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Hi,  I have several Atlas switches/turnouts  that I have replaced the switch machines with DZ 1000 units.   So far three DZ 1000's have "jammed up" mechanically and I have replaced them.  Additionally one yesterday shorted out causing CB on ZW to trip instantly.  Unfortunately I had visitors and I was embarrassed to say the least as kids  wanted to run trains.  Later I determined it was a switch machine and/or controller that was the cause.

What switch machine should I go to next??  These Z stuff DZ ones  are unacceptable. What little use they get, they fail too soon.

1.  I am seriously considering  going to manual operators and forgetting remote operation.

2. If I go back to Atlas switch machines might a well go to manual operators.

3.  Rip out everything and go to FasTrak or Lionel tubular track and old switches.  (complete redesign of layout required)

Any suggestions??

Thanks in advance,  Mike D

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If the Atlas switch  throw bars can be adapted to the Tortoise switch machines that would be great. My layout is 36 years old built with Gargraves track, Ross switches and Tortoise switch machines. They are truly bullet proof and are mounted out of sight unlike the large Atlas switch machines. The Tortoise demand little power and 10-20 machines can be driven by a single wall wart. In addition, using bicolor LED's you can create on your control panel a route map showing where switches are located and how they are positioned. The Tortoise is an American made product and is fantastic. After you get the hang of it they can be installed in 20-30 minutes each. They are also slow moving and constantly hold the points. Simply, the best in the industry for many years.

Hi Mike , I’m sorry to hear that. I have 19 Z-2500 switch machines for over, like 18 years. I think in 18 years I have only replaced one. I have non-derailing on all of them and they work great. Call Dennis Zander if you want to give another try. He is very good about helping and replacing them free. Could there be a possible wiring issue. Good luck for whatever you decide to do. Ron

Maybe a dumb question about the Tortoise option, but aren't they big and bulky?  How do you mount them if you are using "open grid" style benchwork, where the track is supported by risers and plywood subroadbed that's cut only a bit wider than the roadbed itself?   (If someone would post photos from a layout under construction, that would be really helpful!.)

The Forum has plenty of threads documenting issues with the DZ-1000 and DZ-2500.  Atlas OEM switch machines have their own issues, and there's an Atlas circuit board needed for some applications that went out of production years ago and was never reproduced.

I know that Caboose Industries ground throws work well with Ross switches, but it's not practical to use ground throws in staging areas or anywhere else that's out of arm's reach.  Sometimes I share the OP's sentiment to revert to Lionel tubular and O22s, so please keep posting and give me some hope!

Last edited by Ted S

Once you go with Tortoise machines, you will never look back!  They mount directly under the switch so usually the only problem is if where you need to put the machine is directly over a support and for that Circuitron makes adaptors and extensions.  I installed Tortoise on my last layout built in 1991 and the people who purchased my house kept the layout and to this day, there has not been one failure.

They seem a little intimidatiing to install and wire but once you do one or two, it is really very simple.  You can actually control the machine only running one wire from your control panel (assuming you have a ground wire buss run-in under the layout).

Good luck with your decision,


As others have said. Atlas track is great and DZ1000 are great.

I have the DZ1000s on my home layout and our club layout  for 20 years.

If you installed the machines, it could be a few needed adjustments or the turnout may have a glitch.

Take your time and open and close the turnout using the button on top of the motor. Watch for binding or incomplete movement.

Good luck.

@RoyBoy posted:

Mike, you are probably still upset from the embarrassment of yesterday.

Whatever you do, don't go with Fastrack. Going from Atlas to Fastrack is a significant downgrade. You can find some decent switch machines, or even go manual. Don't give up on your Atlas track. You will figure it out.


Thanks four your kind reply.  Looks like a couple of issues.  One electrical and a mechanical problem with DZ switch machine.  The little tab that allows one to manually throw switch actuator is jammed.  Connects to gear on small shaft inside. Very close tolerances so broke off tab and works free now.  An electrical issue somewhere with button or?? Disconnected power to DZ machines and no short.  So will use meter to find.

Glad I changed to industrial circuit breaker in ZW as it opened instantaneously with short.  So should be easy to find.  When I first joined the club members were changing to better CB's.  Glad I did.  Listened to you.  

Again thanks for the kind words. Best,, Mike

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