Problem with joining Atlas HO code 83 flex track

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dmharvey8

New Member
First time model builder. Having difficulty with joining track together on curves, 18 inch radius or so. Joins will not stay together when I move to the next piece because of curves. Should I solder each join before I move to the next one? Wonder if that would hold them, but often the new join requires moving the two track pieces? Tried using pins, weights, etc., to hold them together, but that doesn't work well. Help!!!
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Ok I’m assuming (yeah I know) you’re dealing with sectional curve track.
If the rail joiners are new they should hold fairly well, if not you could gently squeeze them.
Also make sure they’re code 83 joiners and not combination 83/100 joiners.
Now if it’s temporary track I’d use track nails or pins if you’re on a fairly solid base, otherwise solder.
You mentioned you tried pins, what were they pushed into?
Ive seen clips for holding track together but can’t think of what they were called.
Pretty sure there will be other ideas here as well.
 

dave1905

Active Member
If the track sections are coming apart it may be that you are trying to bend them to a curve tighter than 18" radius. On what surface are you putting the track together? Is it on the floor or on a sheet of plywood?
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
If it is not a permanent track plan and you are just planning - you might try some small rubber bands to hold sections together?
 

dmharvey8

New Member
Thanks for the response. I am using 83/100, didn't know 83 only is better. They are brand new. Hard time finding only code 83.
Better to use plastic or metal joiners?
I have Atlas 36 inch flex track, which will be permanent once laid.
I have 1 1/2 inch foam on top of plywood, so I will need to use longer nails to try to fix the joins in place before I solder.
 

Sirfoldalot

Product Tester ACME INC.
Staff member
Not ever using foam, I have to excuse myself. Most folks here seem to use a caulking product to hold the track in place.
If you are planning to solder the joints - why not solder as you go - one piece at a time?

I would shy away from the "long" nails - but your mileage may be different.
 

flyboy2610

Loveably weird
Thanks for the response. I am using 83/100, didn't know 83 only is better. They are brand new. Hard time finding only code 83.
Better to use plastic or metal joiners?
I have Atlas 36 inch flex track, which will be permanent once laid.
I have 1 1/2 inch foam on top of plywood, so I will need to use longer nails to try to fix the joins in place before I solder.
You should use metal joiners for track joints. Use plastic only when you wish to electrically isolate a section of track, such as a storage siding for locomotives. You will then need to provide feeders for that section of track with a switch to turn the power on and off.
Using flex track, the best way to lay track on a curve is to stagger the joints. This is when you install the sliding rail from section A about 1 to 1-1/2 inches into section B. You then solder the rail joiners together for both rails, the sliding rail and the stationary rail. You do this with the track sections straight. Once the joints are soldered, THEN lay the track. The joints can no longer separate, and there will be no kink in the curve.
There are lots of good videos on YouTube that will show you exactly how to do it.
 

dmharvey8

New Member
Just using Atlas
You should use metal joiners for track joints. Use plastic only when you wish to electrically isolate a section of track, such as a storage siding for locomotives. You will then need to provide feeders for that section of track with a switch to turn the power on and off.
Using flex track, the best way to lay track on a curve is to stagger the joints. This is when you install the sliding rail from section A about 1 to 1-1/2 inches into section B. You then solder the rail joiners together for both rails, the sliding rail and the stationary rail. You do this with the track sections straight. Once the joints are soldered, THEN lay the track. The joints can no longer separate, and there will be no kink in the curve.
There are lots of good videos on YouTube that will show you exactly how to do it.
Code 83 flex track. Joining with Atlas universal metal 100/83 joiners. So to clarify: track joiners are not parallel to each other, but slight apart from each other? Soldering the tracks before laying seems a good idea. Hope the soldered joints don't come apart when laying. Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
 

KB02

Well-Known Member
Using flex track, the best way to lay track on a curve is to stagger the joints. This is when you install the sliding rail from section A about 1 to 1-1/2 inches into section B. You then solder the rail joiners together for both rails, the sliding rail and the stationary rail. You do this with the track sections straight. Once the joints are soldered, THEN lay the track. The joints can no longer separate, and there will be no kink in the curve.
There are lots of good videos on YouTube that will show you exactly how to do it.
+1 to this.
 




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