HELP: What switches are the best

Looking for the best switches in HO, they will be powered, undertable mount
if possible. Newbie here as you can tell by the question. Any help would be
greatly appreciated.
Garry
Reply to
Jan & Garry
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My preference is to build my own. Please note that it is my preference! I build my turnouts to a much narrower spec for gauge than any of the makers do (with the Railway Engineering ones the best of what is out there) and use seperate point rails which make the turnout look right. The turnouts are a lot more work but the results are very nice. Go look about at photos of model railroads and you can tell when the turnouts are handlaid as they just look like the rest of the track rather than standing out and they generally flow a lot nicer than the readymade things. Besides, one of the purposes of a hobby is to waste time in enjoyable pursuits while your brain works on other things in the background.
-- There are more Democrats on the Calif. Special Election than Republicans! Go count if you don't believe me! Bob May
Reply to
Bob May
I'm new at the game, but I have just finished putting in about 24 switches on my layout. They are all Atlas. However I am in the process of replacing them because the insulation at the frog is too long for the shor wheelbase of the engines i need to run. I did get good advice on how to solve the problem, but it seems to involve geing able to deill and tap a hole for a small brass screw to which I can solder wires, so that the frog is powered. Since the major portion of my switches are already installed, and I am mot capable of drilling and tapping small stuff, I have decided to replace all the turnouts that I use in switching. (they are ok when engines run across them at speed.)
I powered the turnouts with atlas double solenoid switch machines mounted below the track bed. I found them difficult to place accurately -- the process involves taping the turnout so that it is 'centered,' neither open or closed, and taping the swith machine itself. Then, the mounting screws need to be mounted using a small plastic piece which needs special handling. Once a turnout is in place, all is well until the track is shifted. it is very difficult to re-align the switch machine. Also, in spite of the fact that i use momentary double throw switches,I have a tendency to leave the power on too long with the result that the heat from the solenoid melts the plastic case. (i have replaced 4 of these.) I am using the turtle switch motors with good results, although I do have problems getting the mounting screws exactly where i want them bacause i have already drilled a large hole in the roadway. This problem will not arise if the template which comes with the machines can be used beforehand.
in summatry: 1: i have problems with the insulated frogs in atlas turnouts 2: adjusting the atlas switch machine after the track has been moved is tricky 3: the swith solenoids are very sensitive to mis-use.
I am going to use the trurnouts which have no insulated frogs, and i am going to replace the atlas switch machines with turtles as replacement becomes necessary. thse are the remarks of a ness-than gifted newbie, so i am sure more experienced hands (and fingers) will have meaningful additions
Reply to
larry l.
Jan, Peco turnouts are the best I've seen so far. They work and keep on working. I have four Peco turnouts on my small On30 layout and in about 3 years not one problem with them. The Peco turnouts look more European than American but work well. I've got Walthers turnouts on my HO layout. They look fine and in about 20 to 30 minutes time can be made to work fine too. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger
Agreed - they are the best I've used. Have ditched all others.
Reply to
Greg Forestieri
I agree the Peco is the best in code 100. The Tillig is the best for code 83. IMHO
Bruce Fav>
Reply to
Charles Kimbrough
If you don't mind the European look to the tie pattern, I favor Tillig Pilz Elite code 83 turnouts. They are essentially DCC ready out of the box (remove two jumpers and attach the appropriate connector wires), have single piece closure rails, etc. The big limitation is that they come only in #4,5, and 6 (approx. Measurement) and two curved varieties. That works for me, but many want #8's or larger for bigger layouts. But since most smaller home layouts have 18 to 24" minimum radius curves anyway, it may not be a big problem.You can see them at
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(clickon the "tillig link") or at
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Another good looking operating, though somewhat more expensive, option is railway engineering turnouts
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. They are basically hand laid turnouts with wooden ties applied and made DCC ready if you wish. Since I'm not putting real wooden ties everywhere, these would look peculiar so I didn't choose them. They are probably the best looking turnout available and are reputed to work perfectly.
What this Railway Engineering needs to do is to create something like "flextrack" which is properly gauged. The purists will say that hand laying is not that hard (and it may not be), but I don't want to tackle it, and many other apparently don't either. Flex track would solve that problem and I would have used R-E products exclusively if they had it.
Ed
in article eSaab.245$ snipped-for-privacy@newssvr12.news.prodigy.com, Bruce Favinger at snipped-for-privacy@swbell.net wrote on 9/17/03 9:52 PM:
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
My answer to the drilling and tapping is that if you don't learn how, you never will learn how and thus you will never get to the good operation that others enjoy. Mechanical skills are learned mostly by doing as nobody can teach you the hand/eye skills needed for doing this. They can teach you the right processes but if you never bother to learn the skill of working with your hands, you never will be able to do so. You may break a number of taps but if you learn from the breakage of each one, you will quickly be able to do so without breaking the taps. If you just keep bulling along, blaming the equipmnt for the problems you encounter, you will never succeed in drilling and tapping without failure. Now go learn how!
-- There are more Democrats on the Calif. Special Election than Republicans! Go count if you don't believe me! Bob May
Reply to
Bob May
You might think about a machine shop class at a local community college. It is cheap and you get to use their equipment....
