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Walthers new turnouts and Peco Unifrogs have finally arrived

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Walthers new turnouts and Peco Unifrogs have finally arrived
Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 2:41 PM

Walthers are now DCC friendly right out of the box complete with frog wire tab ready to attach a frog wire.  They are also now with sprung point rails rather like ME design. Walthers now says to remove this spring when driving the throwbar with their Layout Control System motors. Previously Walthers suggested their moritrsc were strong enough to throw the points when still sprung.  Walthers spring is much weaker than Peco's. 

I also picked up a couple of Unifrog Peco turnouts. Looking forward to never having to power a frog or diverging rails again and only isolating turnouts when they mark a block boundary. 

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Posted by crossthedog on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:29 PM

Lastspikemike
Walthers are now DCC friendly right out of the box

I just bought one of these because I want to lay track soon and I'll need turnouts and this had just come in and at my LHS and it was the only thing my guy had on hand. I'm starting out in DC, so I guess nothing to modfiy, but I'll be hitting the forum here when it comes time to convert to DCC and I have to get my noodle around this high-tech turnout.

Have to admit to some confusion, though. I thought I kept hearing and reading that DC wiring and DCC wiring are the same, so I guess "DCC friendliness" is a matter of ... what... degrees of convenience or inconvenience?

-Matt

Returning to model railroading after 40 years and taking unconscionable liberties with the SP&S, Northern Pacific and Great Northern roads in the '40s and '50s.

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, April 29, 2021 4:07 AM

crossthedog

 

 
Lastspikemike
Walthers are now DCC friendly right out of the box

 

I just bought one of these because I want to lay track soon and I'll need turnouts and this had just come in and at my LHS and it was the only thing my guy had on hand. I'm starting out in DC, so I guess nothing to modfiy, but I'll be hitting the forum here when it comes time to convert to DCC and I have to get my noodle around this high-tech turnout.

Have to admit to some confusion, though. I thought I kept hearing and reading that DC wiring and DCC wiring are the same, so I guess "DCC friendliness" is a matter of ... what... degrees of convenience or inconvenience?

 

-Matt

 

DCC is a trade off of inconveniences.  The advantages increase depending upon how you're going to operate your layout and if you want to run onboard sound.

If you build and operate a complex layout, the wiring of the layout will be more complex than a simple layout no matter if you use DC or DCC, but maybe a bit less complex with DCC.

I run a large but simple layout, and use DCC only because of onboard sound.

DCC friendly simply means the frogs are unpowered right from the box.  You don't have to do anything to run the turnout on DCC or DC.

Some people like to power the frogs to prevent a dead spot where a short wheelbase loco, like maybe a 0-4-0 or an 0-6-0, or any older type loco with simple electrical pickups, might stall.  There may be some other reasons as well to power the frogs, I've just never got there as a modeler.

If you're buying new stuff, any loco should creep over an unpowered frog just fine, with the exception of those smallest of small locos.  You can still power the frogs, but you'd also have to wear a belt with suspenders.....

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, April 29, 2021 4:25 AM

Lastspikemike
Looking forward to never having to power a frog or diverging rails again

Its good to hear that the Walthers turnout has sprung points.  Weaker than Peco is even better.  I hope their durability is acceptable.

You might want to examine the turnout to see how the diverging rails are powered.  I wire feeders to the diverging rails merely as a precaution against future contact problems that might arise. A complete underturnout wiring array..properly soldered and not just tension contact that might be compromised by ballasting schmutz down the road..might truly prevent the need.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, April 29, 2021 6:21 AM

Lastspikemike

Walthers are now DCC friendly right out of the box complete with frog wire tab ready to attach a frog wire.

Walthers turnouts were DCC friendly before this new line.  Their manufacturer Shinohara, modified Walthers code 83 line years ago to be DCC friendly and manufactured turnouts for years.  I have some at home.

  They are also now with sprung point rails rather like ME design.

That is a new feature and welcome if you don't want to have to add a separate machine. 

