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PECO turnout issues

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PECO turnout issues
Posted by Ringo58 on Friday, February 5, 2021 11:28 AM

I have a small switching layout with only 2 Turnouts. Them being PECO #5s. 

I love them and have had no issues with them. Just recently I noticed my engines stalling on the bakery turnout. The slightest nudge would send it moving again. Not the worst issue but very frustrating. Especially when running an opperating session. The worst part is it worked just fine for months after I ballasted it. 

So running in DC using a RailPower1300, Engines sputter at any speed. Crawling they stall. 

Ussing DCC through an NCE PowerCab, it's hit or miss. Sometimes my engines creep by on speedstep 1 and other times they stall on the turnout. Whats weird is sometimes its a hiccup where the headlight and becon will turn off and the prime mover will stay constant ( with a breif cut out) and others it's enough to make the engine go through it's whole start up sequence.

Smallest DC engines are either my Genesis MP15AC and Atlas MP15DC. Both stall at the same point. Tried with my longest, athearn RTR SD40-2, still stalls

As for DCC, it dosent matter if its my GP35 or F45. All either stall or make it though at random.

Any tips?

All track and wheels were cleaned

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Posted by nycmodel on Friday, February 5, 2021 12:01 PM

I had a similar issue with my Peco turnouts several years after they were installed. I believe your issue is with the point rails not making sufficient contact with the stock rails. I have since installed jumpers between the stock rails and the appropriate rails on the other side of the frog. No more stalls. I even did it outdoors with my G scale turnouts that had a similar issue.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Friday, February 5, 2021 12:59 PM

Are they Peco Insulfrog or Electrofrog turnouts?

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Ringo58 on Friday, February 5, 2021 2:07 PM

nycmodel

I had a similar issue with my Peco turnouts several years after they were installed. I believe your issue is with the point rails not making sufficient contact with the stock rails. I have since installed jumpers between the stock rails and the appropriate rails on the other side of the frog. No more stalls. I even did it outdoors with my G scale turnouts that had a similar issue.

 

How did you add this jumper?

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Posted by Ringo58 on Friday, February 5, 2021 2:07 PM

riogrande5761

Are they Peco Insulfrog or Electrofrog turnouts?

 

 

Insulfrog

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, February 5, 2021 2:33 PM

Put another engine  few feet down the track, idling but with the headlight on.  When you get a "stall" at the turnout, does the other engine's light also go out?  If so, you probably have a short, not a stall.  The solution is to get a Goth girlfriend and borrow her black nail polish.  Paint the spot on the frog where the rails are very close together.  The engine wheels are bridging the gap.

Have you powered the frog?  That's a common cause of stalls at turnouts.

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

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 5, 2021 3:46 PM

 Can't power an insulfrog. I'm going with poor/dirty contact between the point and stock rail. Jumpers between the stock and closure rails will help, but also needs a flexible jumper between the closure rail and point (around the hing - also a place for contact to go bad over time and use). 

 Option 1 and Option 2 called out on the Wiring for DCC page:

 wiringfordcc.com/switches_peco.htm#a1

                                                 --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 Ringo58 on Friday, February 5, 2021 4:12 PM

MisterBeasley

Put another engine  few feet down the track, idling but with the headlight on.  When you get a "stall" at the turnout, does the other engine's light also go out?  If so, you probably have a short, not a stall.  The solution is to get a Goth girlfriend and borrow her black nail polish.  Paint the spot on the frog where the rails are very close together.  The engine wheels are bridging the gap.

Have you powered the frog?  That's a common cause of stalls at turnouts.

 

Will regular girlfriend nail polish do? Or does it have to be goth? Laugh

Will try with one farther down on the track 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, February 5, 2021 4:26 PM

Red or pink polish just wouldn't look right.  Clear is OK.  But black is optimum.  In a decade or two, you can see if black is wearing down.  Not so with clear.

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

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Posted by selector on Friday, February 5, 2021 5:02 PM

It's almost certainly the electrical routing through toward the frog.  I know the frog is dead if it's an 'insulfrog' type, but you MUST have good power all the rest of the way along the closure rails and after the frog, the frog rails.  If you get a stall, and not a short indication from your electrical system, then it's a break in power throughput along the intended path.

You might benefit from a single gentle swipe of 600 grit sandpaper between the inner point surface and the inner flange surface of the stock rail to improve contact, or try a CRC type contact cleaner.  I use the paper sparing, then wipe with alcohol.  That usually cures the problem, but for all turnout types and makes.

Note that it could be something else entirely, but still a problem with electrical throughput.  It could be that the weight of the engine changes the lie of the turnout sufficiently that the formerly adequate contact of one of the joiners becomes inadequate, and that means a loss of power to one rail of the turnout...or both.  Joiners could be the issue, or the supporting roadbed on which the turnout lies.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, February 5, 2021 5:54 PM

Instead of nudging the locomotive try pinching the point rail against the stock rail with your finger. If the locomotive moves then you've found the problem. I used a jumper wire to check for this, another alternative. A short piece of wire with bare ends touched to the aligned route rails (stock rail and matching closure rail) bypassping just the point rail contact point.  

