Peco Code 75 Electrofrog points questions

 
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
"I switch the frog's polarity using contacts on the point motor instead."
Which is fine, of course, if one is using point motors or not just testing layouts...

What about if it is a manual switch?
Gremlin
Then you can install a microswitch activated by the tie rod operation.

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  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

Doesn't seem to be adequate space under the point if mounted onto a baseboard to do that, and I wouldn't like to have lumpy track...although it could look prototypical for outback lines I guess Smile
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
They don't call them "microswitches" for nothing. Some are REALLY tiny!
  John_Bushell Chief Commissioner

Location: Brisbane
Add a manual switch for the frog.  That is what I did with some.  No doubt a mechanical version is available if you work on it.

Regards,
John
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
"I switch the frog's polarity using contacts on the point motor instead."
Which is fine, of course, if one is using point motors or not just testing layouts...

What about if it is a manual switch?
Gremlin
Yes, use a slide type switch, with a hole drilled through with a piano wire to activate the points. You wire the centre contact of the switch to the frog & the 2 point rails, to the outer contacts of the switch. So when the point is thrown, the electrical operation occurs simultaneously. Easier to do than write the instructions!
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
"I switch the frog's polarity using contacts on the point motor instead."
Which is fine, of course, if one is using point motors or not just testing layouts...

What about if it is a manual switch?
Gremlin
I have lots of non-motorised Peco turnouts on my layout and developed a modification to switch the frog polarity. Here are some pics...sorry for the poor quality.

[img]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d89/roachie01/DSC05556_zpscba4e1dd.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d89/roachie01/DSC05555_zps40484792.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d89/roachie01/DSC05553_zps4d91c72b.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d89/roachie01/DSC05552_zpsa49dae44.jpg[/img]

[img]http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d89/roachie01/DSC05551_zps82f82b9a.jpg[/img]

Like I said the quality is poor, but basically it involves using a small SPDT slide switch. There is a 0.95mm hole drilled through the actuating "arm" of the switch and a piece of 1mm brass wire is forced through....this wire extends up through the hole in the throw bar and is snipped off later flush with the top of that bar. The throw distance of the slide switch is almost exactly the same as the Peco throw.

These switches are available on ebay for a very cheap price (something like $10- for 50 of them as I recall).

The switch is not glued to the base of the turnout, but is held in situ by the 3 wires. The 2 outer tabs of the switch have a piece of solid copper wire (stripped from a section of household mains wire). These 2 pieces of wire, once soldered to their respective switch tabs, are routed through the gap between the underside of the rail and the top of the sleeper, then bent at 90 degrees and soldered to the outside of the rail.

The central tab of the switch also has a strip of that copper wire attached and it goes right down to the frog, where it is soldered to the piece of wire that Peco provides on the underside. I try to route the copper wire along under one of the rails so it is not so obvious and once it is all in place, I carefully apply heat to the copper wire whilst using a flat balded screwdriver to progressively press the wire into the "melting" underside of the sleepers. This ensures that the turnout still sits flush with the road bed.

Of course a suitable hole needs to be drilled in the baseboard/road bed, to allow the switch to fit in.

Also, the 2 small pieces of wire that Peco have installed to join the closure rails to the frog need to be broken away (with needle nose pliers or levered with a small screwdriver).

It may sound complicated, but is relatively simple to do.

Roachie
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Also, the 2 small pieces of wire that Peco have installed to join the closure rails to the frog need to be broken away (with needle nose pliers or levered with a small screwdriver).
Roachie

Why? Are you turning Insulforg points into electrofrog? In an electrofrog point, the switch just augments (or replaces) the wipers that slide under the stock rails. I've never cut the wires on my electrofrog Peco points (and I don't use insulfrogs). Incidentally, I only use Peco in fiddle yards and off-scene places, make my own pointwork for the scenic areas.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Why? Are you turning Insulforg points into electrofrog? In an electrofrog point, the switch just augments (or replaces) the wipers that slide under the stock rails. I've never cut the wires on my electrofrog Peco points (and I don't use insulfrogs). Incidentally, I only use Peco in fiddle yards and off-scene places, make my own pointwork for the scenic areas.
apw5910
Why? - Because it's the correct thing to do. If anything, he's turning an electrofrog into an insulfrog, and then back to an electrofrog again by installing the switch. The switch is not augmenting the switch blade wipers, it has absolutely nothing to do with pickup on the switch blades. The switch is merely setting the correct polarity at the frog, nothing more, nothing less. You can choose to do this or not, it's your layout, but you will come to regret not doing it when you convert to DCC.
  Gremlin Assistant Commissioner

