HOn3 Micro engineering Vs Shinohara

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Model Railroading' started by Jas72, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. Jas72

    Jas72 New Member

    Hello all.
    Can anyone share their experiences and knowledge about these 2 brands of flexi track and turnouts?Price appears to be rather the same for both brands.I have seen photos of both and cosmetically i am leaning towards the micro engineering..curious if anyone has dealt with either of them?I have been told that M.E flexi track does not flex as much as SHra due to M.E having "memory" when you bend it etc.,both brand of turnouts look great on the eye as well...
    Thank you,
  2. tjohn

    tjohn New Member

    I have have both the Micro Engineering and Shinohara turnouts on my layout. The Micro Engineering turnouts are HOn3 code 55 and the Shinohara turnouts are dual guage code 70. The Micro Engineering turnouts are much more fragile and have to be handled with greater care when installing. The ties are wood and will break easily, but they do look more realistic. I used the AMI roadbed which lets you put down the tract without nails. The Shinohara turnouts are more sturdy (you can use nails). The Shinohara turnouts have black plastic ties, so I sprayed them with a rail brown color and they look great. I will eventually replace all my turnouts with the Shinohara. Micro Engineering is what use for the flex track.
  3. Bill Nelson

    Bill Nelson Well-Known Member

    micro enginerings new HOn3 #5 switches.

    I have been using both some shinohara #4 switches, and some of micro engineering's new HOn3 #5 switches with plastic ties. One big difference is the ME switches are DCC friendly straight out of the box. The points are ries electrically to the stock rail they are next to, to prevent shorts. the frog is Isolated from the points, and the inside rails of the diverging tracks.

    due to this, if you are using traditional DC, and want a power routing switch, with a hot frog you have to wire the two inside rails from the diverging tracks together with the frog, and power it some kind of way. I use tiny double or single pole double throw switches for that ( Se logging in eastern TN. in 1928, where I am building Gegoukayoosa NC. on my filth level .

    so far I really like the ME switches > with the Shinohara , you can get power routing through the contact of the point rails without modification; but that tends to become unreliable due to oxidation, so I use the DPDT or SPDT switch both as a ground throw and to power the frog. It is much less work to set up a ME switch for DC power routing than it would be to make the shinohara switch DCC friendly.

    The flangeways on the ME frog are finer. This causes no problems with any cars so far My Westside C-16 bumps a little through the frog, which may be a gauge issue or be due to the flange thickness. It is minor enough that I can live with it, and haven't investigated yet.

    Shinohara switches are produced in batches overseas, and because of this are not in constant supply. The ME switches are built in the USA, and are, I believe produced on a continuous basis, so there should be less availability issues with them.

    The ME plastic ties are a little finer than the shinohara, but are plenty sturdy. the throw bar between the points on the ME switch is finer, and thus more fragile. the points are sprung, so could could use the switch without a ground throw if you were using locomotives long enough to not need the hot frog, Tiny locomotives is the whole draw to HOn3 for this writer, thus I will do with a hot frog, powered by a ground throw every time.

    Availability -- advantage ME
    tracking of larger equipment-- advantage ME ( #5 vs #4 switch, not fair)
    looks--advantage ME
    sturdiness over time -- Yet to be determined

    the photos are a ME switch prepped for installation and just after installation of ground throw.

    I will use code 70 flex track from either source interchangeably. I have found code 55 flex to be to fragile for my tastes, even though it looks awesome.

    Bill Nelson

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