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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,

As I am about to start laying (and wiring) track, I would be interested in peoples opinion of the best way to toggle electrofrog turnout frog polarity when switching the points.

As I understand it, the frog has to be isolated from the layout and receive a switched feed dependant on which way the turnout is set?
The methods I guess are:-

1. Use something like a Peco PL13 accessory switch to switch ploarity as the point motor is thrown
2. Use a manual toggle switch and set the polarity by hand (and not forget)
3. Use the turnout's in-built wiring to power the frog from the toe end appropriately

Are there any other options? Are any a better way than others? And more importantly, if you choose to use a manual approach and then forget to throw the switch, can you damage anything (loco, decoder, DCC unit etc.) by running a loco onto the turnout without a frog set correctly?

Excuse my naivety...just finding my feet in the wacky world of DCC wiring
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, is it necessary to modify the turnout at all? There seems to be mentions of snipping wires within the turnout itself?
 

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There are lost of ways to change polarity Liza's P4 site
Steve Jones Electric Nose
using a manual toggle switch is a very poor idea. Either use a motor with the additional contacts for polarity switching (tortoise) (some Seeps) attachments such as the Hare from Tony's Train exchange, or a polarity switch from Peco PL13 or PL15 twin microswitch I think, sorry my Peco catelogue isn't to hand. Of course the basic Peco turnout is quite DCC friendly, the electrofrogs can be used straight out of the box without polarity switching if you only want to depend on the blade for contact, there maybe some shorting across the frog blade
particularly with Hornby pacific's. Electrofrogs generally don't work as well with DCC but can be used straight out of the box. You must still insulate the toe end inside rails on electrofrogs as you normally would.
 

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Hi pacman
You haven't stated what make and type of points you're using or what gauge your working in?? i.e. In "00" using Peco code 100, Peco Code 75 or other manufacturer.
If you're using Peco solenoid motors then the ideal option is to fit their point switches to the motor by supergluing them in place.
Switching the frog polarity by using this point operated switch will improve running reliability. Don't forget to fit insulated rail joiner to the two rails leading away from the frog rails to prevent feed back into the points and short circuits occurring due to reversing polarity on the frog.
As you wrote the question in the DCC forum I guess you're a DCC user? Then, I would recommend making all your points "Friendly" where the open switch rail is at the same polarity as its adjacent stock rail rather than as supplied where the switch rail is at opposite polarity when open. By doing this simple conversion the possibility of wheel flanges causing short circuits as loco's pass over the points is totally eliminated.
Full details of both Peco Code 100 point conversion and the simpler to carry out Peco code 75 together with frog switching details can be found on my web site here - My Webpage
However, the conversions shown can apply to virtually any make of points and in any gauge.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
QUOTE (Brian @ 8 Aug 2006, 08:51) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>You haven't stated what make and type of points you're using or what gauge your working in?? i.e. In "00" using Peco code 100, Peco Code 75 or other manufacturer.
Sorry about that. I am (will be) working in '00' gauge. I have been track planning using Peco Code 100 templates, but at this moment cannot decide whether to go for Peco Code 100, Peco Code 75 or this rather nifty looking Tillig gear. My original intention was to use Peco/Hornby point motors and use stud and probe for changing. Not having adopted DCC yet, the concept of isolating and powering frogs had not entered my mind, until now. Now DCC is on the cards, how to swap the frog polarity became an issue...

looks like using Peco PL13 accessory units might be the way, but using Tillig may require different options.

Hmmm...
 

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>Peco PL13
If that's the single pole 'thing' made of plastic and a bit of copper clad paxolin, don't touch it. They are very stiff and need a lot of extra "oomph" to drive them. Since you are considering DCC, you really need a minimum of two circuits (poles) - one to switch the poles and the other to provide feedback /if/ you want to have PC control in the future. If you want to buy Peco products that means going for the dual microswitch. They are a bit fiddly to put together but the switches are good quality. The down side is that when you add the cost of these switches to the cost of the motor it's more expensive than Fulgurex or Seep which come with switches included. At that point, the Peco advantage is ease of installation (provided you don't mind making the big hole) but the Peco loses on cost and the really horrid "snap" action.

David
 

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QUOTE At that point, the Peco advantage is ease of installation (provided you don't mind making the big hole)
Big hole??
Not necessary at all!!!(Though depends on your view point of what a "Big Hole" is?)

I guess you mean a hole large enough to pass the complete motor through when its fixed to the bottom of the Peco point?

