Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Peco Unifrog

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    1,599
    Thanks
    1,104
    Thanked 2,637 Times in 878 Posts
    Mentioned
    78 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default Peco Unifrog

    I use Peco code 55 Electrofrog turnouts on my layout and have been extremely happy with their reliability. I needed to order a turnout for a new mine run, and when I did I found something new: besides the usual Insulfrog and Electrofrog models, Peco now offers Unifrog. And according to their website they will discontinue the other two styles. I ordered one; my curiosity cost me about $2 more than an equivalent Electrofrog.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7118.jpg 
Views:	77 
Size:	142.3 KB 
ID:	99942
    Above we have the new Uni on top, a code 55 Electro in the center, and an old code 80 #4 Insul from my old layout on the bottom. All #6s have the same geometry, and all Pecos have a hard spring that snaps the points into the side rail, which means you don't need a throw to operate them. The hard contact also provides reliable (but not rock-solid - loose ballast can get in the way) electrical contact, which means you also don't need a double pole switch to power the rails. I do use slide switches as throws on my layout so that I can wire them to the frog. Except for stub sidings I also power the rails further past the frog which means I have to gap the rails.

    The Uni has obvious (too obvious? They're huge!) gaps that electrically isolate the frog and the rails next to it from the point and frog-end rails.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7122.jpg 
Views:	75 
Size:	129.2 KB 
ID:	99943
    You can see a separate wire in the first photo: you can choose to power the frog with this. This saves me from soldering a jumper to a rail somewhere, perhaps worth the two bucks.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7119.jpg 
Views:	53 
Size:	142.3 KB 
ID:	99945Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_7121.jpg 
Views:	56 
Size:	136.7 KB 
ID:	99947
    You can see how the Uni is wired; n
    one of the rails rely on the point contacting the side rail for power, and the moving point rails contact live rails at both ends.
    You can choose to go with an unpowered frog, similar to Insul, by not connecting the frog's wire. Another option, which I will probably take, is to use a SPDT to throw the turnout and hook the wire to that.

    All the wires are routed in recesses where you can choose to cut them. The only case I know of for this is for DC stubs where you park locos and want only the lined track to get power; you'd have to use the SPDT and wire the inside rails to the frog contact.

    I'll be installing this in the next few days; I don't anticipate any issues. I will try just dropping the wire under the layout and not hooking it up to an SPDT to see if any of my locos have issues with a dead frog. If so I'll do the usual slide switch ritual.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,117
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    1,297
    Thanked 4,922 Times in 755 Posts
    Mentioned
    84 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thanks, good to see it up close. If I'm understanding correctly, you would not need to put insulating joiners to the frog rails like on the Electrofrog?

    (I'm used to just soldering a lead to the frog underneath anyway. And then a slide switch for power & movement.)

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    SE of Melbourne
    Posts
    93
    Thanks
    75
    Thanked 127 Times in 50 Posts
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thanks very much for the photos. I first saw these advertised a month or so back, but the information on what internal wiring they had was limited. Your pics show all that very clearly.

    Ron McF
    https://gulflines.blogspot.com/

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Ashburn, VA, USA
    Posts
    1,346
    Thanks
    280
    Thanked 2,382 Times in 701 Posts
    Mentioned
    46 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    I feel like these are two steps forward, one step back.

    I like that they can be used as a powered frog or unpowered frog.

    I like that they fix the problem of insulfrogs not being insulated far enough past the frog causing some locomotives (mostly steam with wide/blind drivers) to short on the turnouts.

    I think it will be a win for cost/stocking long term that they have one line rather than two.

    (Wait, that's three steps forward.)

    But I do think the gaps are large, and would look better if they were smaller.

    I don't like that the gap is at the bend in the rail. I get why they did it, as the rail is a straight piece that way, but there's too much opportunity for the back side of a driver to make contact and short with the cut placed there. It should be a little before the bend. (See https://www.handlaidtrack.com/assets...s/tt-n-t-6.pdf for a better placement).

    (Wait, that's two steps back.)

    Ultimately this will be a win for N-Trak layouts because lots of folks use insulfrogs and don't know about the shorting issue, so if they use these and leave the frogs unpowered it should cure that particular ill.
    --
    Leo Bicknell

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    1,599
    Thanks
    1,104
    Thanked 2,637 Times in 878 Posts
    Mentioned
    78 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    If I'm understanding correctly, you would not need to put insulating joiners to the frog rails like on the Electrofrog?
    Correct.

