Peco vs Atlas

MarkInLA Aug 20, 2010

  1. MarkInLA

    MarkInLA Permanently dispatched

    I might tear down my current layout and redesign the entire thing. I do like Atlas flex and do know that Atlas all-live switches need to have the frog activated with the right polarity to guarantee smooth running. But do those of you who employ Peco switches find them any better or more user-friendly than Atlas ? If so, why ? I do know that Pecos have sprung points. This IS an attraction to me. But is this all ? Or are they actually made better . Do they perform that much better than Atlases ? Are the cross-ties and head blocks more realistic than say, Atlas Custom-line ? Shinohara are Japanese and though quite finely made, the ties are further apart to resemble the Japanese prototype. Is Peco built to North American standards, or are they too off a tad looks-wise ?
  2. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Pecos look correct to me.

    Personally, what I like best is that the points lock so if you're doing manual control, no need for any type of switch stand or mechanism at all. It's built in. Also, I think the points and frog look more realistic than any Atlas switch I've seen.
  3. mikelhh

    mikelhh TrainBoard Member

    I know little about how things should look, but I use Peco points exclusively and all of mine perform flawlessly.
  4. mtaylor

    mtaylor Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Forgive my ignorance here but......
    YoHO, by saying the points are sprung do you mean you simply flick the points with your finger or some other tool to throw the switch and it stays? That sounds pretty cool if that is the case and I have been uninformed this whole time :)
  5. mikelhh

    mikelhh TrainBoard Member

    Yes that's how they work
  6. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Supporter

    The points on Pecos actually 'fall', or gently slap or snug up against their stock rails after a midway point. I try not to use my finger because that leaves oily and other deposits on the rails...I use the pointed end of a grocery store kabob skewer, the bamboo kind you get for a dollar for a bag of maybe 50 or more.

    The Peco Streamline series have an actual throwbar, and not a thicker tie-like device as we see on some turnouts. The Peco one's are thin hard plastic with holes at either end, and in the middle between the points rails, for handy flicking or machine actuation.

    The frogs are metal topped, but they have isolating black plastic spacers on the insulfrog variety...which I use exclusively.

    My current 'stable' of turnouts comprises 8 handlaid using the Fast Tracks method, quite a few Peco Streamline #6's, and five Walthers/Shinohara curved Code 83's in the #7.5 and #8 configurations. They all work well, but any one of the commercial turnouts may need to be painted with clear varnish near where the frog rails meet. The spacers are, for my engines, sometimes too close to the actual frog point and they allow the wider tires in HO to bridge the two opposite points rails after the spacer...just for a second, but plenty long at some speeds to cause the protection circuitry in my DB150 from Digitrax to pout.
  7. Mike Sheridan

    Mike Sheridan TrainBoard Member

    Any 'live' frog will need switching to give the best running. Dead or insulated frogs will always have a section where some wheels have no power. Whether that matters to you is basically down to the locos pickups and wheel/track dirt.

    The Code 83 is specifically built for NA, so should be good (but track style varies by location, RR, etc, so .... ). The Code 100 and 75 are UK prototypes, so not so close, but once laid, ballasted and weathered I doubt anyone will complain. (I commented on the lack of spikes on some handlaid tracks recently and got soundly told off for nit-picking, so having clips instead of spikes is hardly going to get you hung :) )
  8. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Exactly. the Peco is designed to have a positive hold on its position. They also have handy nubs on the outside to actuate the mechanism that take up little to no space.

    My club uses Peco code 100 #6 or higher as a standard, Walthers/Shinora for any curved or odd ball turnouts with ground throws. And I think Microengineering for dual gauge code 70?

    We allow other brands of track if the modeler wants, but we strongly recommend Peco and use it exclusively on club sections (we're modular)
  9. Schraddel

    Schraddel TrainBoard Member

    My expiriences Atlas vs Peco:

    Atlas is good, Peco is very good.

    In both cases you get what you pay for.

    Atlas offers with his code 83 track and turnouts a good system worth his price.

    Peco does it too and the higher prices are justified because Peco do it a trick better,
    a little bit more finely detailed,
    a little bit smoother running over frogs
    a little bit more precisely manufactured.
    That little spring in Peco turnouts is only necessary if you use their very own stone aged switch motor. Otherwise better you remove it.

    So or so you will to add a switch mechanism, electric or manual that will be your choice.

    Greetings Lutz
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Like YoHo I prefer the Peco switches.

    Now I know we are talking about HO here. So, let me reflect on the last HO layout I built. I used the Atlas switches with plastic frogs and watched as all my locomotives stalled out while passing over the switches.

    On a very early N Scale layout that I built I once again installed Atlas switches. At that time the only option available to me.

    I would later learn of Peco switches with the electrofrog and eventually replaced all the Atlas switches with Peco.

    Today, on my N scale layouts I use the Automated, Kato's, Unitrack #6 with a power routed frog on my mainlines and Peco Electrofrogs, manual switches in the yards and sidings. I do have some Peco with the plastic frog and they do ok but, I have some locomotives that stall out as they pass over them.

    I'd recommend HO's Peco Switches with the Electrofrog. It is power routed and wired up for you. All you have to do is install them .... as per the instructions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2010
  11. Wolfgang Dudler

    Wolfgang Dudler Passed away August 25, 2012 TrainBoard Supporter In Memoriam

    I have no Atlas turnout, I can only chime in for Peco.


    and scenicked


  12. Wunderwuff

    Wunderwuff New Member

    PECO V Atlas

    When I did my modelling in the UK, I always used Peco switches(points) because
    1: The caused the minimum number of derailments.
    2. I like the positive way the point throw.
    3. I also liked the Insulating type of points, which meant that I could use the switches to isolate my sidings (spurs)
    4. The points were solidly made and could cope with a lot of moving about between home and exhibitions, which was the only time that I got to run my layout due to lack of space.
    5. They were easy to keep clean

    The best thing about the Peco points was the positive "overthrow" I use an underboard point control system, where bicycle spokes run from the facia to under the tie bar. Through the hole in the baseboard I use a thinner more springy wire up through the tie bar. With the overthrow, I do not have to use any locking mechanism to hold the tie bar in place.

    Atlas are also fairly robust, but are not the isolating kind which needs more wiring to isolate those spurs. Also the underboard system does not work very well on Atlas points as there is no positive locking of the point, so I'm having to use Caboose Switch throws to work these points, which is also a down side as operators have to lean over part of the layout to operate them

    On the whole, I prefer Peco points and would use them a lot more if it were not for the expense.

Share This Page