Largest hole I drill for a Peco solenoid motor through the baseboard is 8 to 10 mm dia. This is directly under the point Tie Bar and centrally aligned. The motor is screwed up underneath and the operating pin passes through the pre drilled hole into the points tie bar. Simple and no gapping hole to cover over before ballasting etc!


The PL13 switch is very simple to install and wire. I used some 40 or so of these on my former Ridgley Vale layout and never had one fail though! Did manage to knock one off, but that's was an 'Own Goal'. If they are superglued on in the correct position they cause no bother to the motor or the point operation. It when they aren't aliened correctly that problems set in!
 

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>I guess you mean a hole large enough to pass the complete motor through when its fixed to the bottom of the Peco point? blink.gif
Yes. I use Sundeala board which is relatively easy to cut. I tried the extended pin motors but was driven demented getting the alignment "just so", so I quit. This is a hobby for relaxation and enjoyment not getting wound up. Lucky you that you are so successful.

>The PL13 switch is very simple to install
I have a few of them and I think they are just plain nasty. I have a dislike of permanent fixings like glue and nails which doesn't help my opinion of them. The ones I have are also pretty old so maybe they have stiffened up through the long years of darkness while pursued other interests.

David
 

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QUOTE (dwb @ 8 Aug 2006, 18:29) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>>Peco PL13
If that's the single pole 'thing' made of plastic and a bit of copper clad paxolin, don't touch it. They are very stiff and need a lot of extra "oomph" to drive them. Since you are considering DCC, you really need a minimum of two circuits (poles) - one to switch the poles and the other to provide feedback /if/ you want to have PC control in the future. If you want to buy Peco products that means going for the dual microswitch. They are a bit fiddly to put together but the switches are good quality. The down side is that when you add the cost of these switches to the cost of the motor it's more expensive than Fulgurex or Seep which come with switches included. At that point, the Peco advantage is ease of installation (provided you don't mind making the big hole) but the Peco loses on cost and the really horrid "snap" action.

David

I agree about the PL13 !

I have some Peco Electrofrog points powered by Fulgurex motors using the micro switches for the frogs - worked fine on analogue (I do all my testing using analogue) but as soon as I powered up with DCC I had a short circuit indication on switching the points - I eventually traced the problem to the point itself swiching slightly before the microswitch. With very careful adjustment this was cured but in the end it was easier to build enough tension into the movement to keep the pointrail contacts secure.

best regards
Brian
 

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Good tip, thanks Brian


David
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 9 Aug 2006, 20:09) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I eventually traced the problem to the point itself swiching slightly before the microswitch.

So, although slow acting point motors are more realistic and quieter, it sounds like the 'snap action' solenoid types do have their advantages, even if they are a bit more tacky


Hmmm, at this moment I am erring toward using Peco turnouts (maybe Tillig, but have been warned about flanges on my older locos), with either:-

1. Peco motors and PL15 dual microswitch attachments (to allow for future options)

or

2. Seep or Fulgurex combined motors and switches

Haven't heard any comments about the Seep varieties; has anyone used Seep? And if so, how good are they with DCC?
 

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Hi pacman
QUOTE Haven't heard any comments about the Seep varieties; has anyone used Seep? And if so, how good are they with DCC?
You can't use a Peco, Seep or any other point motor directly off of a DCC supply. Between the motor and the DCC bus on any DCC system you will need some form of decoder. There are plenty available and many operate up to four sets of points independently. Some have built in CDUs too.

Changing to DCC loco control doesn't necessarily mean you need to operate points or other accessories by DCC, though this is at times ia a nice option, especially if you're thinking of PC control for example. You can still use conventional DC (or AC) to control all lineside accessories. This then gives time for you to buy accessory decoders as the finances allow and convert as need be. Alternatively they can be left to operate 'conventionally' all the time. The choice is yours.

SEEP motors are ok and a little cheaper than the Peco motor and Peco single point switch units combined price. Either will give a positive solenoid movement. (Called the Snap!) when subjected to a 12 to 16v power supply pulse (Best via a CDU).
Electric motor drive units, such as the Tortoise are more expensive but offer slow movement and at least one set (if not more) of independent change-over contacts. However and as already pointed out, there can be a problem with these types of motors due to excessive slack occurring in their operating pins movement allowing the motors contacts to make up before the switch rail has moved fully over.

