Atlas O 3-Rail Nickel Silver track

Just getting back to my layout after a 4 year hiatus.  Despite cleaning the track, I noticed what appears to be a drop off in voltage on a piece of track between two switches.  I would like to add another lead to the bus from that track but the mainline is already glued down.  I am wondering if anyone has been successful at drilling through Nickel Silver track and, if so, what type of bit did you use (titanium?).   Just want to know before I try it.  Sure hate to have to tear up track already in place.  Don't remember why I did not put a feeder there since I was good at powering both sides of turnouts.  

With the continuity issues on Atlas turnouts, I designed the layout purposely avoiding having switches next to each other.  I always tried putting a piece of track between all turnouts with power and ground leads to the bus on them.  As noted, I finished the mainline some time ago.  However, now I am going to work on a yard and there are several turnouts in a row.  What are others doing to assure power to those turnouts.  Did you just use the Atlas terminal joiners between them all?  I'd prefer soldered connection, but the turnouts seem a little fragile.   

Original Post

this was posted by Ingeniero No1 a while back.

 

I have tried different size drill bits, and have settled on No. 48 (0.0760), but 5/64 (0.0781) works well also - for 16 AWG stranded wire and the No. 0 screw; that is.

 After I drill the hole and insert the No. 16 AWG stranded wire (26 strands of No. 30AWG), I use a pick to separate the strands to make it easier to start the screw.

 From Micro Fasteners. I tried different head configurations (button head socket, slotted, and phillips pan head) and these worked best for me:

 Product No. SMPPK0004

Pan Head Sheet Metal Screw - Phillips

Size: #0 x 1/4

Finish: Black oxide

Price: 100 for$ 4.30

  http://www.microfasteners.com/...products/TWSSMPP.cfm

Eric

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In the past, I have done an emergency repair by forcing a small piece of wire into the existing rail gaps on the switch. 

Boo Man,

The best drill bit I use for metal drilling is the "cobalt" bit by Irwin available at Ace hardware they are expensive but do a great job. The ones advertised as "Titanium" is just a marketing name to make them sound tough. Another name to look for on drill bits is "HS" for "high speed metal" which may be the same as cobalt.

Good luck with your project

franktrain

IMG_5867  

franktrain

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Cheap steel bits (either low-carbon or high-carbon) dull easily and can loose temper; HSS  bits (high speed steel, a form of tool steel) are harder and cut faster; Cobalt (HSS with added cobalt) are very hard and can drill stainless steel, but are more brittle than HSS; carbide-tipped bits will drill tile and masonry.

Different coatings can be applied: regular black oxide reduces corrosion and increases life somewhat; titanium coatings in various forms reduce friction and can increase drill life. 

Proper cutting angle, sharpening, lubrication, and correct speed for the particular drill diameter used and material being drilled are also very important factors in cutting efficiency and life of the drill.

 

ENichter posted:

this was posted by Ingeniero No1 a while back.

 

I have tried different size drill bits, and have settled on No. 48 (0.0760), but 5/64 (0.0781) works well also - for 16 AWG stranded wire and the No. 0 screw; that is.

 After I drill the hole and insert the No. 16 AWG stranded wire (26 strands of No. 30AWG), I use a pick to separate the strands to make it easier to start the screw.

 From Micro Fasteners. I tried different head configurations (button head socket, slotted, and phillips pan head) and these worked best for me:

 Product No. SMPPK0004

Pan Head Sheet Metal Screw - Phillips

Size: #0 x 1/4

Finish: Black oxide

Price: 100 for$ 4.30

  http://www.microfasteners.com/...products/TWSSMPP.cfm

I wired my entire layout using this method that Alex perfected. Works great, easy to make changes and also very easy to do. Any old drill bit (proper size of course) will easily drill through the nickel silver rails. I used the 5/64" bits, usually easier to find than the numbered bits. Use a slower and steady speed. I can't say enough good things about this method (or Alex for sharing it) of attaching power to your Atlas track.

I don't drill holes in my Atlas track.  I first clean it with a Dremel wire brush.  I then apply flux to the wire and the track.  I melt some solder on both the track and wire.  Then I solder them together.  It takes a little time to heat up the track which I do before applying the wire which will have its solder liquefy faster.   I clip heat sinks near the solder point so as to not melt the ties.

Alan

Thanks for all the responses.  I have plenty of information to work with.  All my other feeders are soldered to the sides of the rails and the mainline is all glued down so some suggestions won't work.  I really like Ingeniero No1 method.  That looks very interesting.  I am going to try several ways on some test rails. Thanks a ton gentlemen.   

I use a product called split jaw connector. Once bolted to the track this makes a rock solid electrical contact.

To reinforce the weak spot which is the wire crimp connect to the eye loop connector I first attach a ferrule to the wire then crimp the ferrule to the eye loop.

