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Walthers new turnouts and Peco Unifrogs have finally arrived

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:18 AM

Lastspikemike

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Whatever you say Mike. That's all correct. But the term DCC friendly applies to any design that keeps the open point dead or the same polarity as its stock rail.

Did you look at the link from Ed?

Frog shorting is a separate issue. Just another in a long list of reasons I don't like PECO turnouts.

My wiring methods make powering the frog easy, so I power all my Atlas frogs.

I also clean the blackening off the tops, and paint the rest rusty when I paint the track. And suddenly they look pretty much the same as all those expensive brands, especially from my average viewing distance.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

Sure, but that all depends on the polarity of the power coming into the turnout from the frog rails. Whether the point rails are dead or powered is not the difference.

I may be missing something here but I don't see what that might be.  No power into the turnout from the frog rails and the turnout is DCC friendly as far as I can see. 

 

With a power routing PECO yes, with an Atlas no.

With an Atlas the points are always connected to their stock rail, no matter what position the turnout is in.

You can send the power into an Atlas from any direction, all rails will be powered with no polarity conflicts and the frog is dead until you power it.

I have no interest in any Atlas switch machines, powered or manual, I use other means.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:16 AM

Lastspikemike

 

 
Doughless

To reliably hold the points of the Atlas turnouts to the stock rails, its designed to have some sort of external tension applied, like a switch machine that might cost $15 per turnout.  Factor that into costs.  Apples to apples.

Apparently, the new Walthers turnout has a soft spring built in to do that.  I don't know what the cost of the turnout is.

Peco has a strong spring, because the tension needs to be high since the closure rails are powered by the points held against the stock rails.

All three have different designs that are best used as intended.

Most of the debates don't factor in the intended way to use the turnout that the producsers designed, in Atlas' case, buy another $15 item.

And Peco can't really be used with a general switch machine because the spring is too strong, from what I understand.

 

 

 

Walthers is priced competitively. Atlas sells an empty manual version of their switch machine for about CAD$5. 

The spring in the Walthers turnouts is very similar to that used by ME.

Walthers is now saying to take their spring out if you plan on using their Layout Control System, after initially saying their servo motors could overcome the Peco springs. Tortoise requires removal of the Peco spring. 

I'm about to find out.

 

IOW, each company sells a product that "completes" the operation of the turnout the way that you might want it to operate. 

hmmm.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:04 AM

To avoid the "shorting issue" that a few experience with the Peco turnouts, the website above says to install them with insulated joiners at the frog rails (or leave a gap).  That way the rails are not electrified by the adjacent track but by the power routing design of the turnout.

If you dont install them that way, or dont use them as intended, you, and others like you, might need some nail polish handy.

 

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 10:02 AM

Doughless

To reliably hold the points of the Atlas turnouts to the stock rails, its designed to have some sort of external tension applied, like a switch machine that might cost $15 per turnout.  Factor that into costs.  Apples to apples.

Apparently, the new Walthers turnout has a soft spring built in to do that.  I don't know what the cost of the turnout is.

Peco has a strong spring, because the tension needs to be high since the closure rails are powered by the points held against the stock rails.

All three have different designs that are best used as intended.

Most of the debates don't factor in the intended way to use the turnout that the producsers designed, in Atlas' case, buy another $15 item.

And Peco can't really be used with a general switch machine because the spring is too strong, from what I understand.

 

Walthers is priced competitively. Atlas sells an empty manual version of their switch machine for about CAD$5. 

The spring in the Walthers turnouts is very similar to that used by ME.

Walthers is now saying to take their spring out if you plan on using their Layout Control System, after initially saying their servo motors could overcome the Peco springs. Tortoise requires removal of the Peco spring. 

I'm about to find out.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:56 AM

gmpullman

Allan Gartner's site, while very helpful, is beginning to look a little time-worn.

The DCC-Wiki site has some "cleaner" looking, animated graphics that are quite helpful.

https://dccwiki.com/Turnout

Good Luck, Ed

 

I've pretty much read all this stuff. You are right. It is very clear and very helpful.

One minor confusion arises from his use of the correct "point rails" (his claim, not mine) to refer to what I've called frog rails. In either case the terminology is less than ideal. The "points" are at the other end of the turnout from the point rails, for example. 

