Insulfrog Help

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 12 Apr 2019 17:27
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Assume this is DC running ? Would insulators be required for DCC operation ?

Insulfrog Help

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  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
"If you have solved this type of problem, I'd like to hear from you with some detail as how to correct this."

Simple. Don't use insulfrog points.

Or dig out the ancient "Your Model Railway" article where Stewart Hine showed how to convert insulfrog points to electrofrog, by cutting away the plastic frog and replacing it with metal rail. Pretty old, but that was the only option when diamond crossings, 3 way points and double slips only came in insulfrog.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
This is News?
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

A universal problem.

From Wongm's Rail Gallery:
https://railgallery.wongm.com/tram-stalled-section-insulator/
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

This is News?
Valvegear
Apparently so. Perhaps somebody is bored with 95% of the news being politics, so decided to change the subject.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
well it's now in the corect place ! As to the subject I hate insulfrog now. But it is a very personal opnion. I would reccomend the "wiring for DCC" articles ( even if DC ) to set up  points.

http://www.wiringfordcc.com/   have a good read, and have a long look at the turnout option.

Also while new they work like a charm. but over time they all tarnish, get dirty and play up. sometime a total replacement is then needed. so doing some extra work on installation is a longer term wiser move.

Regards,
David Head
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Now the layout I look after is running 364 days a year almost, it is a display layout and all of a sudden we we got bad derailment problems at points a few years back. On the layout you could not really see anything wrong. So in my wisdom one day I removed one of the Peco insulfrog points on this layout and replaced it with a straight section of track for the time being. After removing it from the layout and upon closer inspection the problem was easy to see the plastic frog had worn away that much that it no longer did it's job properly. In a lot of other's that I removed later these frogs had worn to a 45 degree angle almost with the worst wear being closest to the vee of the frog. I was considering replacing them with more insulfrog points but cost stopped me. So what to do at the time my home layout was also showing signs of derailing on certain points and so I bit the bullet and changed them all on my home layout to Electrofrog points, sure there is a bit more wiring to do to make them work properly but the improvement in running was enough to convince me to consign insulfrog points to the junk bin or give them away if any one wanted them. On the display layout we did not use the points so I pulled them all out and replaced them with straight or curved track depending on what way the point was used and I made dummy point blades and tracks and super glued them to the sleepers they look alright and have improved the running on the display layout 100% almost. I call these virtual points as they can never be used as a point, just a piece of track, but they are easy to replace if needed.

Would I go back to insulfrog points in the future the answer is a huge NO as the electrofrog points are miles better and locomotives especially small 0-4-0 types cruise through a point now at slow speed where before they stopped if the pick up was a bit dodgy to begin with. Even Lima's run better through these points again if you have a slightly dodgy pick on one. My layout and the display layout are both DC powered though, but they are a hell of an improvement over the old Insulfrog points.

Once you get the hang of wiring these points up, they are not a simple put in and it runs like an insulfrog, you should have no problems at all with them.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

You really need to investigate what is causing the dropout. It might have nothing to do with the points being Insulfrog. For example, is the back of a flange on your loco touching a point blade, causing a short? This can be a problem with long wheelbase locos, curved turnouts, or incorrectly gauged wheelsets. Depends also upon how the track is wired. Some wide tyres can short across the frog - or the 'K' on a diamond crossing.
  a6et Minister for Railways

Interesting thread, I will be bookmarking a couple of the links as well.

I had only one electro frog on my out of use layout, all others were insulfrog, as I work towards the reassembly of the layout it involves a lot of checking of the trackwork and points in each section to ensure that all works smoothly. I have 4 replacement points sitting as safety spares so I can restart operations.

