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Wiring Peco Insulfrog Turnouts

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Wiring Peco Insulfrog Turnouts
Posted by 123mike on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 11:18 AM

Hi,to all.  I have an L-shaped HO scale code 83 layout with Peco flex track and five Peco turnouts. DCC is provided by an MRC Prodigy Advance Squared system. I am pleased with the shelf benchwork and used the Switcher layout books written by Lance Mindenheim (sp) as my references.  Power to the track is at one location: Two alligator clips clipped to one stub end of the track!!!  Amazingly, I can move one loco over all the track including (once thrown with the loco on the 'power side' of the track) into all the trailing turnouts (defining 'trailing' as a turnout the loco can pass by and back into once thrown.....).  The one facing turnout does not have power.  I have two Athearn Genesis MP-15AC switchers that I'm very proud of; yet only can run one now due to the incomplete power throughout, I suppose.

I'm super confused about the Insulfrog turnout's necessary wiring.  Has anyone read the back of the Peco turnout packaging?  This shows insulated joiners in the 'crotch' of each turnout (the two inner rails...that we call Frog Rails??).  I have all the gear needed to add feeder wires; but had a set up that wasn't requiring the insulated joiners.  Mostly, I was just going to place a feeder just before a turnout and a feeder after the turnout into the diverging route.  I would be using power joiners and also some soldered to the rail web feeders.  Only doing the power feeders because much of my track is against the wall of an 18 inch shelf and I don't think I could solder on the blind side; even with a mirror and a steady hand.

What would happen if I just added power before and after each turnout? Not 'after' meaning a feed onto the mainline...but after the turnout on the spur? What would the insulated joiners accomplish?  Wonder if one loco could always be on powered track; but two could not? 

Sorry for all the questions!  Thanks to all of you who offer guidance to me on scale model railroading. I truly appreciate the help and will surely pass on help to others in the hobby should I develop some skills worth sharing!!!

123mike

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Posted by markie97 on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 11:57 AM

I used Peco insulfrog code 83 and 100 on my DCC layout. I wired both sides of all rails in multiple locations with no insulators. In fact I made sure I wired both sides of every frog rail as the turnouts are power routing but add resistance across the turnout.

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Posted by selector on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 11:58 AM

Peco insulfrog turnouts, for certain, are power-routing, so they stand a high chance of you causing shorts if you use other power-routing turnouts at the other end of sidings. The stock rails will be fine, but depending on the position of the points rails on either turnout, when a metal tire crosses the gap at the frog rails, you'll get a short if there is a phase conflict (like a polarity disparity using DC).

I don't happen to like the look of insulated joiners, so I just leave a gap, but on both rails beyond the frog.  IOW, the turnout has four rails ends beyond the frog.  I lay the turnout in place, anchor it with some carefully placed ballast, and then lay the two tracks beyond the gap, but I leave a 1/16" gap or 3/32" gap. You won't get the short if you power the siding part of the rail separately.  That is, it gets two feeders only for itself, and the two turnouts at either end of your siding feed themselves, but from the points end.  A pair of metal joiners accomplishes this if they are kept clean and firmly in place.  You feed the tracks outside the turnouts, join them to the turnouts with metal joiners, and feed those turnouts via the joiners at the points end.  They'll route power as you slide the points.

You mentioned a spur...meaning a single Peco turnout.  In that case, there will be no phase conflict because the turnout will route, via metal joiners beyond the frog, power to all the rails which terminate safely at the end of the spur.  So, it's only on sidings with another turnout joined by metal joiners at the other end where you'll find the problem you wish to avoid.  Just gap both ends, four rail tips, of any rails on sidings when you have power routing turnouts affording access at each end of the siding.

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 12:28 PM

markie97

I used Peco insulfrog code 83 and 100 on my DCC layout. I wired both sides of all rails in multiple locations with no insulators. In fact I made sure I wired both sides of every frog rail as the turnouts are power routing but add resistance across the turnout.

 

I agree with markie97.

Usually, the Peco turnouts that are gapped on the inner (frog) rails are Electrofrog due to the live frog.  The gaps are necessary to avoid dead shorts.

Depending upon the configuration of your layout and the need for dead sidings/spurs, it typically is not necessary to gap an Insulfrog turnout.  I don't gap my Insulfrog turnouts, but I do add feeders to every end of every turnout or crossing so that the entire layout is live.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by 123mike on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 1:37 PM
Yes, all my turnouts are single turnouts off the mainline. I think I'm going to be okay with my slow plan. Thinking I'll do one pair of feeders at a time and run trains to see if all is okay. 123mike
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Posted by Texas Zepher on Wednesday, February 04, 2015 9:56 PM

123mike
Power to the track is at one location: Two alligator clips clipped to one stub end of the track!!!  Amazingly, I can move one loco over all the track including (once thrown with the loco on the 'power side' of the track) into all the trailing turnouts (defining 'trailing' as a turnout the loco can pass by and back into once thrown.....).

That is not amazing.  That is exactly how they are suposed to work.

I'm super confused about the Insulfrog turnout's necessary wiring.  Has anyone read the back of the Peco turnout packaging?  This shows insulated joiners in the 'crotch' of each turnout (the two inner rails...that we call Frog Rails??).

Those would be the directions for an ELECTRO-FROG turnout.   The Insulfrog does not require any special wiring.  Put two wires to the point side of the turnout and you are good to go.

What would the insulated joiners accomplish?

Absolutely nothing.  Insulfrog turnouts do not require any insulated joiners.  The insul part is built in.

