You are here:

Model Railroads/Wiring of Atlas switches for the River Pass tack pack #578


QUESTION: I saw a previous post of yours with someone who had the same problems I'm having. There was no diagram on the back of the package so I have no idea how to wire the switch to include bringing it to the transformer. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. We have a Tyco transformer and it's output is 6VA(total), 18V DC, 20V AC.

ANSWER: Hi!  Brad.  Thank you for your question.  Each switch (or turnout, to differentiate it from the Controller) will have 3 leads or 3 screws for power.  These leads should go to a switch or Controller with 5 screws on it. The three leads from the switch go to one set of three screws , the center lead from the turnout should to the center screw of the 3 screws and the two other screws should go to the 20V AC terminal of the transformer. If the switch does throw incorrectly just switch the two outer leads on the turnout.
Here are some diagrams.
There are other ways of wiring the turnouts using push buttons or SPDT momentary switches, but a lot of people use the Atlas Controllers that come with the turnout or are available separately.  I've used them for years and they work ok.  You can put a bank together so there is only two leads from the bank of switches to the transformer.  One thing to remember is only use switches they are on momentarily (push buttons or Controllers).  Never use regular switches that are on all the time or don't need a push to control the turnout.  Having power on more than a second will heat up and burn out your turnout motors.  Hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: That was very helpful and thank you, however I have another problem. I took Hook Up Wire #1 conducted wire to connect the Atals switch
Box  to the transformer on both leads. When that was done though, the turnout motor cover got really hot and partially melted before I
Could get it unplugged. Do you think anything is damaged and did I use the wrong type of wire?



Sounds as though you have the wrong type of electrical switch.  You must use momentary switches or Atlas switch Controllers.  You just need a momentary pulse of power to throw the switch.  Any switch that is on/off will fry your turnout motors.  That's why it got hot.
I've used Atlas switch Controllers for years and never had problems.  Alternatively two push buttons can be use (as long as they are MOMENTARY).  Hold done a button will also fry your switch.  You may wish to buy an Atlas Wiring Book, they are cheap.  Here is a link to Atlas on wiring.

Model Railroads

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Frank Edgcombe


I CAN NOT DIAGNOSE equipment problems or ESTIMATE DOLLAR VALUES of your equipment, by email. I have been active in model railroading for forty years. I can answer, or find answers, to questions on most aspects of model trains, railroad equipment or buildings. I have a good knowledge of prototype railroads. I have been employed by five model railroad equipment manufacturers/suppliers and worked for a prototype railroad. I have served, twice, as the president of a local model railroad club. I have been employed as a Reference Librarian, at a university, for the last fifteen years and am used to tracking down resources for patrons.

©2017 All rights reserved.