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Thread: Problems with Peco Electrofrog

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    Default Problems with Peco Electrofrog

    Hi All,

    Iím using Peco electrofrog turnouts. I installed them over 15 years ago and I have never had all of them working well consistently. Iím using Peco under the table switch motors. I donít have any problems if the switches contact points are clean and the spring is working. Well I took the layout down recently and half of the springs are rusted out. The switch motors donít give enough force for good contact so my engines stall on those swithes. I have read that some use tortoise switches and cut the spring out. Would this be my solution? If so will they be compatible with the atlas switches Iím using on my control board to throw the Peco ac switch motors? These switches receive ac power from my controller and I think tortoise are DC. I jus would like to be able to run a train on my whole layout instead of just the mainline!
    Thanks,
    Steve

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    Steve,

    On my last layout with Peco Electrofrog turnouts I had the same problem of inconsistent electrical contact and locomotives stalling near the frog area. I ended up using Peco's PL-15 Twin Microswitch (with two contacts) on some turnouts and their "accessory switch" on other turnouts where I didn't need the second contact (I used the second contact for signals). These fit to the underside of Peco's switch machines. I used the contacts for powering the frog according to which way the turnout was thrown and that pretty much took care of turnout dead spots. I've seen tutorials on the Internet about how to wire these. I was using DC power for everything and used pushbutton switches to control the turnouts. I thought Atlas turnouts used DC power to operate the turnouts but I could be wrong. On my current layout I got lazier and am using Kato Unitrak along with DCC. Hope this helps!

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    Steve,

    connect a feeder to the frog and/or the closure rails (I don't know how Peco turnouts are set up) and use an electrical switch to connect to one or the other stock rail, depending on turnout position (or use a Frog Juicer or an Auto Reverser to connect the frog feeder to your DCC power bus, but that's going to be more expensive and IMHO unnecessarily so - you already have the turnout motors, all you need is the extra switching contact).

    What @davidN describes sounds like a good option, I personally don't know those switches but it sure sounds like they were made just for that.

    Doesn't matter if you use Peco or Tortoise motors, it's only going to be a couple of years until some or all your turnouts will stop having power at frog and closure rails if you rely on electrical contact between stock rails and point rails. Sometimes longer, if you have a very clean environment and high contact pressure, sometimes shorter if you have weathered rails and low contact pressure, but it will fail after a while.

    Hope this helps,
    Heiko

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    I never had rusted spring problems with Peco, it was always some piece of stuff, usually ballast, between the point and side rail. On my current layout I decided to convert each turnout before ballasting that section by throwing them with SPDT slide switches instead of by just shoving the rail over. I left the springs in there; the SPDT powers the frog. But I waited up to 15 years before doing this on the last section (I still haven't ballasted everything) and seldom had issues before ballasting.

    I do have a few Tortoises in remote areas, and I removed the Peco springs not knowing that a stiffer wire in the Tortoise would overcome them. The Tortoise easily hold the point against the rail without the Peco springs. I powered the frog on these with one of the two SPDTs built into the Tortoise.

    Finally I have one turnout powered by a Peco solenoid for instant throwing on my kickback track. It is my impression that this solenoid will not hold the point to the rail on it's own. Once the power is removed the solenoid does not apply pressure, so I assume the points will move if there is no spring.
    Last edited by NtheBasement; 30th Nov 2019 at 06:35 PM. Reason: Clarity

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    I use PECO electrofrog, but I modify them as descibed here:

    https://dccwiki.com/PECO_Electrofrog

    Electrofrogs are not all identical, so you do have to look at the turnout and compare to the pictures at that site to determine which modifications are needed. All of mine do not have the wire bonds that need to be cut. So my modifications are:

    1) Solder wire bonds between the stock rails and adjacent closure rails, so pressure on the points is irrelevant
    2) Cut the gaps between the frog and the closeure rails so #1 does not result in a short.
    3) I solder a wire to the frog that is connected under the layout to the appropriate polarity to power the frog based on position. In my case I use the Circuitron tortoise machines, but choice doesn't matter as long as throwing the turnout switches the frog polarity.

    In reality, I don't actually have to provide power to the frog for most of my locos to run through just fine, but I do so for reliability since that's the whole point of using electrofrogs.

    -Ed
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Northern New England Scenic Model Railroad - N Scale early fall in NH in the very early 1950s.

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    Steve,
    The problem starts with missing spring. Peco,turnout mechanism are twin coil and have no means of holding the point against stock rail. Your question about tortoise working with Atlas switches indicates they are ac the tortoise are dc only. So to use them
    they need a dc supply. I think that Peco makes a above table adapter that has a spring like the switches. If so that might be your best option.

    Doug

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    Thanks all for the info. It may take me a bit to digest it all but I think of now I may take the quickest and easiest fix.


    Quote Originally Posted by SluderD View Post
    Steve,
    The problem starts with missing spring. Peco,turnout mechanism are twin coil and have no means of holding the point against stock rail. Your question about tortoise working with Atlas switches indicates they are ac the tortoise are dc only. So to use them
    they need a dc supply. I think that Peco makes a above table adapter that has a spring like the switches. If so that might be your best option.

    Doug
    I;ll take a look for the table top spring. If I can camouflage it easily I'll go for it, other wise I may try a tortoise switch. Will a spare transformer work? I'm suspecting not because the DC is varable. If not what transformer will work. I have a whole sac of them with different output voltages from various appliances.

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    I use between 8 and 10 volts on my tortoises wired through a DPDT toggle switch with LED's inline going to the tortoise. The LED's are mounted on the control panel to indicate the position on the turnout.
    Rodney

    Here is my build of my n-scale railroad
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...-50-8-quot-%29

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    When you say "inline", Rodney, do you mean "in series" with the switch and the Tortoise?
    Cheers!
    Gordon
    Rheinland Bayern Bahn
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...4-x-9-5-layout

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    Quote Originally Posted by el Gato Gordo View Post
    When you say "inline", Rodney, do you mean "in series" with the switch and the Tortoise?
    Yes. I use bi colored, red/green, 2 legged LEd's. When the polarity is switched for the tortoise, they change colors.

    You can wire the LED's in parallel between the DPDT switch and the tortoise and add a resistor to the LED, it'll work that way also.
    Rodney

    Here is my build of my n-scale railroad
    https://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...-50-8-quot-%29

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