I will certainly be pleased when the layout is finally up and running again, however I am not a big operator, and on that score all the points show no sign of any wear that I can see, although I will have closer checks as the layout goes up.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

In my experience, Peco Insulfrog diamond crossings are where most short circuits occur. The isolation gaps in the V and especially K crossings are too short, and wider tyres can span the gap. Some years back I modified a couple of diamond crossings by slightly shortening the metal rails and INCREASING the length of the plastic insulated rail (i.e. a longer isolated gap) and smoothness of running was IMPROVED - considerably. Fortunately these days Peco makes Electrofrog diamond crossings!
  apw5910 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
That Stewart Hine article about electrofrogging insulfrog points and crossings was "A Worked Example", Your Model Railways, November 1985, pages 798--801.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Thinking about this further, a likely cause of dropouts on some points is poor contact between the points blade and the stockrail. This is equally an issue for both Insulfrog and Electrofrog points - which are no magic bullet to solve all issues!

Some (not all) Peco points have a metal tongue under the stock rail that contacts the points blade to assist conductivity. If these are present, check that they are clean and are contacting the underside of the blade. Also check for cleanliness of contacting surfaces between the blades and stockrails. Often these faces will be fouled when the track is painted or ballasted.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Thinking about this further, a likely cause of dropouts on some points is poor contact between the points blade and the stockrail. This is equally an issue for both Insulfrog and Electrofrog points - which are no magic bullet to solve all issues!

Some (not all) Peco points have a metal tongue under the stock rail that contacts the points blade to assist conductivity. If these are present, check that they are clean and are contacting the underside of the blade. Also check for cleanliness of contacting surfaces between the blades and stockrails. Often these faces will be fouled when the track is painted or ballasted.
NSWRcars
I have seen this too. The loco will stop perhaps with one wheel on the insulated frog, the other on the point blade which is not making good contact with the stock rail. Or, with small locos (0-4-0 narrow gauge locos for example) both wheels are on the point blade. One way to diagnose this is get a fine screwdriver or toothpick and when the loco stops press the blade with the point of the toothpick against the stock rail - if the loco moves again then that is the problem.
  DJPeters Assistant Commissioner

Thinking about this further, a likely cause of dropouts on some points is poor contact between the points blade and the stockrail. This is equally an issue for both Insulfrog and Electrofrog points - which are no magic bullet to solve all issues!

Some (not all) Peco points have a metal tongue under the stock rail that contacts the points blade to assist conductivity. If these are present, check that they are clean and are contacting the underside of the blade. Also check for cleanliness of contacting surfaces between the blades and stockrails. Often these faces will be fouled when the track is painted or ballasted.
I have seen this too. The loco will stop perhaps with one wheel on the insulated frog, the other on the point blade which is not making good contact with the stock rail. Or, with small locos (0-4-0 narrow gauge locos for example) both wheels are on the point blade. One way to diagnose this is get a fine screwdriver or toothpick and when the loco stops press the blade with the point of the toothpick against the stock rail - if the loco moves again then that is the problem.
duttonbay
Yes this is often overlooked when cleaning track or doing some track maintenance. Adjust as necessary and check all point blades for contact with a meter or a 12/24 volt indicator of some sort. A ready to use one can be bought from a auto type shop for a couple of dollars. When found correct it straight away as five will get you ten if you put it off, you will forget it and the next running session you have the same problem. Periodically check all point blades for operation and contact.

While you are doing that and have the meter or checker out check every join in your track you only need one faulty track joiner to be in the track and all hell can break loose sort of. I have one such rail joiner in the display layout because years back a simple short section of insulate rail was used to operate a relay to turn on and off automaticly a signal or something. When the rail joiner loses contact which it has done this creates a large insulated section on this layout, I have now added more power feeds to this section of track so it does not solely rely on the rail joiners to pass the volts through it. Check them all you might just get a surprise as to how many are a bit on the dodgy side.

A simple cheap one will surfice to do this as in this photo.
  SAR523 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Chicago, IL
My vote is also to remove the Insulfrogs and replace them with Electrofrogs (I did this, at exorbitant expense), or just replace the frogs as suggested (which is what I would do now).

However I did see this thread on MRH; perhaps it may be helpful if the running rails that terminate on the frog aren't getting power; that'll really slow you down.

https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/36378

(edit: oops, I see David has posted basically the same thing above).

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