Problems with Steam Engine on Switch Turnouts

Hi Everyone,

I just purchased a used MTH Dealer Appreciation 282 Mikado Steam Engine. The tender on this comes with a wireless drawbar. The engine runs fine except on my 072 Atlas switches. On most of the switches, except one,  the locomotive loses power but only shortly before connection is made again. On one of my turnouts the unit just completely loses power and a power is lost on the entire block.  All switches are wired the same way. Is this a common problem because my other steamers do not do this.  Any suggestions on how to address this problem would be greatly appreciated?

Dave

Original Post

With some Atlas switches the power rails on the legs may be isolated from one another within the switch resulting in a dead section. To solve that issue you need to have a power connection to the center rail of all legs of the switch to insure contiguous power. This issue is often exhibited if you are using insulated rail joiners on one or both legs of the switch for block separation.

 

JVM,

I will check into this because the two areas where the engine loses power/and or stops are in the same block as crossing signals where I have isolated rails. The one block where there is no problem with the loco not losing power, on the turnout, doesn't  have an isolated rail.

This is going way back when Atlas first came out with their track and switches, but at the time they had a connection problem with the HO style slide connector / joiners. They solved this by adding little dimples on the joiners that mad a tighter connection.

Just a thought.

 

Keep Your Rails Polished!

NJ HiRailer

(Just Picture The Image)

Sometimes the issue is due to a dirt on the rail and the distance between the pickup rollers losing contact simultaneously. When it happens you can tilt the engine to see the exact spots where the rollers lose contact.

Also, you might want to use a volt meter to make sure all of the center rails have power. 

 

 

 

 

 

JVM-51 posted:

Sometimes the issue is due to a dirt on the rail and the distance between the pickup rollers losing contact simultaneously. When it happens you can tilt the engine to see the exact spots where the rollers lose contact.

Also, you might want to use a volt meter to make sure all of the center rails have power. 

 

 

 

 

 

I regularly use a volt meter when this happens and like I said, all other steamers run through them just fine. I will take a close look at pick up rollers. They can be deceiving. If this is not the issue I will be thoroughly confused.  I appreciate your suggestions.

Dave

I have about 20 Atlas switches.  In many cases the switches needed to be modified so that I can run various engines slowly through them without the engines stalling.  In some cases I found the blackening on the rails to be too thick, and good contact with the rollers was not possible.  I ended up sanding the center rail down so that all the blackening was gone.  Then used some "gun blue" on the rail to turn the rail black again.  Continuity then became very good.  In addition, in some cases the spacing between the rollers was a problem, as an engine could have rollers that were on two switches with both rollers not making contact with the third rail.  There are a couple of ways to get around this.  One way is to add a roller to the tender.  The other is to add an "extension" to the third rail.  Attached are a few pictures which illustrate the extension I made, and this works well..hope this helps.

Atlas switch improvementAtlas switch improvement 2Atlas switch improvement 3

The material I used is thin copper, purchased in a hobby shop (sold in sheets).  Solder a wire to it, and connect to the same power source as the tracks around it.  I also blackened with "gun blue".  Easy, permanent solution.

Attachments

Photos (3)

Another issue that plagues many small steamers, and even larger ones with only two rollers, is sometimes the stars are simply stacked against you over switches.  There is a cure, here's how I fix them.

MTH Switcher Reliability Upgrade

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