Jim Stewart
Reply to
Jim Stewart
in article BB8F1EC1.2A445% snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net, Edward A. Oates at snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote on 9/18/03 8:35 AM:
Replying to myself and for others:
I'm using the Pilz Elite turnouts now for my new layout. The only thing I've changed so far to improve the appearance is the guard rails. The ones supplied are plastic strips which don't look that good and are constantly slipping out of position if I clean the track by applying Flitz with a cloth.
So, I've been changing them out for metal guard rails by using Atlas n gauge flex track (code 80 I think, but I'm not a N gauger. It's the only stuff the hobby (D&J Hobby in Campbell, CA)). I cut a 2" piece of track, bend it to curve it slightly to match the plastic guard rails, drop it in some Blacken It for 2 minutes or so, wash it off, dry it, and slip it through the guard rail guides. Some care must be taken when doing that because the flex track is thicker at the bottom than the plastic guard rails, but it can be done without damaging the ties or bending anything else. I support the tied by pushing against it with a flat needle nose pliers and guide the rail with my finger nails so they slip into the guides. Not counting the blacken it step, it takes less than 5 minutes per turnout. It would be faster if the turnouts were not already installed on the layout. It looks terrific.
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
Shinohara seems to have a bad name with many, but I have been using them for 20 years and have no complaints. I do doctor them up a bit with a file first, but it's only minor work that I'm sure most turnouts require.
I did try a Micro Engineering #6 turnout. It was, well......., I better not say what I thought of it in mixed company. Doug
Reply to
Doug
The ME switch neeeds a PERFECTLY flat surface, so much so that using homasote at all is not advised. Cork or even soft pine roadbed is about all I would use with these. If it sits on an uneven surface the point rails tweak enough to not line up level with the stock rails. The Shinohara 70/100 or the Walthers (which is Shinohara code 83) is my favorite. I have never seen the Railway Engineering items so I couldn't say; I wonder how many years these will be around. I mean, say you break one down the road. I don't know, maybe that isn't much of an issue. Just a thought. The Tillig Pilz are too european looking for me but I have heard they are nice. Atlas...... still trying. Close but not there yet.
-John
Reply to
Pacific95
The thing that is nice about the Railway Engineering turnouts is that you get the rail and put that on your ties. They are kits rather than fully assembled turnouts. As a result, any breakage can be repaired by soldering the parts back together or replacing the bad part. Any of the plastic turnouts are pretty much a tear it out and put another in its place.
-- There are more Democrats on the Calif. Special Election than Republicans! Go count if you don't believe me! Bob May
Reply to
Bob May
You can get the RE turnouts completely assembled with wooden ties applied and even DCC ready. They will even custom make a turnout if you send them a diagram of exactly what you want: for example, if you wanted to replace Atlas turnouts, you could just send them one and they could (for a fee of money and time) make turnouts with exactly those dimensions. Except they would have metal frogs, wooden ties, and one piece closure rails.
Again, I I wanted to hand lay rail so I could have a consistent look to the ties (all wood, whatever), and I wanted to pay a bit extra, I'd go with them. If you want to apply your own ties to the RE turnouts, you can get them all ready to go except for ties and then use plastic ties to match flex track: maybe the plastic ties from Central Valley would do.
I went with Pilz Elite and so far so good. Since I'm not a rivet counter at all, the Euro look doesn't bother me in the least.
Ed.
in article snipped-for-privacy@news-1.nethere.net, Bob May at snipped-for-privacy@nethere.com wrote on 9/24/03 3:40 PM:
Reply to
Edward A. Oates
I agree Peco electro frog turnouts are the best of the price competitive brands.
Terry Flynn
For HO scale track standards go to
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includes details of HO wagon weight and locomotive tractive effort estimates
Reply to
Terry Flynn
Hmmm, the exception that proves the rule? Or sign of a change of approach? Keith Make friends in the hobby. Visit Garratt photos for the big steam lovers.
Reply to
Keith Norgrove
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Count me in as a satisfied user of Peco, code 100 turnouts, too, as are most of the the model rails in this area. No one uses Shittyhara except one guy who installed a couple here and there to fit specific applications on his layout. He constantly swears . . . at them!
Paul - "The CB&Q Guy" Illinois, * USA *
Reply to
Paul K - The CB&Q Guy
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Nice looking but kinda pricey, no? Also, not available in code 100, not in stock at the local shop for that quick need situation, etc.
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''' Agreed they are the best looking, but I seem to recall reading many times of operational problems. Maybe I am thinking of DCC compatibility problems, though. Whichever, those more knowledgable can set us straight.
Paul - "The CB&Q Guy" Illinois, * USA *
Reply to
Paul K - The CB&Q Guy
What problems does he have with them? Are they all related to DCC?
-John
Reply to
Pacific95
They will work just fine but need to modified. There is a site ,I think its Loys Toys that shows how to modify these turnouts for DCC but its the same fix used for DC too. Once they are modified, checked for gauge and the switch machine is set right there should be no problems with them at all. Of course you could just buy a PECO Electro frog turnout and a Peco switch machine (that are less than half the cost of a tortoise) and every thing will function perfectly right out of the box. But they won't look quite as good. Bruce
Reply to
Bruce Favinger

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