Author Topic: Need help with yard wiring  (Read 2394 times)

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BCOL 747

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Need help with yard wiring
« on: April 19, 2016, 12:03:48 AM »
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This seems like a rookie question but would anyone be so kind to help me figure out the wiring for my Chetwynd yard? I am running Digitrax DCC and using PECO Code 55 track with Electro frog turnouts. So far I have wired the yard up to the first turnout and I am fine coming into the yard from the South (Pine River #3 bridge side) on the main line, but as soon as I hit the second turnout which points back towards the south the track goes dead. I have tried a number of solutions ie. Gapped one track, gapped both tracks but nothing seems to work.

I am not sure if I am doing this correctly as the big yard on my lower deck seems to work fine but saying that it didn’t have any switchback turnouts. Is there someone who could point out exactly where I need to gap and place the feeder wires for this yard? I am starting to become really frustrated here and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Not sure if this belongs here or in the DCC/Electronics forum so if the moderators feel it is warranted please feel free to move this post.

Thanks,
Chris



« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:05:43 AM by BCOL 747 »

bbussey

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 08:12:38 AM »
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Do you have feeder wires to every separate piece of rail?
Bryan Busséy
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Ron McF

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 09:16:28 AM »
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You didn't tell us how you're installing your points, but do you realise that with Peco C55 points the two frog rails (the rails leading out from the frog) share the same polarity?  If you've only used metal rail-joiners to connect your track sections then, depending on how the points are aligned, you may experience short-circuits.

Unless you modify the points (as described by Allan Gartland about half-way down the page at http://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_peco.htm), then you must either use insulating rail joiners or gap the rails (as shown by Baronjutter at http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthread.php?33842-How-to-wire-Peco-C55-switches-for-DCC-and-for-use-with-ground-throws.)

Regards,
Ron

« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 09:18:51 AM by Ron McF »
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JMaurer1

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 11:47:05 AM »
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You also probably need to either use Tortoise switch machines (which have power routing capabilities) or some other way to route power to the points. This is the biggest problem with using Electro frog turnouts. Unless you put a piece of plastic or something else that is electrically non-conductive to keep the cut gaps from expanding (usually because of the heat), they can (read 'will') close back up and create shorts again in the future (usually just after you forget about them as potential problems). 
Sacramento Valley NTrak

BN1970

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 12:13:56 PM »
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Cris,
  I just finished the track/wiring on my new layout, with 110 Peco code 55 Electro Frog turnouts.  I'm using a Digitrax DCC system as well.

Most of my turnouts only rely on the Peco turnout spring for closing the points.

I always use the plastic Peco rail joiners on both of the Frog rails.  Everything works fine.

As Bryan has also posted, you need to solder a wiring onto every separate piece of rail.

I usually solder the point side of my turnouts and under the rail joiner solder the two feeder wires.  If I solder track sections together I count that as one piece of rail.

I also don't normally recommend having more than about 6 feet of track soldered together as expansion/contraction can cause your rail to kink. --Brian
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 09:50:13 AM by BN1970 »

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 12:34:37 PM »
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In case it's not clear yet, here is an illustration of the shorting problem.  Peco power routing puts the frog and all the point and closure rails at the same polarity.  In your example, if both turnouts are lined straight, everything is fine (top case in the diagram), but if one is lined the other way, you get a short at the frog of that turnout due to the power routing (middle case).  One solution is to add gaps as shown in the bottom diagram, and only feed power from the point end of the turnout.  Other solutions are shown in the web page Ron linked to.



BCOL 747

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 02:51:54 PM »
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Bryan, yes from what I understand I am going to have drops going from most or all of the rails.

Ron, yes I am aware of the Peco electrofrog issue but I got a really good price on the turnouts from a hobby shop that was closing down so now I am kind of forced to use them. Should I have gone with the Insulfrogs? Thanks for the website links very helpful.

Jmaurer1, the switches will all be hand thrown so there will be no Tortoise machines. Thanks for the tips on the gaps.

Brian, it sounds like we are doing something very similar (except yours works). I am using the Peco plastic rail joiners as well.

Gary thanks for the diagram. I am a visual guy so this helps immensely. I think I am very close with what I have but my gaps and feeders must be in the wrong place.

Gentleman, thank you for the above information. It is very helpful and I will give it a try when I get home from work tonight. Wish me luck.

Thanks again
Chris  :scared:

peteski

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 03:43:38 PM »
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Peco electro-frog switches (when properly installed) are far superior to insul-frog switches (bot operationally and visually).  But the "properly installed" part is very important.

If you decider to depend on the contact between points and stock rails for power routing (the lazy way out), you will regret that decision after few years. Trust me - I have seen this multiple times.