Normally wired DCC always powers all turnouts from all routes. Therefore, the frog rails are the source of any polarity conflicts. The frog itself doesn't matter. Neither do the point rails. 

While it is true that point rails might be shorted to stock rails with inadequate trucks but that isn't anything to do with a turnout being DCC friendly or not, as far as I can tell. 

Power routing matters, point rail polarity doesn't. Polarity at the frog rails is the factor making a turnout DCC friendly or not.

The Unifrog problem is not a DCC friendliness problem. The same problem occurs on our DC powered layout. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Doughless on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:45 AM

To reliably hold the points of the Atlas turnouts to the stock rails, it needs to have some sort of external tension applied, like a switch machine (Atlas preferably no doubt) that might cost $15 per turnout.  Factor that into costs.  Apples to apples.

Apparently, the new Walthers turnout has a soft spring built in to do that.  I don't know what the cost of the turnout is.

Peco has a strong spring, because the tension needs to be high since the closure rails are powered by the points held against the stock rails.

All three have different designs that are best used as intended.

Most of the debates don't factor in the intended way to use the turnout that the producsers designed, in Atlas' case, buy another $15 item.

And Peco can't really be used with a general switch machine because the spring is too strong, from what I understand.

- Douglas

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:44 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Whatever you say Mike. That's all correct. But the term DCC friendly applies to any design that keeps the open point dead or the same polarity as its stock rail.

Did you look at the link from Ed?

Frog shorting is a separate issue. Just another in a long list of reasons I don't like PECO turnouts.

My wiring methods make powering the frog easy, so I power all my Atlas frogs.

I also clean the blackening off the tops, and paint the rest rusty when I paint the track. And suddenly they look pretty much the same as all those expensive brands, especially from my average viewing distance.

Sheldon

 

 

Sure, but that all depends on the polarity of the power coming into the turnout from the frog rails. Whether the point rails are dead or powered is not the difference.

I may be missing something here but I don't see what that might be.  No power into the turnout from the frog rails and the turnout is DCC friendly as far as I can see. 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:40 AM

Or, just possibly, the reader having unwisely challenged my original post finally understands it.

I generally do not find those "conversations" interesting or useful.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:31 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Whatever you say Mike. That's all correct.

If you have a conversation with Mike for long enough, he will eventually restate everything that was explained to him, but claim it was what he was saying all along.

It is his normal method of instigating consternation.

He will use any subject, cutting plywood on sawhorses, wiring reverse loops, adjusting parameters, and so on.

When he is wrong, which is the vast majority of times, he takes the other side and explains why he was always right.

It is an interesting conversational style, and lively, if nothing else.

-Kevin

Happily modeling in HO scale. 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 Tuesday, May 4, 2021 8:43 AM

Whatever you say Mike. That's all correct. But the term DCC friendly applies to any design that keeps the open point dead or the same polarity as its stock rail.

Did you look at the link from Ed?

Frog shorting is a separate issue. Just another in a long list of reasons I don't like PECO turnouts.

My wiring methods make powering the frog easy, so I power all my Atlas frogs.

I also clean the blackening off the tops, and paint the rest rusty when I paint the track. And suddenly they look pretty much the same as all those expensive brands, especially from my average viewing distance.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 8:41 AM

Power routing turnouts also connect point rails to frog rails under the insulated or dead frog. Power only reaches those rails from the stock rails by contact with the point rails. Micro engineering has no underfrog jumpers, quite annoying actually. 

The difference comes if the frog rails are powered from  the frog rail side. At that point a power routing turnout is no different to a non power routing turnout.

That's the reason you isolate the frog rails when installing an Electrofrog turnout.

Power routing turnouts are not DCC friendly because they cut power when the points are thrown. This is easily addressed by directly powering the track beyond the frog rails and isolating the frog rails as you do anyway for an Electrofrog. Non power routing turnouts do this for you but then the dead frog needs to be large enough to prevent the shorting experienced using Peco's current products.

Atlas fits large insulated frogs. The longer frog turnouts require polarity control of and power to the frogs for this reason. A number 8 Atlas Customline has a huge isolated frog. Peco #8 does not. Even a curved Atlas Customline has a large insulated frog and we've had some power issues with the Atlas Wye. No Peco turnout we've installed has needed any frog power.

 

Alyth Yard

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, May 3, 2021 11:38 PM

Allan Gartner's site, while very helpful, is beginning to look a little time-worn.