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Posted by richhotrain on Thursday, February 05, 2015 6:31 AM

Texas Zepher

 

123mike
 
I'm super confused about the Insulfrog turnout's necessary wiring.  Has anyone read the back of the Peco turnout packaging?  This shows insulated joiners in the 'crotch' of each turnout (the two inner rails...that we call Frog Rails??).

Those would be the directions for an ELECTRO-FROG turnout.   The Insulfrog does not require any special wiring.  Put two wires to the point side of the turnout and you are good to go.

So it would seem, but there actually are instructions on the back of the Insulfrog package regarding the use of insulated rail joiners on the frog rails.

That, of course, is necessary on Electrofrog turnouts to prevent dead shorts.  But the reason for insulated rail joiners on an Insulfrog is quite different.  Under the heading, Controlling The Trains, the Peco instructions state, "To prevent all trains on the layout moving at the same time, electrically switchable sections of track can be made to park locos in by fitting insulating rail joiners and connecting the power feed via a switch.

Of course, this DC phenomenom is not an issue in DCC so insulated rail joiners are not necessary unless you are trying to create dead sections of track when parked locos are not in use.  Once parked, in DCC, the parked locos aren't going anywhere.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by 123mike on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 11:38 AM
All very interesting, Rich, and I appreciate your feedback. Yes, the Insulfrog package tells us, "for use with DCC control, add insulating rail joiners to the frog rails of each turnout and insert additional power feeds so that the whole layout is live". Think that's what you do minus the insulating rail joiners. I plan to do the same thing. Wish I had soldered in power feeders earlier as soldering the blind side of the 'north' rail is against the wall and likely too tight to get the soldering iron into (and a mirror too). Think I can get powered joiners in place, though.....these are maligned it seems; but maybe will be okay. 123mike
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Posted by wsor3 on Sunday, September 01, 2019 7:16 PM

Rich i started updating my DCC layout from Atlas code 83 to Peco code 83 switches the question i have is when you slide the switch over to back into a siding everything goes dead past the switch and you cant back the loco up, but if you slide it back to the mainline everything works just fine?  Any help or knowledge would be appreciated.. thanks Don

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, September 02, 2019 4:17 AM

wsor3

Rich i started updating my DCC layout from Atlas code 83 to Peco code 83 switches the question i have is when you slide the switch over to back into a siding everything goes dead past the switch and you cant back the loco up, but if you slide it back to the mainline everything works just fine?  Any help or knowledge would be appreciated.. thanks Don 

Which type of Peco turnouts are you using? Insulfrogs or Electrofrogs? If your Pecos are Electrofrogs, they will short unless the two inner frog rails are gapped.

Rich

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Posted by wsor3 on Monday, September 02, 2019 9:35 PM

Rich im using insulfrog switches, i have one set of feeder wires hooked up right now (never had a problem with Atlas switches) its a 10x10 with a flop down board thats wired for power on one end. As soon as you slide the switch from mainline to yard/industry everything goes dead, maybe i should of left it alone..lol

Don

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 6:01 AM

wsor3

Rich im using insulfrog switches, i have one set of feeder wires hooked up right now (never had a problem with Atlas switches) its a 10x10 with a flop down board thats wired for power on one end. As soon as you slide the switch from mainline to yard/industry everything goes dead, maybe i should of left it alone..lol

Don 

Don, not sure what to suggest. It sounds like a short, and that would be typical of an Electrofrog if the inner frog rails were not gapped.

I have both Atlas Custom Line turnouts and Peco Insulfrogs on my layout. I wire them the same way by adding feeders on all three ends of every turnout. No gaps required except for a reversing section.

Have you crossed a pair of feeders to that yard/industry track?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 7:34 AM

 Actually it sounds like the turnout is power routing and kills the power to one side when lines the opposite way.

 There are it seems ad nauseum arguments back and forth over whether or not Peco Insulfrogs power route. Simple enough to test, except I don;t have an insulfrogs nor do I plan on using any.  The Peco site isn't much help, the suggestion of insulated joiners isn't to protect against an automatic short circuit, it's because good wiring practice has always been to never feed the turnout from the frog side, but that only applies to power routing and live frog turnouts (NOT the same thing - turnouts can be power routing without a live frog) which is why it's not an issue with Atlas.

 In any event, the single pair of feeders is inadequate regardless. You are relying on the point blade contacting the stock rail for power transfer through the turnout to the track beyond it. Jumpers connecting the stock rail to the adjacent closure rail are provided for with little cutouts in the ties but they aren't present from the factory. All it takes is a ballast grain, some paint, or ballast cement getting in there and the point is now insulated from the stock rail. Atlas turnouts have a big plate of metal that connects the point rail, closure rail, and stock rail.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by Giaka on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 5:14 PM

rrinker
 Actually it sounds like the turnout is power routing and kills the power to one side when lines the opposite way.  There are it seems ad nauseum arguments back and forth over whether or not Peco Insulfrogs power route. Simple enough to test, except I don;t have an insulfrogs nor do I plan on using any. 

 

I have a couple in a drawer at home still new in the package. I can test if needed. LOL  Having said that I have recently recieved PECO turnouts in Insulfrog packaging that were NOT insulfrog. 

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Posted by betamax on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 7:23 PM

The Peco Insulfrog is power routing, depending on the postion of the switch rails.

https://dccwiki.com/Peco_Insulfrog

https://dccwiki.com/Turnout

You need the insulating joiners after the frog (on both point rails), and feed the track beyond the turnout for all to work. Otherwise you are relying on a small metal tab to make good contact to route power to one point rail or the other.

Also prevent shorts at the heel of the frog.

Tags: Insulfrog

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