Author Topic: Peco Turnout Connectivity  (Read 789 times)

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rickb773

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Peco Turnout Connectivity
« on: August 31, 2014, 02:49:38 PM »
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I have a question for the experienced modelers here:

I have over 50 Peco Electrofrog turnouts, many close to 40 years old, and I have sporadic electrical connectivity issues with them and am looking for some guidance to solve these issues.

The night before an operating session (or entertaining visitors), I go check all the turnouts (by running temperamental engines through each one (in both directions and both legs)) to see if I will have any connectivity issues. Bulky turnouts get the inside rails scraped and tips bent to insure full contact.

Everything will run fine but the next day when attempting to run the railroad I will have 1 or 2 fail to maintain contact.

I have also tried spraying them with CRC QD Contact Cleaner with no improvement.

Any advice from those who have successfully solved similar issues?

peteski

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 02:58:53 PM »
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You failed to mention how they are wired electrically.
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alhoop

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 03:18:06 PM »
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My Peco and Shinohara turnouts are 20+ years old. I solved the connectivity problem this way. Sure makes a difference:
http://www.trainboard.com/grapevine/showthread.php?158192-N-scale-turnout-and-frog-control-with-switchstands&p=982261&highlight=#post982261

Al

VonRyan

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 03:49:10 PM »
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Isolate the frog, drop a feeder from the frog, and wire it to a toggle switch.
That's how Konrad does all his turnouts. The arm acts as the throw lever while also changing frog polarity.
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GaryHinshaw

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 04:15:22 PM »
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I'm pretty sure the power routing feature of an off-the-shelf Electrofrog is obtained entirely from point to stock rail contact, which I feel is the weakest aspect of an otherwise robust turnout.  I decided to modify mine as in this post, but this approach won't work if you have already installed your turnouts.  The suggestion to add a polarity switching feeder to the frog (or any section of rail electrically connected to it) is probably your best option.

BTW, did you keep the spring in the point mechanism?  That should produce pretty reliable pressure (and hence contact).  I removed mine so I could use Tortoises, hence my extra concern about the point-stock rail contact.

rickb773

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 04:30:05 PM »
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You failed to mention how they are wired electrically.

They all have feeders at the narrow/points end (unless stacked like yard tracks; then the only feeder is at the first turnout).
I do use the power routing feature on sidings.
Mainline switches have the rails gapped beyond the wide/frog end.

They are already installed, ballasted (not in the sensitive portions of the turnout), etc on the railroad (see my blog).

They all still have the springs in and are manually thrown during an operating session (reach < 16")

I was hoping someone had a solution to keep the key surfaces from getting dirty and losing contact (CRC QD didn't do anything)
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 04:33:25 PM by rickb773 »

peteski

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 10:37:40 PM »
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I was hoping someone had a solution to keep the key surfaces from getting dirty and losing contact (CRC QD didn't do anything)

I don't think there is a magic bullet for this problem. Depending on reliable contact through the points contacting the stock rail which are then attached to the closure rails through simple rail joiners is asking for trouble.  Your problem is most likely around the rail joiner on the points rather than at the contact area between the points and stock rail.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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alhoop

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2014, 11:30:08 PM »
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"I don't think there is a magic bullet for this problem."

See my post above for a 'magic solution'

" Depending on reliable contact through the points contacting the stock rail which are then attached to the closure rails through simple rail joiners is asking for trouble. "

I agree


" Your problem is most likely around the rail joiner on the points rather than at the contact area between the points and stock rail."

I don't know peteski - I used to use a pipe cleaner soaked in LifeLike rail cleaner to restore contact between the point rail and the stock rail.
Never had that much trouble at the rail joiner.



Al

peteski

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2014, 11:49:20 PM »
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I don't know peteski - I used to use a pipe cleaner soaked in LifeLike rail cleaner to restore contact between the point rail and the stock rail.
Never had that much trouble at the rail joiner.

Al

I wrote "most likely" as it was mentioned that the area of the points and stock rails have been thoroughly cleaned.  To me that would be the next area to check for intermittent contact.  Especially if some debris or glue got into the joiners at some point in time.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2014, 11:55:32 PM by peteski »
--- Peteski de Snarkski

-"Look at me, I'm satirical!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm anal retentive!!!"
-"Look at me, I have the most posts evahhhh!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm snarky!!!!"
-"Look at me, I have OCD!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm a curmudgeon!!!!"
-"Look at me, I'm not negative, just blunt and honest!!!"

Rossford Yard

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 06:41:28 AM »
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I don't have Peco anymore, but when I did, on the insulfrogs, I added jumper wires to the rail near the rail joiner, ahead of the frog.   On Electrofrogs, I sometimes added a touch of solder at the rail joiner joint halfway between the point and frog.  The rail still had enough flexibility to throw, and the contact was made.

I was told that bending the points only works for a while, since the rail tended to keep loosening when bent, and thus became less reliable.  If you use snap action switch machines like Peco, I also found that the older turnouts could be pushed outward a bit by the actual throwing of the switch over time.  They might be slightly out of gauge, reducing contact.  I carefully added spikes on the outside of the stock rails near the contact point to push the stock rails back in a bit to increase contact instead.  Lastly, I added Flitz (furniture polish) to the point areas to keep them cleaner longer.  (make sure no paint has gotten in with a thorough cleaning first)

rickb773

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2014, 12:16:28 PM »
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I don't think there is a magic bullet for this problem.

Darn!   I like magic bullets!

rsn48

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2014, 01:33:04 PM »
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My vote is with Pete, I have both types of Peco, insulated on non, and all my problems just about have been at the points.  Before any extra wiring, try bending the point slightly in towards the track, might fill both of the inside rail on the point and main track before you bend.
Hind sight is always better than foresight, except for lost opportunity costs.

nstars

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2014, 06:07:55 PM »
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The only reliable way to solve this problem is to power the frog. Are you using DCC? In that case a good (although expensive) and relatively easy solution would be to use a frogjuicer. If not, than a blue switch machine for manual throwing of the turnout could be a solution, but it will require a hole beneath the throw bar, not easy to make when the turnout is already installed.

Marc

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Re: Peco Turnout Connectivity
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2014, 08:19:11 PM »
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I've done two things and they at least work for me. 

1)  I hotwire (jumper) the points back to the stock rail with soldered jumpers.   That gets around the eventual corrosion of that rail joiner.

2)  I use Tortoise machines with homemade linkages and use the extra contacts on them to switch the hot frog polarity with the throw of the switch.

I've also got some electrofrogs with manual Red Caboose throws on them, and they periodically fail on the point contacts and require some cleanup.  So I've pretty much decided that the jumpers and the Tortoise are the way to go here.