Forget abut the excuse of the points being spring-loaded for positive contact with the stock rail and the other excuse about nickel-silver oxide being conductive. In real-world application things don't work out this way. Also each point has 2 possible areas of poor contact: at the point-end  to stock rail contact (spring-loaded) and the joint between the other end of the point and the closure rail (not spring-loaded and guaranteed to get more sloppy in use).

You will end up having to clean the contact area between tne point and stock rail to make it more reliable (as your trains keep on stalling after going through the switch.  At least there you can actually use a file or sandpaper to clean the contact area. They you will end up wiggling the other unreliable joint (point to closure rail) as there is not way to get in there and clean the contact areas.  What is supposed to be fun operation will become a headache. Especially if you have as many switches as you have.

The most trouble-free way to install these switches is to put insulating joiners on both rails coming out of the frog and find a way to reliably power the frog/points.  Then of course wire up all the yard tracks.

Since you don't plan on using switch machines, there are couple of options.  If you use DCC, you could get the Frog Juicer boards to supply power to the frogs. If you want the least expensive option they you mechanically link a slide-switch to the throwbar.  Then you can use that switch to throw the points and also to electrically power the frog.

While this adds to the initial expense and install time, in the logn run it will greatly pay off by providing a trouble-free operation.   :)
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mark dance

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 06:55:56 PM »
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Peco electro-frog switches (when properly installed) are far superior to insul-frog switches (bot operationally and visually).  But the "properly installed" part is very important.

If you decide to depend on the contact between points and stock rails for power routing (the lazy way out), you will regret that decision after few years. Trust me - I have seen this multiple times.

Forget abut the excuse of the points being spring-loaded for positive contact with the stock rail and the other excuse about nickel-silver oxide being conductive. In real-world application things don't work out this way. Also each point has 2 possible areas of poor contact: at the point-end  to stock rail contact (spring-loaded) and the joint between the other end of the point and the closure rail (not spring-loaded and guaranteed to get more sloppy in use).

You will end up having to clean the contact area between tne point and stock rail to make it more reliable (as your trains keep on stalling after going through the switch.  At least there you can actually use a file or sandpaper to clean the contact area. They you will end up wiggling the other unreliable joint (point to closure rail) as there is not way to get in there and clean the contact areas.  What is supposed to be fun operation will become a headache. Especially if you have as many switches as you have.

The most trouble-free way to install these switches is to put insulating joiners on both rails coming out of the frog and find a way to reliably power the frog/points.  Then of course wire up all the yard tracks.

Since you don't plan on using switch machines, there are couple of options.  If you use DCC, you could get the Frog Juicer boards to supply power to the frogs. If you want the least expensive option they you mechanically link a slide-switch to the throwbar.  Then you can use that switch to throw the points and also to electrically power the frog.

While this adds to the initial expense and install time, in the logn run it will greatly pay off by providing a trouble-free operation.   :)

I respectfully disagree with this statement. 

Steve Stark and I have many, many hundreds of operating hours of point power-routing electrofrog operation.  I summarized our real world findings in a post somewhere a year or two back.

I would not hesitate to recommend Peco electrofrogs used this way - in the way they are designed to operate.  The most that is required on the C&W's >140 hand thrown Electrofrog's (the balance are tortoise thrown and power routed) is a gentle polish from a business card between points and stock rails.  I test each turnout before semi regular monthly operations and I find perhaps a half dozen that need the business card polish.  Just make sure you are throwing the points firmly.  Don't worry; Peco code 55 can take it as it is code 80 buried in the ties!  Bullet proof and more reliable than any all Tortoise or all slide switch layout I have operated on...and that is quite a number.

md
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 06:57:31 PM by mark dance »
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mark dance

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 07:24:40 PM »
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I dug up the old post from about a year ago and here it is...

Here are Steve Stark's results from using Peco hand thrown switches on his recently departed E&N.  They appear to basically mirror my own. The C&W's experience is for a combined 1000 "turnout-years" operating monthly.  Steve's E&N experience is from over 8000 "turnout-years" operating  more frequently than monthly.

From our experience the manually thrown Peco points are reliable mechanically and electrically without need of additional electrical or mechanical devices.

md

"Hi Mark,
 
I used 58 Peco Code 55 turnouts for 10 years on my Esquimalt & Nanaimo Ry. with no mechanical problems from fairly heavy usage (monthly operating sessions, sometimes two or three per month, plus operating on my own).  There was the occasional electrical contact issue from dust or scenery applications, but easily fixed and non-recurring.  I also had 25 plus years operating 90 Peco code 80 turnouts and 15 years operating another 26 code 80 turnouts with only two mechanical failures and one with iffy contact issues  plus the same  occasional electrical contact issue with the same heavy usage over the last 10 years and lighter usage before that.
 
