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Discussion Starter #1
I just painted my track with spray paint, weathered wood and it looks good. Problem is, now none of my remote switches work. even one that I did not paint as I ran out of paint.

Most of the switches are atlas 540 and 541. They worked prior to painting and I did mask off the contact points. They work fine manually and do not seem to be hung up.

How would the paint make the switches stop working?

Thanks,
 

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Ruined

The paint got inside and ruined them. Think of dirt that dries hard:(

Have you tried removing the electric motor/solenoid machine nd moving the turnouts by hand?
 

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The paint got inside and ruined them. Think of dirt that dries hard:(
Yep, unless you masked off the entire switch machine, they are likely dead. You can try a little contact cleaner, but it's probably a lost cause.

Good news is, now you have an excuse to replace them with something better.

I'm a big fan of servo controls from Tam Valley Depot, but switch machines from Circuitron(Tortoise), Walthers, Rapido or Peco are all excellent choices.
 

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Ugh! Sorry to hear that. It’s probably little consolation, but your post may prevent someone doing that in the future.
It would not have occurred to me either to mask the entire machine.
Yes, it’s true that now you can replace the turnouts with something better. The geometry of another brand usually won’t be the same, though.
 

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Replacing switch machines, or entire turnouts

I just painted my track with spray paint, weathered wood and it looks good. Problem is, now none of my remote switches work. even one that I did not paint as I ran out of paint.

Most of the switches are atlas 540 and 541. They worked prior to painting and I did mask off the contact points. They work fine manually and do not seem to be hung up.

How would the paint make the switches stop working?

Thanks,
VGN310;

You have several options.

First, you could try taking the Atlas switch machine apart and then cleaning & lubricating the inner parts. My 50 year old Atlas HO-scale switch machines were riveted together. If yours are, the rivets can be drilled out, but it's a pain to do. My 30 year old Atlas N-scale switch machines were stuck together, (So poorly that some shook themselves open just from the vibration of normal operation!) with internal plastic pins. Those that hadn't self-destructed could be pried open with an x-acto knife along the seam between the top & bottom castings.
Trying to repair these things has somewhat poor likelihood of succeeding, but since they're already broken, you don't have much to loose by trying. The internal parts are small and easily lost. One, or more, of the electric coils inside may have burned out. Is it worth it? That's up to you.

Second: You could do what CTValley suggested, and replace the Atlas switch machines with servos, Tortoise stall motors, Caboose Industries ground throws, or mechanical linkages. The file "All about turnouts" discusses these options and a lot more.

This approach assumes you want to keep your Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts, and replace only the switch machines. The advantages would be saving the cost of new (and better quality) turnouts, and the fact that you would not have to alter the track geometry of your layout to accommodate the new turnouts. You see no other commercial turnout will be exactly the same size, and shape, of your present ones. The changes in track geometry are usually minor, and can be done by using some short pieces of flex track leading into the turnout.

The downside of Keeping your Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts is that they are simply not very good turnouts. In fact, I, and lots of others, consider them to be the worst available. That doesn't mean everybody dislikes them. There are plenty of people who use Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts, and like them. The attached file "Improving Atlas turnouts" shows some things that can be done to make the Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts more reliable.

Third: You could, as prrfan has suggested, replace your turnouts with much better quality, more reliable, turnouts, like Peco turnouts. They have a well-earned reputation for high quality, reliability, rugged construction, and seldom, if ever, causing any derailments.

The plus side of this option, you end up with the best commercially available turnouts, instead of the worst.

The negative side is expense. You will have to bear the cost of the new turnouts. Also, you will need to take up, and replace, the track near the turnouts since the Pecos (or any others including Atlas's own "Custom Line" numbered turnouts) will be a different size & shape than the "Snap Switches" they are replacing.

I recommend the third option because, in the end, it will increase the reliability of operation on your layout, and your own satisfaction.

However, it's not my choice, but yours. Choose whichever option you like.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 4.pdf

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Found the Problem

Thanks for the information but I figured it out. One of my switches had burned out causing a short. When I hooked up my accessories to my newer power pack, it showed an overload. That is when I started looking for what would cause the overload.

