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Aristo-Craft Wide Radius Switches

In August 1998, Aristo-Craft released their new 10 foot diameter wide-radius switches: ART20370 right and ART20380 left. We will call them 5 foot radius to be consistent with the rest of the industry.

Switch1

There is one curious thing though. The length of the diverging route curve is shorter than Aristo-Craft’s or any other manufacturer’s 5 foot radius curved track section. Fortunately Aristo-Craft now makes an adapter track (ART30375) to resolve this problem.

Switch4

These 5 foot radius switches are mass produced with good quality and are reasonably priced. They are intended for regular outdoor use. Technically the switches work well. The mechanism is solid and the rails line up tight at the points. But some maintenance may be required over time outdoors.

A number of users have reported the screws falling out at the pivot point. To fix this you can remove the screws, add some plastic compatible Loctite and reinsert the screws. Make sure you do not to tighten them too much and bind the mechanism. It should be loose enough to swing smoothly, yet tight enough to retain the pleasant snap when you throw the switch.

Switch5

On the original wide radius switches, the throw bar had a spring under one of the screws at the points. The spring would deteriorate over time and the point would not align firmly. New throw bars without the springs are available from Aristo-Craft. When ordering make sure your get the new shouldered screws for the throw bar or you will have to make a spacer for the old one.

On the original switches the check rail was made of brass. The spacing (gauge) on them should be OK. On the new ones the check rail is made of plastic and there may be too much space between it and the frog. This may allow the wheels of motive power and rolling stock to hit the frog and derail. If you encounter this problem, apply a couple of strips of duct tape to the inside of the check rail. If this cures it, attach a permanent shim. Some have used a strip of styrene, others a strip of brass. Some have even cut away the plastic check rail and replaced it with one made from brass or aluminum track.

Over time the switch boxes will gather dirt and insect shells inside. Earwigs love ’em. Open them up and clean them. Don’t take the insides apart if you don’t have to. Inspect the condition of the spring as it will rust and deteriorate over time. Remove and replace the spring only if you have to. Make a drawing or take a digital photo before disassembling the switch throw. Lubricate the mechanism using a little plastic compatible oil and close them back up.

Large scale modeler Bill writes: I was most interested in your power box dilemma concerning the Earwigs. To keep these nasty things out just apply a coating of a product called 356 bug spray. This will keep every bug know to man from getting near the boxes. I spray every spring and have not had an insect problem since. It is safe for all other forms of life and can be stored and reused.

1 comment

  1. Paul-R. Brunet

    Hi Guys,

    I am looking for a brass Aristo left hand switch #30380, 10 feet diam.

    Does anybody have one for sale ?

    Thank you and have a good day

    Paul

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