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Does one need an extra wire for DCC turnouts?

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Does one need an extra wire for DCC turnouts?
Posted by Aikidomaster on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:08 PM

I was looking at Dream Plan Build video #25. David Popp was showing how to convert DC turnouts to DCC. One thing bothered me. He took a DCC ready turnout and added another wire to the frog. The frog is electrically isolated. The wire would be connected from the frog of the turnout (from below) and connected to a Tortoise switch machine. So, when the turnout was thrown from normal to diverging route, the appropriate power would go to the frog (so that it would not be electrically dead). David pointed out that small engines such as 0-6-0 switchers might benefit from this connection. Sounds like a good idea. But, what if you have a yard "full" of turnouts and they are already installed? Is there a simple way to electrify the frog without tearing up EVERY SINGLE turnout? I have an 0-8-0 that is to be my yard switcher and I was wondering why it "hated" its job (aka it stalled). This seems to be the answer. David had some other electrical device that could be connect to the power bus and then to the turnout. I am not certain what it is or where to find it. Ideas and comments, please!Black Eye

Craig North Carolina

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Posted by fwright on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 9:14 PM

Powering the frog is the same in DC and DCC.  You need a wire from the frog area of the turnout to the center position of an electrical SPDT contact that changes when you throw the turnout.  The other 2 wires can hook to your track bus in DCC - or to the stock rails of the turnout.  The contact selects the correct polarity for the frog area of the turnout.

You can solder on a feeder anywhere in the insulated section of the frog to go to the contact.  A Tortoise switch machine has several sets of suitable contacts.  Many switch machines (except Peco and Atlas) have available electrical contacts.  Caboose Industries hand throws are available with a contact for this purpose.  Blue Points are the same way.  Most home-made manual throws use a toggle or slide switch to latch the points, and provide an electrical contact for powering the frog at the same time.  You can buy contacts for the Peco switch machine, and a Snap Relay for the Atlas machine.

Fred W

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 9:56 PM

Craig,

I use Fast Track turnouts where the frogs are live and never have a problem with stalling.  The Caboose Industries (CI) hand throws that Fred mentioned above are the 222S ground throws.  When wired correctly they change the polarity of the frog when you move the switch.

If you already have turnouts installed, it shouldn't be that big a deal to solder a wire to the frog and drop the wire through the layout top.  Here's a handy diagram on how to do that from the Fast Tracks web site.  The wiring will be the same whether you use a 222S ground throw, a Blue Point manual throw, or a Tortoise switch machine.

Hope that helps...

Tom

My web site: http://www.newyorkcentralmodeling.com

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Posted by Goodness181 on Wednesday, August 17, 2011 10:26 PM

tstage

Craig,

I use Fast Track turnouts where the frogs are live and never have a problem with stalling.  The Caboose Industries (CI) hand throws that Fred mentioned above are the 222S ground throws.  When wired correctly they change the polarity of the frog when you move the switch.

If you already have turnouts installed, it shouldn't be that big a deal to solder a wire to the frog and drop the wire through the layout top.  Here's a handy diagram on how to do that from the Fast Tracks web site.  The wiring will be the same whether you use a 222S ground throw, a Blue Point manual throw, or a Tortoise switch machine.

Hope that helps...

Tom

 

Wow that is a pretty handy diagram.  I'm going to have to remember this when i start my layout.

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:39 AM

I've just finished wiring 3 Walthers/Shinohara turnouts with Tortoises to power the frogs.  It was a very easy job, and they all worked fine the first time.  The Tortoise has two sets of single-pole, double-throw (SPDT) which can be wired independently.  I ran the frog wire to the "center" post of one of them (which is NOT physicially the one in the middle, incidentally, but they give you a wiring diagram with the Tortoise) and the other two posts go to each side of the track power bus.

If you're not using Tortoises, or if you're using the contacts for other things, or even if you just like kind-of-neat electronic gizmos, Tam Valley makes circuit boards called "Frog Juicers" which act like miniature auto-reversers to power frogs:

http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/products/hexfrogjuicer.html

I've never tried one of these.  They make them in 1, 2 and 6-frog units.

To my knowledge, a Frog Juicer is nothing like a Bass-o-Matic.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:10 AM

I have numerous Atlas and Peco turnouts on my DCC layout.  I have not added  frog power to any of them.  They all work just fine.

Dave

Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:24 AM

 I added a wire to all my Atlas turnouts so I could power the frogs. To dte I have not connected a single one to anythign because they all work fine. I suppose if I got one of those little Bachmann speeders, or somethign along those lines, I would need powered frogs. My smallest loco is a 44-tonner and it handles the unpowered frogs just fine. Well, at least I'm prepared. I will probably hook up the ones in my yard and cement plant due to mostly super slow speed operation in those areas, and leave the main line ones alone.

                     --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 Sperandeo on Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:49 AM

I have one of Tam Valley's Hex Frog Juicers installed on my layout under the Summit wye, and I also bought a few of the single Frog Juicers for use at other locations.

I normally power my frogs through the Tortoise auxilliary switches as others have described. However, for the spring switches the Santa Fe used on the wye and at the heading-out ends of passing sidings, I needed automatic power switching that worked independently of a switch motor. The Frog Juicer does the job, and so fast that there's no interruption of either motion or sound.

I reviewed the Hex Frog Juicer in the February 2010 Model Railroader, page 87. Frog Juicers are also a good solution for use with switch motors that don't have auxilliary switches, or with turnouts operated by ground throws or toggle springs. You can find them at the Fast Tracks website, www.handlaidtrack.com.

So long,

Andy


Andy Sperandeo MODEL RAILROADER Magazine

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Posted by Aikidomaster on Saturday, August 20, 2011 3:56 PM

Tom,

Thanks. I use Walthers turnouts and the 0-8-0 seems to have problems with the frogs. The larger locomotives are not a problem. I have quite a few turnouts already installed, so I live the idea of dropping a wire from the frog. Since I use the Tortoise switch machines, which pin do I need to connect the wire from the frog to?Confused

Craig North Carolina

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, August 20, 2011 10:42 PM

http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/data/500/thumbs/Scan10346.JPG

This is the diagram that comes with the Tortoise.  There are 8 pins on the bottom.  Counting from either end, the wire to the frog goes on pin 4, and feeders from your track bus go on pins 2 and 3.  You will have to test it to make sure that the right bus wires are connected to the right pins, because that will depend on your installation.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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