Manual & Remote Turnouts

Discussion in 'Layout Electronics' started by trainchaser007, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    If possible, what do I need to add to Atlas manual switch machines in order to convert them into remote switch machines? It may be impossible but you don't know until you ask. - Brandon
     
  2. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    It has been a long time since I used Atlas switch machines, powered or otherwise, but checking the Atlas web site to see whether they are still what I remember, I think the short answer to your question is that what you want to do cannot be done. The powered machine uses a DPDT switch to reverse the current in an internal electromagnet, which causes the arm attached to the turnout (the track) to move back and forth. In turn, this action moves the switch points. The manual controller works on the same principle except that it does not include the electromagnet, and I am not aware that these are available separately. Even it they were, I would say the price of the parts, including the DPDT switch, would be more than just buying the remote machine. I suppose if by "remote," you mean "at a distance from the machine," you could rig up some kind of wire attachment that would operate in a push-pull manner, but I think in this instance, you are out of luck. If you want remote operation, you would be better off spending some additional money and buying Circuitron Tortoise machines, which have the advantage of incorporating additional electrical contacts for power routing, signal operation, etc.

    GS
     
  3. gbnf

    gbnf Member

    Atlas parts are the #52 Left or #53 Right Remote Switch Machine and the No. 56 Switch Control Box. List price for the machine is $12.95 and $5.95 for the control. If you buy online you can find machines for less than $10 and controllers for less than $4.

    They are simple to wire and reliable in operation. Slide the blue button left or right and press down briefly to throw the turnout. Don't press too long or the coil will overheat and melt the plastic. The package includes bridging strips so that controllers can be ganged with a single connection to the accessory terminals of a power pack.

    The machines click into place, and it is not necessary to remove the turnout.
     

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  4. gbnf

    gbnf Member

    Didn't note you are in n. Pricing is similar, and uses same control box. Pre-wired.
    2715 left and 2716 right.
     

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  5. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    Just to clarify, my layout is HO. How many remote switch machines can a single No. 56 switch control operate/power? If they can operate 4 turnouts at a time, I'm in good shape. What kind of switch machines do I need for #6 turnouts. I have a left one and a right one. - Brandon
     
  6. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Brandon, I thought I had replied to your question the other night, but I must not have hit the Post button. George is correct about both the machines #52 and #53 and the #56 Control Boxes. Each turnout machine would use one control box; one for every machine. OR...you could use readily available momentary on-off-on (spring-loaded center-off) DPDT toggle switches to control each machine. The #56 Control Box makes electrical connections very easy for beginners, but has a higher cost associated.

    Take a look at this link to see how a #56 Control Box is wired up; http://www.zscalemonster.com/atlas/atl-56.jpg
     
  7. gstout

    gstout Member Frisco.org Supporter

    You are not quite asking the right question. The #56 is simply a switch that will route electrical power from your power pack to the switch machine(s). The real question is, how much voltage do you need to fire off four of the machines, and the answer in my case is, I don't know how much they draw. However, you need to remember that if you have four switch machines connected to a single switch, you cannot control the machines individually. They will all fire off at the same time, which may or may not be what you want depending upon how your track plan is set up.

    GS
     
  8. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Duh, I did not read your post correctly; Doug did. In order to throw multiple momentary contact switch machines at once, you may need a capacitor discharge switch power supply. I had forgotten about them until now. It would be powered by a DC power supply and connected to the inputs to the Control Box. It stores enough energy to throw multiple turnouts at once. A diagram of a capacitor discharge circuit is attached. Don't exceed the voltage rating of the capacitor; it would explode with a bang.
     

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  9. gbnf

    gbnf Member

    Thanks for clarifying the scale.

    The turnout number doesn't matter, just whether it is left or right. The same machine fits all.

    Normally it is one control box per machine. I have seen two turnouts connected to one control box, and you can certainly experiment, but at some point you are going to have the same problem as with multiple locomotives. Some of the turnouts are going to pull more amps than the others, and the total current may overload the accessory terminals, or burn out the contacts in the control box or the wire in the solenoids. Voltage will drop, and the turnouts may not snap into place at the lower voltage.

    The attached layout diagram from the Atlas book "Custom-Line Layouts For HO-Scale Railroads" shows 8 control blocks, 7 turnouts and 6 switch control boxes. You can see that No. 1 controls two facing turnouts, so Atlas approves. Note they are close together so the wire length is the same. Whether it will handle 4, with varying wire lengths, you will have to discover. I don't know.

    The switch control box is a double pole, double throw, center off, both sides momentary toggle switch. You could buy such a switch at a hardware or automotive store. It would handle much higher current than the Atlas control box. It might even be cheaper.

    Running four turnouts from a single switch may still result in one getting too much current and another too little. In practical terms that might mean one turnout only moves halfway and another melts.

    I'm not saying it will or won't work. I have not tried it. Remember that the coils of wire in the switch solenoid are super thin, and the "wiring" inside a control box is copper traces on a circuit board. Not designed for high current. These are toys, not industrial components.
     

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  10. trainchaser007

    trainchaser007 Passed away September 22, 2017

    Here's the track plan I wound up going with.
    [​IMG]
    You can see my two new #6 turnouts at the top, and my four old snap track turnouts at the bottom. I was hoping to get the top two turnouts operating from the same remote. I was hoping to get the bottom four turnouts operating on another (single) remote. Since that may be a problem, I guess I will try it using at least 3 remotes... 1 remote for the top two turnouts and 2 remotes for the bottom four turnouts. I will see if I can get them all working at least in pairs. By the way, the other turnout toward the center will be used seldom if ever. The track from that turnout is there only for looks.
    - Brandon
     

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  11. gbnf

    gbnf Member

    A good plan. You can test each step to see that everything works the way you want, and change course if you decide that it is necessary.
     

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