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Discussion Starter #1
I bought some used Life Like Power Lock track, including 4 turn-outs. I do not yet have them in my hands but trying to prepare for them,.




These turnouts apparently have wires coming out of them but little idea how to connect them up. Is the turnout either energized or no and when enegized you take route A and when not energized you take route B? I would also assume that these are to connect to AC?
 

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The turnouts should come with controllers that daisy chains into each other. Connect the wires from the switch to the controllers and power the controllers from the AC of your power pack. The controller switch goes left or right. A or B. Quickly press down on controller and it then sends power to the switch to causing it to go in direction set by the A or B wiring. When inserting the plug from the switch into the controller be sure all colors of the switch wiring is consistent. ie. if orange wire is on the right, in the controller, ensure orange is on the right on the other three controllers. This way all A's open the switch and all B's close the switch
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have nothing more than the turnouts. I think the controllers are nothing more than switches is that not correct?
 

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I have nothing more than the turnouts. I think the controllers are nothing more than switches is that not correct?
Not quite. It’s a momentary contact switch. Life-Like is now owned by Walthers.
They use the Atlas type switch. There are also generic versions available.

They are available on eBay. Here’s a link to the Walther’s switch:
https://www.walthers.com/switch-control-box
It’s a slide and quick press. A long press can fry the turnout motor. I’ve never had a problem with them but others have. Someone will probably recommend another version to eliminate that chance.
 

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Akoustic is right on about keeping wire colors running in the same direction. The normal convention is red wire (power) on top rail, white or black wire (return) on bottom. Remember this is AC, it has no polarity and green is ground. Actually, you can go the opposite direction if you want to. Just as long as you're consistent. Sometimes it can get a little hairy if you have complex track work. For example, if you follow the red wire to the bottom of a loop / return it appears to swap positions with white or black wire to the bottom rail. It doesn't actually do that, just your reference from where you're looking at it. Add a few turns, crossovers, switch-overs, and a loop-back or two and it can get confusing real fast.
 

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Not to be Johnny Raincloud, but is it too late to cancel that order? PowerLock track with the black roadbed uses steel rails, which will be a maintenance nightmare. Those turnouts are very poor quality as well. It will be a miracle if all of them function when you get them. The solenoids blow out quickly, and the mechanisms have a lot of slop in them, enough that your rolling stock will often "pick the points" so that part of your train goes down one leg while the rest tries to go the other way.
 

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Not to be Johnny Raincloud, but is it too late to cancel that order?
The solenoids blow out quickly, and the mechanisms have a lot of slop in them, enough that your rolling stock will often "pick the points" so that part of your train goes down one leg while the rest tries to go the other way.
Lol. “Johnny Raincloud” is correct but that’s half the fun, watching trains go this way and that. And what it does is make you appreciate good quality track, turnouts and other equipment you may obtain later on.

So yep, better is better, but if not possible now then just try it and see and have fun with it. A lot of us have started with the ‘train set’ track. It’s all in the learning curve.
You also received some good advice from the other posters. The Atlas Wiring Book is a good reference for wiring those turnouts, and I think Walthers has a tech help line.
Let us know how you do.
 

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"Life-Like" turnouts & track.

I bought some used Life Like Power Lock track, including 4 turn-outs. I do not yet have them in my hands but trying to prepare for them,.




These turnouts apparently have wires coming out of them but little idea how to connect them up. Is the turnout either energized or no and when enegized you take route A and when not energized you take route B? I would also assume that these are to connect to AC?
markosjal;

It looks like the turnouts in your photo have what's called "twin-coil switch machines" built into them. These devices have a solenoid with two coils. (hence "twin-coil") One coil is mounted at each end of a tube, or pathway, which has a movable steel slug inside it. Energising one of the coils for a second (ONLY!) will attract the slug to that coil and move the points of the turnout to one of the routes. Energizing the other coil for a second, will draw the slug back to that coil and move the points of the turnout to the other route. How many wires come out of each of your turnouts? Typically there are three wires, but I can't tell that from your photos. Some turnouts, Kato for example, use only two wires and are operated differently.