    I've never used insulating joiners. I cut gaps with a Dremel and a cutoff wheel, super glue a piece of styrene into the gap to make sure it never shuts, then carve down the styrene to match the rail profile.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:


  8. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO, US of A
    Posts
    2,929
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    9,082
    Thanked 5,810 Times in 1,916 Posts
    Mentioned
    133 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Looking forward to a report on how well it functions in actual use.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to el Gato Gordo For This Useful Post:


  10. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    1,599
    Thanks
    1,104
    Thanked 2,637 Times in 878 Posts
    Mentioned
    78 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    No problems whatsoever in actual use.

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:


  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    197
    Thanks
    231
    Thanked 309 Times in 126 Posts
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    A revisit to this if you donít mind @NtheBasement, or anyone else using the Peco Unifrog turnouts. Iím needing to purchase turnouts soon for my first small layout. I bought a few Unifrogs to mess with but havenít yet. If Iím understanding correctly, these turnouts work reliably out of the box and without additional modifications? Six regular conductive rail joiners rather than using the two insulated that I understand are required for the Electrofrog version? I plan on using my gigantic human fingers to throw switches. Are you still happy with them? Where would you drop feeders from on these and what modifications (if any) do you recommend? Forgive me if any of that was answered above already and I missed it. The language is all pretty new to me.

    Thanks as always!

    Chad

  13. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    5,720
    Thanks
    9,055
    Thanked 11,372 Times in 3,409 Posts
    Mentioned
    264 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    @New
    I just used three of them in my engine facility I've been working on recently.
    They work just like the others just as you said, without the need for insulated joiners.

    The only thing I noticed on the first two were where the rails come together to form the point in the frog, that point was just a tad higher than the rest of the rails
    and I took a file to it and brought it down just a bit.

    I noticed this because a 6 axle unit would pause each time one of the trucks rolled over and it teetered just enough to loose contact.
    Now having said that, I did not power the frog.
    4 axle units rolled right over it without the pause.

    To me, it looks like a winner and hope they redo all of their turnouts like this.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to Allen H. For This Useful Post:

    New

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    1,599
    Thanks
    1,104
    Thanked 2,637 Times in 878 Posts
    Mentioned
    78 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by New View Post
    A revisit to this if you don’t mind @NtheBasement, or anyone else using the Peco Unifrog turnouts. I’m needing to purchase turnouts soon for my first small layout. I bought a few Unifrogs to mess with but haven’t yet. If I’m understanding correctly, these turnouts work reliably out of the box and without additional modifications? Six regular conductive rail joiners rather than using the two insulated that I understand are required for the Electrofrog version? I plan on using my gigantic human fingers to throw switches. Are you still happy with them? Where would you drop feeders from on these and what modifications (if any) do you recommend? Forgive me if any of that was answered above already and I missed it. The language is all pretty new to me.
    Correct on all points. No problems with the Unifrogs so far. I have installed more of them, didn't need to make modifications. Not sure if you intend to power the frogs, but if you don't they behave like Insulfrogs in that there is no power to the frog so the other wheels on your loco have to touch somewhere.

    The only modification that I've ever made to any Peco turnout is to slightly bend a point rail in toward the stock rail to prevent a car from picking the point. When it happened it was always after ballasting so presumably some invisible gunk created a gap.

    Since turnouts are expensive I wire to the adjacent flex rather than soldering directly to the turnouts. As long as there are feeders nearby to both rails it doesn't matter where you locate them, you only need two.

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:

    New

  17. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    5,720
    Thanks
    9,055
    Thanked 11,372 Times in 3,409 Posts
    Mentioned
    264 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    The only modification that I've ever made to any Peco turnout is to slightly bend a point rail in toward the stock rail to prevent a car from picking the point. When it happened it was always after ballasting so presumably some invisible gunk created a gap.
    I've had to do the same thing at times after ballasting, I've always figured it was a thin layer of glue?
    What I've done to counter this issue was like what I do before I paint my tracks, I apply a drop of oil in the notches of the stock rails where the point set into.
    I've also used one of the Micro Brushes or even a toothpick and smeared a real thin layer of oil or grease in there.
    Water and Oil don't mix. I do this before ballasting as well. When I'm done, I clean it out with either alcohol or lacquer thinner on one of the Micro Brushes.


    Since turnouts are expensive I wire to the adjacent flex rather than soldering directly to the turnouts. As long as there are feeders nearby to both rails it doesn't matter where you locate them, you only need two.
    Don't like soldering turnouts to flex either, but when dropping feeders to my new yard, I did drop feeders to the outer two rails of the turnouts.
    I had to replace one of the new turnouts the other day already. The feeders popped right off with a touch of the iron.
    Might not need these feeders, but it sure doesn't hurt to have them.