I also picked up a couple of Unifrog Peco turnouts. Looking forward to never having to power a frog or diverging rails again and only isolating turnouts when they mark a block boundary. 

FYI, the metal frog on Peco's turnouts is like Walthers, you can energize it or not.  There is also an issue with the new Peco unifrogs in that metal wheels without the 3 degree angle may short out at the frog because the rails of opposing polarity are so close to each other.  Peco has acknowleged this:

Thank you for your email raising concerns about short circuits on the Unifrog #6 turnouts. It is standard railway engineering practice to put a 3° taper on wheels, which normally means they only contact the rail they are sat upon and the overhanging outer edge of the wheel should pass over the top of the opposing frog rail without contact. This is what we are used to, and it works that was on our OO and N scale products. However, NMRA RP-25 only recommends a taper, and having spoken to a former colleague who is deeply into American HO scale we now realise there are ready to run models being produced without the taper on the wheels, which would of course cause the short circuiting problems as you describe and what you saw in the YouTube video.
 
We are now looking at how we can modify the tooling to provide a longer Unifrog tip and greater gap between the frog rails. This will also be implemented on the code 70 #6 turnouts and all future HO scale Unifrog products.
 
Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

 
Due to this issue with the insulfrog and unifrog turnouts, I opted to go with electrofrog, now discontinued.  The good news is Peco plans to modify their unifrog design to correct for the tendancy to short in some situations.  I don't know when we will see those appear on the market.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Thursday, April 29, 2021 8:45 AM

Hmmm. That's annoying. We have lots of DC legacy equipment.

It's going to be a nuisance to have to carefully cut gaps in the diverging rails to ensure the unpowered frogs are as long as for the Insulfrog, without cutting into the jumper wires embedded in the plastic underneath. Edit: the jumper wires are visible and the contact points with the underside of the rails seems ascertainable.

 Some layout testing is in order. I may be hunting for Insulfrog old stock. I have two RH Electrofrog #6 if all else fails. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, April 29, 2021 9:09 AM

crossthedog
Have to admit to some confusion, though. I thought I kept hearing and reading that DC wiring and DCC wiring are the same, so I guess "DCC friendliness" is a matter of ... what... degrees of convenience or inconvenience?

Sorry for the confusion.

DCC layouts should have power everywhere, all the time. DC layouts used "power routing" to turn off tracks that were not aligned with the turnout points.

Most HO scale turnouts (Atlas, Tyco, Life-Like, etc) that were available when DCC was introduced were by default already DCC friendly. These turnouts did not change polarity or power to either route leaving the tunout.

The Shinohara HO turnouts, primarily sold by Lambert and Walthers in the USA, were power routing, and thus not "friendly" to DCC control.

At some point, the code 83 Walthers turnouts made by Shinohara were modified to be more suitable for DCC control, and Walthers marketed them as "DCC Friendly".

Most other manufacturers did nothing, because their products were already suitable.

Peco has manufactured several lines of turnouts under many different names, but almost all of them have been suitable for DCC systems.

-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 Doughless on Thursday, April 29, 2021 10:05 AM

riogrande5761
However, NMRA RP-25 only recommends a taper, and having spoken to a former colleague who is deeply into American HO scale we now realise there are ready to run models being produced without the taper on the wheels, which would of course cause the short circuiting problems as you describe

Interesting.  I am not a wheelset aficianado.  I wonder if when they say "there are" they mean 99% are made without the taper or 1% are made without the taper.  

I don't know which ones I have.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, April 30, 2021 7:29 PM

Well, Peco screwed up big time AND they're blowing smoke.

Two identical Proto 2000 SW1200: one shorts at the frog rails of both Peco Unifrog #6 turnouts while the other doesn't. 

Peco claims it's the wheel profiles on our North American spec locomotives.  First of all, that's no excuse for designing, building and then SELLING those turnouts into our market and second of all that simply ain't true.

Lovely workmanship. Crap engineering and testing.

I even turned the locomotives over to check if one had different wheels somehow. Nope, both run nicely tapered wheels.

Peco was excessively ambitious in making the insulated frog so tiny. 

