how to add jumpers to Atlas code 80 turnouts

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Biased turkey, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    In the General Talk subforum, some members are complaining about some electrical contact problems they have after some time using Atlas turnouts. One member mentioned adding jumpers.
    Where should those jumpers be located, and what wire gauge # should be used.
    I'm using N scale code 80 Atlas tracks and turnouts.

    tia for any info about that subject.

    I know, I know :) my next layout will use Kato flextrack and turnouts.
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

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    I have had this problem. I've used the Model Power branded wire, which looks to be fairly thin however I don't have a gauge to measure it anywhere in the house (that I can find anyway!)

    I jumped from the point behind the frog to whichever route in front of the frog was giving me trouble. I went right from joiner to joiner. I hope that makes sense...
  3. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    Thank you for taking some of your time to reply umtrr-author.
    What I have in mind is to solder the jumpers according to the picture. Of course the jumpers will be soldered under the track.Does it make sense ?

    [​IMG]
  4. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    Makes a lot of sense. The point hinges are historically a weak point in the conduction of electricity on many turnouts. Your jumpers are correct, the point should be jumpered to the adjoining stock rail on these turnouts.

    yours in wiring
  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    OK, thanks for the confirmation Pgandw.
    Last friday I just purchased a new soldering iron ( I'm an electronic technician and the last soldering iron I bought was ... 25 years ago )
    Now I can justify that spending to my wife
    [​IMG]
  6. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author Member

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    Yes, that would work...
  7. berraf

    berraf Member

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    I've often heard that it's important to make the turnouts "DCC-frinedly", your solution is not Dcc-friendly, or am I wrong?
  8. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The jumpers he added were in fact "DCC-friendly", although I dislike the term. What is called DCC-friendly was actually best-practice for turnout wiring over 40 years ago, long before DCC. Keeping the points the same polarity as the adjoining stock rail prevents intermittent short circuits from occuring when the back of a metal wheel rubs against an open point while rolling on the stock rail. Reduction of short circuits is beneficial for any control system.

    Atlas Snap Switches and Custom-Line turnouts have always had the points have the same polarity as the adjoining stock rail. However, over time the point hinge plates sometimes don't make good contact with all 3 rails - point, stock, and closure rail. When this happens, there is an open circuit on the affected rail. The open circuit can result in stalling or flickering or DCC decoder resets. The jumpers provide an alternative, more reliable path for the power that should prevent any open circuits at the points.

    yours in wiring
  9. berraf

    berraf Member

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    Thanks Fred for your answer on the issue DCC-friendly :)
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    To Berraf: My intention is not to make the turnouts DCC friendly, because my tiny layout will be a DC powered.
    As Fred mentioned, I want the electrical contacts between the point and the adjoining stock rail to be reliable.

    I might be wrong, but if I remember, Atlas N scale code 80 turnouts are "DCC friendly" out of the box. BUT they may become unreliable after some time, so the added optional jumpers have nothing to do with DCC but are there to increase the reliability.
  11. berraf

    berraf Member

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    Good thinking :)
    Reliability is good, real good :thumb:
    There's so annoying to put a loco back to work with a finger due to contact problem. And that always happen when I'm showing friends how good locos I have sign1
  12. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

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    What a mess I made yesterday evening.
    I tried to solder the 2 jumpers on 1 Atlas N scale code 80 turnout using my new soldering iron.
    I melted some parts of 2 ties adjacents to the jumpers location. I wouldn't mind if the propblem is just cosmetic, but I created some small plastic blob that prevents , on one side, the point to even contact the stock rail. I tried to file that area but the problem persists.

    What frustrated me the most is that 1 month ago I bought 1 Peco turnout to experiment with and I was able to solder the 2 jumpers with perfect solders , without melting any plastic tie, using my old 25 years old soldering iron, and I didn't even bother to use flux paste.

    My conclusion is:
    1) Maybe I need to practice more with my new soldering iron
    2) Atlas plastic ties may be less heat resistant than Peco ties.
    3) Atlas Nickel-silver alloy might require a higher soldering temperature than the Peco counterpart.

    I might post pictures of that total failure tonight so The Gauge Members can have some laugh.
  13. berraf

    berraf Member

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    I don't believe anyone will laugh at you. I done the same more than once and now I always put a tiny, tiny dot of fluxpaste on the soldering spot before soldering and that do the trick so the problem melting down ties is over :thumb: