Hey All, Hope everyone is staying safe out there.  I have question about shutting off power to a siding.  I am using 3 rail Atlas track and I want to use a switch to turn on and off the power to the siding.  What do I need to do to the Atlas track, and what type of switch will I need.  I have some plastic clips for the tracks, but are they used for this example ?  Could someone tell me the way to do the siding. Enclosed pic of what I have.  Thanks !607A6E90-9655-4861-B227-CA82CF53B7F1_1_201_a

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Original Post

The center rail of that entire siding, needs to be isolated and powered thru a switch for power. So what are these plastic clips? Are they track joiners? You would install those in the siding at both ends.

The switch should be good quality and handle the amp draw of engines and cars running thru the siding. 

Last edited by Engineer-Joe

I believe that these are what you are talking about:

Insulated Rail Joiners

At the tip of the arrow (at two places) where you wrote "Cut Power", install one of these of these joiners.

Now for a question. For the remainder of this siding, how many track feeders do you have? HOW you have wired your power feed will affect how you turn it on/off.

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Last edited by Gilly@N&W

You will need to run a separate power feed(s) to the siding. A small single pole/single throw toggle switch to control the power. Since that siding is very long you could split it in two and be able to park two trains on it.

Last edited by RSJB18

Yes, those are the plastic joiners I have.  Do I put them on the center rail and one outer rail or just one outer rail, I have read that some people use two plastic joiners per end of track and some just one on center rail. should the plastic joiners go on the switch end or track end, or maybe it doesn't matter?  What type toggle switch would I use ?  I run on DCS and have only one power supply with no feeder wires and the signal is fine no issues.  Thanks for the help men !

Thanks. What type toggle switch ? and where do I put the power connections too Center rail and one outside rail ? Is any part of the track good for the power, begining or middle.  Sorry for all questions 

You need a switch that handles enough power for anything that will be on the siding.  You just switch the center rail as I said, the outside rails are typically common throughout the whole layout.

The most important thing it the amp rating for the contacts in the switch. I would suggest at least 10 amps. If you pick 20+ amps, that would be gross overkill.

Those will work fine.  While the rating of the switch is important, remember that the switch only has to switch the power for the siding, so even a 6A mini-switch would probably be plenty.

Thank You all for the info.  Yes I was wondering about the initial hookup. Could I run the switch to one of my MTH distribution blocks for the power ? I like the toggles RSJB18 shown on amazon. Would the on/off switch for atlas switches work I have some extra ones or no.    Thanks

I've unintentionally acquired many Atlas #215 selectors. They are intended for use with the likes of N and HO which have a much smaller power draw than our O Gauge trains. However, I have used them for decades on O gauge trains without fault - from my perspective, I didn't explicitly pay for them, and if they blew up, I could then spend money on the "right" thing, whatever that turned out to be. So far, no issues. However, I make a habit to not switch them under load. But to @gunrunnerjohn's point, they are probably technically undersized. However, Atlas doesn't seem to release any specifications 

bmoran4 posted:

I've unintentionally acquired many Atlas #215 selectors. They are intended for use with the likes of N and HO which have a much smaller power draw than our O Gauge trains. However, I have used them for decades on O gauge trains without fault - from my perspective, I didn't explicitly pay for them, and if they blew up, I could then spend money on the "right" thing, whatever that turned out to be. So far, no issues. However, I make a habit to not switch them under load. But to @gunrunnerjohn's point, they are probably technically undersized. However, Atlas doesn't seem to release any specifications 

I've been using them for nearly 20 years - never had an issue. 

You said that some people use 2 plastic joiners at the ends of the track segment, while others use one.  One on the center rail is all you need, with a switch connected to the center's power feed.   I install a 2nd plastic joiner on an outer rail only if I need block occupancy detection for signals....  TO CLARIFY: I am talking about at one end.  Given a siding with 2 connections, repeat twice. 

Last edited by ScottV

Hi again, I found some SPST toggles rated 12V 20A, I think they would work no?  I would appreciate a diagram on how to wire them.  I could supply power from a MTH distribution board from my Z4000 transformer.  How would the wiring go from the switch to the track.  Do I need to solder the wires to the track.  Sorry I am so needy, my electrical ability is in the learning stages.  I had a set up before but was using Fastrack and I switched to Atlas, and forgot how to do some of the wiring.  That's why I come to the OGR Forum, such great information and everybody is so helpful. Really, Thanks again for the help.

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Last edited by Not seasoned yet
ScottV posted:

You said that some people use 2 plastic joiners at the ends of the track segment, while others use one.  One on the center rail is all you need, with a switch connected to the center's power feed.   I install a 2nd plastic joiner on an outer rail only if I need block occupancy detection for signals....

Uhh... if it's a passing siding that connects to the mainline on both ends, it needs two insulators.   Remember the picture posted by the OP...  Note that it connects to the mainline on both ends.

607A6E90-9655-4861-B227-CA82CF53B7F1_1_201_a

 "I found some SPST toggles rated 12V 20A, I think they would work no?"  You should be fine with these. There is a very low possibility that you would be throwing the switch with a rated load. 

"I could supply power from a MTH distribution board from my Z4000 transformer."  From a red terminal on your transformer, connect one wire to one side of your switch. On the other side of the switch connect a second wire to the red terminal on your MTH distribution board.

"Do I need to solder the wires to the track".  Not nesessary. Atlas offers these:

Terminal

I suggest you use at least one per every 6 track joints on your passing siding. Worst case, round up on that number. Just a SWAG, but I'd guess you need at least 3. 

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Last edited by Gilly@N&W

So do get this all together: 1. Attach red wire from transformer to switch ( which has 3 prongs)    2. Attach a second red wire from MTH distribution block to other side of the switch.  Now my dumb question, since the switch has 3 prongs, do I attach a wire from 3rd prong to track ? Do I attach wires to center rail and one outside rail ? and both go to the 3rd prong of switch. Sorry all for my dump questions I just don't want to short anything out.