So, seriously oversimplifying I know, but wouldn't it be easier then to use insulfrog and ensure that locos have adequate pickups to traverse the dead frog?
  apw5910 Chief Commissioner

Location: Location: Location.
Why? - Because it's the correct thing to do. If anything, he's turning an electrofrog into an insulfrog, and then back to an electrofrog again by installing the switch. The switch is not augmenting the switch blade wipers, it has absolutely nothing to do with pickup on the switch blades. The switch is merely setting the correct polarity at the frog, nothing more, nothing less. You can choose to do this or not, it's your layout, but you will come to regret not doing it when you convert to DCC.
Aaron
Ahh, bloody DCC. Forgot about that. Good explanation of why at http://railwaybobsmodulebuildingtips.blogspot.ca/2013/01/the-peco-electrofrog-modifications.html if anyone cares.

Long, long ago I standardised on my own (analogue) control systems that work beautifully for me, so I won't be changing to DCC anytime soon.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
So, seriously oversimplifying I know, but wouldn't it be easier then to use insulfrog and ensure that locos have adequate pickups to traverse the dead frog?
Gremlin
DCC or DC, it is irrevelant. A 0-4-0 tank loco and the like have trouble with  dead frog points, and sometimes insulfrog points at real slow speed. Even if the loco has all wheel pickups. Even 0-6-0 locos can have toruble. Put several points together the poor loco could get off one frog and encounter another. A live frog ensures the loco run flawlessly.  

Another trap is the classically wired loco which can stll on points. That is say on a steam loco with tender it picks up power one side, passes through the motor and goes through to the tender to the other rail. Some diesals are done the same way.  The "All Wheel Drive" that most are used to todaywas a advanced feature even 15 years ago.....  

DCC and newer technology can ensure pickups are no longer a issue. "Stay Alive" capacitors and the like allow train to go on when encountering a pickup poor section. And advancment on batteries ma see the track no longer powered at all. For the larger scales this exists now.

It all depend on what you run. The size of the loco, the speed you run at.

Regards,
David Head
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
So, seriously oversimplifying I know, but wouldn't it be easier then to use insulfrog and ensure that locos have adequate pickups to traverse the dead frog?
Gremlin
If that's what you choose to do.
But what about small 4 wheel locos? I'd rather do the job properly with almost continuous rail contact, than have big lumps of non conducting plastic, smack in the centre of a point.
Once done properly, there is nothing else to do.
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Why? - Because it's the correct thing to do. If anything, he's turning an electrofrog into an insulfrog, and then back to an electrofrog again by installing the switch. The switch is not augmenting the switch blade wipers, it has absolutely nothing to do with pickup on the switch blades. The switch is merely setting the correct polarity at the frog, nothing more, nothing less. You can choose to do this or not, it's your layout, but you will come to regret not doing it when you convert to DCC.
Aaron
Its good electrical practice to have almost continuous live rail contact, the DC or DCC argument is irrelevant. Its better for both.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Ahh, bloody DCC. Forgot about that. Good explanation of why at http://railwaybobsmodulebuildingtips.blogspot.ca/2013/01/the-peco-electrofrog-modifications.html if anyone cares.

Long, long ago I standardised on my own (analogue) control systems that work beautifully for me, so I won't be changing to DCC anytime soon.
apw5910
This thread is specifically about DCC and electrofrog points.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Its good electrical practice to have almost continuous live rail contact, the DC or DCC argument is irrelevant. Its better for both.
Kevin Martin
DCC or DC, it is irrevelant.

...

DCC and newer technology can ensure pickups are no longer a issue. "Stay Alive" capacitors and the like allow train to go on when encountering a pickup poor section.
dthead
Yes, but the OP and apw5910 are both already using electrofrog points, presumably for those very reasons. The point I was making is that apw5910, by not modifying their points will have a SPECIFIC problem should they move to DCC, a problem not known generally to occur with DC. Stay alive is of no benefit in this case either, the issue is not pickup related as such, it's that the layout will be shut down on the short circuit current flowing at the frog, unless you nip those frog wires and power via a switch. No amount of stay alive will keep your loco alive when the system is shutdown.
  Roachie Chief Commissioner

Location: Kadina SA (formerly NSW)
Sorry to take so long to come back with my follow-up....I've been down to Adelaide today and just got back home.

Two more things that I should have added:

1). I also add 2 short pieces of copper wire to join the stock rails to the closure rails after I remove the small Peco "jumpers" I mentioned above. This ensures the closure rails are always electrically the same as their neighbouring stock rails.

