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Discussion Starter #1
Can someone please recommend a specific power pack or transformer for Atlas Code 83 Snap Switches?

I am using Power Cab DCC and just can't get the switches to work (e.g., first switch would throw, but not return, second switch would not work at all).

As an alternative, I tried wiring an Atlas Switch control box without success.

After researching, I have read that DCC is not the best (power wise) for Atlas Remote Switches and that an independent power supply of 15-16 VAC at 2-3 AMPS is best. I have not been able to locate a power supply with those specs.

I have just gotten back into model railroading after an over 50 year absence. I have built my 4 x 8 table, purchased an Atlas package, installed the track, and have no problems with the performance until today when I started to wire the remotes.

Many thanks for any suggestions.
 

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I'm using an 800 ma 15VDC wall wart from some discarded device. Two or three amps is overkill for twin coil machines that operate for .5 seconds.

If you want to operate them from DCC buy Walthers DCC servo controlled switch machines for about $20. You'll also need the distribution card for about eight bucks. These will also operate signals for entry and exit of the turnout.
 

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Almost any simple train transformer has an accessory VAC output which will work.
Are you using a momentary pushbutton to operate the snap switch turnout.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Almost any simple train transformer has an accessory VAC output which will work.
Are you using a momentary pushbutton to operate the snap switch turnout.
Yes, I will be using the Atlas Control Boxes that came with the turnouts.
 

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no, DCC is not the best , lol
if you have a choice, then it's AC, 12-16 volt, minimum one amp ...
with a CDU [capacitive discharge unit], one CDU will do all turnouts, can be home made or store bought, keeps them from burning out if the switch sticks on you ..
not a high dollar investment
 

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Discussion Starter #6
no, DCC is not the best , lol
if you have a choice, then it's AC, 12-16 volt, minimum one amp ...
with a CDU [capacitive discharge unit], one CDU will do all turnouts, can be home made or store bought, keeps them from burning out if the switch sticks on you ..
not a high dollar investment
Thanks, I'll be looking into purchasing a CDU as well.
 

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Atlas Blue button controls

Yes, I will be using the Atlas Control Boxes that came with the turnouts.
caldwest;

You can't operate turnouts/switches directly from the output voltage of a DCC system. Modelers who want to control their turnouts with DCC use a device called a "stationary decoder" as sort of an interface between the DCC system and the coils or motors that move the points of turnouts. The fact that you were able to operate your Atlas turnouts at all with your DCC system, is somewhat accidental. DCC does put out a constant AC voltage of about 15 volts. Since this falls into the broad range of voltages that will operate a coil in an Atlas turnout, you were able to get them to throw one way. Doing this can damage a DCC system, so don't. A DCC system also puts out digital command signals, riding on top of the constant AC voltage. These signals are what tells the decoder inside a locomotive what to do. These signals also tell other decoders, whether they are locomotive decoders, or stationary decoders, what they should do. The stationary decoder then sends a simple voltage out to the turnout to move the points.

Most modelers prefer to use DCC only for controlling trains. They operate their turnouts in the traditional way with plain old AC or DC voltage and some electrical switches/buttons on a control panel. The separate power supply for the turnouts can be anything from the AC accessory terminals of any power pack, to one of those little black, "Wall wart" power supplies, like those used to charge cell phones.

The blue button controls that come with Atlas remote "Snap Switches, hav a history of shorting out and burning out one of the coils in the turnout (track switch) A much better control is the Stapleton 751D, which is not only a better control, but also has a built-in CDU to protect the coils of your Atlas turnouts. Unfortunately both Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts and that blue button that comes with them are low quality items. Do you have a lot invested in Atlas Snap switches? If not, then I recommend using Peco's excellent quality turnouts and Stapleton 751D controls, at least for any future turnout/control purchases. If you decide to keep using Atlas turnouts, and develop derailment, or other problems, with your them later, you can fix most of the defects in them with the information in the attached file "Improving Atlas Turnouts." The other file, "All about turnouts" has lots of information about turnouts in general, including my own personal quality comparison of seven popular brands.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

View attachment Improving Atlas turnouts pdf version.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #8
caldwest;

You can't operate turnouts/switches directly from the output voltage of a DCC system. Modelers who want to control their turnouts with DCC use a device called a "stationary decoder" as sort of an interface between the DCC system and the coils or motors that move the points of turnouts. The fact that you were able to operate your Atlas turnouts at all with your DCC system, is somewhat accidental. DCC does put out a constant AC voltage of about 15 volts. Since this falls into the broad range of voltages that will operate a coil in an Atlas turnout, you were able to get them to throw one way. Doing this can damage a DCC system, so don't. A DCC system also puts out digital command signals, riding on top of the constant AC voltage. These signals are what tells the decoder inside a locomotive what to do. These signals also tell other decoders, whether they are locomotive decoders, or stationary decoders, what they should do. The stationary decoder then sends a simple voltage out to the turnout to move the points.

