Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wiring AtlasO Turnouts Part 2

So I am very close to having all of the turnouts I need to complete my switching layout.

With that, I've already started laying most of the track and before I could finish that step, I wanted to go ahead and wire the turnouts to avoid failure and frustration later, due to failure of AtlasO switches (the contacts under the switches fail over time)

Cutting away parts of the plastic substructure under the rail is easy as is soldering to that (as witnessed in Part 1), but the frogs gave me some trouble and are shown below. I was using my Weller 50W variable soldering iron set at 850 degrees and even after filing a section of one of my wyes, I was not able to heat sink it enough to keep the frog from melting off the ties.  The alloy they use also corroded.  I did not have silver solder at the time to try to solder to this, so I went ahead with the method below.  Silver solder may work, but I have not experimented with it at this time.

After some suggestions from the OGR Forum, I decided to go ahead and potentially make eyesores on all of my frogs by drilling a hole in them and tapping them for .25" 2-56 brass screws so I could solder to the heads from the bottom.  I will be wiring all of the frogs to some Tam Valley Frog Juicers. 

Another tip was to add styrene spacers to the frogs to ensure they don't short with any of the other rails from either movement or rail expansion.

Below is one last photo.  It shows the top and bottom of how the rails are connected and where I chose to cut the ties to add my own wires.  The top photo shows the frog in red - it is isolated from the rest of the switch.  The blue and green lines show the same rails that should be connected and where I wired across under the rail.  On one side of the turnout, I soldered pigtails that would all three go together through a hole under the layout to connect to the 10AWG bus I have running around the layout.  Those pigtails and small hole are drilled after I lay the roadbed, so that they are really close to the roadbed and will eventually be entirely covered and hidden by ballast.

Hopefully this provides a stepping stone for others to use to do similar work to do their best to hide wires on the rails.