The DCC-Wiki site has some "cleaner" looking, animated graphics that are quite helpful.

https://dccwiki.com/Turnout

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 3, 2021 10:30 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Maybe Kevin can draw us an Atlas turnout showing how it feeds thru, it does not power route.

-Kevin

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, May 3, 2021 9:48 PM

The Atlas frog is passive and unpowered unless you power it.

The polarity of the rails past the frog is passed under the frog by two jumpers. 

So both routes are always powered or "fed thru" the turnout.

But older all rail turnouts did not work like that.

So here we go, I'm not drawing a bunch of diagrams, scan up this thread to the drawings Kevin posted to see how scratch built or older all rail turnouts work.

See how the open point rail is a different polarity from its stock rail? This is a short hazzard in DCC.

Maybe Kevin can draw us an Atlas turnout showing how it feeds thru, it does not power route.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, May 3, 2021 9:44 PM

Lastspikemike

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
Lastspikemike

 

 
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. 

 

 

 

No, DCC friendly means the stock rails and the points are always the same polarity no matter what route is selected - like the Atlas turnout.

So that, if the back of a metal wheel happens to touch the open point rail, it does not cause a short circuit and shut down the DCC system.

I has also become assumed that this will also include an isolated frog, that can be powerd if desired.

Sheldon

 

 

 

 

 

???

Stock rails and point rails are always the same polarity. They touch. 

It's the frog rails that matter.

Atlas turnouts are DCC friendly because of the huge insulated frogs.

 

I'm talking about the point rails for the route not selected. The points that are open in space.

On an Atlas turnout the points are ALWAYS the same polarity as their stock rail no matter which route is selected.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, May 3, 2021 9:16 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
Lastspikemike

 

 
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. 

 

 

 

No, DCC friendly means the stock rails and the points are always the same polarity no matter what route is selected - like the Atlas turnout.

So that, if the back of a metal wheel happens to touch the open point rail, it does not cause a short circuit and shut down the DCC system.

I has also become assumed that this will also include an isolated frog, that can be powerd if desired.

Sheldon

 

 

 

???

Stock rails and point rails are always the same polarity. They touch. 

It's the frog rails that matter.

Atlas turnouts are DCC friendly because of the huge insulated frogs.

Alyth Yard

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, May 3, 2021 8:54 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
No, DCC friendly means the stock rails and the points are always the same polarity no matter what route is selected - like the Atlas turnout.

 

I have tried to explain why Atlas turnouts don't need to be called "DCC Friendly", because they always were, even before DCC. It never sank in, just bounced off the surface.

Might as well bang my head on a wall.

Bang Head

-Kevin

 

Kevin, I understand. Notice I have just let a lot of stuff go. I only have so much time and energy........

I grew up on old school power routing turnouts, and on making my own for many years.

But as I was learning about signal systems, and about advanced cab control, I saw the advantages of taking the turnout out of that function, and moving that function to the relays that both control the turnouts and provide the signal interlocking.

So Atlas was the natural choice for my needs, especially after the introduction of the code 83 line.

Sheldon

 

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, May 3, 2021 8:34 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
No, DCC friendly means the stock rails and the points are always the same polarity no matter what route is selected - like the Atlas turnout.

I have tried to explain why Atlas turnouts don't need to be called "DCC Friendly", because they always were, even before DCC. It never sank in, just bounced off the surface.

Might as well bang my head on a wall.

Bang Head

-Kevin

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, May 3, 2021 7:08 PM

Lastspikemike

 

 
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. 

 

No, DCC friendly means the stock rails and the points are always the same polarity no matter what route is selected - like the Atlas turnout.

So that, if the back of a metal wheel happens to touch the open point rail, it does not cause a short circuit and shut down the DCC system.

I has also become assumed that this will also include an isolated frog, that can be powerd if desired.

Sheldon

 

 

    

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Monday, May 3, 2021 2:11 PM

On a related but other note I see Walthers plans on making a curved turnout with 24" and 28" radius routes. Those should prove very handy. Atlas Code 83 Customline have a 22" inner curve which is just a tiny bit too tight to be really useful. Peco are both broader radius and take up a lot of room in an otherwise 24" minimum radius layout.

Alyth Yard

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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. 

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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.

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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 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. 

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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 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 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 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 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

Happily modeling in HO scale. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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