The iffy contact issue in Wellcox yard was a spring problem, while the two mechanical issues, one in Courtenay and the other in Bellingham yard were points becoming separated from the throw bar as a result of operators using the points to throw the turnout rather than the throw bar. The Bellingham turnout was used upwards of 30 times per operating session.  It probably was thrown over 7,000 times before it failed.  Even then, I was able to repair it using a soldering iron on the plastic throw bar.
 
I have not used any other turnouts since 1975 except for one Micro Engineering turnout.  It was located on a lightly used (maybe 4 times a year for 15 years) Milwaukee branch line and did not give me any problems.
 
See you on Saturday.
 
Steve"
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
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BCOL 747

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2016, 07:36:09 PM »
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Thanks Mark. this information makes me breath a littler easier.

Chris

peteski

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 09:37:28 PM »
+1
I respectfully disagree with this statement. 

Steve Stark and I have many, many hundreds of operating hours of point power-routing electrofrog operation.  I summarized our real world findings in a post somewhere a year or two back.

I would not hesitate to recommend Peco electrofrogs used this way - in the way they are designed to operate.  The most that is required on the C&W's >140 hand thrown Electrofrog's (the balance are tortoise thrown and power routed) is a gentle polish from a business card between points and stock rails.  I test each turnout before semi regular monthly operations and I find perhaps a half dozen that need the business card polish.  Just make sure you are throwing the points firmly.  Don't worry; Peco code 55 can take it as it is code 80 buried in the ties!  Bullet proof and more reliable than any all Tortoise or all slide switch layout I have operated on...and that is quite a number.

md

Yes, we disagree. The statement above clearly indicates need for cyclical maintenance (other than just a regular track cleaning). To me that is an extra hassle which would not exist if the frog was  powered by means other than depending solely on the points-to-stock-rail contact.

If the points power route only the switch (the tracks exiting the points are gaped and the year tracks have solid power feed) then the possible unreliable area is limited to the length of the switch itself. That could be acceptable (especially if the locomotives are long enough to straddle the switch).   Personally I rather do the extra work of insuring solid electrical connections at the install time and not worry about periodic cleaning later on.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 12:30:24 AM by peteski »
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BCR 570

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 09:41:14 PM »
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As my Chetwynd yard will be nearly identical track layout, I am hoping that I won't have similar problems with the Atlas Code 55 . . . .

Tim
T. Horton
North Vancouver, B.C.
BCR Dawson Creek Subdivision in N Scale
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peteski

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 10:57:19 PM »
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As my Chetwynd yard will be nearly identical track layout, I am hoping that I won't have similar problems with the Atlas Code 55 . . . .

Tim

No, but you will have a whole different set of problems.  ;)

There was a recent thread on how to make Atlas C55 switches more reliable.  It was the one where Puddy had a problem with his turnout and Max posted an excellent write up on how to fix the Atlas switches so they are reliable.

EDIT: Here is the specific post which explains what the problem is, and how to make the turnouts more reliable (before installation).  Again, something which will take up some of your time during construction, but save you lots of frustration down the road.
https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=38779.msg470420#msg470420
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 12:41:12 AM by peteski »
--- Peteski de Snarkski

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mark dance

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Re: Need help with yard wiring
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2016, 11:46:02 PM »
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Yes, we disagree. The statement above clearly indicates need for cyclical maintenance (other than just a regular track cleaning). To me that is an extra hassle which would not exist if the frog was powered.

If the points power route only the switch (the tracks exiting the points are gaped and the year tracks have solid power feed) then the possible unreliable area is limited to the length of the switch itself. That could be acceptable (especially if the locomotives are long enough to straddle the switch).   Personally I rather do the extra work of insuring solid electrical connections at the install time and not worry about periodic cleaning later on.

The Peco code 55 electrofrog turnouts do have powered frogs obviously.  May I presume you mean " independently powered frogs"?

For reference my personal layout experience also includes >70 turnouts with independent power routing (through a Tortoise or auto-reverser in the case of a wye tails switches).  The additional complexity of more feeders to the switch and introducing a mechanical switch/contact does introduce some additional execution and reliability issues of its own of course.

Having used both on a substantial home layout, and having to buy, install and maintain both for over 10 years, and additionally with Steve Stark's more considerable experience confirming my layout is no fluke, Peteski, I believe your statement that Chris will "regret this decision after few years" is without basis and inflammatory.  I have never regretted it and neither has Steve.  If I had heard and followed your advice I believe I would be no further ahead on either reliability or reduced maintenance.  Again this comes from personal experience with not only my layout but also having operated on many N scale layouts including Atlas switches and handlaid ones ones with slide switches for locking points and powering frogs.

It also comes from a perspective of opting for Peco switches, with their known aesthetic compromises, because they offered bullet proof performance, broad selection and availability, and very very low maintenance relative to alternatives.

md
Youtube Videos of the N Scale Columbia & Western at: markdance63
Photos and track plan of of the N Scale Columbia & Western at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27907618@N02/sets/72157624106602402/