    When throwing my turnouts, I use my fingers as well, I try to use the tabs on the throwbars, not the points.
    Last edited by Allen H.; 14th Jan 2021 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Just because...
    The Little Rock Line blog


    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

  18. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Allen H. For This Useful Post:


  19. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    197
    Thanks
    231
    Thanked 309 Times in 126 Posts
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NtheBasement View Post
    Since turnouts are expensive I wire to the adjacent flex rather than soldering directly to the turnouts. As long as there are feeders nearby to both rails it doesn't matter where you locate them, you only need two.
    Thanks! So basically you rely on the rail joiners to supply power to the turnout tracks? Got it.

    Chad

  20. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    197
    Thanks
    231
    Thanked 309 Times in 126 Posts
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Don't like soldering turnouts to flex either, but when dropping feeders to my new yard, I did drop feeders to the outer two rails of the turnouts.
    I had to replace one of the new turnouts the other day already. The feeders popped right off with a touch of the iron.
    Might not need these feeders, but it sure doesn't hurt to have them.
    If I do solder feeders to the Unifrogs Two outer rails is there a certain spot that is recommended?
    Thanks!
    Chad

  21. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    5,720
    Thanks
    9,055
    Thanked 11,372 Times in 3,409 Posts
    Mentioned
    264 Post(s)
    Tagged
    2 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by New View Post
    If I do solder feeders to the Unifrogs Two outer rails is there a certain spot that is recommended?
    Thanks!
    Chad
    Not really, I just picked a spot close to the middle and tacked them in place.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

  22. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Almost Heaven
    Posts
    4,883
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    17,047
    Thanked 9,066 Times in 3,207 Posts
    Mentioned
    246 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by New View Post
    Thanks! So basically you rely on the rail joiners to supply power to the turnout tracks? Got it.
    I highly advise against relying on rail joiners to pass current, Chad. Rail joiners are for alignment; trusting them to be a reliable circuit component is a gamble. Kato's are good, but not perfect.

    Soldering feeders to each turnout's stock rails is no more difficult or risky than soldering feeders to any other piece of rail. And you'll have peace of mind.

  23. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Paul Schmidt For This Useful Post:


  24. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    1,437
    Thanks
    4,242
    Thanked 1,470 Times in 808 Posts
    Mentioned
    49 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Another way I have seen it done is to solder rail joiners on the turnouts to a short section of flex track and then solder feeders to the flex track.

  25. The Following User Says Thank You to Scotian_Huntress For This Useful Post:

    New

  26. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Posts
    197
    Thanks
    231
    Thanked 309 Times in 126 Posts
    Mentioned
    40 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Thanks @Paul Schmidt and @Allen H. I figured as much and don’t plan on using rail joiners to carry power anywhere. That’s why I asked where to drop feeders from the turnouts. BTW is “turnout” a European thing? I always called them switches as a kid but find myself calling them turnouts now and have decided that it’s because I’ve watched too many YT videos about British Peco track.
    And I think that I’m simply miss understanding @NtheBasement’s set up.
    Thanks fellas,
    Chad

  27. The Following User Says Thank You to New For This Useful Post:


  28. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Almost Heaven
    Posts
    4,883
    Blog Entries
    1
    Thanks
    17,047
    Thanked 9,066 Times in 3,207 Posts
    Mentioned
    246 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Ah, yes, the "switch" and "turnout" thing.

    The "turnout" is the full assembly -- points, closure and stock rails, frog, guard rails, switchstand or power-operated switch machine -- while the "switch" is the really just the points and throw bar.

    Oh, and switches are "lined." I've never met anyone strong enough to throw a switch.

  29. The Following User Says Thank You to Paul Schmidt For This Useful Post:

    New

  30. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    southeast michigan
    Posts
    1,599
    Thanks
    1,104
    Thanked 2,637 Times in 878 Posts
    Mentioned
    78 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by New View Post
    Thanks! So basically you rely on the rail joiners to supply power to the turnout tracks? Got it.
    I solder all six rails to adjacent flex. I don't solder feeders to the turnouts, I solder them to the flex.

  31. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to NtheBasement For This Useful Post:


Similar Threads

  1. Peco 55 and 80
    By Chip Pecere in forum Trackage
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 26th Jan 2013, 01:33 AM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 20th Dec 2010, 07:49 AM
  3. Peco....
    By HirailTruck in forum Trackage
    Replies: 41
    Last Post: 1st Apr 2010, 01:57 PM
  4. Peco 55
    By Komata in forum Trackage
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 25th Jul 2008, 03:22 AM
  5. peco 55
    By philhendry in forum Trackage
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13th Mar 2008, 10:22 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •