Does anyone know if it's possible to take the uncoupling part of the 3rd rail/magnet from a 5" uncoupling Fastrack section and solder it to Atlas 3 rail track?
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Here's a look, Atlas uncoupling section.
Yeah, I saw that one the Atlas O website but really didn't like how the magnet is a huge circle. Hence I was wondering whether or not it was doable to remove the mechanism from a piece of Lionel Fastrack and transplant it into Atlas track.
In looking at the manual for the uncoupling track, if you're willing to destroy some stuff, I'd say this can be done. Since the magnet is completely isolated from the running rails, just rip out all the fast track rails their plastic supports and flatten off all the fake spikes (just get down to flat ties). You just need to keep the plastic insulator that surrounds the magnet, and the magnet in the center. Once the rails are off, you could probably shorten the base to just what is needed to keep the circuit intact. Rip a corresponding number of ties out of the middle of a piece of atlas track, and cut enough of the center rail out for the magnet setup to fit into the gap. Then just secure the atlas track to the fasttrack base with a little epoxy. Then just match the height of the surrounding track to the height of the fasttrack roadbed and keep building. Its probably more trouble than its worth, but thats how I would try and do it.
For reference, search the forum for how to adapt the Fasttrack sensor track (before they sold the separate module) to other track systems. Same basic premise here.
The more advanced version would be to separate the magnet and actuation circuitry from the fast track base, and build all that into a piece of atlas track (cut away the pieces of ties that are in the way and stuff), but I suspect that its better left in its plastic housing, since you'd have to otherwise figure out how to mount the magnet into the track.
The fastrack uncoupler is not inexpensive. I have seen old tubular uncouplers modified, however not the fastrack uncoupler.
The big circle is black and not that obvious, unless you built the layout, then every mistake on the learning curve stands out as you walk into the room. Personally, I would use the Atlas product.
If you go with the fastrack modification, start with one and see how you like it before purchasing more uncouplers.