You have a SPDT switch, the 3rd connection is unused in this application.  Without seeing the actual switch and the connections, I can't say which two terminals you need to use.  If you have a meter (anyone doing this kind of work should), check for continuity between two terminals with the switch on, those are the two terminals to use for this application.

I couldn't open the file you attached of the switch. Many SPST toggle switches have three terminals but only use two. Typically the center terminal will be the common to both depending on switch position. Take a meter and check continuity between the terminals to determine which pair is switched. Most of these have a small groove running the length of the threads, note the relation of the groove to the terminals so you don't have to check again. Some helpful info here.

Once you know, then the power from the transformer/ MTH terminal board goes to one terminal on the switch, run your wire from the other terminal on the switch to the center rail of the siding. As stated previously, the common is already connected through the outside rails. No additional wires need to be run to the outside rails on the siding.

Once your wiring is done, check it with your meter to make sure it works properly. Post pictures of what you've done and we will check your work if you are not sure.

If you want to take it one more step you could also make the center track in your plan an isolated siding and be able to alternately park a train on either and run the other.

Bob

With great interest I have followed this topic. I was where he is now a few years ago.

I can not stress enough --- in the Atlas package picture above you will see the red wire has a black clip which will go to the center rail. The black wire has a silver clip to attach to one of the outside rails. WHY DO I SAY THIS? Because Atlas in their ultimate wisdom does NOT CHECK to see if this is correct. Of about 100 packs of these I had about 20 that were backwards and I DID NOT CHECK till I had shorting problems. CHECK THESE FIRST!!!

Now regarding the 3 prong switch -- attach the wire from the TIU, or Transformer if you are not using a TIU, to the CENTER Prong. Attach the TRACK wire to one of the outside prongs. When the switch is in the opposite direction of the prong you connected to it has made contact and you will have power to the track. If the switch is in the center or thrown to the side with the wire you will have NO power to the track. And Gunrunner John said it best. BUY A CHEAP METER. $9.99 at Harbor freight and sometimes even FREE!

Gunrunner John, GGG and a couple others are tops with DCS. They are doing a great job filling the ultimate ones shoes (Barry Brokowitz). You also might want to get his DCS book from MTH. It explains this pretty well.

My major problem was black connector on black wire and silver on red. I failed to check and just wired the complete layout ad then found they had some backwards. NO THAT'S a MAJOR headache as I solder all my connections. Had to go back and either pull track or cut and re-solder which throws going by color under the table off!

Curtis

Curtis

My Toggles,  I had these with my Fastrack, but had the jumper track so to me it was easier,so they should work.  Yes I am running DCS with the TIU and I also have the handbook guide.  The Atlas is just trowing me a little like I say I don'y want to short out.  Thanks 

 

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Last edited by Not seasoned yet

Curtis has you covered on the connections, center and one outside connection.  The only wild card is, which outside terminal.

Some snap-action switches switch to the terminal on the side you move the handle to.  However, many, including most mini-toggles, switch to the opposite side that the handle is moved to.  Since we have no actual spec sheet on these, it's not possible to know what kind of switch action they use.

Thanks John. I was hoping if I missed something you would kick in. OGR Forums are great and there a several very knowledgeable people here to answer just about any questions. Kinda makes being cooped up at home worth it if you follow the forums. LOL

Some switches use Com/no/nc labels stamped real small right  by the terminals Common, normally open(off), normally closed(on) for spst.

For a 2 position ike ike  though, some use a #1 & #2 and skip labeling the common at all ("like that"..... spellwreck insists on ike ike and it gets worse if I try to change it)

Also, I'm not sure how/if Atlas has an anti-derail feature; but it's discussion is conspicuously missing above.

. Lionel track would use another plastic isolator at each turnout exit on one of the outside rails. That little rail is a trigger, any wheels/axles on those provide a "ground" to the isolated little rail and that is in turn connected to the turnout coil motor (hot always on) so it auto-throws it if points don't already point to the oncoming wheels. You might not even have the option, but that is likely why you thought you needed more plastic clips.(and might yet,? You can also make a circuit like this on plain (isolated outside rails) track to add auto-anti-derail to most turnouts if not equiped) (most brand tracks can be modded to have isolated outside rails, and you can often shorten the part that triggers too. (so you don't pak on it, etc)

 

HI EVERYONE

I've been using Gargraves tracks for over decade, so I'm no good to say anything about Atlas, however on the Gargraves, I've insulated pins in the center rail, on the other side where the rail cars are, I've put  hot  lines to toggles and at the end of toggle hot line with line goes to power connectors . This power strip holds eight toggles and I have eight spot in yard if I should want to run an Engine on that particle rail it'll be powered.  I do use single pole on/off toggles..  I hope I'm clear on what said. 

With all due respect, this is very basic stuff. It sounds like you need a bit of an introduction to basic electricity and how an electrical circuit works, specifically how the engine gets power and completes a circuit. May I suggest one of the many very good books on basic layout wiring? I know Peter Riddle wrote one for Greenberg.

I agree. I wish I had good book on basic theory; if you nail understanding the bi-directional ac to dc by bridge rectifier and opposing phases of ac are a kin to dc+ and dc-, and electricity flows kinda like water, amps and volts are pressure and flow(tube size), always filling/following the easiest path(s) to "ground/common/return", the rest  comes pretty easy really. Components kinda act as valves, manidfolds, or other modifier to the flow.

A schematic is kinda like reading plumbing blueprints imo.

For a fast refresher on ac I kinda like Mike in Lionel's YouTube video on "phasing two or more tranformer's to be used together".

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