DCC and turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kevinkrey, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I have reached the point in my railroad building to start laying track. I need about 4 or 5 left hand turnouts and about the same of righthand. I have am using DCC, and thought that meant more wiring for my turnouts. I just read in a different thread that you do not need to do any wiring beyond what you would do with a DC layout. I do not totally understand electrofrog VS. insulfrog turnouts, does that make a difference?
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    My two cents is that you absolutely positively want the insulated frog turn-outs. This will greatly simplify the wiring... no need to insulate any rails and such. All the left hand rails will be electrically tied together, all the right hand rails will be tied together.

    Now, with the insulated frog, there may be benefits to actually powering the frog through some contacts on whatevery ou use to control the turn-outs, but it isn't absolutely necessary.

    There is some real good info on the net... Google on "Alan Gantner DCC" or "Loy's Toys". Or, someone will give the links shortly.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Electrofrog vs insulfrog makes a difference in how you wire. You require insulating gaps (plastic joiners) with the electrofrog turnouts to prevent shorts. You may require a bit of extra wiring to prevent shorts on the open points and to pass current to the frog without relying on the points.
    Insulfrog can be wired without the standard gaps at each turnout. You may want to add feeders beyond the turnout to bypass relying on points to carry the load (see above); this also gives you the ability to run through turnouts from the wrong side.
    I use DC and I'm willing to do extra wiring in exchange for the better appearance of all-rail electrofrogs.
    You are not restricted to one or the other; you can buy a few of each and try them out. Due to the "heritage" nature of my track, I have a large number of both.
  4. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    Many of the shorting problems with DCC on turnouts is caused by electro-frog and/or power routing turnouts. There are some who will tell you that power routing turnouts are absolutely necessary to get power to a siding that you don't want powered all the time. I find that an old-fashioned toggle switch takes care of turning the power on and off quite nicely, and I don't have to worry about keeping the sides of the point and stock rails super clean to conduct the current. All my turnouts are insul-frog types, whether by design or modification. I have some that were originally electro-frog. I disconnected the frogs from track power after I had many troublesome problems with them shorting out.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The main thing with dcc is that a short lasting only micro seconds will trip the system. With dc, you get a brief spark at the wheels and it passes and you are back to running normal. The down side to insulfrog turnouts is that short wheelbase locomotives like 0-4-0 steam or an Athearn Little Hustler would be prone to stalling over the frog.
  6. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

    Hi...I have used "live" frog turnouts for as long as I can remember...And that's probably longer than most of you guys have breathed this air...In any event, my current layout uses Peco electrofrogs (close to 40+ turnouts at this time) and DCC. I have found no problem with them, EXCEPT for the few times I've run a loco into a closed turnout....And I can crawl through turnouts without worrying about an engine stalling...
  7. Kevinkrey

    Kevinkrey Member

    I now have some new knowledge! My next question is, Walthers sells DCC ready turnouts. will those reduce wiring, will any wiring even be needed? I havent looked at them lately, but if I do recall, there wasn't much of a price difference between the atlas turnouts I had been using. Would the Walthers ones be a good buy?
  8. PWRR-2207

    PWRR-2207 Rogue Islander

    Atlas or Walthers...

    Hi, please take a look at this link:


    You will need some wiring no matter which you choose and Allan shows you how in the link for your specific make/model of a turnout.

    PS: I went with the Walthers turnouts. Easier to power the frog and no sanding/shimming the bottoms of ties .010 inches to get them to match up with my track.
  9. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    I like the bit with the light bulb. If one of my trains derails or something causes a short it won't cause the system to reset or shut down and you know something is wrong because the bulb lit up.
  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    I am working through these issues now, with Walthers DCC-ready turnouts and block DC wiring of the layout. I am expecting that I will need to run some more power to each of the three "ends" of the turnout, plus have switched power to the frog, which should be readily achieved using the extra built-in switches on the Tortoise switch machines below each turnout.

    As far as the quality of the track of the Walthers turnouts, I am VERY impressed. I only recently got trains running on the track, after weeks of wiring, and I have had ZERO problems in the trackage. The turnouts, from #4 to large curved #8s to a double crossover, all work flawlessly.
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Our moduler club uses the light bulbs. We have three lights, one for the inside main, one for the outside main, and one for all of the sidings. The lights tell us which district the short is in, but they don't prevent shutdowns.
  12. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    The lightbulbs should prevent the other areas from shutting down, even though they may be served buy the same booster. Though if the bosster is only capable of 2A, the bulb will use it all up , and there won't be anything left for anyone else.

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