2). It struck me once I read some of the responses to my earlier post with those horrible pics, that the most recent 15 or so turnouts that I have converted have, in deed, been Insulfrog turnouts that I wanted to alter to Electrofrog.

Roachie
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Most of the points on my layout are Peco Code 75 electrofrog, motorised with Peco's own underfloor motors & polarity switches.
Over the last few years I've noticed that locos slow down over the points. There's no stuttering, it looks more like voltage drop. Any ideas? All I can think of is that wear or possibly dirt in the switches is impeding the current flow.

While I'm here, I'm also thinking of putting polarity switches under a couple of hand operated points. They'd have to be fitted to the underside of the baseboards as the points are in & ballasted. Does anyone have any suggestions as to brands, installation etc?
  MtBeenak Train Controller

...by not modifying their points will have a SPECIFIC problem should they move to DCC, a problem not known generally to occur with DC.
Aaron
What is specific to DCC?   I have operated DC for years using electrofrog points without shorting.  I install insulated rail joiners (or gaps) on the two inner rails from the frog.  I then wire the two insulated rails on the siding leading from that point individually, often through a switch, so I can isolate a loco in that siding.  Apart from powering these isolated sections permanently, how would I need to alter my set up for DCC?

I understand that I can lose power if I rely on the switch blades to carry the current alone, but that is true with DC also.

I have read through the DCC for Beginners section of this site, but I find the information to be very basic and does not address this issue or a number of others, particularly reverse loops.

Mick
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

What is specific to DCC?
MtBeenak
What is specific is the reaction to a short. With DC a momentary short (perhaps the back of a wheel touching an open point blade) causes a stutter. With DCC such a short will shut down the system, and then recover, sometimes seconds later.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
The railway dog, your issue and please be mindful of the fact that I have not and cannot see your layout, is likely related to the contact area between the stock and switching rails becoming progressively dirtier. You can try cleaning with something like isopropyl alcohol or some other type of electrical contact cleaner. Just be mindful of checking it somewhere inconspicuous for safety of ballast colouring and other paint type things in the area.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Mick, I said the problem was specific to DCC, if you've been running DC for years then of course it will be unknown to you.

Your layout and locomotives are experiencing the shorting issue, but your DC controllers do not shut down for you to notice it.

A dcc system on the other hand will shut down within tens of milliseconds of the short occurring and with it, every locomotive on the layout will be without power.

What do you need to know about reverse loops? They're fairly trivial to set up and wire. I don't mean that to be condescending.

If you have specific questions ask them.
  The railway dog Train Controller

Location: Adelaide Hills
Aaron
Your reply to my query about slowing running over the points mentions dirt between the stock & switch rails. Be assured I've cleaned there, hopefully well enough. It certainly does effect an improvement at times.
But there are still problems. Plus, if this is the issue & I still get slow running then those polarity switches aren't doing much...
And the hinge mechanism between the switch & closure rails, a dirt trap if ever there was one & hard to clean properly.
  NSWGR1855 Deputy Commissioner

Most of the points on my layout are Peco Code 75 electrofrog, motorised with Peco's own underfloor motors & polarity switches.
Over the last few years I've noticed that locos slow down over the points. There's no stuttering, it looks more like voltage drop. Any ideas? All I can think of is that wear or possibly dirt in the switches is impeding the current flow.

While I'm here, I'm also thinking of putting polarity switches under a couple of hand operated points. They'd have to be fitted to the underside of the baseboards as the points are in & ballasted. Does anyone have any suggestions as to brands, installation etc?
The railway dog
There is a DCC only alternative to micro switches. See http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/support/frogjuicerinfo.html

Easer to install compared to micro switches.

Terry Flynn.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
There is a DCC only alternative to micro switches. See http://www.tamvalleydepot.com/support/frogjuicerinfo.html

Easer to install compared to micro switches.

Terry Flynn.
NSWGR1855
The Tam Valely frog juicer is a good option, but it works only for DCC, so if you go that route DC operation would not be possible.  My layout will always be DCC so this is no issue.

However this only looks after the frog part of a point. You still have to ensure the other rails have a good electrical contact, as Aaron and others have recently talked about.

Regards,
David Head
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
What's a Hex Frog Juicer sell for locally? I see them internationally for approx AUD120. I could micro switch Sydney Central yard for that price, the last micro switches I purchased were 11c each, and that wasn't even an especially good bulk price. I am sure that if I needed 1100 micro switches it would come to under AUD100.

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