Snap switch issue
Hey guys quick question. I have a couple of atlas snap switches that I just bought the other day and installed. They are not ballasted, glued, or secured to the roadbed at all. I installed the atlas switch motors on them when they got here but I have a problem now. I wired the switches to a bachmann power pack, ac side but they will not trip correctly. I have them both wired to the same switch so that they will throw together since they both form a siding track. They are not stuck on the rail bed as they throw just fine by hand but I have no idea what is causing them to not trip with the power switch. Any ideas?
I would hope you have connected the switch machines with a push button or momentary throw toggle in series with the machine and the power pack. Otherwise, you may have burned out the motors! The center terminal on the switch machines should be wired to each other and then to one AC terminal on you power pack. The other leads must be connected to either a selector switch with a momentary contact, such as the ones Atlas sells for controlling the turnout switch machines, or you can use momentary spring-loaded, center-off toggles or a pair of pushbuttons.
What comes to mind, however, is that your power pack may not be putting out enough power to operate both machines simulataneously.
Will either of the machines throw correctly individually, rather than both at the same time? If so, your power pack may not be putting out enough current to handle both at the same time. In that case, you may need to buy a separate AC power supply with a higher amperage rating. You might be able to obtain one at a local hardware store. A doorbell transformer generally has a 24 volt output, but momentary output shouldn't bother the snap switch motors. Alternatively, you might see if you can find a used Lionel or American Flyer power pack that is AC only.
Lol I do know a bit about those old switch motors and I certainly hooked them up using one of the atlas toggle switches that are made for the snap switches. I will try to disconnect one and see what happens, though that power pack is rated for 15 or 20 amps I believe. Thanks I'll give it a shot!
Ummm yeah that was the issue!! Just not enough power there. I will look into another power pack to use with the switches. Does anyone have any idea how much those switch machines can handle?
Additional edit: If I decide to use a doorbell transformer would it be safe to, say, run an extension cord under the layout, cut the end off, hook that to the doorbell transformer, and mount the transformer under the layout, or am I risking shock? Just curious. I will find a way to isolate it if this is unsafe.
Last edited by psychobeagle12; 10-31-2012 at 12:12 PM.
By the nature of your question, I think you should not mess with the bell transformer! It might be too high a voltage rating for the switch machines! If you are not experienced with working with 110 volt wiring, it would be best left to an electrician! I suspect the "15 or 20" on that power pack refers to Volt-Amps (VA), which is the voltage times the amperage rating. If you divide the VA by the output voltage (16-18 vAC you get darned little amperage (current), which is probably why you can't get both switch machines to operate at the same time! I suspect that power pack is pretty small, like ones that come with starter train sets.
Originally Posted by psychobeagle12
I still think you would be better off finding a higher rated power pack, unless you know what you are doing with 110 volt wiring!
And, I cannot be responsible for accidents, incidents, fires, injury or death resulting from following any of these suggestions!
Last edited by trailrider; 10-31-2012 at 09:48 PM.
I do know quite a bit about 110 wiring but still I think I will just get a power pack to drive the motors. Thanks!
Ignoring all the issues with the 110 VAC primary side of the transformer, the secondary voltage for door bells is usually 24 VAC. That is too high for use with the Atlas turnout motors.
Originally Posted by psychobeagle12
Radio shack sells a 25v center tap transformer that works great, I have two of them mounted under my layout. I originally bought them to power a pair of higher-end MRC throttles but since ging DCC they are just used for accessory power. Across the two end taps you get 25v, and if you use an end tap and the center tap you get 12.5v. They are 2.0A and I run dual turnout crossover sections using the 12.5v side with no problem, nice strong 'snaps'.
Also work great for anywhere you can use a 12v ac current on the layout. And they just bolt right up to the under side of the benchwork where they're hidden.
Last edited by lehrr; 11-14-2012 at 07:08 AM.