Most modelers prefer to use DCC only for controlling trains. They operate their turnouts in the traditional way with plain old AC or DC voltage and some electrical switches/buttons on a control panel. The separate power supply for the turnouts can be anything from the AC accessory terminals of any power pack, to one of those little black, "Wall wart" power supplies, like those used to charge cell phones.

The blue button controls that come with Atlas remote "Snap Switches, hav a history of shorting out and burning out one of the coils in the turnout (track switch) A much better control is the Stapleton 751D, which is not only a better control, but also has a built-in CDU to protect the coils of your Atlas turnouts. Unfortunately both Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts and that blue button that comes with them are low quality items. Do you have a lot invested in Atlas Snap switches? If not, then I recommend using Peco's excellent quality turnouts and Stapleton 751D controls, at least for any future turnout/control purchases. If you decide to keep using Atlas turnouts, and develop derailment, or other problems, with your them later, you can fix most of the defects in them with the information in the attached file "Improving Atlas Turnouts." The other file, "All about turnouts" has lots of information about turnouts in general, including my own personal quality comparison of seven popular brands.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:


Traction Fan, I sincerely thank you for your detailed response and for the attachments.

I am grateful for you statements about DCC train control and the separate power supply for switch control. Today I ordered a Railpower 1370 power supply and a Minatronics Corp. Capacitive Discharge Unit. This CDU is advertised to protect 10 switches (I have eight).

No, I don't have a lot invested in the Atlas Snap Switches. I only have them because I purchased a package layout deal from Atlas (I wish they had some clear/bold statements about needing a separate power source to operate their switches if you are using DCC). Your suggestions for PECO switches and the Stapleton 751D are welcomed, however at this point I want to make the Atlas switches work as advertised with a separate power source. I can easily foresee the PECO and Stapleton as a not too distant future project.

I am having fun. Other than for the switches, my layout is progressing well and the work has been enjoyable. I can run an engine and a couple of cars without problem while manually operating the switches. Increasing my rolling stock is a near future project.

Again, thank you for the attachments as I am looking forward to reading them. Even at my advanced years, I continue to enjoy learning.
 

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Having fun? Great!

caldwest;

You can't operate turnouts/switches directly from the output voltage of a DCC system. Modelers who want to control their turnouts with DCC use a device called a "stationary decoder" as sort of an interface between the DCC system and the coils or motors that move the points of turnouts. The fact that you were able to operate your Atlas turnouts at all with your DCC system, is somewhat accidental. DCC does put out a constant AC voltage of about 15 volts. Since this falls into the broad range of voltages that will operate a coil in an Atlas turnout, you were able to get them to throw one way. Doing this can damage a DCC system, so don't. A DCC system also puts out digital command signals, riding on top of the constant AC voltage. These signals are what tells the decoder inside a locomotive what to do. These signals also tell other decoders, whether they are locomotive decoders, or stationary decoders, what they should do. The stationary decoder then sends a simple voltage out to the turnout to move the points.

Most modelers prefer to use DCC only for controlling trains. They operate their turnouts in the traditional way with plain old AC or DC voltage and some electrical switches/buttons on a control panel. The separate power supply for the turnouts can be anything from the AC accessory terminals of any power pack, to one of those little black, "Wall wart" power supplies, like those used to charge cell phones.

The blue button controls that come with Atlas remote "Snap Switches, hav a history of shorting out and burning out one of the coils in the turnout (track switch) A much better control is the Stapleton 751D, which is not only a better control, but also has a built-in CDU to protect the coils of your Atlas turnouts. Unfortunately both Atlas "Snap Switch" turnouts and that blue button that comes with them are low quality items. Do you have a lot invested in Atlas Snap switches? If not, then I recommend using Peco's excellent quality turnouts and Stapleton 751D controls, at least for any future turnout/control purchases. If you decide to keep using Atlas turnouts, and develop derailment, or other problems, with your them later, you can fix most of the defects in them with the information in the attached file "Improving Atlas Turnouts." The other file, "All about turnouts" has lots of information about turnouts in general, including my own personal quality comparison of seven popular brands.

good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:


Traction Fan, I sincerely thank you for your detailed response and for the attachments.

I am grateful for you statements about DCC train control and the separate power supply for switch control. Today I ordered a Railpower 1370 power supply and a Minatronics Corp. Capacitive Discharge Unit. This CDU is advertised to protect 10 switches (I have eight).

No, I don't have a lot invested in the Atlas Snap Switches. I only have them because I purchased a package layout deal from Atlas (I wish they had some clear/bold statements about needing a separate power source to operate their switches if you are using DCC). Your suggestions for PECO switches and the Stapleton 751D are welcomed, however at this point I want to make the Atlas switches work as advertised with a separate power source. I can easily foresee the PECO and Stapleton as a not too distant future project.

I am having fun. Other than for the switches, my layout is progressing well and the work has been enjoyable. I can run an engine and a couple of cars without problem while manually operating the switches. Increasing my rolling stock is a near future project.

Again, thank you for the attachments as I am looking forward to reading them. Even at my advanced years, I continue to enjoy learning.
caldwest;

You are quite welcome!
The main purpose of this forum is to let model railroaders exchange information. I wrote a whole bunch of those files to pass on some of what I've learned from both personal experience, from books, and especially from other model railroaders.
I'll also admit to an ulterior motive for writing them. Many new people join this forum on a regular basis. Being both new, and human. they all tend to ask the same questions. Having those files available makes it easier for me to repeat the same answers to each new person who asks.
Don't get me wrong; I like answering questions, and helping new people. So do a lot of other experienced model railroaders on this forum. The files just save me a lot of repetitive typing.

keep on having fun!:D

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

By the way, I've "advanced through 71 years so far, and I'm still learning. The problem is, I forget what I learned! :confused: Oh well. We are both still above the dirt! ;)
Here's some more files, if you feel like reading them sometime.

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment 1 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 2 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 3 & 4 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 5 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment 6 How to build a better first layout.pdf

View attachment MODEL RAILROADING ON A BUDGET.pdf

View attachment Model Railroad Terminology 3.pdf

View attachment Paintbrush Pine Trees.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Traction Fan, you are indeed a treasure trove! Even though I did a lot of research prior to getting back into HO model railroading, I wish I had your notes first. I have printed them, gave a quick scan, and look forward to reading each in detail. In advanced years, you have me by two. You may remember in the days of your youth laying track one rail and one spike at a time?
 

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Handlaid track

Traction Fan, you are indeed a treasure trove! Even though I did a lot of research prior to getting back into HO model railroading, I wish I had your notes first. I have printed them, gave a quick scan, and look forward to reading each in detail. In advanced years, you have me by two. You may remember in the days of your youth laying track one rail and one spike at a time?
caldwest;

I never actually spiked rail down, though I read about it and I remember ads in Model Railroader Magazine for the Kadee spiker tool. I had O-gage Marx and Lionel trains as a young kid. They were delivered by chariot! :rolleyes: I switched to HO-scale as a teen and then to N-scale as an adult. I've been in N-scale for forty years. I do scratchbuild/"hand-lay" my turnouts. I started many years back when code 55 N-scale turnouts were not available commercially like they are now. However, I solder all the rails of my turnouts down to PC ties, no spikes involved.

Another good source of information, besides this forum, is the book "Getting Started in Model Railroading by Jeff Wilson. I know you're a re-tread rather than a total newbie, but model railroading has changed a lot in the past 40 years, and this book might be helpful to you. You can order a copy from https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/products/books

The photos show some of my scratchbuilt N-scale structures and guess what? I found another file to send you! :dunno: This one can be shelved for much later, if ever, reference. It explains my turnout building method. I included a couple of turnout photos too.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:

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

Scratch built turnout parts.jpg

Painted turn out 1.JPG

Allentown covered bridge.jpg

Black River Sta. east side.JPG

Cedar Falls water tower close up.JPG

Cedar Falls water tower open.JPG

Seattle Union Station concourse end 2.JPG

Seattle Union Station side view.JPG

Seattle Union Station 5.JPG

Wooden road bridge at Black River Junction.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Traction Fan you have talent without question and the patience of Job to scratch build your own turnouts. Looks great! Is the bridge scratch built as well? Very Impressive.
 

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Job was a wuss!

Traction Fan you have talent without question and the patience of Job to scratch build your own turnouts. Looks great! Is the bridge scratch built as well? Very Impressive.
caldwest;

Yes, all the structures in the photos are scratchbuilt, including both bridges, and the working semaphore in the second photo. The only exception is the two long walls of Seattle Union Station. They are "kitbashed" from two different Design Preservation Models plastic kits. The shorter ends, and the interior of the station, are all scratchbuilt.
Actually, making your own turnouts isn't nearly as hard as most people think. It does take time, and yes, some patience. However, occupying one's spare time is what hobbies are for, and I spend many pleasant hours scratchbuilding all sorts of stuff.

regards;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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