I agree with CTValley that if you can possibly get out of buying these lousy turnouts and track, do so! They are not going to be any fun at all to get working, or keep working. If you're just starting out, I don't think you need any extra problems built into your track and turnouts. Building an operating layout will keep you busy enough. I strongly recommend you go with better quality track and turnouts. Peco makes excellent turnouts and flex track. If you prefer to use "roadbed track" with a plastic base under each track section then I recommend using Kato "Unitrack," not Life like "Power Loc" track, or Bachmann "EZ-track", which also has lousy turnouts.

The attached files have lots of information on turnouts, track, and many other model railroad subjects. Look through them if you wish.

Good luck; and if you're stuck with the Life Like stuff, let me know about the number of wires your turnouts have, and I'll do what I can to help you get them wired.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos

View attachment WHERE DO I START rev 4.pdf

View attachment All AboutTurnouts rev 5.pdf

View attachment A lot about couplers.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
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well i lightly sanded rails today and assembled a layout.

There is NOTHING LOUSY about this track!

I removed old layout of Life Like Nickel / Silver (traditional track) .

I tested 2 turnouts so far with Life Like 0-4-0 locomotive (which I expected problems with) , and 3 cars. No problems other than a very slight slowing at far end from power track. Easily resolvable with a second power track and I now have plenty of them.


I guess for you guys who have deep pockets you can get the "best" , but this is all I need.


The only problem I see is that some pieces have lost copper contacts which if I swap them around it may leave me short only 2 pieces of track.

As for my original question about the turn outs. They have a 3 pin connector. I wire one side of the AC to the center pin of the turn out cable (pin 2), I can then select the direction of the turn out with a momentary contact from the otther AC wire to either of the connectors (pin 1 or 3)

Actually I am quite pleassed with the purchase and feel I could not have got more of what I wanted at a better price. I do not run the train often and see no need to make a huge investment.

It often amazes me to see people recommend that someone spend more of their money, and sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

Most of the replies here fail to address the initial question. Instead it is a rant about your opinion of one brand , which happens to be what I have available in my price range.


Is this where you tell me I need DCC too?

These are good reasons why people do not return to forums and here I have proven it to myself again.
 

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"I used to do some HO scale model railroading way back when. Lately I really want to get back to it. I am not looking to spend a lot in the start but at the same time do not want to waste my money..."

Too late for that now.
 

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Well i lightly sanded rails today and assembled a layout.

There is NOTHING LOUSY about this track!

I removed old layout of Life Like Nickel / Silver (traditional track) .

I tested 2 turnouts so far with Life Like 0-4-0 locomotive (which I expected problems with) , and 3 cars. No problems other than a very slight slowing at far end from power track. Easily resolvable with a second power track and I now have plenty of them.


I guess for you guys who have deep pockets you can get the "best" , but this is all I need.


The only problem I see is that some pieces have lost copper contacts which if I swap them around it may leave me short only 2 pieces of track.

As for my original question about the turn outs. They have a 3 pin connector. I wire one side of the AC to the center pin of the turn out cable (pin 2), I can then select the direction of the turn out with a momentary contact from the otther AC wire to either of the connectors (pin 1 or 3)

Actually I am quite pleassed with the purchase and feel I could not have got more of what I wanted at a better price. I do not run the train often and see no need to make a huge investment.

It often amazes me to see people recommend that someone spend more of their money, and sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

Most of the replies here fail to address the initial question. Instead it is a rant about your opinion of one brand , which happens to be what I have available in my price range.


Is this where you tell me I need DCC too?

These are good reasons why people do not return to forums and here I have proven it to myself again.
You're reacting a bit strongly I think. Yes, some folks have strong opinions about the hobby, but much of that is borne of experience. No need to make blanket statements about the forum because you picked a product that folks have had bad experiences with.