Then simultaneously removing the power routing feature (restoring this should solve the shorting but that's depending on where the power comes from). 

Breaking out the nail polish for now. 

Not buying any more Peco Unifrogs until Peco fixes this dufous defect.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 30, 2021 7:48 PM

Silly me, still happy with Atlas, and already own all the Walthers double slips I need for the new layout, so I won't have to worry with any throw bar spring there.

For that matter, I already own over half the 140 turnouts I will need for the new layout.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 30, 2021 8:10 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Silly me, still happy with Atlas

Yeah, silly me too. Using old style power routing Shinohara turnouts. It is impossible to short across the frog.

Still happy with sold frog Shinoharas.

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 30, 2021 8:15 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Silly me, still happy with Atlas

 

Yeah, silly me too. Using old style power routing Shinohara turnouts. It is impossible to short across the frog.

Still happy with sold frog Shinoharas.

-Kevin

 

Which is a solid reliable choice as well.

I'm building signals and CTC, which requires switch machines - no throw bar springs for me.

I do my power routing with relays - the same relays that do my signal logic, route selection and interlockings.

I know, we are in the minority Kevin, with our old school ways.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 30, 2021 8:18 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I know, we are in the minority Kevin, with our old school ways.

Have you seen what "new" (never installed) Shinohara turnouts have been selling for on eBay recently?

I am sitting on a gold mine here. I think I should get an insurance rider for these.

-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 ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 30, 2021 8:25 PM

Very nice. I don't spend much time on Ebay. I only go there when I'm on a specific "search" for some piece of new old stock.

But it does not surprise me one bit.

For years I used Shinohara/Walthers turnouts and built my own, until Atlas came out with code 83 and I developed my current control system which actually benefits from the feed thru wiring of the Atlas design.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:01 PM

Lastspikemike

Well, Peco screwed up big time AND they're blowing smoke.

Two identical Proto 2000 SW1200: one shorts at the frog rails of both Peco Unifrog #6 turnouts while the other doesn't. 

Peco claims it's the wheel profiles on our North American spec locomotives.  First of all, that's no excuse for designing, building and then SELLING those turnouts into our market and second of all that simply ain't true.

Lovely workmanship. Crap engineering and testing.

I even turned the locomotives over to check if one had different wheels somehow. Nope, both run nicely tapered wheels.

Peco was excessively ambitious in making the insulated frog so tiny. 

Then simultaneously removing the power routing feature (restoring this should solve the shorting but that's depending on where the power comes from). 

Breaking out the nail polish for now. 

Not buying any more Peco Unifrogs until Peco fixes this dufous defect.

 

Mike,  I don't know how long you've been in the model railroading hobby, but its a frustrating hobby.  Things like this happen all of time. 

Model railroaders have various idiosyncracies that the manufacturers have to try to meet.  And when they build a feature into a product that meet one particular obsessive aspect, then they often compromise on others, or don't understand the consequences.

I would bet that Peco had no idea. Or, they probably felt like it was a few complainers that obsess over something, like tie detail, nitpicking a frog over something that happens occasionally.

Happily running Peco Insulfrog never having a short...ever.  

But the manufacturers have to chase all kinds of obsessions.

When they came out with DCC, the locomotives buzzed so loudly I thought a swarm of hornets entered the basement.  But if the guys who have to run multiple 40 car trains with 3 locos each can do that single focused thing easier, the buzz gets swept under the rug and never talked about. Despite being a pretty avid reader on forums, I had to find out about the buzz on my own when I bought my first decoder 15 years after the hobby changed.  For 15 years nobody talked about the buzz.   

Manufacturers still make most GP9s like they were built in 1954, when the US railroading world has been running ditchlights for 25 years and began modifying most GP9s about 45 years ago. 

Modelers learned complex wiring because they had to have a train runaround a loop and come back on exactly the same track.  Or make it park somewhere while two other trains are running.  So producers have to figure products to make that easier.

Modelers obsess over the proper calculation of the geometry of a double crossover, for whatever possible reason they would need a double crossover.

