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Turnout Electrical Problems

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Turnout Electrical Problems
Posted by starman on Saturday, August 26, 2017 2:07 PM
I am using HO Atlas #6, code 100 turnouts with manually operated turnout machines.  I have installed many turnouts in a small yard.  I wired all three ends of each turnout to my buss line, as well as all track segments.  My engines (one steam and one diesel) will travel over some of the turnouts without any electrical problem; however, when my engines travel over the other turnouts, I lose power.  The problem seems to occur when my engines pass over some of the frogs (I think that is what you call them).  Why do some turnouts cause me problems and some do not?  What can I do to solve the problem I am having with problem turnouts?
 
Thanks for your comments and help.
 
Jack
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Posted by richg1998 on Saturday, August 26, 2017 3:26 PM

Not familiar with the turnouts but assuming metal powered frogs since some work.

Did you check with your multimeter for power? Even if plastic frogs, check the rails with your meter.

Rich

N

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, August 26, 2017 3:40 PM

Lets make sure we are talking about the same part of the turnout

The frog is not just that pointy thing but the rails just to the left of it.  In your other thread about wiring turnouts, Randy suggested frog juicers and Ed suggested Caboose 220S ground throws otherwise it is electrically dead rail.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/744/p/264656/2989199.aspx#2989199

Is it related to the turnout size 4,6, or 8?  The bigger the number the longer the frog.  I have a Bachmann 45 tonner, no sound, who's headlight flickers on one of my Wathers #5's but not the other #5's or the #4's. 

If you are not going to power the frog, then you are going to add some sort of keep alive capacitor to your engines.  This assumes that the power pickup from the wheels to the decoder isn't marginal and the source of your problems.

 

Henry

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, August 26, 2017 4:29 PM

Are the turnouts all Atlas....for sure?

Are they Atlas Custom Line turnouts?

Rich

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, August 26, 2017 6:55 PM

Ah, Atlas Custom Line.  What many OLD PEOPLE dealt with.

That big blob of black plastic is non-conductive.

Consider that concept when you run a locomotive through a switch.

Should you happen to be using Custom Line track switches.  

I should say that, a half-century ago, the term "Custom Line" kind of indicated cutting edge.  Sorta like rapidly spinning propeller blades.

Hey.  We worked with what we had (ya young whipper-snapper)!

 

 

Ed

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Posted by starman on Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:07 PM
All turnouts are Atlas #283 (left hand) or #284 (right hand) HO Custom Line “Mark IV,” #6, code 100 turnouts. 
 
I have laid 12 turnouts in my small yard and wired all 3 ends; however, I have a few turnouts I have not yet used so I have checked out one of them, electrically.
 
What I have discovered is the Frog (thanks for the diagram, Henry) conducts electricity, as shown by my multimeter, but there is no continuity between the Frog and any rails.  There is a brass strip beneath the Frog but there is no electrical connection between the Frog and the brass strip.  There is continuity between the brass strip and the upper stock rail in Henry’s diagram, the upper of the two Frog rails, and the upper of the two Closure rails.
 
Does this help?
 
Jack
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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:35 PM

I'm confused then.  I thought the snap switches had plastic frogs and the custom line had pot metal frogs, that were all one piece.  Based on that belief, the "upper frog rail" should not have continuity with anything.

starman
There is continuity between the brass strip and the upper stock rail in Henry’s diagram, the upper of the two Frog rails, and the upper of the two Closure rails.

 

 

Henry

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:53 PM

Never mind.  I'm not sure if I'm getting it. 

 

Ed

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Posted by starman on Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:59 PM

BD

The upper Frog rail has continuity between it, the upper Stock rail, and the upper Closure rail.

 
Yes, there is also continuity between the brass strip on the back and the upper Stock rail, the upper Frog rail, and the upper Closure rail.
 
Jack
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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, August 26, 2017 11:11 PM

starman
 
 
...there is no continuity between the Frog and any rails.

 

IF there is no continuity between the frog and any rails (as stated above), then electricity cannot go from those rails (or anything supplying them) to the frog.