Split Jaw Connector 005

Split Jaw Connector 006

Split Jaw Connectors 002various 001

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Model Structures posted:

I use a product called split jaw connector. Once bolted to the track this makes a rock solid electrical contact.

To reinforce the weak spot which is the wire crimp connect to the eye loop connector I first attach a ferrule to the wire then crimp the ferrule to the eye loop.

Split Jaw Connector 005

Split Jaw Connector 006

Split Jaw Connectors 002various 001

That looks great - and just what I need for my new layout with 15 yo Atlas track that I used in my previous layout.

WHERE did you buy the "split jaw connectors"?  Or, were they home-made?

 

Thanks.

 

 

RT   

rthomps posted:
Model Structures posted:

I use a product called split jaw connector. Once bolted to the track this makes a rock solid electrical contact.

To reinforce the weak spot which is the wire crimp connect to the eye loop connector I first attach a ferrule to the wire then crimp the ferrule to the eye loop.

Split Jaw Connector 005

Split Jaw Connector 006

Split Jaw Connectors 002various 001

That looks great - and just what I need for my new layout with 15 yo Atlas track that I used in my previous layout.

WHERE did you buy the "split jaw connectors"?  Or, were they home-made?

 

Thanks.

I bought the connectors from Splitjaw Products Inc. (sales@railclamp.com) - http://www.railclamp.com/

When you contact Jerry make sure he knows you are using Atlas O track. He will need to shave off some metal from his standard product.

"

Hi Jerry:
I will need another 60 of modified power connectors (machined version for Atlas O track). The last order said - Power Supply Connectors (Standard) - Material: Brass; Code: 250 - 5.0mm; Type: 16-14 Gauge."
 

I have used Atlas O track for many years and I love it. The track does require preparation, however, especially if you use the switches, too. Though the switches have been improved, they do not all pass electricity through as you would hope.

1) I NEVER trust the rail joiners. If the joiner slips on easily it is a problem. Even if the joiner "clicks," it may still be a problem. I put electrically conductive grease in each joiner. I test every section of track as it it placed down.

2) Every leg of every switch gets a jumper. I trust no switches.

3) Power drops and jumpers are all soldered to the track after drilling a small hole. Once drilled and soldered, drops and jumpers are 100%. I always use 14 awg copper wire with a high number of strands. I buy it from Monoprice. It is speaker wire and though it is 14 awg, it is very flexible and easy to use.

4) Clean off the blackened substance on the center rail and clean all rails scrupulously with abrasive. Dirty track is a problem waiting to happen. GET A GOOD track cleaning car and use it.

Scrappy

Passengers will please refrain, This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues...

Dear Rich 883

How did you solder the wire to the Atlas track after you drilled the hole? Do you use a station iron or something more heavy duty?

Dear Model Structures

Now that is something different, thank for sharing.

Kris

 

A proud member of the Brotherhood of Carpet Layouts.  Semi permanent layout scheduled for late Spring 2018.

Kris, 

I've had good results using a Weller 100/140 watt soldering gun. I can use the 100 watt setting if I keep the tip clean. I like the tip that came with the Weller because if fits well up against the rail.

I also clean the rail with a Dremel wire brush before I insert the wire.

I use my Weller soldering gun or a 100W iron, never had any issues soldering to Atlas track.  I use the Dremel cutoff wheel to scuff up the rail and clean off any oxide, solders just fine.

Booman,

1) Solder all connections.

2) Test BEFORE adding more sections and never assume a rail joiner is conducting.

3) Use electrically conductive paste in each joiner.

4) Connect all commons !!

5) Use high stranded copper 14AWG wire for ALL drops.

6) Either use new Atlas switches with thicker brass conductors or wire each leg.

7) Remove the black gunk on the middle rail. Dirt of any kind that builds up interferes with signals. Ignore people who say dirty track is not an issue.

If you do ALL of these things you will have no issues. I am a very experienced Atlas O user having laid many hundreds of feet of Atlas O track and 100's of switches.

Passengers will please refrain, This train's got the disappearin' railroad blues...

Before getting the Harley out for the summer, I was drilling holes and dropping soldered leads to the wires leading to the yard control panels.  I have tested it and find I have only one spot where I lose power and I will be dropping one more set of drops.   I am very happy with the electrical continuity of my yard and am looking forward to getting that done and then moving on to detailing the yard.  Thanks everyone for your responses.  

Scrapiron Scher posted:

3) Use electrically conductive paste in each joiner.

4) Connect all commons !!

 

What sort of electrically conductive grease do you use?  I've used anti-seize in the past with decent results.

Is there a good way to connect the commons?  I've used Gargraves in the past and simply soldered a jumper to the bottom of the outside rails.  You can't do that without removing the plastic between tie sections and that looks like it will cause instability.

 

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Number 90Dave Zucalrepair technicianRRDOC


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