Modelers care about door latches on boxcars, or end detail, or undercar detail.  And when manufacturers cater to the undercar detail obsession, they forget about having enough clearance to run a 50 foot boxcar on 24 inch radius track so the wheels don't hit the rigging.

Modelers care about what shade of orange is the right shade of orange....on a real boxcar that might be 10 years old when the picture was taken.  Manufacturers have to think about that.  Not to mention all of the shades of all of the other colors on the color wheel.  They can't simply use orange paint.

Lets talk about antennae?  How about the door heights on an Atlas U23B?

Do you what manufacturer makes the correct curve contour on their F units?  While others simply make a curved hood.

Modelers care if track snaps back or holds its bend.  And the bend can't be too hard to bend.  And the one that bends correctly, isn't the one that has the right spike detail.  And if it has those two correct, the rail profile might be off.

Modelers care if the correct horn is downloaded to the sound card.  Manufacturers have to give us 50 different options for horns, maybe using up chip space that would other wise allow the locomotive to start from stop in a way other than how a 1975 TYCO would start.  Now that's real advancement.  Your 250 dollar highly detailed loco with "proper" sound can't outperform the TYCO Chattanooga Choo Choo without the owner reading a 150 page manual about things called "indexing" and "bits".  But it has the right chuff by golly.

And don't get me started about pulling power.  To be judged like locomotives are entering a county fair tractor pull contest.  Who maxes out a locomotives pulling power?  Probably the modelers who need big reversing loops and multiple power districts.  (I thought model trains ran with two wires to the track, with power from one wall outlet.)

Mike, realize that you will always have to have something on hand to undo all of the stuff the manufacturers have to put into the products that deal with all of the obsessions modelers have. And that they forget about the consequences that other people in the hobby then have to deal with.

Hmmm, maybe the Peco turnout shouldn't be so accurate.  Maybe they shouldn't have tried to narrow the frog intersection so precisely where a few fractions of a millimeter between the correect shaped wheel and the not correct shaped wheel mattered.  (And BTW, is there even such a thing as the correct shaped wheel and the not correct shaped wheel?)

I assure you, there are probably plenty of modelers who are obsessed over the narrowness of the frog intersection to where Peco thought it mattered.

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, April 30, 2021 10:40 PM

Wow Doug, that is an interesting little rant.

Yes we can be a cranky bunch. 

I want my GP7's as built, I model 1954.

I was very disapointed that the only undecorated version of the Walthers Proto F7 was some butchered up early 70's thing with no fuel tank skirts and a snow plow pilot. Glad I got my money back out of them on Ebay. 

What is a ditch light?Wink

I'm sure your PECO's work great, but I have known a few people to have a few problems. I've never had a short with an Atlas turnout either.....

Pulling power and rolling resistance is important to me, I'm pulling 35 and 45 car trains up 2% grades - like real railroads have to do.

Onboard sound, decoder buzz, horns, not an issue for me, I like the relative quiet of just the 180 metal wheelsets rolling along. I do have some plans to experiment with some layout based sounds - Oh, that's right one of my other hobbies is HiFi speaker building....

I don't worry about every car having perfect brake rigging, but I don't run trains on 24" radius either (well maybe in a few industrial areas I almost get down that small).

I like switching and industries like you do on your layout, but honestly, if that was all I had room to do, I might just sell it all and find a new hobby.

But there is a nice ISL nestled in and around my 420' feet of double track mainline.

I was amused by your answer in the thread about brands of DCC/sound locomotives - while to some degree we must all concede to the available product choices, your idea of just adjusting the layout theme to fit the locos that run the best might also be a non starter that would cause me to loose interest.

This is such a wonderful and diverse hobby.....

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:04 AM

Mike can keep a little bottle of nail polish around to fix his Peco frogs just like others keep a file around to file down the Atlas frogs. 

Which fix shouldn't he have to do?

And he needs to keep all of the other junk and clutter we have to keep on our workbenches to fix stuff we thought we shouldn't have to fix.