Your symptoms sound like those we experienced in our Peco #5 yard ladder. I failed to clip off enough from the end of the throwbar on one turnout and it was just barely touching the end of a tie on adjoining track. The hairsbreadth and invisible gap caused that conflict caused the turnout  closure rail to be dead. 

My guess is a scrap of  ballast or maybe a tiny bit of glue is causing the throwbar to hang up and the point rail isnt completely contacting the stock rail. 

If the turnout works perfectly in one route but not the other it'll be electrical contact problems with the one point rail. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, February 6, 2021 1:53 AM

Ringo58
How did you add this jumper?

Ringo, I think this picture accurately shows where to add the jumpers. The jumpers are shown in purple.

MisterBeasley
The solution is to get a Goth girlfriend and borrow her black nail polish. 

Getting a Goth (or better, a punker) girlfriend is the solution to all kinds of things!

Pirate

-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.

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Posted by Ringo58 on Saturday, February 6, 2021 7:11 AM

 

Heres a video I took last night. 

 

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Posted by Ringo58 on Saturday, February 6, 2021 7:17 AM

Lastspikemike

Instead of nudging the locomotive try pinching the point rail against the stock rail with your finger. If the locomotive moves then you've found the problem. I used a jumper wire to check for this, another alternative. A short piece of wire with bare ends touched to the aligned route rails (stock rail and matching closure rail) bypassping just the point rail contact point.  

 

Tried that. If i push on the drawbar the whole time the locomotive is crossing the switch, no issues. Think I found my problem. I will clean the contact tonight with some 600 grit and CRC contact cleaner. I will post an update later

 

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Posted by Ringo58 on Saturday, February 6, 2021 7:19 AM

selector

  Joiners could be the issue, or the supporting roadbed on which the turnout lies.

 

All rails have soldered joints. Could be the track is sagging on the foam. I did not use roadbed

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, February 6, 2021 8:40 AM

Turnouts need to be laid completely flat. 

Peco throwbars need to be completely free to allow the hairspring to snap completely overcenter for the electrical connection and to prevent point picking derailments. 

ME use a similar hairspring system although ME are much stiffer in operation. Also, ME quality control is not good. Many of these ME turnouts have plastic flashing and moulding defects which can interfere with the throwbar operation. 

Peco work flawlessly right out of the package unless you install them incorrectly. 

One added note, if you fit the extended pin Peco turnout motors (the E series) it is critical to align the pin throw accurately or the throwbar won't throw properly in one direction. This seems at first to be an electrical issue but isn't.

I mention this in case you have powered the Peco turnouts. The regular motors that clip directly under the throwbar cannot be installed incorrectly but the under table versions (there are now three varieties of E motors) certainly can. If off by even a mm these Peco E pin motors won't work. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, February 6, 2021 8:46 AM

Ringo58
All rails have soldered joints. Could be the track is sagging on the foam. I did not use roadbed Add Quote to your Post

Not of it's own weight unless you leaned on the foam.

Your video does not appear in Firefox.  Imgur videos apparently don't work like youtube on this forum.  But a link does.

https://imgur.com/NDxA6ku

Looks like the stalling happens at the closure rails to me.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, February 6, 2021 8:49 AM

Peco power route so when leading to a dead end siding stalling on the closure rails is a dead giveaway.

Har har. 

Power to the closure rail comes only from the point rail contact on the stock rail if there's no power back from the siding. For DCC you don't want power back from the siding. 

I think the new Unifrog now provides jumpers from the stock rails to the closure rails. These are affixed at the points in the handy coloured schematic posted above. To restore a Unifrog to power routing Peco instructs you to clip those jumpers. 

Unifrog now power the point rails back from these closure rails, no longer relying on the stock rail contacting the point rail. Plus, the point rail hinge has been redesigned for improved electrical reliability. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, February 7, 2021 10:43 AM

Ringo58

 

 
selector

  Joiners could be the issue, or the supporting roadbed on which the turnout lies.

 

 

 

All rails have soldered joints. Could be the track is sagging on the foam. I did not use roadbed

 

Any turnout stalls I've ever had occur on the frog itself, your's seems to occur on the closure rail between the points and the frog.

As others have said, it must be dirt on the INSIDE, not the top, of the contact points or rails.  Or, you might have dirt on the inside of the closure rail.. Its not a big stall, just a little hiccup, so make sure the inside corner of the rails are clean and free from any little dried glue bump tht might lift the wheel off of the track.

I'd use a finger nail or some type of mild scraping device rather than a liquid.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Sunday, February 7, 2021 10:57 AM

Ringo58
Will regular girlfriend nail polish do? Or does it have to be goth?  Will try with one farther down on the track 

I used to use my wife's nail polish until she got mad.

