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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first post. I am on other forums, so I know how it can be annoying to hear the same thing over again and that Searching is a GREAT way to find info..... But nothing came up.

I would like to know more about USA Trains' #6 switch.

Is it worth the money? (or do other brands offer more 'bang for your buck')

What kind of Radius/diameter track can you use with it?
Any mods needed?
Who to buy from?


And any useful tips, pros and cons. I am all ears.
 

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I have never seen one except in pictures, but it has a very good reputation and I think better construction than it's main competitor, the Aristocraft #6. I have two of the Aristo switches, because they come in stainless steel which the USA #6s do not. The Aristo's take some tweaking to get running right

RLD Hobbies has them at a good price
 

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I have 6 of the USA switches and feel they are the best- my opinion- They need nothing done to them right out of the box to the layout. Plus the operating directional switch lights are real nice.

For 96 from wholesale trains you can't do much better than that.
 

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I have about 12 or 13 of them. I like them and have zero problems. But, I also run battery power and remove the switch machine. I think the switch machine is too large and doesn't look real good....

Terry
 

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I have 6 of the USA #6 switches and they have a serious design flaw in the micro-switch that controls the power routing to the frog. What happens is the power routing micro-switch will trip before the points move and cause some serious arcing when the points move away when using the enclosed switch actuator.

My simple remedy is to remove the wire that goes from the micro-switch to the points and install a longer wire that goes from the micro-switch to the lead rails & frog.

I talked to a USA Trains techie about this problem and I received the typical USA Trains response that there is no problem..


I was also told by USA Trains that if ANYBODY has a problem with the #6 switch to send them in and if they're a year old the will be sent back as a manual switch...that right there tells me that USA T does have a problem with the #6 switch


Track wise the USA #6 switch is excellent, In fact I replaced my #6 Aristo's with them.
 

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I have five and more to come! Not a one problem with them. I did take the switch machine off and installed a hand throw. I would highly recommend them.
I get mine from Mike and Renee Kidman (Treeman) he is on this web site.
 

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I just order 3 #6 aristos.

There are 2 camps: Bob at Art Knapp Trains says USA #6 switches have wiring issues on the underside and has been running Aristos outside at the store for 2 years now with no issues.

Then we have the tweaking and frog depth issues with Aristo. my setup is such that my locos will enter the switch from the straight and at low speed. Their purpose is a simple crossover only and also for siding access.


So, I'm starting with Some Aristos.... and will probably expand with USA and by the time I retire, I will be an expert on the ins-and-outs....


gg
 

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My problems started with my Pacific not being able to negotiate a couple Aristo, 8 foot diameter, switch tracks I got on e bay. These were my first attempt at switch tracks. Two major problems with them was, one; there was too much space between the rail and the frog, and the sprung drivers on my Pacific would push the driver wheels down in that space, and then jump up on the other side, causing drastic jump and, at speed, derailment. Two, the frogs were not deep enough for the Aristo Pacific driver flanges. (How could Aristo make a switch that would not accept and Aristo Loco?) I have a friend that knows Mr Polk, and we got some of the new frogs from him. They are no "bolt on" project by ANY means! I had to completely re-work the switches,with the new type frogs. Then I had to bend some new sections of track post frog section, because the new Aristo frogs are different; Less dead space with them, between the rail and frog. Had to cut the other brass rails, to merge into the frog angles. Now, the grove is the proper depth. Pacific still dropped, but less now/ Anyway, I gauged the Pacific wheels, and found that they are much too narrow together. It is an older Pacific, however I do not understand wear changing the width apart, of the drivers. I took the drivers off, and saw no way wear would do this. What is happening is that the drivers, being fully sprung, are pushing the drive wheels down into the dead space between the frogs, and being too narrow together, the engine drops and then raises, and depending on the speed, will actually derail the engine. Therefore, I am going to get a new motor block for the Pacific. It is the old style, and not can motor or with motor fans. I refuse to get a whole new engine because I love the Pennsylvania engine. Nope, I love that old engine, and I am going to cure it and bring her up to date, with the new can motor and cooling fans.
Does anyone have any ideas on this subject?
Thanks, Ron in Sacramento, CA
 

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First idea: start a new thread on the Aristo Wide Radius switch, not jump on to a thread where someone is asking about the USAT #6.

I'd like to comment on your findings, I had an easy time swapping the new frogs into my Aristo WR switches.

I also have comments on the gauge problem on your loco, check out the "prime mover basics" page on my site, under motive power, aristo

Please start a new thread, and put it in the track forum... you can also check my site for tons of info about the WR and the #6.

Regards, Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the input guys!

I am still wondering what the radius is on a # 6 switch.

Is the use of this switch really just fo turn outs? I wanted to buy a switch that could use the 'curved' portion of the switch into a loop. Is there a switch that can be connected to a set radius of curved track? Say a 9' radius switch? or a 10' radius switch?
 

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I don't think you will find a switch like that. You would have to build it. The only switches that fit right in are the 2 and 4 foot radius, I think.
 

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A #6 switch is a numbered switch, not a curved switch. I know i'm gonna say this wrong but, I believe they diverge 1 increment for each 6 increments of length. The diverging rail is straight. The aristo wide radius switch is a curved switch if you look at the two, you can see the difference. But, the #6 works ok with larger Diameter curves. I use mine with some 20' Dia. curves and they work great. Others have said they use 12 and 16 foot dia on them as well.
Terry
 

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The Aristo Wide Radius is just as Terry says, and it is curved to fit 10' diameter track. LGB started all the G scale track stuff, but even in other scales, in the smaller, tighter curves, it's common to make switches that do not follow the prototype practice of just "diverging" at an angle, but actually curved all the way through the "diverging" route.

By the way, there are turnouts that are called "curved switches", where BOTH legs are curved.

Since the #6 is not a curved switch, all you are looking for is a nice transition to a curve, I've found that 14 diameter seems to "fit" very well, but any larger curve can make a smooth transition. Since the diverging route of the switch is not really curved, no curve will "match" the "curved" part exactly.

Hope that helps!

Regards, Greg
 

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I think there is a little confusion here on calling a switch a curved switch. All switches when going through the diverging route have curvature based on the frog angle. A switch is a switch A switch that curves in both directions is known as an equal lateral switch not a curved switch. Later RJD
 
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