DCC friendly turnouts

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by bigsteel, May 10, 2007.

  1. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    hey yall,im going to be startin my layout soon and needa place to buy good quality turnouts (by this i mean better than atlas but not as expensive as peco).im not sure which turnouts ARE DCC freindly so thats why im asking.and remember the less expensive with good quality the better! :mrgreen: i need 22 #4 switches and 26 #6 switches if that helps.

    i also had another Q. are the peco C.83 weathered flex track any good,or am i just better off weathering my own? and if im bette roff weathering my self could you...ugh..tell me how to do that?thanks for any help guys.--josh
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Josh: as a Peco user I can't give you any alternative brands, but you should look for the following:
    The points should not be connected electrically to each other. Especially avoid any with a single metal stamping that makes both points. You should also be able to separate the points from the frog if it's all-rail and wire them to their nearest stock rail.
    That's the place I found problems. There are other places that can give problems -- plastic frogs where the metal rails are exposedclose enough for a wheels to bridge both of them, but that can be wired around.
    Metal vs. plastic frogs is personal taste and won't affect DCC friendliness.
  3. rogerw

    rogerw Active Member

    peco from tony's is what I bought
  4. TCH

    TCH Member

    with the number of turnouts needed I`d be inclined to look into making your own.It might take a few tries to get it right but if I can do it I`m sure anyone can.
    there have been quite a few articles in the modelling press over the years
    showing how to go about it.
  5. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    so the points on the turnout must be isolated? or the frog must be isolated?you must understand I'm very "electrically challenged".

    and there is no way i would take the chance to handlay turnouts,i would just end up gettin frustrated and throwin um out the window! LOL --josh

  6. jeffrey-wimberl

    jeffrey-wimberl Active Member

    There is no such thing as a DCC friendly turnout. All turnouts are DCC compatible. I'm using Bachmann turnouts that were made ten years ago (pre-DCC) with my DCC setup with no problems.
  7. wdsrwg

    wdsrwg Member

    I have 13 turnouts so far on the first leg of a mid sized
    layout. I do have trains running and I have already
    replaced three (3) ATLAS TO's in a 6 month period.
    I am taking the blame so-far but also looking at pecos.
    As far as the problems with all turnouts, that is
    correct! Out of the same batch of ATLAS code 100's
    I have had to work on several to get them to operate,
    as said replaced 3 and have never touched the rest.
    A lot of it is in the installation so, be careful
    and keep the tester handy because after they are
    ballasted its not a party replacing them.
    Good luck, keep at it, learn, and most of all HAVE FUN!

  8. bigsteel

    bigsteel Call me Mr.Tinkertrain

    OK,so DCC will run on any turnout,as long as there is no way to short.ill have to check back later.--josh
  9. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    You might change that statement to, "DCC will run on any properly wired turnout until a short occurs." Short circuits occur on turnouts due to improper wiring/installation in the 1st place, derailments, and because very, very few commercial turnouts implement ALL the best turnout wiring practices (no matter the brand). This is one of the reasons handlaid turnouts shine. You use ALL the best wiring practices from the get-go, and you take the time to make them mechanically sound and accurate. I'm not known for being able to cut wood to even 1/16" precision or solder without leaving big blobs, yet I was able to make a better working and better looking turnout in code 70 rail on my 1st attempt than any Atlas or Peco offering.

    Model Railroader, in the June 2007 issue, discusses turnout wiring, and I'm afraid confused the issue by trying to divide turnout wiring into 2 classifications. Unfortunately, the 2 classes don't always hold - there's more than 2 ways used to wire turnouts.

    My recommendation is to pick the turnouts you are going to use on well they work mechanically and how well they align with your track plan, and let us help you with how to wire the specific model(s) you have. Give serious thought if you have any inclination in that direction to hand laying at least the turnouts. If need be, the Fast Tracks jigs will hold your hand through the first few. Don't use the turnout wiring scheme as a deciding factor. The wiring scheme is the easiest part to change.

    These are my criteria for "best practice" turnouts:
    • points are insulated from each other.
    • points are quite sharp, and lay tight against the stock rail
    • each point is hard wired with jumper wires from adjoining stock rails. Not metal tabs that the points slide over, or hinge grommets and tabs to conduct the power, but actual jumper wires soldered near the hinge point.
    • I prefer hingeless points but am not hard over on this point (no pun intended). The prototype uses hinges, but I find them to be an unnecessary source of trouble with rail sizes code 100 and smaller.
    • all rail frogs - NO PLASTIC!. This requires gaps to be cut in the closure rails to insulate the frog from the points.
    • all rail frogs allow sharp frog points. Sharp frog points work better on accurately gauged turnouts and with accurately gauged wheels.
    • powered frogs. Would you leave other sections of your track deliberately unpowered? Even though MOST locomotives can get over a short insulated frog without stalling, why not give your trains (locos and lighted cars) every chance possible for continuous power? A powered frog requires a contact to switch the frog polarity when the turnout is thrown. The other advantage of powered frogs is that the insulating gaps for the frog can be pushed to the closure rails, and an inch (or futher) beyond the frog in the other direction. By pushing the frog insulating gaps a little further away, the gaps have no impact on the mechanical integrity of the frog.
    • cutting gaps in both frog rails an inch beyond the frog is the simplest wiring with DCC. Power routing is not needed, and is often unwanted with DCC.
    • accurately gauged using the NMRA gauge as a check. Keeping the track gauge to the narrow end of the tolerance at the frog is preferred. Don't expect code 88 wheels (HO fine scale) to run through an accurately gauged turnout without some issues. Of course, all wheels should be checked for accurate gauge, no wobble, and good alignment with other wheel sets in the truck.
    yours in switching
  10. nhguy

    nhguy Member

    Why not Atlas? I use them and have no problems at all. They are now DCC ready and they have a dead frog that can be powered. That means you don't have to use insulators if you don't want to on the rails from the frog. (Unless the turnout is used at a signal boundary).

    I use the brown tie 500 series #6 and some #4 along with some Custom Line #8, Code 83. Nary a problem.

    Walthers/Shinnohara turnouts are fine also.

    I use Tortoise machine with my switches and I am powering the frog on the #8's with the internal contact of the machine.

    Most turnout brands built today are DCC friendly. You can use any turnout with DCC and make it work.

    The modification to turnouts for DCC also help the DC layouts run better. These modification have bee around for a while.
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Josh: points & frog: The traditional all-rail making of turnouts made both points and the frog a single electrical unit. Because of this, a lot of manufacturers made the points a single brass stamping that pivoted. Better turnouts had the points made separately and connected to the rails that made the frog; some were continuous with those rails. The problem with all these is that some wheels will fill the gap between the open point and the stock rail. We even had problems with well-known manufacturers' locos.
    And the solution here is a gap somewhere between the points and the frog. The problem with turnouts in DCC is that the slightest short will shut down the entire layout, while in DC there will be a momentary hesitation that may not even be noticed.
  12. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    Pecos are supposed to be DCC-friendly, and you can sometimes find good prices for them on eBay. I use nothing but Peco (code 83) and I love them because of the affirmative spring action when you throw them, and because they are bullet-proof (in my experience).

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