Powering Atlas solenoid switch motors -- DC/AC/???


Recently I stumbled across Atlas undertable switch motors, which would be great for the upper shelf of my layout as there is very little vertical clearance. Am using Tortoise motors elsewhere and controlling them all with DS64s fed by a common DC power bus (discarded flat screen TV power supply). The upper layer track is all mounted on cork over camper tape to damp sound. But I am having a bit of a senior moment trying to understand the conflicting discussions about the appropriate power source. The vendor says an AC power source is required to toggle the solenoid. Some discussion says DC works just as well, others say using DC will destroy the coil in short order. If I were to use these things it would save me a lot of screwing around (and they are pretty cheap too).

Any of you more experienced folks have a view on this? If I am feeding the coil with DC from my DS64 do I need to be concerned? Or should I source a low voltage AC power supply just for these things?




both work!

You may think of these as a specialized 'doorbell'... they work the same as those wired old ones.

Your typical power pack has accessory terminals... +/- 12vAC.  Works very well as long as the motor isn't activated more than 3-5 seconds.  (see  note below.)  

I am not familiar with a DS64... so no experiential information form me on that. 

If using DC (also works!) you may find the voltage delivers marginal results... it works, with a bit less 'snap'.  Electrically, only half of the electromagnetic force is delivered to the coil, thus the difference.  Also, one (forgot AC or DC) will buzz. 

These work well even with 2 wired onto one circuit... more than that may require a 'CD unit' (capacitive discharge)  This operates like a camera flash unit (at lower power).  Oh... they're DC units... so that confirms DC will work!

Be careful to install it to move freely... binding will tempt the user to hold the power on... and overheating will result.  This melts the housing.


- regards


Atlas solenoids

As previously stated, both AC and DC work.

If diode matrix route selection is used then DC must be used, single machines can use either AC or DC.

Switches used to control solenoid type machines MUST be momentary as solenoids used on model railroads are very low resistance and will burn out if left connected for too long.  AC or DC doesn't matter,   I've burned up a few...



As they state, AC or DC. You

As they state, AC or DC. You simply do not want either applied continually. AC, applied continually, will buzz you up the wall and eventually burn the motor out.

The DS64 will have ALL  the outputs set for solenoid (OPSW#1 T)  right out of the box, You CAN NOT  mix and match ie: have one output for Atlas solenoid and the other three for Tortoise (keep that in mind). The DS64  is also equiped with CD (capacitor discharge) when solenoids are selected and puts out 20V to the switch motor.  Atlas are supported  on the DS64 so should not be an issue.  One nice feature of CD is once the cap is empty, it's empty. People can hold the button down, no harm will come of it, but the capacitor will not recharge till they let go the button or toggle.

Leaving the DS64 in solenoid mode and putting a Tortoise will destroy the Tortoise.  Putting a DS64 in Tortoise mode and connecting  an  Atlas switch will destroy the Atlas switch in the long run.  Continual voltage is applied to Tortoise switch machines to keep them set.

Also the DS64, when used in solenoid mode, you might have to  play with OPSW # 2,3,4,5 to get the shortest pulse lenght that throws reliably.  Too long and you are heating up the coils.

 You can use push buttons or a center off toggle that returns to center position (does not snap lock left/right). 

Marc Fournier, Quebec


 Thanks, Marc. That is exactly what I was hoping to hear. Thanks for helping me climb up the learning curve (minus the senior moment backsliding...).




Not familiar with this item. Our club has some twin coil and use a Snapper which is DC. Very positive action. Operates a matrix also.

We have used AC in the past but never hold down the switch more than a couple seconds.



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