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So as I was giving my new track plan a shake down and I ran into 2 issue with Lionel's Fastrack switches.  These are the latest switches released, not the previous version.



Issue one, was when I tried to change the side the switch machine was on, it would lock up the switch.  No problems on the older switches just the new ones.  Here is a video of the cause and the fix.

https://youtu.be/O9s7wTvwOR0

The second issue was that all my engines were derailing on 4 out of the 20 switches if I entered from the single end of the switch.  I thought it was a geometry issue originally but discovered that was not the case.  I found if I bent the tip of the moving part of the track just the slightest hair, it solved the issue.

Hope this helps anyone else buying the latest version of the Fastrack switches that runs into issues.  Not sure if it affects all sizes but all mine were 072.

Last edited by SandJam
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Originally Posted by SandJam:

So as I was giving my new track plan a shake down and I ran into 2 issue with Lionel's Fastrack switches.  These are the latest switches released, not the previous version.

 

Issue one, was when I tried to change the side the switch machine was on, it would lock up the switch.  No problems on the older switches just the new ones.  Here is a video of the cause and the fix.

 

https://youtu.be/O9s7wTvwOR0

 

The second issue was that all my engines were derailing on 4 out of the 20 switches if I entered from the single end of the switch.  I thought it was a geometry issue originally but discovered that was not the case.  Here is a video of the cause and fix for that issue.

 

https://youtu.be/tZvcxr9BURA

 

Hope this helps anyone else buying the latest version of the Fastrack switches that runs into issues.  Not sure if it affects all sizes but all mine were 072.

Sean,

 

Thanks for taking the time to video the causes and solutions for your switch problems.  Just went through something similar with an MTH switch and will now be prepared with good knowledge should I buy any Lionel switches.  Nice public service. :-)

 

Tomlinson Run Railroad

I had to do this to two of my older Fastrack switches, so I know what you mean.  There is a little "bump" right before the rail that is supposed to help guide the wheels past that junction, but apparently the switch rail sometimes has too much bend.

 

Nice video, makes it clear what you have to do.  I would mention that you don't want to put excessive force on the rail laterally as it's mounted in a plastic carrier and if you break it, you have a big problem.

 

REALLY?  I know, I know, I'll be the first to say that if it's manufactured, it WILL fail at some point.  BUT, for the price of these turn-outs, one shouldn't have to "fix" them before they will work the way they should.  I also know that there will be the "Blah, Blah Blah" if you don't like 'em don't buy 'em crowd, but that's not what I'm sayin'.  It's all about quality control.  Sure, there are a few "bugs" that will fall through the cracks and don't forget about the dreaded "Gremlins" but the point I'm tryin' to make is that it's pretty disappointing when Mr. USPS, UPS or FEDEX brings a package of goodies that you have been waiting for only to have the items, (whatever they may be) not work like they should.  Please, no flaming, just my opinion.  BTW SandJam,  thanks for taking the time to make those excellent videos.  It will save me the trouble of pulling out what little hair I have left.

 

Chief Bob (Retired)

Originally Posted by PUFFRBELLY:

REALLY?  I know, I know, I'll be the first to say that if it's manufactured, it WILL fail at some point.  BUT, for the price of these turn-outs, one shouldn't have to "fix" them before they will work the way they should.  I also know that there will be the "Blah, Blah Blah" if you don't like 'em don't buy 'em crowd, but that's not what I'm sayin'.  It's all about quality control.  Sure, there are a few "bugs" that will fall through the cracks and don't forget about the dreaded "Gremlins" but the point I'm tryin' to make is that it's pretty disappointing when Mr. USPS, UPS or FEDEX brings a package of goodies that you have been waiting for only to have the items, (whatever they may be) not work like they should.  Please, no flaming, just my opinion.  BTW SandJam,  thanks for taking the time to make those excellent videos.  It will save me the trouble of pulling out what little hair I have left.

 

Chief Bob (Retired)

I agree it is unfortunate, but luckily these 2 issues are fixable.  I would have been beside myself if this had been an unfixable defect after I just spent close to 3000.00 on switches and fastrack.  I would have had to start over with a whole new track system and don't know what I would have done with the fastrack except sell it at a loss.  For people on the forum, we can usually figure it out, but for say the casual Christmas time buyer who just bought some for the kids, they probably wouldn't have any idea what to do and end up disappointed.  It would have been so simple for Lionel to check by just trying out their own installation instructions and switch the side the switch stand was on and then test it.  Maybe they changed factories where the switches were made or something, but whatever changed, its not hard to pull a few random units off the line and test them out.

 

That's the great thing about You Tube.  Someone has always figured it out before you.  I found so many solutions to issues for anything I needed so I figured I would give back a little.

Originally Posted by gunrunnerjohn:

I had to do this to two of my older Fastrack switches, so I know what you mean.  There is a little "bump" right before the rail that is supposed to help guide the wheels past that junction, but apparently the switch rail sometimes has too much bend.

 

Nice video, makes it clear what you have to do.  I would mention that you don't want to put excessive force on the rail laterally as it's mounted in a plastic carrier and if you break it, you have a big problem.

 

Good point!  You must be very careful and be gentle as you are bending the rail.  Just a very little bend.  The metal on those rails is actually pretty soft and you could break off the tip if too aggressive.  Sometimes I think people would just know that but I forget not everyone thinks the same way. 

Thanks for pointing that out.