Which might still not solve the problem of trying to run a 20 year old Life Like switcher over an unpowered frog.

Fortunatley, its a SW9/1200.  If it was the LL SW8 with DCC/Sound, that MSRP $180 loco had traction tires making it almost impossible to run over any dead frog.  Don't suppose a disclaimer was ever offered about how the loco could only run reliably over powered frogs.

Mike should stick to legacy Atlas S2s if he wants to run over dead frogs.  They are the best.  Even a 2018 $250 BLI can stall.

There are plenty more rants to be had. 

Lets talk about obsessions over grades of lumber and types of screws to put a few boards together to hold up model train benchwork.....or are we building an airplane?

Maybe discuss the precise way to calculate a verticle easement, and put it all on CAD, as if a few linear inches of cardboard ceral box filler pulled from the trash can wouldn't solve the problem.

More......

Oh Mike, don't forget, you'll need to buy yourself the right airbrush and spray booth for that time you'll have to fix the only boxcar that has the proper end detail, ridges, and underbody detail but is painted in the wrong shade of boxcar red.

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, May 1, 2021 8:53 AM

ROFL

Not counting the years from about age 3 to about 17 my current obsession with model railroading (and my bank account confirms this is an obsession, not just a "hobby") began about 18 months ago when my son in law (and at that time father to be of what turned out to be my second grandson) decided he needed a train layout to replace one given to him and then taken away from him when he was a young teenager.

I foolishly agreed to provide the funds if he provided the lumber and construction of the base benchwork. He's in concrete so our benchwork is...er...robust.

He designed a very enjoyable layout which I complicated electrically and am now paying for my sins because the recent house move (my daughter's not mine) requires a pretty thorough rework of the layout.

I admit the air turned a dark shade of blue in the train room when the information imparted above proved to be correct and worse than Peco was admitting to.

But, hey, compared to my day job this hobby is just relaxing fun......

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:01 AM

Oh, and the irony of Peco re-inventing it's Electrofrog turnout but without the handy power routing feature and now also a dead frog (albeit a very tiny one COMPLETE WITH A POWER WIRE har har hardy har har) has not escaped me. 

The easy solution is just to treat this Unifrog as an Electrofrog. To restore power routing just clip the jumpers from each stock rail to each now complete length point rail, no separate closure rails to worry about electrically speaking.   People worry about electrical continuity at the point rails contact with the stock rails but really, if the electricity can't make it across then a wheel will pick the point anyway. 

I find it hard to believe that anyone would ever need to power that tiny frog. I've run Electrofrog with no power to the frog and zero issues. You do have to isolate both of the frog rails though. We are using DC only but I've wired the layout to allow my Tech 6 to be just plugged in so working on ensuring the electrics are robust enough for DCC to work.

DCC is easier to wire but my goodness it does NOT like even momentary shorts.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:05 AM

This won't stall/short over unpowered frogs.  Either the DC or DCC/Sound versions.  However, I can't say if the yellow is the correct yellow for that road number.

Atlas Master Silver HO 10001466 DCC Ready Alco S2 Diesel Canadian Pacific  CP #7013

 

- Douglas

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:10 AM

Well Doug, I started in this hobby at age 10, in a time where everything that worked reasonably well had to be built from a kit. Lot of great adults helped me along. 

By age 12 or 13 I was building craftsman freight car kits, spiking TruScale wood roadbed track, and building Mantua loco kits.

My mindset has not changed just because of all these "products", even though I do take advantage of many of them.

I only have to file down the occasional Atlas frog, and it only needs to be done once at installation - easier and faster than building the whole turnout - and again, I prefer its electrical features.

In fact, I have built special turnouts using Atlas frogs and points.

I get that you have chosen a simple a focused approach to the hobby.

I admit, I do think products should be of reasonable quality, but I don't have the "plug and play" mentality.

They make Marklin trains for that........ one system, one manufacturer, all tested to work together perfectly, very well made, requires no skills, and is priced accordingly.

And quoting prices as though that means these products should all be perfect means little to me, because I have done the historical math. And all of these products today are less expensive adjusted for inflation that the crude kits we had 40 and 60 years ago.

