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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this is an ultra noob question to ask but what is the difference between Insulfrog and Electrofrog points?

I'm starting to price up my layout idea but I don't know which points I want. My track will be DCC but I'm thinking I would rather have manual switches for the points to make things more "hands on".

Many thanks
 

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QUOTE (eddscott @ 20 Aug 2008, 10:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I'm sure this is an ultra noob question to ask but what is the difference between Insulfrog and Electrofrog points?

I'm starting to price up my layout idea but I don't know which points I want. My track will be DCC but I'm thinking I would rather have manual switches for the points to make things more "hands on".

Many thanks

If your thinking of building your first layout, take a tip, if you want good running don't even think of 'insulfrog'.
Paul M.
 

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I agree. When I got back into the hobby, I bought a whole lot of peco insulfrog points on the advice of a shop - unfortunately, you soon realise that they hinder the running of some locos. They are sold as an 'easy option'. Wiring electrofrog points is not too hard and if I can do it with my stubby fingers, then I'm sure that you could too. Electrofrog points, if set properly will give better running.

The next question you should ask is: "Should I even be looking at insulfrog or should I look for a better quality point altogether?"

Search this forum for 'Tillig'. One option that gives much better running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tillig track certainly looks good but I think I'll stay with Peco 75. Its easy to get hold of in UK and my design is all based on Peco 75 track.

having looked at the linked provided by Doug I didn't really take into account quite how much wiring goes into a track. My design has 31 straight points, 3 curved points and 3 double slips (so far). Could take a while to wire all that up!

Think I might have to simplify things a little
 

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Hi Edd,

The advice you have been given so far is spot on.

The next thing you need to decide is what type of point motors to use. Slow action, such as Tortoise or the more normal (but less prototypical) solenoid.

Personally I am using Seep PM1 solenoid motors as these incorporate frog polarity change. You will, however, need to do the mods to the point frogs as previously advised. I also have over 30 sets of points on my layout so can appreciate your comment on the amount of wiring. When completed my main control panel will have almost 200 wires going into it.

Here are a couple of wiring diagrams for the Seep PM1 for use with DCC. One is for stud & probe control, the other for switched control with LED indicators via a Masterswitch V2. Richard Johnson at DCC Concepts in Australia makes these but they are also available in the UK. Have a look at his web site for details.

Rectangle Slope Font Parallel Diagram Rectangle Font Slope Parallel Technology

Happy wiring.

Expat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So in order to be able to have DCC control of my layout, all the points need this mod?

In the link provided by Doug, its just a case of making cuts as in the photos and add jump bars again indicated in the photos. Doesn't seem too difficult.

Thanks for the diagrams Expat. My only question would be on the switch diagram (what I'll be using) where exactly does wire F go? I assume it would be more obvious with the actual parts in front of me.

Thanks chaps.
 

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QUOTE (eddscott @ 20 Aug 2008, 22:54) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>where exactly does wire F go?

Hi again Edd.

The point mod is valid for both DCC and DC. You need to be able to change the frog polarity but, at the same time, avoid the possibility of wheels causing a short circuit as they pass through the frog. Hence the frog needs to be a separately controlled, isolated section of the point.

You will see that terminals D (blue) & E (orange) collect current from the DCC Bus. Think of them as orange = +ve and blue = -ve.

Terminal F is connected to the frog and its polarity has to change depending on which way the point is thrown.

If the point is set for the train to go straight through on the main line then the frog polarity needs to be +ve (orange) the same as terminal E.

If the point is thrown so that the train leaves the main line the frog polarity needs to change to -ve (blue) the same as terminal D.

The circuitry within the Seep PM1 motor does that for you. If you use Peco point motors you have to have an additional adaptor to do this.

Hope that is clear.

Cheers,

Expat.
 

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QUOTE The point mod is valid for both DCC and DC. You need to be able to change the frog polarity but, at the same time, avoid the possibility of wheels causing a short circuit as they pass through the frog. Hence the frog needs to be a separately controlled, isolated section of the point.

A momentary short on DC is not usually a problem but on DCC the system will shut down faster than you can say "Oh bother!". So on a DC layout the mod is not absolutely necessary.

David
 

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Hi
Electrofrog points offer excellent slow speed running.
Seep PM1 solenoid motor offer good point operation for its price and it includes a built in change over switch operated by the solenoid as it moves over and back.
The Masterswitch is an excellent product, but does add to the cost per point end. These are retailing around £14 GBP per unit (Bromsgrove Models price). They can throw at least two motors per unit. i.e. a crossover pair of motors.
What it doesn't do is actually prove the point has thrown over. It only repeats the control switches position. Therefore you could have a reverse indication showing and frog polarity changed over but the point hasn't moved or is part way over!

The Seep PM1 switching proves (as far as is practicable) the point has actually moved, as does the Peco PL10 motor with the PL13 switch fitted. If the single change-over contact isn't sufficient, then a relay with 2 or more change over contacts can be powered from the PM1 / PL13 or a PL15 twin change over contact switch fitted to the PL10. Relays can be purchased quite cheaply as ex surplus at around £1.50 to £2.50 each or less for bulk purchase (i.e. ebay sales etc).
 