Thus the frog has to be isolated.  As in unpowered.  There is no way for power to get to it.

 

Ed

 

 

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Posted by zstripe on Sunday, August 27, 2017 2:37 AM

The following photos...the first one being an Atlas snap switch turnout with plastic frogs, which cannot be powered......

The second and third photos are Atlas customline Mark 3 turnouts with potmetal frogs, which can be powered and how to do so using Atlas Snap Relays. There are many other ways to do so.....The Atlas relay is just one of them, if You want to stick to all Atlas components. The info that is wrote on the first photo was for another person..but it explains some of the short comings with a Snap Switch plastic frog turnout.

Good Luck! Big Smile

Frank

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 4:53 AM

Yep, I agree with Frank.

Let's clear up any misstatements about the Atlas Custom Line and Mark IV turnouts.

Both the Custom Line and the Mark IV turnouts have an isolated metal frog. These turnouts are non-power routing and require no gapping in normal situations. So, if you wire all three ends of the turnout, the turnout is fully powered except the frog. The metal frog is, however, capable of being powered. This is true for both the Code 83 turnout and the Code 100 turnout.

Rich

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, August 27, 2017 6:46 AM

Any chance you mean Upper Guard Rail instead of Upper Frog Rail?

Henry

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 8:27 AM

When testing for continuity on an Atlas Custom Line or Atlas Mark IV turnout, if you put one probe on any left rail segment and the other probe on any other left rail segment, you should get continuity. Vice versa, if you put one probe on any right rail segment and the other probe on any other right rail segment, you should get continuity.

If you put both probes anywhere on the frog, you should get continuity.

However, if you put one probe on the frog and the other probe on any rail segment, you will not get continuity because the frog is isolated.

The guard rails on either side of the frog are plastic and, therefore, non-conductive.

Lastly, if you put the two probes on two same side rail segments anywhere on the turnout and do not get continuity, one or more of the embedded jumpers is no longer making proper contact with the rail segment.

Rich

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Posted by starman on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:02 AM

The Frog has 2 small flanges, 1 on each side of the Frog, with a hole in each.  Can I power the Frog by bringing a wire up from the bottom and connect it to one of the flanges and a buss line?

Jack

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:11 AM

starman

The Frog has 2 small flanges, 1 on each side of the Frog, with a hole in each.  Can I power the Frog by bringing a wire up from the bottom and connect it to one of the flanges and a buss line?

Jack

 

You are going to need something like the Tam Valley Frog Juicer to match the polarities.

Rich

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:14 AM

starman
All turnouts are Atlas #283 (left hand) or #284 (right hand) HO Custom Line “Mark IV,” #6, code 100 turnouts. 
 
 
 
Does this help?
 
Jack
 

 

It does, actually.

 

Here is a photograph of an Atlas #283:

 

 

 

 

Note that there is no metal frog to power.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:18 AM

richhotrain

 

Let's clear up any misstatements about the Atlas Custom Line and Mark IV turnouts.

Both the Custom Line and the Mark IV turnouts have an isolated metal frog.

Rich

 

 

The photo above would seem to show otherwise.

 

Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:27 AM

Ed, you are not correct.

You cannot tell anything for certain from the photo.

The Atlas Custom Line Mark IV series all are manufactured with die-cast metal frogs, and they can be powered.

Rich

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Posted by floridaflyer on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:37 AM

Agree with Rich. 

 

 

doug

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Posted by RR_Mel on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:40 AM

I took the liberty to brighten up ED’s picture.  As you can see there two small holes adjacent the frog.  The holes may be tapped for 2-56 screw to power the frog.
 
 
The picture below is a CAD drawing I made of an Atlas #6 Custom Line turnout that I made when I was building my double crossover.  It is accurate to about 1/32”
 
 I cut up four Atlas #6 Custom Line turnouts to make my double crossover and powered the frogs.
 
Mel
 
Modeling the early to mid 1950s SP in HO scale since 1951
 
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.
 