As I stated, I had covered my switches before painting. After these suggestions, I took one apart and it was clean. Guess it is best not to jump at the first suggestion and that would have caused me time and money to replace all of my switches.
 

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Good for you!

Thanks for the information but I figured it out. One of my switches had burned out causing a short. When I hooked up my accessories to my newer power pack, it showed an overload. That is when I started looking for what would cause the overload.

As I stated, I had covered my switches before painting. After these suggestions, I took one apart and it was clean. Guess it is best not to jump at the first suggestion and that would have caused me time and money to replace all of my switches.
VGN310;

I'm glad you were able to solve the problem. One of the advantages of this forum is that you will typically get answers to your question from several different members. Though many of us have lots of experience, we are also trying to help you fix something by "remote control" in a way, since we're not there with you to see for ourselves what's happening on your layout. To some extent then each answer you get is an educated guess, based on the respondent's experience. Inevitably, we're going to guess wrong sometimes. That's why it's helpful to get more than one answer. You can learn something from most of them, and you get to decide which to accept, or reject. In this case, as you say, taking the first answer as absolute would have cost you a lot of money & time. All responses are intended as simply suggestions, not commandments.

The burnt out coil could likely have happened for reasons unrelated to the spray paint, especially since you apparently had done a good job of masking, since there was no paint inside the switch machine you opened.

Unless you are using a C.D. U. (Capacitive Discharge Unit) it's all too easy to burn out a coil by just holding the button down more than a second or two.
Another possibility is a short circuit inside the Atlas control button. Those Atlas controls, (with the blue buttons), that come with the Atlas Snap Switch turnouts, have a history of their internal contacts shorting out. Should that happen, the coil will burn out very quickly. There have been several such blue button short circuits reported here on the forum.
There is a better control available, should you ever choose to replace the blue buttons. It's called the Stapleton 751D and it contains a built-in C.D. U. You could hold this control in the "on" position for hours, days, whatever, and never hurt a coil. A CDU lets go of all it's energy in one quick burst. It can't recharge until after you let go of the button. Just a suggestion.

Again, congrats on fixing your problem;:thumbsup:

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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Thanks for the information but I figured it out. One of my switches had burned out causing a short. When I hooked up my accessories to my newer power pack, it showed an overload. That is when I started looking for what would cause the overload.

As I stated, I had covered my switches before painting. After these suggestions, I took one apart and it was clean. Guess it is best not to jump at the first suggestion and that would have caused me time and money to replace all of my switches.
Well, actually, you DIDN'T say you had covered your switches, you said the contact points (this says to me the terminals where you connect the wires, not the entire machine).

No one is going to deliberately send you down the wrong path, or have you destroy something by tearing it apart unnecessarily. As traction fan says, all we can do is take educated guesses based on the word picture you paint for us. The clearer the picture (IOW, the more information you provide, and the more clearly you explain the issue), the better the suggestions will be. You asked what would cause your problem; several of us responded with what our experience told us was the most likely cause. That didn't happen to be the case this time, but it was still a good answer. By pulling one of them apart, you were able to rule that out as a cause.

On the other hand, since you're using twin coil switch machines, my experience tells me that time and money spent replacing those would be well-spent. As you've discovered, those devices have some inherent flaws, and eventually, all of them are going to fail in the same way, so better to avoid it now while your layout is under construction rather than in a more finished state.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not trying to get on anyone, just saying it is good to ask and then wait to see what else might come up. A lot of times people might not give all the information to their problem as I did by not saying I covered he switch as well as the contact point. Did not really think about it as I had it in my mind it covered all.

Thanks for the help. I think I will add a capacitor discharge unit to prevent the burnout of the switches.
 

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Problem is, now none of my remote switches work. even one that I did not paint as I ran out of paint.



There was the clue that it was not the paint that caused the problem, but we all missed it.
 

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Problem is, now none of my remote switches work. even one that I did not paint as I ran out of paint.



There was the clue that it was not the paint that caused the problem, but we all missed it.
Well, no, actually, I saw it. But I figured it was a victim of overspray, since there was no information as to how close it was to the others. Still, you're right in that there was an assumption to make the facts fit my conclusion.
 
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