I will start this by saying, if you're just running a loop and a couple switches and have no plans to expand, then go ahead and use what you've got. However, if you plan a larger layout, it makes real sense not to continue down this path.

As for the "Budget" issue, there's no need to make it about that either. There are many budget ways to approach the hobby that don't involve power-lock track. Power-lock is a system that is discontinued, was available only in a limited range of curves and turnouts, is incompatible with other track systems and no longer supported by Walthers. Further, as near as I can tell, power-lock switch machines are not compatible with other brands if one breaks and you need to replace it.

If you're willing to deal with potential issues with non nickel-steel track, then you could always buy non-roadbed-ed brass or steel track and turnouts. You'd still have increased maintenance requirements, but they would be much cheaper (folks practically give them away), completely compatible with modern track/switches/machines/etc and available in a wider range of turnouts, crossovers, etc.

All this to say, there are a lot of folks here who will poo-poo your choices, but try and listen to those opinions anyway and suss out a balance between what you think your only options are and what other, more reliable-yet-affordable-, options you have that might save you money and headaches in the long term.

I'm a budget guy too, but it made sense to me to go NS, code 100 and use Atlas custom-line turnouts. There is no way I'd want to lock myself into a limited-discontinued track system.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
"I used to do some HO scale model railroading way back when. Lately I really want to get back to it. I am not looking to spend a lot in the start but at the same time do not want to waste my money..."

Too late for that now.
No wasted momey here ! I still have the return option anyway but surely will not be using it.

Are you done getting your digs in? Your opinion does not interest me and has nothing to do with Original Post
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You're reacting a bit strongly I think. Yes, some folks have strong opinions about the hobby, but much of that is borne of experience. No need to make blanket statements about the forum because you picked a product that folks have had bad experiences with.

I will start this by saying, if you're just running a loop and a couple switches and have no plans to expand, then go ahead and use what you've got. However, if you plan a larger layout, it makes real sense not to continue down this path.

As for the "Budget" issue, there's no need to make it about that either. There are many budget ways to approach the hobby that don't involve power-lock track. Power-lock is a system that is discontinued, was available only in a limited range of curves and turnouts, is incompatible with other track systems and no longer supported by Walthers. Further, as near as I can tell, power-lock switch machines are not compatible with other brands if one breaks and you need to replace it.

If you're willing to deal with potential issues with non nickel-steel track, then you could always buy non-roadbed-ed brass or steel track and turnouts. You'd still have increased maintenance requirements, but they would be much cheaper (folks practically give them away), completely compatible with modern track/switches/machines/etc and available in a wider range of turnouts, crossovers, etc.

All this to say, there are a lot of folks here who will poo-poo your choices, but try and listen to those opinions anyway and suss out a balance between what you think your only options are and what other, more reliable-yet-affordable-, options you have that might save you money and headaches in the long term.

I'm a budget guy too, but it made sense to me to go NS, code 100 and use Atlas custom-line turnouts. There is no way I'd want to lock myself into a limited-discontinued track system.
Others make blanket statemens about a brand or product here , but I can not express mine? YOU ARE WRONG.

There is no need to attack a new user in these forums you only alienate. Maybe you should call this the "Atlas Forum" or "Bachmann Forum"

BTW I have nickel/steel track here an it is not maintenance free. I'd have to clean it once a week or so every time I used it . There may be some difference butI truly question how much difference.

And yes I got it all CHEAP . The problem with non roadbed track is unless it is installed permanetly it can be problematic

NONE of this has anything to do with the original question of turnout wiring. No moderator here?
 

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Others make blanket statemens about a brand or product here , but I can not express mine? YOU ARE WRONG.

There is no need to attack a new user in these forums you only alienate. Maybe you should call this the "Atlas Forum" or "Bachmann Forum"

BTW I have nickel/steel track here an it is not maintenance free. I'd have to clean it once a week or so every time I used it . There may be some difference butI truly question how much difference.

And yes I got it all CHEAP . The problem with non roadbed track is unless it is installed permanetly it can be problematic

NONE of this has anything to do with the original question of turnout wiring. No moderator here?
Your opinion is noted.

I grant that you are correct that no one has answered your initial question about hookup. To rectify that, I recommend taking an atlas switch control and attaching it as per these instructions:
https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=2834
As long as the middle of the three wires on your lead goes to the center (black), the green and red side wires can go either side depending on which way you want the control oriented.

As for not attaching track permanently, I didn't realize you were not planning on permanently affixing your track. If you plan on not nailing down your track but can't afford Kato, then your options are pretty limited. I'd suggest EZ track as being nominally better, but it will not be cheap, especially the turnouts.

If you find True-Track works for you, then I advise you to buy it whenever you have the chance as it's not made anymore and I've already seen some places selling it at -or a bit more than- original retail reflecting scarcity potential.

All that said, you are dead wrong if you think that posting a specific question in some way insulates you from the opinions of others about the quality or suitability of a given product. You were not personally attacked. Only your choice of product was criticized.

If you think this was a rough reception you will find the internet to be a disturbing place indeed.
 

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Your railroad, your choice

Well i lightly sanded rails today and assembled a layout.

There is NOTHING LOUSY about this track!

I removed old layout of Life Like Nickel / Silver (traditional track) .

I tested 2 turnouts so far with Life Like 0-4-0 locomotive (which I expected problems with) , and 3 cars. No problems other than a very slight slowing at far end from power track. Easily resolvable with a second power track and I now have plenty of them.


I guess for you guys who have deep pockets you can get the "best" , but this is all I need.


The only problem I see is that some pieces have lost copper contacts which if I swap them around it may leave me short only 2 pieces of track.

As for my original question about the turn outs. They have a 3 pin connector. I wire one side of the AC to the center pin of the turn out cable (pin 2), I can then select the direction of the turn out with a momentary contact from the otther AC wire to either of the connectors (pin 1 or 3)

Actually I am quite pleassed with the purchase and feel I could not have got more of what I wanted at a better price. I do not run the train often and see no need to make a huge investment.

It often amazes me to see people recommend that someone spend more of their money, and sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

Most of the replies here fail to address the initial question. Instead it is a rant about your opinion of one brand , which happens to be what I have available in my price range.


Is this where you tell me I need DCC too?

These are good reasons why people do not return to forums and here I have proven it to myself again.
markosjal;


If you're happy with your track and turnouts, that's all that really matters. I see you have worked out the wiring question for yourself. Congratulations.

Before blaming people for daring to give you their opinions, understand that giving opinions, and advice, is one of the main reasons this forum exists. If you're all that upset by just getting opinions back after you post a question, then maybe this forum is not for you.
You don't have to agree with every opinion, any more that I have to agree with your opinion that "There is NOTHING LOUSY about this track."
(I don't.)

However, that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Those of us who tried to warn you about the type of track and turnouts you were set to buy, have an equal right to have, and state, our opinions when we see a new person doing something that may lead to problems and frustration for him later. (in this case buying that particular kind of track and turnouts.) Many others have had problems with them. That's why we advised you against buying them.

In the final, choice of what YOU buy, your opinion is the only one that matters.
However when you post any question here, you're likely to get a lot of opinions back from people who are trying to help you, simply because you asked for help.

Those opinions are not always going to slot neatly into your preconceptions about what others are allowed to say to you. They are not all going to be restricted to only answering your original question either.

The responses are coming from other human beings. Each of them is equipped with eyes to see the photos that you have posted, and read the text you have posted, and each of the responding people is also equipped with their own independent brain, to both process the information you have provided, and compare that with their own knowledge & experience, to arrive at their own opinion. Then they may very well exercise their right to post that opinion. They don't need your permission, or approval, to do so.