 

 

Sean,

    Are all these FT CC Switches 072 or are they different sizes, so far all my FTCC switches have worked perfectly, now because of your problem I may hold off on purchasing any of these new FT switches.  I have been waiting for the new 036 FT CC switches to be released, to add them to our 3rd level on the Christmas layout for this coming year.  However if they are going to have problems like you describe, I really want to know.

PCRR/Dave

Last edited by Pine Creek Railroad

Sean,

Same question...are these the Command switches?

 

The nub on the throw bar is definitely odd. Good find on that one.

 

I had to make a study of the points as I had an engine that was picking the point with the pilot truck. The solution was that the wheel gauge was too narrow between the flanges. That led me to "tuning" the points as you did.

 

When I have to open the switches I lube the motor gear, thingy teeth and the throw bar with some 10w food grade oil (safe for plastic). They really snap after that.

 

The FasTrack switches are very reliable and easy to repair and tune when needed.

 

Thanks for the great videos and tips. Have you posted any layout updates?

Last edited by Moonman
Originally Posted by Pine Creek Railroad:

Sean,

    Are all these FT CC Switches 072 or are they different sizes, so far all my FTCC switches have worked perfectly, now because of your problem I may hold off on purchasing any of these new FT switches.  I have been waiting for the new 036 FT CC switches to be released, to add them to our 3rd level on the Christmas layout for this coming year.  However if they are going to have problems like you describe, I really want to know.

PCRR/Dave

Yes these were all 072 and the new switches are all remote/command now.  Only the older numbers can you get just remote.  I'm using 6-81953 and 6-81954.

 

I would not hold off buying them as they are probably not going to be changing and there is a huge stock of them in the market. 

 

Just follow the fixes if you happen to run into either issue and they will work perfectly fine.

Sean,

   I have one other question for you, I am not at the Churchill home right now, so I am unable to get my hands on one of my FT CC Switches.  The slide bar that you are removing the nub from, can the screw from the operating lever be removed and the entire slide bar turned around in the opposite direction and reinstalled, instead of removing the nub.  Looking at the video, this looks like it could happen, however I can not really see how the slide bar all lines up with the copper operating connections.  If this is possible, simply unscrew the control arm and turn the slide bar completely around, and reinsert it.  In this manner you do not need remove the nub.  As I indicated this may or may not be able to happen. The gap on the frog in the 2nd video looks like the Lionel tooling is wearing and the dimensions for the frog flipper are not holding true form any longer.  We will need to check every switch now to make sure your fix has to be done or not.  For as much as we pay for these FT CC switches, this quality control mistake should never be happening either.

Thanks again for the great rework videos.

PCRR/Dave

Last edited by Pine Creek Railroad

 

Originally Posted by Pine Creek Railroad:

Sean,

   I have one other question for you, I am not at the Churchill home right now, so I am unable to get my hands on one of my FT CC Switches.  The slide bar that you are removing the nub from, can the screw from the operating lever be removed and the entire slide bar turned around in the opposite direction and reinstalled, instead of removing the nub.  Looking at the video, this looks like it could happen, however I can not really see how the slide bar all lines up with the copper operating connections.  If this is possible, simply unscrew the control arm and turn the slide bar completely around, and reinsert it.  In this manner you do not need remove the nub.  As I indicated this may or may not be able to happen. The gap on the frog in the 2nd video looks like the Lionel tooling is wearing and the dimensions for the frog flipper are not holding true form any longer.  We will need to check every switch now to make sure your fix has to be done or not.  For as much as we pay for these FT CC switches, this quality control mistake should never be happening either.

Thanks again for the great rework videos.

PCRR/Dave

That would probably work too.  I did not want to take all that apart.  A super sharp hobby knife is all I used and it was fixed in less than a minute.  The copper strips have nothing to do with the slide bar.  They are not related, they are used just for the led in the switch stand.

Wow, great fixes for the new CC Fastrack turnouts.  I only have the older remote ones 13 to be exact with zero issues, but should I get more CC ones, I'll know exactly what to look out for and how to correct it.

 

To me, it looks like the numb is there as a guide and should be facing down rather than up where it can bind.  You solution works (cutting it off), but I thinking that someone installed the part upside down is the issue.  Not owning any CC turnouts, this is just a guess, but as long as your fix works, you are good to go.

 

 

Sean,

   Paul very well maybe right, the ones that work may have the nub on the under side,

if you flip the bar upside down, everything may very well work correctly, your fix is a good one however, and maybe faster than turning the bar over.  Again foreign Quality Control

not engineering is the problem, Lionel probably fights this issue on a daily basis.

PCRR/Dave

 

@BWRR posted:

I am struggling with what may be the issue in the second video.

unfortunately the second link leads to “video not found” when I click it.

Can some one direct me to it?

Sorry I took that video down because people were not listening to what I was saying in the video about being super super careful not to bend the tip to much (just bending it the slight hair is all that is needed) and breaking them off and then posting nasty comments how I destroyed their 100.00 switch.

So I deleted that one.



Sean

@BWRR posted:

OK, I understand, I would have done the same.

thanks for the reply.

Yeah,  You have to be careful what you post on videos (as I have learned) as some people will come back at you if something goes wrong.  I figured it might be better if they sent them back to Lionel or their dealer rather than follow my video and possibly destroy their switch because they don't realize how delicate they are.

Last edited by SandJam

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