Author Topic: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout  (Read 1285 times)

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jagged ben

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2017, 12:10:43 PM »
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OK, I see that now. I wonder what parts were used as replacements?

Is replacing that frog difficult?

Mark in Oregon

I would assume the new point/closure rails are either filed with a Fast Tracks point form tool, or perhaps freehanded.

Replacing the frog looks more difficult (you can't slide it out from one end) and moreover may not be a problem that needs to be addressed.  And moreover if you're going to do that much work you'll have gone from doing about 25% to about 75% of the work of handlaying a whole turnout, so why not just do the whole thing and not worry about the cost or availability of Atlas turnouts. 

I don't actually have experience with the Atlas turnouts but from looking at the design I would think that the fix is as much about ensuring good electrical conductivity to the points/ closure rails as it is about gauge.  I do like that the final product has tie plate detail that a handlaid turnout typically doesn't have.

A smart person, btw, would gap the PC tie cladding before installing the ties.  I would assume Mark just forgot that time.  I've forgotten sometimes, too. 

EDIT: Posting at the same time as Mark, decided not to modify as comments are still valid. 

Notching the rail foot at the hinge point of the closure rails seems like a good idea, I might start doing that on all my turnouts, even the long ones. 
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 12:13:20 PM by jagged ben »

Mark W

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2017, 12:23:16 PM »
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EDIT: Posting at the same time as Mark, decided not to modify as comments are still valid. 

Basically the exact same comments.  Great minds think alike!  :D

robert3985

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #17 on: March 07, 2017, 07:33:51 PM »
+5

...Notching the rail foot at the hinge point of the closure rails seems like a good idea, I might start doing that on all my turnouts, even the long ones.

Photo (1) - Just for those who may not know what "...Notching the rail foot at the hinge point..." means:


Actually, you are creating faux closure point rails, and are creating hinges where the closure rail heels would be on a switch with separate closure point rails.  The sharp part down by the throw bar is called the "toe" of the closure point.

This is pretty easily done with a sharp, quality triangular fine jeweler's file.  To actually make a "hinge" at this point on your switch, you will need to file on both sides of the rails clear through to the rail web, and take a bit of that off too on either side of the rail.

Making the notches line up with each other so the points of the notches are close to being in the same position on either side of the rail is the most difficult part.  Don't worry, even if they're not perfectly aligned, if they're somewhat directly across from each other, the "hinge" will still work.

I'm a bit surprised to not see "gang-downvoting" here to even suggest hand-building turnouts.  I received over ten down votes over on another thread for suggesting the way to not be held hostage by Atlas manufacturing shortages in China was to build your own turnouts, with several personally denigrating remarks.

Although I don't give a rat's a$$ as to how many up or down votes I get, I would encourage readers and contributors to give a thumb's up if you like a fellow contributor's post.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 07:38:38 AM by robert3985 »
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

Mark W

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #18 on: March 07, 2017, 08:16:28 PM »
+3
I'm am a bit surprised to not see "gang-downvoting" here to even suggest hand-building turnouts.  I received over ten down votes over on another thread for suggesting the way to not be held hostage by Atlas manufacturing shortages in China was to build your own turnouts...

It's purely about context.  Here we're discussing specific upgrades and options.  Do it yourself is necessary.

There, the context is supply limitations.  Do it yourself is optional.  And given that context, I have to agree custom building 300+ turnouts sounds like a nightmare.    :oops:


I would encourage readers and contributors to give a thumb's up if you like a fellow contributor's post.

Everyone eventually experiences a downvote brigade, even if your comments are not even wrong.  Can't always explain it, but keep on sharing experience and ideas and the good will always raise to the top.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 11:03:40 PM by Mark W »

sd75i

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2017, 08:46:56 AM »
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 Thank you for the post including pics.  It's much easier to understand.  That is a great idea.  It can't hurt to try.  Worst comes to worst, I buy a FT jig.  Best comes to best,  I don't have to replace a bunch of switches.  Thanks again!

jagged ben

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2017, 11:55:13 AM »
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Photo (1) - Just for those who may not know what "...Notching the rail foot at the hinge point..." means:


Actually, you are creating faux closure point rails, and are creating hinges where the closure rail heels would be on a switch with separate closure point rails.  The sharp part down by the throw bar is called the "toe" of the closure point.