 
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Posted by starman on Sunday, August 27, 2017 10:43 AM
I see that Tam Valley has a Hex Frog Juice that will power up to 6 Frogs.  I will need two.  A little expensive but it sounds like it would do the job.  (I am learning that this is not an inexpensive hobby like I told my wife, who has assumed the position as CFO of my railroad! Big Smile)  Will this Frog Juicer create any problems with my AR1?  Some turnouts are inside and some are outside of my reversing section.

Jack

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:31 AM

starman
Will this Frog Juicer create any problems with my AR1?  Some turnouts are inside and some are outside of my reversing section.

It could. Solid state circuit breakers and auto-reversers do not interact well with the Digitrax AR-1 and its mechanical relay. Try it, and if it does cause problems, replace the AR-1 with a PSX-AR.  Chances are, though, that you will be OK. The usual problem is when an AR-1 is downstream from a PSX-1 circuit breaker.

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:33 AM

starman
I am learning that this is not an inexpensive hobby like I told my wife, who has assumed the position as CFO of my railroad! 

Most mistakes are recoverable.

But naming your wife as CFO of your railroad is a fatal mistake from which you will never recover.   Dead

Rich

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:34 AM

So that black frog casting is blackened metal instead of black plastic?

Interesting.

 

Ed

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, August 27, 2017 11:35 AM

7j43k

So that black frog casting is blackened metal instead of black plastic?

Interesting.

 

Ed

 

Yessir.

Rich

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Posted by starman on Sunday, August 27, 2017 12:17 PM

richhotrain

 

 
starman
I am learning that this is not an inexpensive hobby like I told my wife, who has assumed the position as CFO of my railroad! 

 

 

Most mistakes are recoverable.

 

But naming your wife as CFO of your railroad is a fatal mistake from which you will never recover.   Dead

Rich

 

I was not consulted!  I am afraid it was a self appointed, hostal takeover!!  

 

Jack

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:06 PM

7j43k

 

 
starman
All turnouts are Atlas #283 (left hand) or #284 (right hand) HO Custom Line “Mark IV,” #6, code 100 turnouts. 
 
 
 
Does this help?
 
Jack
 

 

 

 

It does, actually.

 

Here is a photograph of an Atlas #283:

 

 

 

 

Note that there is no metal frog to power.

 

 

Ed

 

 See that hole to the left of the frog? That's where the power connects. That's not plastic, it's blackened metal. These have always had metal frogs. Only the Snap-Track turnouts have plastic frogs. Actually, I think either lower on the front or maybe on the back of the Atlas package for the Custom-Line turnouts it even says "blackened metal frog".

 That said - I hooked wires to them on my previous layout and then never actually powered the frog - even my smallest loco could creep over the turnouts without stalling (smallest being a bachman 44 tonner). But - I had power feeders on all 3 legs of every turnout, at no point was I relying on the joints or embedded jumpers to power each part of the turnout.

                               --Randy

 


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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:20 PM

starman
Can I power the Frog by bringing a wire up from the bottom and connect it to one of the flanges and a buss line?

The problem is that it can't just be any bus, it has to be connected to the correct bus, depending on which way the turnout is thrown. 

The Caboose Industries ground throw, that Ed suggested in the other thread is both a throw, to move the points and a switch connected to both bus wires that sends power to the frog.  The advantage is the cost is less than half compared to a hex frog juicer and 1/3 of a tortoise and you still manually control your turnouts.

If building a fancy control panel with routes and leds and push buttons isn't your favorite part of the hobby, add that to the advantage column.

Henry

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Posted by starman on Sunday, August 27, 2017 1:26 PM

rrinker

That said - I hooked wires to them on my previous layout and then never actually powered the frog - even my smallest loco could creep over the turnouts without stalling (smallest being a bachman 44 tonner). But - I had power feeders on all 3 legs of every turnout, at no point was I relying on the joints or embedded jumpers to power each part of the turnout.

                               --Randy

 

 

I have connected feeders from all 3 ends of each turnout, as well as each track segment.  The puzzling thing is that my engines (a 2-8-8-2 steam and a GP30 diesel) travel over a few turnouts just fine, but if going slow, actually come to a stop over most turnouts.

Jack

 

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