Switch Controller for Atlas switches

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by dwight77, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. dwight77

    dwight77 Member

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    I have an N gauge layout that I haven't worked with for several years. All the switches used the old Atlas lever that you could line up several controlers together. Due to age, some of these just aren't working. I know Atlas has a differnt newer style switch controler but it seems rather large. Does anyone have a recommendation for a different kind of switch or toggle type switch that could be used in place of the current Atlas switch controller. It would be nice to have a smaller unit that could be mounted on the underside of a control board so it wouldn't take up so much room.
  2. seanm

    seanm Member

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    I use the normally off pushbuttons Radio Shack sells. They are not expensive and can be mounted on the control panel or facia with a small hole. You need one for each route of the turnout (2 per normal switch).
  3. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

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    I use a 3 position momentary mini toggle switch for all my turn outs.They costed me $3 cdn each here in Alberta.But they are worth it,I drilled my control panel and placed the switch at the corrasponding location.

    Attached Files:

  4. dwight77

    dwight77 Member

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    cpNscale: Thanks for the information. Just to make sure I have it straight. You said you are using a 3 position momentary mini toggle switch. Am I right is presuming that it normally stays in the center position. You just push it up or down and it either opens or closes the switch, leaving the track switch in the appropriate position but the toggle switch returns to the center position. You can't actually tell by glancing at the toggle switch the position of the track switch. ?????
  5. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    That's the only way you should switch them to minimize having power on a coil too long. Spring -loaded, center off. Press and release quickly otherwise you will burn out a coil. You can do the same thing with two momentary-action pushbuttons.
  6. cpNscale

    cpNscale Member

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    Dwight77,yes a 3 postion momentary.I place them in the panel so when i push on the switch my train would take either the left or right route.
  7. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

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    Same here. You'll find them listed in online and in Tandy/RS as either mom-off-mom switches, or sometimes (on)-off-(on). The brackets round the 'on' refers to them being momentary. The same switches work lovely for tortoises off DCC controllers. You'll need to run separate LEDs to show the position of the switch (which looks nicer anyway).
  8. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

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    You can get switches by mail at:Circuit Specialists The have a toll-free #. Prices are a fraction of what you pay at Radio Shack and the quality is comperable. I've been dealing with these people for a very long time when we had our electronic manufacting business and have bought many hundreds of these switches over the years. Mouser Electronics is another good source, and they gurantee same day shipping. You can buy in larger or small quantities from either company.
  9. dwight77

    dwight77 Member

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    Thanks Don (ezdays). Circuit Specialist looks to have just the ticket and at $1.20 each on quantities of 10 or more. Thanks again.
    Dwight
  10. uncleBill

    uncleBill New Member

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    Old Atlas Switch Control

    The one thing you mentioned that standard mom switches don't do is let you see which direction is the currently activated direction. Better for the dollar, probably, but you lose that feature of the Atlas switches. I have two of the old type YOU CAN HAVE.
    Also, the old ones seem fairly easy to repair, especially if the only problem is they don't return when you activate them. Gently pry apart on the seam line, pull out the lever, clean the brass spring at the bottom, and reassemble (depressing the spring to make room for the lever). Those old switches may yet have some life left in them!
  11. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

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    Sure UncleBill, the switches themselves don't indicate direction. But as I said, it looks nice with pairs of red-green LEDs showing the go/nogo directions, and that gives you the ability to control the switches with DCC as well as manually, and from more than one control panel too...
  12. uncleBill

    uncleBill New Member

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    old switches

    True, Tillsbury - I was just offering a no expense, low labor alternative, and for some the nostalgic look is kind of pleasing. I did discover, though, that there were apparently two types of old switches, and one type does not come apart like the other. Cleaning those a little trickier.

    If you do replace with a standard mom-off-mom switch and go the LED indicator route, how do you wire the LED so that the momentary actuation results in a constantantly lit LED, which then turns off (and the other LEDturns on) when the opposite direction mom is actuated? Does this require the addition of some switching transistor circuits? When you power the whole shebang up, are all the LEDs off until the switches are each activated?