It's starting to become a regular occurrence now on my D&RGW in Guymas (http://freerails.com/view_topic.php?id=4119&forum_id=17) that throwing turnouts causes the PCB throw bar to snap free from the rails. I had gone with Cream City HOn3 Turnouts at the recommendation of a number of people. The CC turnouts are built with Fast Tracks jigs which everyone raves about. Ok, well, I'm not raving about this. The turnouts are being thrown from the fascia by Bullfrog Turnout Controls also offered by Fast Tracks.
I suspect a large part of the problem is that the Bullfrog's throw wire is too strong for HOn3. I was thinking of ripping out the Bullfrogs and replacing them with "Moles*" which have a thinner wire and also a mechanism to adjust the range of throw (so that it doesn't over-throw for HOn3), but I'm worried I'll go through all that work and still have the same problem.
Anyone else run into this?
A second issue I'm noticing is that push/pull turnout controls from a fascia cause a lot more rocking to happen on a shelf layout. I'm wondering if I need to use toggle switches to avoid so much physical force on a shelf layout.
I run Micro Engineering code 55 turnouts that have been extensively modified on my Santa fe layout for the pass 15 years.
I use PCB ties for the throw bar and use Tortoise motors to throw them. On some occasions the solder joint lets go. I have discovered that I did not put enough solder on the rail to PCB joint. I now put more solder on during the repair process and then with a small round file, file the solder leaving a nice fillet at the same time ensuring that the wheels pass over easily.
This is solving my problems and I have over 100 turnouts so it might be worth looking at for your issue. I also use a stronger wire than supplied with the Tortoise motors as it was not strong enough to throw the turnouts as I had several layers of timber and cork for it to pass through to reach the turnout.
A friend is using Atlas code 55 turnouts with the Bluepoint controls and they work very well on his N Scale layout.
I have friends using Bullfrog on HO and its trouble free.
I have a friend using Bluepoint on a "N" scale again no problems.
I personally prefer the Bluepoint. It comes complete, no mucking around building as with the Bullfrog.
My layout is set up with Tortoise switch motors, Very good, but if I was to do it again I would use Bluepoint. The price is right and not as much wiring. This layout has 50 odd turnouts and the costs soon mount up.
I've got a "Mole" on order and I think I'll pick up a Bluepoint when I'm at the LHS next. This little shelf layout is becoming quite the experimental layout. Thus far it has 4 different brands of track (3 different turnouts) and it looks like it will have 4 different brands of turnout controls too... Oh well, that's what this was for.
Also, after some searching on the internet, I found this article: http://www.troughtonmodelworks.com/movingthepoints.html which solders the points to pins. The pins can rotate in the throwbar thus eliminating some of the stress on the solder joint. It might be a tad too large for HOn3 but I am a bit tempted to give it a try.
I had similar problems with my first hand-built turnouts; I came up with a springy connection using short pieces of fine phosphor bronze wire bent into L-shapes. Solder one leg of the L to the side of the rail with the other leg projecting out sideways, or turned slightly down. The leg sticking out is then soldered to the top of the PCB strip spreader/throwbar. This makes it easier to set the correct width of the blade rails because you are not trying to drill holes a particular distance apart, just clamp one blade rail to its stock rail and clamp the other rail with a packer the correct thickness for your flangeways between blade and stock rails, then go to it.
That's how I made the point blade heel pivots and tip joints in code55:
a suitable stretch was filed down and bent rectangular. I ran wire ferrules through the ties next to the frog in order to provide a seat where the heels could pivot. The ends were then bent again and feeder wires soldered to them. Allwell underground and reliable contact.
Now for the tips:
I silver-soldered (very important! Don't use regular solder here. It will not hold up) contact lugs underneath and trimmed the eyes off -see next picture:
I then drilled suitable holes for 0.6mm brass pins. Their shafts were slid ( with the help of a tap-hammer ) through pre-drilled 0.5mm holes in the PCB throwbar turned around, so that the copper is on the underside. Then they were soldered to it and trimmed. make sure to cut the copper in the middle, so that there is no connection between the two tips.
If you want to I can show you the whole process of how I modufied an existing, poorly made switch this way.