Model railways have used solenoid point operation since the first commercial point motors were manufactured, there is little to go wrong and they are relatively cheap to buy new. If you want slower point throwing then you will have to buy the electric motor operated styles - Tortoise or Fulgarex etc.
Good luck and chose thoughtfully and carefully
 

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Actually I was quite impressed with the Tillig switch machine it also has polarity switching. BTT you have invested in a Peco solenoid and their PL15 there are many other makes which are compeditive on price and superior in operation. With the toroise the blade for want of a better word is normally changed to give better strength. The tortoise can also accept the Hare a DCC decoder than detects when a turnout is incorrectly set and change it automatically, this can be a major advantage on busy junctions.
Tortoise modifications
Tony's train exchange
Tortoise & Peco
Tortoise & Hare
expencive but has some excellent features, and good applications on larger layouts.

QUOTE Tillig hands-down....
I'm helping build a friends LARGE HO scale layout and we've used Peco (both insul & electro frog) and Tillig and the Tilligs BY FAR are more DCC friendly. Peco's are great, but Tillig's are better still. The Peco insulfrogs have a bad habit of causing momentary shorts at the frogs with certain locos. If you're going to use Peco's on a DC system - use the electrofrogs. Yes you have to wire them up but you WON"T have those annoying momentary, system-wide shut-downs when you get a short across the frog. We've also tried thw Walthers but they aren't even close to either the Pecos or Tiligs. quote from a USA forum
I see international models quote the Tillig slow moving turnout motor with polarity switching at £11.00 which is cheaper than Peco by quite a bit.
 

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Hi MMD
QUOTE I see international models quote the Tillig slow moving turnout motor with polarity switching at £11.00 which is cheaper than Peco by quite a bit.
Now my maths isn't that good but.......
If a Tillig motor is £11 I've just looked at The Signal Box web site an they quote the following..
Peco PL10 motors @ £3.95 or 6 for £3.50 each
Peco PL13 switches @ £2.00 or 6 for £1.80 each
and Peco PL15 micro switches @ £5.15 each or 6 for £4.50 each.


Based on the 'each' cost a single Peco motor and single switch is £5.95 and a motor and twin micro switch is £9.10. So, its almost two Peco motors and single switches for the price of one Tillig or have I missed something??
 

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Brian, I was talking about the Tillig point motor here.

To quote one of the posts:QUOTE Regarding Value for money:

This unit costs €11.78 or £8.12 (at Lokshop).

A Peco High Performance Turnout Motor (PL10W) cost £5.35; Twin Microswitch (PL15) cost £5.75 - Total: £11.10 (at Antics) / (£8.65 at RoS).

You don't get the slow action though...

So it works out cheaper. It seems well made and looks sturdy. I'll wire it up and test the action shortly.
These prices are for singal units, not volume discount prices which may make some items cheaper.
 

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Hmmm
I'm confused....(Doesnt take a lot!)

One minute were dicussing £ (Strerling) then the Euro sudenly is used and a supplier in Germany (I think its a German company?)!! But MMD stated 'International Models' at £11.00 each UK prices and of course no import duties!
UK retailer (The Signal Box) can supply Peco PL10W motors at £4.45 each in the UK less if you buy more!
Now, where did the PL10W come from?? I wasnt taking about PL10W's just the good old PL10 basic or extened pins types! Which retail for £3.95 each.


Anyway I think the answer is... If you want slow moving points then go for an electriclly operated motor if not stick with a solioide type!
 

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Yep, Brian, its a bit of a mess, but it seems they are about the same if you want all the bells and whistles. If you want simple switching of points the the Peco is fine. You need to thave a sprung point mechanism though with the Peco switch and you need an unsprung mechanism with the Tillig motor (on Peco points you will need to remove the spring).

Anyone looking for about 25 point switches going cheap...?
 

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your quite right of course
BTW I dont have a problem with Peco motors, I had 120 odd on my last layout with only one failure in three odd years of operation. Of course this was one of the most diffficult to get at,
but then thats SODS LAW.

 

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QUOTE (Brian @ 10 Aug 2006, 18:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hmmm
I'm confused....(Doesnt take a lot!)

One minute were dicussing £ (Strerling) then the Euro sudenly is used and a supplier in Germany (I think its a German company?)!! But MMD stated 'International Models' at £11.00 each UK prices and of course no import duties!

There's is no import duty or VAT for shipments from Germany (nor anywhere in the EU) to the UK.

Andrew
 
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