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insulfrog vs electrofrog

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, May 03, 2018 3:39 PM

 You aren't using the Tortoise contacts to power the frog then. This was a logn time ago - more than 20 years ago, on the club I belonged to at the time, and if you used the Tortoise contacts AND things weren't lined up just right, an unmodified turnout would short if either the contacts switched before the point rail moved away from the stock rail, or if the point rail moved to the new stock rail before the contacts switched over.

 This was enough of a point that there were instructions all over how to modify the Tortoise by increasing the dead space between the contacts. 

 Mechanically, there were no issues, the points held firmly in either position, rollign stock did not pick the points. But it could be rather finicky to get things centered "just so". The correct solution indeed is to modify the turnout, not the Tortoise, because there's no mechanical reason why the Tortoise should have to be so perfectly dead center. Relatively close, yes, but there is ample range of motion on the throw rod that they don't need micrometer precision in lining them up to work well. You can't have it so far off center that the wire hits the side of the hole before the throwbar has been moved all the way, but it doesn't have to be perfectly in the center of the hole, either.

                                       --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 trainnut1250 on Thursday, May 03, 2018 4:13 PM

Old Fat Robert

Guy and Other Fine People: I am not going to comment on whether or not one should or should not use insulated frogs. That is for others to comment on. However, I want do want to comment on the question of Shinohara power routing TOs and Tortoise switch machines and the "shorting" issue. I use (almost exclusively) Shinohara (not Walthers Shinohara!) code 70 track and TOs and have done so for many years and I have been using Tortoise switch machines for better than twenty years. I cannot ever recall a "short" happening from this arrangement. Never. I am not even sure how it would happen, but assuming the wire actuator rod (only way I can think of this happening) touched the rivet on the throwbar/tie and caused a short the easiest and quickest way I can see to fix would be to to slip some insulation over the actuator rod. Just my couple of shillings.

Old Fat Robert

 

Robert,

I presume that you aren't using the electrical contacts?? I was referring to the use of the Tortoise contacts to power the frog. What you are saying is correct if you are not using the tortoise contacts to power the frog. Many people use "Tortis" without using the contacts and they work as you describe - quite well..

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Thursday, May 03, 2018 8:10 PM

rrinker

 You aren't using the Tortoise contacts to power the frog then. This was a logn time ago - more than 20 years ago, on the club I belonged to at the time, and if you used the Tortoise contacts AND things weren't lined up just right, an unmodified turnout would short if either the contacts switched before the point rail moved away from the stock rail, or if the point rail moved to the new stock rail before the contacts switched over.

 This was enough of a point that there were instructions all over how to modify the Tortoise by increasing the dead space between the contacts. 

 Mechanically, there were no issues, the points held firmly in either position, rollign stock did not pick the points. But it could be rather finicky to get things centered "just so". The correct solution indeed is to modify the turnout, not the Tortoise, because there's no mechanical reason why the Tortoise should have to be so perfectly dead center. Relatively close, yes, but there is ample range of motion on the throw rod that they don't need micrometer precision in lining them up to work well. You can't have it so far off center that the wire hits the side of the hole before the throwbar has been moved all the way, but it doesn't have to be perfectly in the center of the hole, either.

                                       --Randy

 

 

??????????

So they were not using the contacts to power a truely isolated frog, they were using the contacts to guarantee the power routing?

What a bad idea.......

This is why I don't like power routing turnouts with traditional all metal frogs connected to the points/closure rails.

If the point rails and closure rails are always the same polarity as their associated stock rail, you never have these problems, and you never have shorts from the back side of a wheel.

This is again why I feel the Atlas wiring approach is best.

The completely isolated metal frog can be polarity controlled by a relay, or switch machine contacts without any such issues.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, May 04, 2018 6:14 AM

 It's what you did at the time. Most of the turnouts were Atlas, but back then Atlas only had 4, 6, and wye. No curved - you used Shinohara. No 8's, you used Shinohara. Or else you hand laid it all.

 I too prefer the closure rails and point rails to always be the same polarity as the adjacent stock rails. Ironic that this is referred to as "DCC Friendly" these days. All because the DCC circuit breakers are instant acting electronic devices, while the old thermal breakers in DC packs would often not even notice the shorts - but that doesn't mean it wasn't shorting. A short is a short is a short, DC, DCC, AC, whatever.

                            --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 railandsail on Sunday, May 20, 2018 1:26 PM

rrinker

Reliable turnout wiring is the same for DCC or DC. Peco Electrofrogs are easy to make bulletproof - the newer ones have gaps in the ties underneath where you need to cut existing jumpers and add new ones for absolute bulletproof reliability.

