Atlas turnouts...

mdvholland Jan 20, 2021

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  1. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a few questions about the Atlas z scale turnouts.

    It's been a while since there was conversation about them. After initial anticipation and enthousiasm there seemed to be mixed reactions, with appreciation but also some questions about the solidity of the switching mechanism, a notion about the not totally flat underside and some remarks about incidental derailing and a not so perfectly straight track ("Y-shaped turnout")...?

    I ordered 2 of them just take a look at them, have them in my hands. I think they look ok, better than Marklin, less good than some of the handmade products (like the Wrights turnouts I cherish..). I can see where the remarks came from but it seems manageable. I am thinking about a small US themed layout with some 14 turnouts but still hesitating between Marklin and Atlas for the turnouts (I plan to use mostly MTL flex rail, I like the relatively narrow railhead). But I haven't read much about the Atlas turnouts for a while, just about the rail joiners so far.

    Therefore, a question from an earlier thread still remains: "what's the verdict?" What are the experiences with these turnouts in practice? How well do they work with undertable switch motors like MTB's? Are they indeed drop in replacements for marklin (seems so) and how easy is it to match them with non-Atlas flex track of fixed track? I would really like to see some pictures and maybe a video so I can make up my mind!

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
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  2. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    I have a shot of Atlas turnouts operating with Tortoise machines at 35 seconds in to the 1 minute mark in this video:


    They are painted with Floquil roof brown and ballasted in place with Arizona Rock and Mineral N Scale ballast.
     
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  3. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    They are not drop-in as they have a straight divergent route, making it better in cross overs !
    They can be easily switched with the MTB's (and use it's contacts to power route the frog.
    They run fine, just check all the gauge and for 'flash' in the plastic areas. The Crossing had a lot in them.
    They have 'normal' rail-head, same as märklin, Peco and Rokuhan. so there will be a little inner (and outer) side dimension that I make a few swipes of the file to flare narrower. They come with "Z" scale rail-joiners, nearly half the length of others.

    Atlas had some frog power connections on some turnouts. A few people discovered this. I spoke with Steve Woodward, R&D Manager and they were aware and have fixed it. But, Only the 2811 Left's. The 2812's with the spotweld fix will arrive in ~2 weeks.

    So, if you test your Frog-to-tab (electrical connection on the side) and it doesn't have a connection, send it back and they will replace it.
    If you do have continuity, its only a guess when or if it will eventually loose it (oxidation, high current spikes from DCC shorts, manipulating the Switch/Turnout to fit, etc. may make it fail over time.
     
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  4. eXact Modellbau

    eXact Modellbau TrainBoard Member

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    Hi
    If You don't like it, the snap action should be easy to remove. It's just a small spring.
     
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  5. mdvholland

    mdvholland TrainBoard Member

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    Useful info, all. Thanks.

    Matt
     
  6. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    Do you have any recommandation in order to fix this problem ? :)

    Dom
     
  7. SJ Z-man

    SJ Z-man TrainBoard Member

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    Dom: the Frog power connection? Not really. If the Date Code (does not have those words) is 2018 they, were not spot welded. 2019 and later are spot welded. You can send them back to Atlas for exchange (maybe on a flight over here version package customs back to you.

    There is NO way to solder to that metal and most heating attempts WILL make it worse and create frog misalignment.

    One option an Nn3 user made was a saw kerf (small cut with Jeweler's saw) between the exit rails. A tinned stranded wire was then pressed into the gap (I would suggest using a wire (solid or tinned stranded) that 'almost' drops in, just enough to make a reasonable contact.
     
  8. rray

    rray Staff Member

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    They can be spot welded too.

     
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  9. ddechamp71

    ddechamp71 TrainBoard Member

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    OK Jeff, many thanks. I don't know which brand are mine as they're still in their packaging, but I'll check that when they're outside, and what does the Nn3 guy you're speaking above looks fine.. ;)

    Dom
     

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