This is pretty easily done with a sharp, quality triangular fine jeweler's file.  To actually make a "hinge" at this point on your switch, you will need to file on both sides of the rails clear through to the rail web, and take a bit of that off too on either side of the rail.

Making the notches line up with each other so the points of the notches are close to being in the same position on either side of the rail is the most difficult part.  Don't worry, even if they're not perfectly aligned, if they're somewhat directly across from each other, the "hinge" will still work.
...

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

I'm actually a bit surprised you file through the rail head and not just the web.  At a certain point I'd be worried about metal fatigue when the points are thrown.   How long have you had turnouts with this feature in service?  (And how often do you throw them?)   

robert3985

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2017, 12:49:11 PM »
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I'm actually a bit surprised you file through the rail head and not just the web.  At a certain point I'd be worried about metal fatigue when the points are thrown.   How long have you had turnouts with this feature in service?  (And how often do you throw them?)

Although I fully understand that metal fatigue should rationally be a worry, in practice I have never had a turnout fail at the hinge...and some of them have been in service for over 20 years. 

I don't turn the layout on every day, but when I'm running trains, some get thrown several dozen times.  I would imagine that over the last 20 plus years, all of them have been thrown several hundred times...and zero breakage.

However,  being the "track-nazi" that I am, nowadays I'm using Proto87 Stores etched NS closure rail hinges on the last dozen or so turnouts, which gives me a more realistic looking closure point heel hinge and gets rid of the "locked parallelogram" problem I was having with my C55 handlaid turnouts that causes solder joints to fatigue and break at the closure point toe/PCB throwbar joint.

Photo (1) - Proto87 Stores Etched NS Closure Point Heel Hinge on C55 Handlaid PCB Turnout:


To ensure that the soldered closure point toe joints don't break, they should be hinged if you're going to just notch the point hinges. 

Photo (2) - Here's a photo of my throw-bar hinges at the closure point toes from the top:


Photo (3) - Throw-bar hinges at the closure point toes from underneath:


Here's an illustration of how I make 'em if you're interested:


I use Proto87 Stores "tri-planed" closure points, so I don't file flats on the stock rails.  However, the hinge protocol will work just as well on conventional model train closure point construction.  Just make sure you follow the instructions sequentially.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

fotoflojoe

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2017, 12:59:50 PM »
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...I'm a bit surprised to not see "gang-downvoting" here to even suggest hand-building turnouts.  I received over ten down votes over on another thread for suggesting the way to not be held hostage by Atlas manufacturing shortages in China was to build your own turnouts, with several personally denigrating remarks.

Although I don't give a rat's a$$ as to how many up or down votes I get, I would encourage readers and contributors to give a thumb's up if you like a fellow contributor's post.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore

Personally, I'm tremendously interested in hand-building turnouts. Following "thebige61's" YouTube tutorials, I've cobbled one together out of scavenged materials. It was crude, and for the most part, non-functional. However, I was delighted and hooked by the "look and feel." Unfortunately, I don't have time to go down that particular rabbit hole yet.

robert3985

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2017, 01:24:20 PM »
+1
Personally, I'm tremendously interested in hand-building turnouts. Following "thebige61's" YouTube tutorials, I've cobbled one together out of scavenged materials. It was crude, and for the most part, non-functional. However, I was delighted and hooked by the "look and feel." Unfortunately, I don't have time to go down that particular rabbit hole yet.

Takes about three turnouts not using Fast Tracks jigs and fixtures before you get one that's "right" and functional.  With Fast Tracks, if you know how to solder already, you can pop a functional turnout out the first try, but usually it takes one.

