Do you power route your frogs?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by cnw1961, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    On my current layout I use Peco Electrofrog turnouts and switch machines with SPDT contacts to power the frogs. I am running my layout on DCC and use stationary decoders to control the switch machines. This setup works without any problems. But I learned that I don’t like to use the throttle to control the turnouts. It’s a sort of overkill to me. I spend more time looking at my throttle selecting turnouts than looking at my trains.

    So for my next layout I want to go back to a more simple solution like a switch in the fascia close to the turnout or even ground throws and no switch machines at all. I want to use Atlas Code 83 track and custom line turnouts (I think it looks better than Peco track). If I use ground throws with these turnouts and do not power route the frogs, I fear that especially my smaller and lighter engines might stall when running over the frogs. I never used ground throws and I don’t know if I am getting into trouble if I decide to use them. That leads me to my question (phew, a long take-off :D ): do you power route your frogs and what are your experiences?
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think power routing is a good idea, especially if you are running any sort of short wheelbase locomotive that might stall out going over a frog. I think using stationary dcc to control the turnouts is probably overkill. Ground throws work fine and so do switch machines controlled by buttons. If you use Tortoise or other slow motion switch machines where constant power application is not a problem, a toggle switch is nice. If you have a map of your railroad, or even a drawing of the switch routes at the various places along the layout that have switches, wiring the toggles up so that the toggle points the way the switch faces is a great way to know at a glance which way you have the switches set.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I use power routing on all my handlaid turnouts - easier to build, and no stalling.

    I've always had older Atlas Custom Line turnouts - some of them brass - that did not offer the option of powering the frogs. They worked OK for through trains, although the flickering of headlights and lighted cars got annoying. I have never used the Atlas turnouts in switching operations - layouts involving switching ops had handlaid turnouts.

    Based on reading Harlod Minkwitz's web page and my own experiences, if you model 1900 or earlier eras, or have short wheel base locomotives, you will need to either power your frogs or add pickups, or both. Both is probably highly desirable in the case of steam tank locomotives, or single truck diesels. On the other hand, if you have newer model diesels with 8 or 12 wheel pickup, the insulated frogs will probably work fine.

    yours in powering up
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The final section of my layout was done with Peco code 75 electrofrogs, using the frog isolation and powering as provided by Peco. The older part of the layout has a mix of older rail and plastic frogs, but no separately powered ones.
    For DCC, I would definitely separate the points from any all-rail frogs. I've seen even Atlas diesels short out on points.
  5. cnw1961

    cnw1961 Member

    Thank you for your answers :wave: . If I don’t power route the frogs I fear that the problem with the flickering lights, that pgandw mentioned, might arise. It is annoying if you run your trains on DC, but it’s even worse with DCC. If this short loss of power causes the decoder to stop the engine and if it is programmed for a slow acceleration, it’s more than annoying. So it’s toggle switches, switch machines and power routing for my next layout.

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