 

rrinker

The Peco instructions show where to change the jumpers for the ultimate in reliability. It's not difficult, but you do need to know how to solder and you need a fairly fine tip on your soldering iron to get into the space without melting ties.  It's well worth the effort, especially for a slow speed switching layout, and by making this effort and having the turnouts totally reliable electrically, there's no reason to spend money and put keep alives in every loco. A properly wired Electroforg has no spots where there isn;t a rail with power touching the wheels of even the smallest loco.

                                 --Randy

 

 
If the electrofrog Pecos are made for DCC operation, why should someone have to modify them?.....cut existing jumpers??
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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, May 20, 2018 2:07 PM

railandsail
If the electrofrog Pecos are made for DCC operation, why should someone have to modify them?.....cut existing jumpers??

To make them better than new, or perhaps more bulletproof is a better term.  Steve Otte had the best explanation, scroll down till you get to his post.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/268041/3035733.aspx#3035733

 
 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, May 20, 2018 3:54 PM

 Especially if you remove the spring and use a slow motion switch machine. Out of the box, the frog is powered based on contact of the point rail with the stock rail, switching automatically with the points so you need no extra switch machine contacts or Frog Juicers. But they also come with a spring which hold the points tightly against the stock rail. If you want to use slow motion switch machines, you pretty much have to take the spring out, or you don;t have any slow motion action - the points just snap into position once the slow motion machine moves far enough to overcome the spring tension. Now you have a less solid connection.

 If you use a Frog Juicer, you don't have to modify anything, just hook the juicer to the frog wire, and it will power the frog, closure rails, and points from the frog side. With switch machine contacts and slow motion machines, there's a chance the contacts could switch before the points move - which would cause a short. So if you cut the jumpers to isolate the frog, this can;t happen. But now the closure rails and the points are powered only by contact of the point against the stock rail. That's where the other added jumpers come in, connecting the point and closure rails to the adjacent stock rail with a wired and soldered connection.

More bulletproof. Belt and suspenders. I'd rather do this on the workbench and then never have to worry than have a layout and after a year or two start getting erratic operation and have to rip things up to fix it.

                                        --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 railandsail on Sunday, May 20, 2018 5:40 PM

Water Level Route


Look at the tip of the frog where the rails come together.  If there is a small piece of black plastic, then they are insulfrogs.  If metal, then electrofrog.

 

 

Here are two photos of my code100 Peco 3-ways, insulafrog

 

 

 

 

 

I do notice a difference in the rail separations at the first frog verses the second 2 frogs. Certainly looks like shorting due to wide wheels could be more of a problem at the first location than at the second one

...and BTW I did note of the comment about 'just close proximity', as opposed to direct contact, creating a shorting problem when using DCC.

 

This is a photo of recently advertised insulafrog Peco 3way that the EXPERIENCED owner claims has worked fine on his DCC layout or years, Close inspection shows the metal points are quite different from those of mine above. ??
 

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, May 20, 2018 8:39 PM

 Yours are insulfrog. That one on the bottom pic is an electrofrog, not an insulfrog. 

                 --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 railandsail on Sunday, May 20, 2018 11:00 PM

rrinker

 Yours are insulfrog. That one on the bottom pic is an electrofrog, not an insulfrog. 

                 --Randy

 

Thats what I thought as well, but the gentleman selling it swore it was insulafrog

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Posted by railandsail on Sunday, May 20, 2018 11:10 PM
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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, May 21, 2018 6:13 AM

Brian, if you go onto the Peco website, the photo shown for the Peco Code 100 3-way turnout shows that same photo. However, there is a note attached to the photo that reads, "Please Note: Photo shows Electrofrog version".

In other words, every vendor is using the stock photo for the Peco Code 100 Insulfrog 3-way turnout which is, in fact, a photo of the Peco Code 100 Electrofrog 3-way turnout.

Go figure.

Rich

 

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, May 21, 2018 7:34 AM

 Well, if Peco themselves does it...

To add more confusion, they are rolling out some new products which have what they are calling Unifrog - one turnout that, depending on how you wire it, is the same as Electrofrog or the same as Insulfrog.

                                --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 trainnut1250 on Monday, May 21, 2018 12:02 PM

Brian,

Have you run some trains through those 3 ways yet? I have had to shim some guard rails on some of my pecos due to very wide flangeways/guardrail spacing. Yours look like they may have a similar problem especially - with rp 25 wheels. Try pushing a cut of cars (with a loco under power pushing them) through and see how they fare.....