So if I have to make a minor adjustment to a Spectrum steam loco to make it run perfect, I'm all in at the $100 ea price tag I paid for my fleet of heavy Mountains, Consolidations, and Mikado conversions. Or even the $200 ea prices today for their Mikes or Pacifics.

I don't have any dead frogs, all my Atlas frogs are powered by my intergrated control sytem.

My 20 year old LifeLike switchers run fine over them.

And if I wanted overcenter springs on my throwbars, I can make them for next to nothing, rather than pay PECO or now Walthers a lot of money.

Yes, my rant is that I'm not impressed with all the "advancements" in the hobby, or the mentality it has fostered.

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:43 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Wow Doug, that is an interesting little rant.

And it needed to be said.

Thank you Doug.

-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 Lastspikemike on Saturday, May 1, 2021 9:54 AM

Not to mention the irony of buying Unifrog because I really don't like fussing around with Electrofrog. I had two RH Electrofrogs already. 

Plus I find power routing very handy for DC. Automatic collision prevention being just one of its advantages. 

Plus never had an issue with using Insulfrogs. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, May 3, 2021 6:23 AM

Lastspikemike
Plus never had an issue with using Insulfrogs. 

You may not have any issues with the Unifrog either.  Some do, other don't.  I just didn't want a layout full of them so I've steered clear.  As the old saying goes, YMMV.  Some report isues, others don't.  As Dirty Harry used to say, are you feeling lucky?  Well are ya?

The Peco Insulfrog and Unifrog have the same design that makes them more prone to shorting where metal wheels can bridge the gap between rails of opposing polarity.

Insulfrog:

Unifrog:

Only difference at this location is the Unifrog replaces the plastic tip with a metal tip.

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, May 3, 2021 8:49 AM

Well, that's a handy reminder. The locomotive in question never stalls on an Insulfrog. I had not realized that the isolated frog tip was the same size on both the Insulfrog and Unifrog. I'll take a closer look.

So, electrically speaking, the Unifrog is a non power routing Insulfrog. That explains why the one type shorts and the other doesn't on my layout. All our Insulfrog sidings are not power routed by the turnout except for the frog rails. That also explains why our Electrofrog turnouts work fine with dead frogs.  

I knew I had to isolate the frog rails on the Electrofrog to avoid shorting whether the frog wire was connected to reverse polarity or not. It just so happens all our Insulfrogs had the same isolation in fact even though not specifically thought about.      The redesign resulting from the move means I had to run power back to the frog rails at this particular yard crossover. I was adding a runaround crossover to the siding ends. Previously I had used Atlas turnouts with dead frogs. Now that I think about it again I was using one Electrofrog and realized the second Electrofrog  I planned to use would not work as intended because of the need to power from the heel. 

Sometimes it's the simple stuff that trips you up. I'll maybe try Insulfrogs there and use the Unifrogs elsewhere. Or clip the stock rail jumpers to restore power routing. 

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, May 3, 2021 9:58 AM

Lastspikemike

Well, that's a handy reminder. The locomotive in question never stalls on an Insulfrog. I had not realized that the isolated frog tip was the same size on both the Insulfrog and Unifrog. I'll take a closer look.

So, electrically speaking, the Unifrog is a non power routing Insulfrog. That explains why the one type shorts and the other doesn't on my layout. All our Insulfrog sidings are not power routed by the turnout except for the frog rails. That also explains why our Electrofrog turnouts work fine with dead frogs.  

I knew I had to isolate the frog rails on the Electrofrog to avoid shorting whether the frog wire was connected to reverse polarity or not. It just so happens all our Insulfrogs had the same isolation in fact even though not specifically thought about.      The redesign resulting from the move means I had to run power back to the frog rails at this particular yard crossover. I was adding a runaround crossover to the siding ends. Previously I had used Atlas turnouts with dead frogs. Now that I think about it again I was using one Electrofrog and realized the second Electrofrog  I planned to use would not work as intended because of the need to power from the heel. 

