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Micro engineering turnout power routing question

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  • Member since
    June 2020
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Micro engineering turnout power routing question
Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, March 29, 2021 5:54 PM

ME is a tad vague about the power routes through their turnouts.

Power will not flow in from the diverging route and across the frog. Therefore, ME turnouts require power from all three routes. 

Stock rails are connected to the closure rails by spot soldered jumper wires under the rails but there's no equivalent jumper connection under the frog  as both Atlas and Peco do. 

Am I missing something?

What is the point of having no power across the frog? 

Apparently, ME requires the frog rails to be connected to power directly:

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_ME_BK.htm

And this diagram did not form part of the product information included with the ME turnout packaging:

http://microengineering.com/Electrical%20Connections%20Micro%20Engineering%20DCC%20Turnouts.pdf

Why is this considered to be advantageous as compared to Atlas always powered and Peco power routing (though now Peco has gone the always powered wiring with Unifrog)?   

Alyth Yard

Canada

  • Member since
    December 2015
  • From: Shenandoah Valley
  • 7,946 posts
Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 5:31 PM

Lastspikemike
Apparently, ME requires the frog rails to be connected to power directly: http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_ME_BK.htm

That link specifies Code 70 Code 83 #6.  Does that mean the yard ladder system is different?

I suppose it is cheaper to manufacture it that way.  I recall reading about lack of power to frog rails, where it was supposed to exist, in other brands.  They don't have to deal with those failures.  And the OCD among us, who attach 6 feeders to every turnout, won't notice.

The relevant diagram from the ME literature:

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 6:57 PM

I have two ME ladder sets. All those ME turnouts are built the same way.

I can see it may be handy to have to wire the frog rails direct to power in that sidings are dead electrically unless connected to power from the frog rail side. That's one way to guarantee DCC friendly. Other brands do permit the accidental powering of frog rails from the wrong side and create a shorting potential but normally you just install isolators.  ME makes you add power instead.

However, Peco builds their turnouts so you can choose. For Electrofrog you simply isolate the frog rails at the connectors. For Insulfrog you do nothing. For Unifrog I think you clip two jumpers to restore power routing.

I've figured out that since I want each siding in my yard to be dead unless powered by an "on" switch (Atlas 205 connectors will work) the only drawback to the ME wiring format is every turnout in the ladder will need separate power to every frog rail but switchable for the siding route. 

I sure won't be buying any more ME turnouts because of this design aspect. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 12,106 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 10:24 PM

The way that Micro Engineering makes their turnouts is a compromise for people who use DC or DCC.

If you use DC, and want power routing, wire both frog rails together and attach to whatever you want to select polarity. A 3PDT switch works to control the Tortoise and select power route.

If you use DCC, attach each frog rail to the bus wire that is appropriate.

I think it is a good compromise, but with so many people using DCC now, it might be outdated.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 1,931 posts
Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 8:48 AM

Thank you for that very useful reply.

I will connect the one frog rail direct to the bus and the siding frog rail to the bus through an on off switch.

I intend to leave the frogs dead for now and see if any locomotive stalls. With eight wheel power pick up a #5 frog should not be a problem.

My shortest locomotive is a four wheel tiny industrial switcher. It has an aggressively sized keepalive so will definitely not notice the frogs. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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