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Getting Atlas Switch Tracks to Operate Properly

Paul posted this question:

“I am having trouble getting my N scale Atlas switch tracks to work. I have tried all different wiring configurations. They will throw in one direction and when I try the other direction, all I get is a hum from the switching machine mounted on the track. The hum tells me they are getting current but nothing happens. If it were only one track, I would chalk it up to a defect in that track, but it is all of them (8). Very frustrating. Hope you can help. Thanks.”

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3 Responses to Getting Atlas Switch Tracks to Operate Properly

  • Dale Arendssays:

    It sounds like you may have a feeder and common (return) line reversed. The switch machines take a common (-) and two power (+) feeds. If you have a feeder and the common reversed, it will often work on one side but the other side internally shorts. Since you say it’s all 8, my guess is that the problem is in the bus connections.


      Yes, if this is a tortoise, and if you are wired to the 2 internal relays, drop off those lines and test again. If the problem clears, put one pair back on to isolate it done and then check the lines on the offender.

  • Frank Bsays:

    A standard turnout motor has two coils, one to push the operating rod in each direction.
    Most will work normally on either AC or DC.

    The turnout switch supplies only a brief pulse of current to one coil to move it, so the switch is not to be held on.

    The buzzing suggests you are using AC, and the current is not being cut off. This can burn out the coil.

    Attached is a normal circuit for a turnout motor. Is this how yours are wired up ?

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