. Since you are new, nobody expects you to have all the technical terms memorized! In fact I just posted a lengthy document with over twenty pages of model railroad terminology to help Noobs understand what in heck we are talking about.
The item you call a "switch", we prefer to call a "turnout" when you say "flipped" we say "thrown". Thus, if I understand what you are asking, you want a way to turn on a light each time a turnout is thrown. The only way I can think of is to attach some type of electrical switch(that's why we call the track thing a turnout, to avoid confusing it with a switch.) (of the electric variety) When you said "Flip the switch" it sounds like you're turning on the room lights with a wall switch. From the context I was able to understand what you meant, I hope, but you can probably see how both of us using the same words makes things easier.
The electric switch needs to be activated when the turnout is thrown. If this is the common type of Atlas turnout, the mechanism that throws it is quite weak. The moving rails of the turnout(called points) are attached, by two rivets,to a plastic strip that moves from side-to-side when the turnout is thrown.(called a throwbar) This throwbar is your best bet for operating the electric switch which in turn will control the signal lights. I suggest using the smallest micro-switch you can find. Mount it to the table right next to the turnout, and with the micro-switch's moving metal arm in a position where the turnout's throwbar will hit it. The micro-switch has three terminals that wires can be soldered to. They should be marked "NO","NC", and "COM".
Find out what voltage the signal lamps need to light up, and solder a wire carrying that voltage to the "COM" (common) terminal. Attach the other wire from the lamp's power source to one wire from both lamps. The other wires, one from each lamp should be connected one to the "NO" (Normally Open) terminal and the other wire to the "NC" (Normally Closed) terminal. When the turnout is thrown to one route; one of the lights should come on. When the turnout is thrown to the opposite route, the other light should come on. You may have to adjust the position of the micro-switch to get this working right.

This pdf file is about Atlas turnouts. You may not need to make any of the improvements in it, but it has clear photos of the parts.

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts.pdf

Good luck;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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The solution is very simple. You just need to use an Atlas relay, which wires in parallel with your switch machine leads. You would then wire your signal power-common- power leads to the contact side of the relay.
I also use them as selective route controls.
The instructions on the package will pretty well fill you in on how to wire it.
Look for "Atlas Snap Relay".
IMG_20160605_170142641.jpg
 

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As our guys have previously noted, Atlas turnouts
use a momentary burst of power to throw the
twin coil machine. Any light connected to the
Atlas terminals would only be on for as long as
you pushed the panel button.

You want a turnout signal that says lighted
so you know the position of the points.

There is a commercially available panel switch
which would work as you would like. It throws
the points and lights a red or green bulb or LED

It is the Stapleton 751D.

http://www3.sympatico.ca/kstapleton3/751D.HTM

You can also use an awkward simple circuit to do so.
It uses a Double Pole Double Throw switch and
a push button for each turnout. If you want to
go that way I'll show you how to make the hookup.

Don
 

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Just to clarify, the Snap relays change position when energized . The particular contacts remain closed, thereby illuminating the signal lamp constantly.
 

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Different idea

I have two turnouts to connect. I may try this...
(brown line is a SPDT switch)



If I use a DPDT instead of a SPDT, I can use the other half to run frog power.
 

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I thought someone made a relay adaptor that hooked right to the switch machine to give you indication. The alternative is using the latching relay switch machine that Kemtron and others had, there were variations between makers for this. This gave you switches on the switch motor to give indication. From there you could wire to signals, control panels, etc. No you don't wire directly to the turnout snap switch connections, that is only to work the snap switch machine. They will "SNAP" telling you they moved.
I dont recall if there were snap switch machines that mount right to it with relay contacts.
 

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I guess I don't know what I'm talking about concerning Atlas Snap relays, I 've only been using them as I've desribed for about 30 years now. They must be working by accident. Silly me.
 

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I guess I don't know what I'm talking about concerning Atlas Snap relays, I 've only been using them as I've desribed for about 30 years now. They must be working by accident. Silly me.
As for me, I did not know they existed. Still, I like to tinker, and change up. Since I am lighting an LED, I don't need a relay which was designed to handle light bulbs. I may end up using a S-R digital logic chip. I just finished installing two LED's into an old Walthers two light target. Oh shoot, I could have bought one:mad:
 

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No you don't wire directly to the turnout snap switch connections, that is only to work the snap switch machine. They will "SNAP" telling you they moved.
I dont recall if there were snap switch machines that mount right to it with relay contacts.
I'm not sure that this is the origin of the term. Tam Valley Depot servo mounts can be purchased with or without "snap switches" for connecting crossing gates and signal indicators.

This would be consistent with Timewarp's experience as well.
 

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I trust that you have found your latest circuit inoperable
also.

When you push the button in your circuit you energize both
coils and the points don't move.

You must have a button in the PLUS side to the each of
the turnout coils.

Even so, the LEDs will get power ONLY during your
push of the button. To make them stay on you need
one of the circuits we have mentioned in earlier posts.
Also, you can't continue to push the button to keep the
LEDs lighted as that will quickly burn out the turnout coils.

Changing to a 'stall motor' system such as Tortoise or
Tam Valley you can easily wire the LEDs to stay on after
the points have moved.

Don
 

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It works fine

Already tested and in operation. The resistor keeps LED powered, bypassing the PUSHBUTTON. The resistor keeps the ATLAS SWITCH MACHINE from moving.

The SPDT switch prevents both coils from getting power at the same time

 

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Dennis

I see what you are doing now. I failed to notice
the SPDT switch, even after you mentioned it.

What you are doing is very similar to my panel
LED circuit. While it works, I so often will throw the
switch, changing the LEDs, but fail to push the
button moving the points. The result, often
a derail due to points set wrong.

Had I known of the Stapleton 751 D I would have
used them instead of my much more Awkward and
uncertain system. The 751s control the points and
the LEDs with one flip of it's switch.

Don
 
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