Sometimes it's the simple stuff that trips you up. I'll maybe try Insulfrogs there and use the Unifrogs elsewhere. Or clip the stock rail jumpers to restore power routing. 

 

If you're simply talking about the turnout itself, or two turnouts making up a passing siding, yes, the power routing Insulfrog will not short because there is no power going to the other rail.  

But once you power the track that the turnout is conected to...IOW defeating the power routing nature of the Insulfrog, then the current comes to the frog from the other direction.

You could say that the folks who experience the shorts are not using the Insulfrog as intended, power routing.  But that would be a harsh way to put it.

Having said that, I defeat the power routing by wiring feeders to all three legs and I've never experienced the problem.

It comes down to fractions of millimieters (or is it decimals of millimeters?).  Some wheel sets ....axle length...have more slop in it than others.  

Again, if you want a switcher that does not stall/short, try this "Legacy" Atlas S2 that was designed by Roco back in the day but has been updated with details and new innards (making it basically a new design).  Or there are plenty of used old school DC (non DCC Ready) versions around.

Buy this, and quit fussing around with turnouts. Big Smile

 

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, May 3, 2021 10:10 AM

I bought an Atlas Silver series S2 and liked it enough to want to put a decoder into it.

Then an older Gold series got traded in to my LHS so I simply upgraded by swapping the Silver for the Gold complete with factory decoder and sound.

We tend to have only one turnout per block (DC) and since we have a mix of Atlas and Peco we tend to isolate the turnouts at or near the frogs and power track sections at or near the toe of the turnout. Even where our main line splits into three tracks each of these is powered separately so we can stop a train in any one or two of the effective passing sidings and move a third train past. 

The Unifrog situation just didn't arise until now.

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It will really help me sort this out and make use of the Unifrogs. 

I took a closer look at the new Walthers turnouts. They are a little shorter than the Atlas Customline Superswitch at the points entry end (the heel end?). Otherwise they are a plug in replacement for the Atlas Superswitch. Non power routing AND they have continuous point rails just like the Peco Unifrog and sprung points with a simple to remove spring if servo motor power is preferred. 

I'm beginning to think Walthers is now superior to both Peco and Atlas, just right at the moment. Maybe this will prompt Atlas to up their game with their soon to be released Series 5 Customline, which are supposed to be more like their Superswitches. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by rrebell on Monday, May 3, 2021 11:36 AM

I really don't get the DCC friendly bit. I have all my turnouts Shinohara and never an issue unless I run a point. Only problem with DCC then is it can turn off the system, or sometimes not, that is the anoying part in that if it dosn't shut down there can be issues. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, May 3, 2021 12:21 PM

I think it was Rob Spangler who mentioned he has non-DCC friendly Walthers/Shinohara turnouts and they operate with no issues on his DCC layout.

So it can be done; it just may be that they are less forgiving under some circumstances.  I have a couple of non-DCC friendly Shinohara #8 curved turnouts and I intend to use them, but I have insulated the rails at the end.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, May 3, 2021 2:05 PM

rrebell

I really don't get the DCC friendly bit. I have all my turnouts Shinohara and never an issue unless I run a point. Only problem with DCC then is it can turn off the system, or sometimes not, that is the anoying part in that if it dosn't shut down there can be issues. 

 

DCC friendly means the turnout accepts power into the turnout from the frog rails without shorting.

Power routing turnouts are DCC friendly in that sense but many dislike the power shutting down in the one route when the points are thrown. 

Turnouts with insulated dead frogs are DCC friendly in the same fashion. But we now know that without power routing those isolated frogs have to be long enough to avoid the frog rails getting bridged laterally by the wheel tread. We already knew about the bridging risks longitudinally. 

Electrofrog turnouts and live frog turnouts (zero isolating gaps) require isolation at the ends of each frog rail and, in some circumstances polarity control of the frog or they can cause problems in DCC layouts delivering power everywhere, similar to the reversing loop issue: steel wheels bridging the gaps and connecting rails of opposite phase.

That's my understanding, currently. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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