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Thread: Insulated rail joiners with Code 55 turnouts

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    Default Insulated rail joiners with Code 55 turnouts

    Hi,
    do I need to use insulated rail joiners with Atlas code 55 turnouts?

    Thanks,
    Andy

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    Andy,

    Some more information would be helpful in answering this question. What is your plan etc.

    In general no, you do not need insulated joiners for turnouts.
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    @Bessemer Bob is correct for Atlas turnouts. Some others you do, depending on how the turnout is constructed.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    I prefer not to use insulated rail joiners ever; rather, where I need an electrical gap, I cut a physical gap in the rail using a Dremel rotary tool. Then, to prevent that gap from closing up (and thereby shorting) I CA-glue in some scrap plastic, usually from a discarded tie from the flex-track waste.

    You can take the same approach, which offers the freedom to determine gap-necessity after the fact, by using an electrical multimeter to test where the electrons are going and where they shouldn't be going. Basically, I lay my track without thinking through the blocks (and I'm an old-skool analog/DC man so I need to have a lot of blocks) and just create the gaps later. This also allows the gaps to be staggered by a few ties, so that I don't run the risk of introducing a kink in the track - just cut the right rail, then shift down several ties to cut the left rail.

    If you prefer the insulated joiners, though, the test of whether they are needed at a turnout is to determine whether the turnout is "power-routing". I think Peco Electrofrogs still are, but most manufactured turnouts these days are not. A multimeter is your friend here; you want to test whether the two rails that extend past the frog have their polarity switched when the turnout is thrown or not. The frog itself will have to change polarity, but on a power-routing turnout there is no separation between the frog and the rail beyond. If you can see a gap between the frog and the rail either side of it, then you should be good to go, as the multimeter will attest that the frog is isolated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WP&P View Post
    I prefer not to use insulated rail joiners ever; rather, where I need an electrical gap, I cut a physical gap in the rail using a Dremel rotary tool. Then, to prevent that gap from closing up (and thereby shorting) I CA-glue in some scrap plastic,
    Add me to the no IJ Club. The only place I want to see an IJ is at a signal location.

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