Few, if any, of us are equipped with "deep pockets" containing infinite hobby budgets to just go out and splurge on whatever we want. In fact, most of us started out where you are now, buying cheap stuff because that's all we could afford, and because, back then, we simply didn't know any better.
From the experience of buying cheap stuff, and then having our "bargain" purchases later fail, we learned that quality is worth waiting, and saving up money, for.
Perhaps, someday, you will learn the same lesson, the same hard, (and ultimately more expensive) way that we did. We were trying to help you avoid that hard way. Perhaps you will never learn that lesson, that's up to you.

As for your dissatisfaction with this forum, well nobody's forcing you to stay. This forum has hundreds of satisfied members worldwide, gets plenty of praise, and gets new members every week. If we have some vast crowd of terribly dissatisfied members constantly fleeing the forum, that's news to me.

Traction Fan
 

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These are good reasons why people do not return to forums and here I have proven it to myself again.
Your railroad, your rules.

That said, you'll find out why steel track is not your best choice in just a few weeks. I take by your comments that you have experience with nickel track. The difference will be obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Your opinion is noted.

I grant that you are correct that no one has answered your initial question about hookup. To rectify that, I recommend taking an atlas switch control and attaching it as per these instructions:
https://www.modeltrainforum.com/showthread.php?t=2834
As long as the middle of the three wires on your lead goes to the center (black), the green and red side wires can go either side depending on which way you want the control oriented.

As for not attaching track permanently, I didn't realize you were not planning on permanently affixing your track. If you plan on not nailing down your track but can't afford Kato, then your options are pretty limited. I'd suggest EZ track as being nominally better, but it will not be cheap, especially the turnouts.

If you find True-Track works for you, then I advise you to buy it whenever you have the chance as it's not made anymore and I've already seen some places selling it at -or a bit more than- original retail reflecting scarcity potential.

All that said, you are dead wrong if you think that posting a specific question in some way insulates you from the opinions of others about the quality or suitability of a given product. You were not personally attacked. Only your choice of product was criticized.

If you think this was a rough reception you will find the internet to be a disturbing place indeed.
I figured it out a few posts back
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I bougt 60 some pieces of track (used) for less than the local price of 2 (used) turnouts. No complaints here and ran the train most of the day no dirty track yet.

After all Nickel/Silver is relatively new there was a time when that luxury did not exist
 

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When you asked if the control switches were just ordinary switches I explained to you that they were not, and told you what they were, including a link.
I could have said “Google is your friend “.
The reason I didn’t give step by step advice as to how to wire them is that I do not know what wire colors Life-Like used. I know Atlas uses red, yellow and green.

I also told you that there’s a potential problem with those control switches and there’s an alternative. Sometimes you’re not going to get a cookbook recipe for doing things, especially when we are not familiar with the exact product you’re using. The last thing we ever want to do is tell someone something that’s wrong.

As far as using these types of track systems: you will find that some equipment will run fine on them, and some will not. You’ve had success with an 0-4-0. Fine. A nice, small, light engine.
My experience is that weight, while necessary for pulling power and traction, is not my friend when it comes to running through certain types of turnouts and crossings. And you may find out differently. All good. Like we say, your mileage may vary.
It’s ironic that you had issues with a couple of the best technical people that we have on here. One of them has extensively written on re-working and improving trainset type turnouts.
So if you leave, you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.
There’s another side to that coin: You are developing experience that can be used to help someone else along the line. It doesn’t matter that the track system may be flawed or discontinued. ( Even the best systems have flaws.)
I guarantee that eventually someone else will have a question about this track. I hope you’ll be around to help them. That’s what this is supposed to be all about.
 

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"A fool and his money are soon parted."
"A closed mind can be A terrible thing to observe."
"You will catch more bees with honey than vinegar."
"Constantly cleaning track is NOT a Hobby."
"One cannot place a monetary value on fun."
"Buy once, cry once."
Finally: just take the advice given here and, be grateful for the decades of knowledge being shared. No one is judging you. just take it all in regardless of how the wording goes.
"Man up sir!"

Sincerely
A former snowflake.
 
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