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QUOTE My track will be DCC but I'm thinking I would rather have manual switches for the points to make things more "hands on".

hey guys, the OP wants MANUAL switching??

good idea.....however, with manual switching the issue of crossing [frog is a slightly incorrect term]...polarity still needs to be addressed.

an ''easy/cheep'' way of achieving this is to actually switch the point blades using stiff wire [coathanger wire?] under the baseboard..supported by things like phone wire supports?
this leads from point tiebar to baseboard edge............linked to one of those small DPDT swiches. This is used to switch the polarity.

another alternative is to use those Peco switches, mounted underneath the point tie bar, connected to the bar with a bit of stiff wire

all rather easy......one wire from the crossing to the switch...and one wire of each polarity to the switch....either/or switching.

I have a question for the DCC experts here........if the whole point crossing area is switched for polarity..then there is zero risk of a wheel tread catching the 'wrong' rail, but........is there an issue with the back of a wheel catching the opposing point blade? This might cause a brief short?

If this is the case, is it not worthwhile isolating the blade rails from the crossing vee......and having those blades connected only to the stockrail they' re touching?
 

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QUOTE I have a question for the DCC experts here........if the whole point crossing area is switched for polarity..then there is zero risk of a wheel tread catching the 'wrong' rail, but........is there an issue with the back of a wheel catching the opposing point blade? This might cause a brief short?

If this is the case, is it not worthwhile isolating the blade rails from the crossing vee......and having those blades connected only to the stockrail they' re touching?

Peco Electrofrog points can be set up exactly as you describe. There is a break about half way down each blade. "Ex works" there is an electrical connection made underneath so the entire crossing is one polarity. This electrical connection is designed to broken easily (well relatively easily) and the blades are then powered by bonding them to the adjacent running rail. On the large radius points there is a break in the sleeper webbing which exposes the underside of the rails for complete access.

Given the large gap that Peco leaves for wheels to pass through, if you're getting shorts here I'd be surprised there aren't a lot of derailments. My motivation for using this scheme is to prevent a momentary short if the point blades don't leave the running rail at the same time as the mechanical switch flips over.....

David
 

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QUOTE (alastairq @ 21 Aug 2008, 04:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>question for the DCC experts here........if the whole point crossing area is switched for polarity..then there is zero risk of a wheel tread catching the 'wrong' rail, but........is there an issue with the back of a wheel catching the opposing point blade? This might cause a brief short?

If this is the case, is it not worthwhile isolating the blade rails from the crossing vee......and having those blades connected only to the stockrail they' re touching?

***Yes, that is the whole point of the modification: Nothing to do with DCC, its just the way it SHOULD be done for best layout performance and reliable running.... so it is equally valid for DC or DCC.

PECO actually already show how to do this in their code 75 instructions - the new code 75's also have cut rails and wire links to make this mod easier. so they are aware of the potential problem in their points when installed with no mods....

the correct mod gives the following:

*frog totally isolated from closure rails, electically switched polarity to match point setting

*left closure rail and related blade permanently bonded to left stock rail - therefore no chance of shorts (also good to make a wire link from closure to point blade to prevent later intermittent contact problems)

*Right closure rail and related blade permanently bonded to right stock rail - therefore no chance of shorts (also good to make a wire link from closure to point blade to prevent later intermittent contact problems)

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As Alastairq says, I would like to switch the points via switches rather than through the DCC controller. I guess its not using DCC to its full potential but I like the idea of having to learn in which position the switches need to be to guide the train and having a bank of those traditional looking switches in front of me. I feel that it will give me a feeling of involvement if you will.

Anyway, on that basis, do I still need to perform this mod to the points. Also is there any diagrams showing manual switching of points but with a DCC system? I assume I'll need a seperate 12 or 16v to power the point motors. Not sure about the seep motors - £14 a pop sounds a little steep.

I thought of using bits of wire under the table but I would prefer to use an electro-mechanical means of switching the points.

Apologies again for the questions as I'm sure this is all rudimentary stuff.
 

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QUOTE (eddscott @ 21 Aug 2008, 16:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>As Alastairq says, I would like to switch the points via switches rather than through the DCC controller. I guess its not using DCC to its full potential but I like the idea of having to learn in which position the switches need to be to guide the train and having a bank of those traditional looking switches in front of me. I feel that it will give me a feeling of involvement if you will.

Anyway, on that basis, do I still need to perform this mod to the points. Also is there any diagrams showing manual switching of points but with a DCC system? I assume I'll need a seperate 12 or 16v to power the point motors. Not sure about the seep motors - £14 a pop sounds a little steep.

I thought of using bits of wire under the table but I would prefer to use an electro-mechanical means of switching the points.

Apologies again for the questions as I'm sure this is all rudimentary stuff.

***Nothing wrong with using switches rather than DCC - most DCC users actually do exactly waht you propose, with those using decoders to control the points being very much in the minority...

YES, if long term reliability and best performance are wnted, those mods should ALWAYS be done. They really take very little time and the benefits are very big.

The wiring of the point is exactly the same with DC and DCC powered layouts.... and the diagramme posted by Expat is correct / worth following.

The Seep and Peco point motor are about the same price - appx £4~£5 each. The SEEP with built in changeover switch is a better performer than the PECO with added accessory switch, and ends up cheaper too.

The price you quoted was I think mentioned in relation to the MASTERswitch V2 - however that too was incorrect as the price is for two of them complete with all dpdt switches and leds etc for the control panel.

Richard
 
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