So I started using my girlfriend's instead.......

- Douglas

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, February 7, 2021 11:10 AM

 It's definitely losing power, not shorting - as the lights never blink on the other loco standing there as would happen if a short was occurring. 

 Something else to check - make sure the loco is getting power from both strucks. Easy to test - over ont he other side of the layout, off the turnouts, put one truck on the rails and a piece of paper under the other. THe loco whoudl get power and move. Repeat with the other truck ont eh paper - same thing. These locos have all wheel pickup so if one truck is on a dead part of track, it should still get power from the other truck. By placing the paper in different spots, you can determine which side of which truck isn;t supplying power. Depending on the loco, there are various places to look next. Or it could be as simple as a wire has come loose from one of those plastic clips, resulting in no power pickup from one side of one truck.

                                     --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 Ringo58 on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 7:03 AM

Doughless

 

 
Ringo58
Will regular girlfriend nail polish do? Or does it have to be goth?  Will try with one farther down on the track 

 

I used to use my wife's nail polish until she got mad.

So I started using my girlfriend's instead.......

 

Hahah! That one gave me a good chuckle

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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 7:11 AM

Doughless
 
Ringo58
Will regular girlfriend nail polish do? Or does it have to be goth?  Will try with one farther down on the track  

I used to use my wife's nail polish until she got mad.

So I started using my girlfriend's instead....... 

LaughYesLaughYesBow

Alton Junction

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 7:16 AM
richhotrain
Doughless Ringo58 Will regular girlfriend nail polish do? Or does it have to be goth? Will try with one farther down on the track I used to use my wife's nail polish until she got mad. So I started using my girlfriend's instead....... LaughYesLaughYesBow
Funny until that expensive divorce! Whistling

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Bayway Terminal on Monday, February 15, 2021 9:48 PM

I have 22 Peco code 100 Insulfrog turnouts from size #'s 5-10 on my switching layout , after a few years I found that dirty points against the main rail and track oxidation are the most common reasons for stalling, but The most challenging issue I've had yet is an uneven switch, the turnout must lay flat especially across  the frog & end points, use mini tacks or rail spikes at opposite inside or outside ends of the switch where your loosing voltage, afterwards check the switch with a mini level and also with a voltage meter across the entire switch for power continuity, try using a needle file on the points & the main line track connection, clean afterwards with a quality track cleaner or alcohol, test by running 2 and 3 axel engins across and through the right or left turnouts, when the switch is working properly paint over or use ballast on the switch track pins.  Happy Switching, 

Bayway Terminal NJ

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Posted by markie97 on Thursday, February 18, 2021 6:47 AM

I too use Peco insulfrog turnouts and install power feeders on all sides of the turnout. This way I am powering the point rails from two directions. Cannot do it this way with the electrofrog turnouts.

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Posted by Renegade1c on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 5:38 PM

Granted photo attached is for an electrofrog but same principal applies to an insulfrog except there is no frog wire. Basically I make an insulfrog from an electrofrog because the gap on the insulfrog is not big enough and tends to cause shorts as previously mentioned in this thread. 

I solder a small jumper (think 30 gauge wire) between stock rail and point rail and also around the pivot point of the point rail. once the turnout is painted its unnoticeable and siginificantly increases reliability. 

For the few insulfrog turnouts I do have, I also doe the nail polish trick over the frog to prevent wheels from bridging the gap and causing an intermitent short. 

see below:


Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

flag

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Posted by wesno on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 2:09 PM

If you need to insure electrical contact through the turnout, this video shows you where and how to solder the recommended jumpers.  While some of the recommended mods in the video pertain only to electrofrog units, most of them apply also to insulfrog.  Hope this helps.

Prepaing an Electrofrog Turnout for Installation

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 2:18 PM

The new Unifrog will have these jumpers already installed. 

The one drawback with these jumpers is that the frog rails are then also both powered all of the time. The turnout is not power routing as a result of these jumpers. Peco Unifrog become like Atlas turnouts electrically speaking. 

ME turnouts have these jumpers It eliminates the reliance on the point rail contacts passing power. However, ME elected not to power the frog rails by jumpers under the frog. An ME installed with metal joiners on the frog rails is electrically similar to a Peco Electrifrog using isolating joiners on the frog rails. Not quite the same but in effect the same with normal wiring. 

The turnouts are spring loaded for this reason, just btw, to avoid the need for these jumpers.

If you wish to make an Insulfrog behave as an Electrofrog just install isolating joiners on the frog rails. That is also how you make an Electrofrog DCC friendly.  Basically you make the Insulfrog frog rails into extensions of the frog but powered only by the point rails. The frog remains dead. Insulfrog turnouts with no jumpers from the stock rails to the closure rails and insulating joiners on the frog rails need no nail polish insulation. Just btw.  

Alyth Yard

Canada

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