I've got an old experienced turnout building friend who can build any turnout he wishes without any Fast Tracks tools.  However, he chose to buy a Fast Tracks #6 turnout jig to greatly speed things up when building his layout since the majority of turnouts were #6's.  Worked great!

I've also heard that once you get the "hang" of it, you'll find you don't need the Fast Track jig any more and can transfer your new skills over to building just about any turnout using paper templates (which is what I do).

You are correct about the "something" of making your own turnouts, holding them and looking at your craftsmanship.  It's extremely rewarding!  :)

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

crrcoal

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #24 on: March 08, 2017, 05:39:43 PM »
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Bob, any particular reason to notch those rails? Is there excessive stress on those rails? Just for looks to match the 1:1? Reason I ask is I always thought it was better to not have hinged rails as it seems to be less that could fail or go wrong. Thanks!

peteski

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #25 on: March 08, 2017, 07:21:53 PM »
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Bob, any particular reason to notch those rails? Is there excessive stress on those rails? Just for looks to match the 1:1? Reason I ask is I always thought it was better to not have hinged rails as it seems to be less that could fail or go wrong. Thanks!

To me it is just the opposite. I have been in favor of rail notching for a long time.  The notching greatly reduces the amount of force needed to flex the rail to throw the points, and since it is a solid rail, the alignment of the point rail to closure rail is always perfect. So is electrical connectivity (since it is a single continuous piece of rail).    The deflection at the notched point is so minimal that a failure is very unlikely.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

robert3985

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2017, 07:34:20 PM »
+1
Bob, any particular reason to notch those rails? Is there excessive stress on those rails? Just for looks to match the 1:1? Reason I ask is I always thought it was better to not have hinged rails as it seems to be less that could fail or go wrong. Thanks!

Notching makes the rails more flexible by localizing the flex at where the closure point heels would be, and give added clearance for flanges between non-closed closure point and adjacent stock rail. 

The idea and implementation of notches has several positive points (haha) over not doing it (1) they look more prototypical with a distinct angle on the non-closed side of the switch (2), (3) the two points in the preceding paragraph, (4) you get a PCB tie directly in front of the closure point heels to better keep your turnout's rails properly gauged, (5) the added tie also makes your turnouts noticeably more sturdy, (6) closure points are the same polarity as the adjacent stock rails without applying any wiring making your turnout easily DCC friendly...the same advantage as not notching, and (7) horizontal and vertical registration of the railhead on either side of a notched hinge is perfect...exactly the same as not notching.  Additionally, notched hinges are NOT fragile and are trouble-free, causing no more problems than not-notching.

Negative points are (1) Takes a little more time (2) adding another PCB tie makes your turnout more expensive and (3) you need to hinge your closure point toes eliminating the weak-link solder joint at the throwbar, which in C55 WILL fail due to the "locked parallelogram" problem, which stresses the soldered joints at the throwbar.

It may be of interest to know that in my experience, my C40 notched turnouts have NEVER FAILED at the throwbar, with the thinner rails taking stress off of the soldered closure point toes at the throwbar by being able to flex a bit when thrown as opposed to the thicker, stiffer C55 notched closure points.

Cheerio!
Bob Gilmore



« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 07:44:12 PM by robert3985 »
Cheers!!
Bob Gilmore

sd75i

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2017, 11:57:34 AM »
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  Ok, a couple days ago I had MOW out looking at switches as I ran a 20 car train and a few troubled spots showed how to drop cars to floor.  They are Bachmann cars so it was ok for the sacrifice.  I wanted to try a few suggestions I read before completely tearing them out!  In one spot the frog was high so I filed that down.  Another spot, the rail after switch points was sharp and was catching flange.  A couple times stringlining occurred, but that's another problem!  Thanks to all for suggestions and ideas!!!  The 40 car train will run and make it someday!!!

nkalanaga

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Re: Troubleshooting Atlas code 55 curved turnout
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2017, 12:50:09 AM »
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I've also hinged the points by filing the rail base and web, mostly on dual gauge turnouts, where there's very little room for the point rails to flex.
N Kalanaga
Be well