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converting turnouts to DCC-friendly

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  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Finger Lakes
  • 482 posts
converting turnouts to DCC-friendly
Posted by TBat55 on Monday, April 23, 2012 6:59 AM

I have some old Walthers/Shinohara turnout (HO Code 83).  The frog is gapped past the point and power is routed via Tortoise contacts. 

Comparing this to DCC-friendly turnouts, it appears the main differences are gaps before the frog (easy to do) and the throwbar.  At the throwbar the old points are connected together with a single rivet whereas the newer ones have separate rivets - each rail has different polarity. 

Does anyone know how to separate the points (from "1 rivet to 2 rivets" or not electrically connected)?  My thought was to cut 2 gaps and bridge the gaps with styrene and use the existing rivet as a pivot.  Might not look so good.

 I realize I'd also need to solder jumpers to the point rails.

Terry

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    November, 2003
  • 137 posts
Posted by Ron High on Monday, April 23, 2012 7:42 AM

Try this equipment and method .Iam  not DCC but I have thought about it.I have lots of Shinohara code 100 and 70 switches that  i would consider something like this if I went DCC.

http://www.proto87.com/making-rtr-turnouts-dcc-friendly.html

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Posted by maxman on Monday, April 23, 2012 8:13 AM

Ron High

Try this equipment and method .Iam  not DCC but I have thought about it.I have lots of Shinohara code 100 and 70 switches that  i would consider something like this if I went DCC.

http://www.proto87.com/making-rtr-turnouts-dcc-friendly.html

Making the link clickable: http://www.proto87.com/making-rtr-turnouts-dcc-friendly.html

I do something similar, with a couple exceptions.

First, it is unclear how they are connecting the points to the closure rails.  I took a hint from commercial products and use a rail joiner at those two locations.

Second, I discard the throwbar and use a circuit board throwbar substitute that I get from Cloverhouse, http://www.cloverhouse.com/.  I solder the points directly to the circuit board.  You have to cut a small gap in the circuit board surface between the two points to maintain electrical separation.

  • Member since
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  • From: Huron, SD
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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Monday, April 23, 2012 10:14 AM

On my last layout I used non-"DCC Friendly" turnouts and they worked just fine.  You have to gap the frogs, of course, but I had absolutely no trouble.  Andy Sperandeo also once commented that every time he saw a "problem" with a non-DCC friendly turnout, it was a piece of equipment with out-of-gauge wheels.

My $.02 plus inflation.

Michael

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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  • From: Charlotte, NC
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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Monday, April 23, 2012 12:18 PM

Electricity is electricity and a short circuit is a short circuit.  DC or DCC, the requirements are the same.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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    August, 2006
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Posted by trainnut1250 on Monday, April 23, 2012 1:53 PM

I consider DCC-friendly to be good old fashioned bullet-proof switch wiring.  However DCC is won't tolerate momentary shorts, DC will...Hence the DCC friendly label

I unsoldered the points from the rivets and replaced the throwbar with a gapped PC tie throw bar.  Have had some failures of the solder joints am looking into low temp silver solder (stronger).  Other wise looks goos and is pretty straight ahead to execute.

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by Boise Nampa & Owyhee on Tuesday, April 24, 2012 1:08 AM

Regardless of your choice of turnout machine, The machine cannot get to the other side before the sliding points........ thus some pretty stout linkages are necessary.  Twin coil machines are the worst for this. Most old KTM, Gem, Tedsuko, Kemtron, and others need the points moved apart on the machine so that the machine is "slowed" in making it's contact.  As in, all the way there.  Some are set so close that the new is in before the old is released.  This can be inspected on the bench by simple observation and BF&I.

Over tensioning tortoises will have the same effect.  Sliding points must move VERY freely and not over load the spring control wire any more than absolutely necessary to get the point "there".

The only other thing that Shinohara turnouts need is to be "de-horned".  That is, pry out the little copper wikerbill from under the sliding points.  They absolutely tie both stock rails together for an instant before getting to the other side.

Then wire as any solid frog turnout and your done

See ya
Bob

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  • From: Finger Lakes
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Posted by TBat55 on Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:57 AM

perfect - thanks

Terry

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  • From: South Carolina
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Posted by Train Modeler on Thursday, April 26, 2012 7:46 AM

I use Shinohora, Peco, Atlas and Fleishman turnouts which were made before DCC and have not had any problems, except when there's a derail and resultant short.   Keeping wheels in gauge is important of course.  This includes double slips, crossovers and Ys.   

One key area of adjustment at times after several years of operating is adding .010"(maybe more) plastic shim on the back of the wing rails to avoid derails.   This is evident when the trucks start picking at the frog point, after you've confirmed wheel gauge, etc and the wing rail to frog distance is too narrow per the NMRA gauge.

Richard

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    August, 2011
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Posted by narrow gauge nuclear on Thursday, April 26, 2012 12:26 PM

I run HOn3 and have only solid points to solid frog, Shinohara switches.  I do not alter or cut any switch, ever, in my DCC layout.

I just isolate the two exiting frog stub rails with insulated rail joiners or healthy gaps where the switch normally ends those rails. 

I use some of my old HO layout's two coil Lambert Associates switch machines and connect the points-frog rail group to the center lug of the machines "throw contacts" and the outer two "throw contacts to there respective outer two un-insulated switch rails.

I have also not had any issues with switch machine mechanical motion of the points to its relay points timing issues.

No need to fiddle with any switch.

Works fine for all my rolling stock and locos.  Out of gauge, metal wheeled stuff can create issues, as Michael noted.

All the above being said, If I were making a giant club DCC layout where large operating sessions would be the norm with multiple cabs and every club yahoo will be running every kind of engine and piece of rolling stock made from 1938 to current rolling stock, then, I would gap the life out of every switch that was laid making it a flawless, bullet proof, DCC friendly switch.  I would cut 'em up like an old out of date credit card!

If your layout is small, you are a "lone operator", espcially in an oddball gauge where the average Joe can't bring over a "visiting engine", then don't mess with your switches.

Richard  

 

Richard

If I can't fix it, I can fix it so it can't be fixed

  • Member since
    July, 2011
  • 81 posts
Posted by CharlieM90 on Friday, April 27, 2012 6:08 AM

Boise Nampa & Owyhee

Over tensioning tortoises will have the same effect.  Sliding points must move VERY freely and not over load the spring control wire any more than absolutely necessary to get the point "there".

The only other thing that Shinohara turnouts need is to be "de-horned".  That is, pry out the little copper wikerbill from under the sliding points.  They absolutely tie both stock rails together for an instant before getting to the other side.

Then wire as any solid frog turnout and your done

 

I'd add a couple of points regarding this.

I use a slightly thicker diameter spring control wire than what is supplied with the tortoise machines. Makes for a more positive movement when the tortoise begins traveling from one position to another.

And if you're using the tortoise machine to feed the frog (on an "unfriendly" DCC turnout), check contacts on the tortoise pcb. I've found that you can shorten the pads (just carve with a hobby knife) to make sure power is supplied right at the end of travel. Avoids possibility of shorts.

And I'd second the idea of removing the little copper springs under the sliding points. Easy to do (carve 'em off with a hobby knife) and can save headaches.

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