One issue to be aware of here is the Peco has changed their line several times over the last 25 years and there is lots of old stock floating around. My electrofrogs (early 90s-2000s) look quite a bit different than the current versions offerd by Peco.

IMHO: The best bet is to study the basic wiring schemes for the common styles of turnouts: power routing, through powered, etc. and be able to trace the power path through each one. Then you can take what you have and check it with a meter to see what type of wiring you have and how you might want to modify it depending on your preferences.

One other comment: when you ballast and paint track, it changes things considerably in regards to electrical conductivity. You can get away with lots of sketchy power paths with unscenicked track but when you soak the track in glue and paint the gremlins come out...Power routing turnouts don't anymore, unsoldered rail sections go dead, etc...

I run small brass steam and I can tell you I need every advantage I can get to have things run well. Powered frogs, keep alives, etc. all work in tandem to keep the layout operational at slow crawl speeds.

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 10:04 PM

Turnout Problems with Diesel vs Steam Engines
(from another forum, but an interesting problem/subject)

 

YoHo

I'm really a bit surprised that a diesel, unless it's a small switcher type is more prone to stalling than a steamer.

Also, my experience is that cutting out and sound resetting on switches is BY FAR more likely to be a short condition than a dead track problem.

like 9 times out of 10, If an engine traverses a switch, cuts out and starts up again, there's a short, not a dead spot.

I don't know that that is the case with yours and since you aren't having issues with your steamers, it's a dead issue, but my experience says, don't blame dirt or bad pickup.

 

 

Hi Yoho,

Before abandoning diesels I did a thorough and extensive investigation. The first thing I noted was that only diesels displayed the problems. I tried every locomotive I had, both diesel and steam. I tried a variety of speeds. At very low speed the diesels would stall on the dead frogs. At high speed they would make it across the switch without issue. At medium-high the diesel would make it across, but the lights and sound would hesitate and reset. At low-medium speed the diesels would hesitate and reset or would stall. Only one diesel had no problems. It was a Proto 1000 RS2. It almost never had issues. All other diesels did.

The above issues is why I soldered the point rails to the stock rails. That reduced the number of stalls and resets, but did not eliminate them. Also, when the diesels stalled or hesitated there was no current spikes or surges. The ammeter simply went to zero. As you are aware, this meant that there was no short.

When I removed the diesels from the layout and operated steam only the problems miraculously disappeared. When I returned the diesels to the layout for operation the problems returned.

My last part of the testing was to power the frog of one of the switches. That totally solved the problems and all diesels would make it over the switch without issues. So, why didn't I just power the frogs on all of my switches? Simple answer. I had 43 switches. Switch machines that power and reverse frog polarity automatically are expensive. I did not have the money for that. I also did not want to spend the time to do it. And the most important (to me) reason was that I wanted train crews to manually throw switches with ground throws. This was and remains a very important part of operation for me. I simply do not want to  turn my layout into a big electrically controlled Lionel layout. Yes, that is how I think of a bunch of electrical switches. Ain't my cup of tea.

So, I had my solution. That was to retire all of my diesels and go totally steam. No changes were needed for the layout and I could operate with ground throws and have zero electrical control switches.

One last note. When friends brought their diesels to my layout to operate they experienced the same stalling, hesitating, and resetting problems. When the would bring a steam locomotive, no problems.

OK. All of the above said, my switches are all Micro Engineering switches. My problems may well be with the ME switches. That is possible.

Jim Six

I'm beginning to wonder the same,...if your ME switches just might have been the problem.

I plan on using all Peco switches on my new layout, and hope to utilize mostly insulafrog ones for simplicity . In most of my reading/investigation I have seen many cases where big layouts have used these quite successfully in DCC operation with no real detrimental effects. 

Perhaps their 'stock' point rail contacts are better at providing reliable power to the point rails. and with proper insulating gaps during installation the unpowered frog sections are very short.

Brian

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Posted by B. Bryce on Thursday, July 19, 2018 12:13 PM

"Insul"...  "Electro"... "Uni"...  Just where did the term "FROG" come from for this? Confused  Ick!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Thursday, July 19, 2018 12:21 PM

B. Bryce
"Insul"...  "Electro"... "Uni"...  Just where did the term "FROG" come from for this? Confused  Ick!

Clearly you didn't grow up in the South.   You should try them, they really do taste like chicken.

Squint your eyes and you can see a resemblance to the turnout

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by B. Bryce on Thursday, July 19, 2018 12:46 PM

Yeo Brother, Sad and I'm from Florida!  Sigh

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, July 20, 2018 5:18 PM

I guess the gators ate all the frogs.  Gator, defies the laws of conservation of matter:

the more you chew it, the more there is.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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