How much additional wiring is really necessary for turnouts?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by 91rioja, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Hi all:

    I've been doing my research on DCC, since I'm seriuosly considering going that way on my new layout which is in the process of being built. I was wondering how much additional wiring is really involved when wiring turnouts. I have a bunch of Atlas Customline #4 and #6 turnouts. The plan is to operate them the old fasioned way: throw them by hand. I was under the impression that wiring for DCC is much simpler in nature, but after reading some stuff on, this all seemss to be untrue. If I am planning on throwing turnouts by hand, is there still a need for the additional wiring and micro switches and such???

    Very confused,
  2. caellis

    caellis Member

    I converted my DC layout to DCC about 18 months ago. I initially made NO CHANGES. Just hooked up to the Lenz 100 and away I went.

    That being said, I did later add drop downs at 3 foot intervals to the buss. As I had used Atlas Flex track I added a drop down to each 3 foot section. I had already added the extra wire around each pivot on my Atlas #4 & # 6 turnouts when I installed them originally on the DC layout. I just felt more comfortable not relying on the hinge pivot for continuity.

    So my opinion is, if it is working on DC it will probably work for DCC. If you are using blocks just throw all the switches on and go for it.

    I would not even consider going back, and it is back, to DC.
  3. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Anyone know where I can find instructions/pics for theinstallation of the additional wire around the pivot hinges?
  4. caellis

    caellis Member

    I have seen pictures for this but can't find one at the moment.

    You need to solder a wire from each stock rail to the corresponding point rail.
    Use very thin wire similar to the wire used in decoder hookup. Leave slack for movement and attach each wire near the pivot end of the point rail.

    Hide the wires unde the rails and/or paint them black so as not to be seen.

    I hope this helps.
  5. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    "Wiring For DCC" is an example of overkill. If you follow those instructions, you will wonder why you ever got into DCC in the first place. You don't need to do all of that work when you go into DCC.

    For turnouts, there's only two rules.

    Rule #1 (Most important!) - The frog must be insulated!!!! There are two ways to do this. Buy a turnout with an insulated frog. Atlas Customlines have a built-in insulated frog. So do Peco Insulfrogs. The second way is to cut the rails so that the turnout is insulated. For most turnouts, this simply means sawing an insulated gap in the two diverging rails that are connected to the frog. On some turnouts, there may be a small wiper at the point ends which slides under the stock rails when the points are thrown. You may have to file the ends of these wipers so that there is a clear "make-and-brake" when you throw the points.

    Rule #2 - Drop 3 sets of feeder wires around the switch. One set is dropped at the point end. One set is dropped from the diverging track. The third set is dropped from the other diverging track. Unlike analog, there is no "power-routing" in DCC. In DCC, all tracks remain powered. As long as you have track feeds within 2' - 3' of the turnout, your turnout should pose no problems. For a schematic of what this looks like, visit
  6. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Which is better, the wire method or the wiper method? I have seen both used.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    With Atlas turnouts, you don't need to do anything for DCC, especially if they are operating just fine for DC. The wiring around the point pivot or grommet is a precaution, but not necessary unless you are having stalling problems. On Atlas turnouts, the stock rails are already the same polarity as the adjacent stock rails, so again no problems for DCC.

    Hope this helps.
  8. Nazgul

    Nazgul Active Member

    Hi Chris,
    I agree with Fred. I am running dcc and have all Atlas customline turnouts.I also have manual throws. I treated the turn outs like any other piece of track (I dropped 2 feeder wires from them where ever it was easiest). I've had absolutely no problems at all. I can run my loco as slow as it will go and there is no stalling or hesitation. Couldn't be easier. My 2 cents.
  9. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

    hi Chris,

    I agree with Fred and Steve.

    Your Atlas customlines will be fine the way they are in DCC. If you happen get one that has a dead rail, only then add a jumper to get power from the OTHER rail on the inside Y.

    Of course, if you follow Bob's rule #2... adding a jumper will not be necessary.
  10. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    So, I guess what I am hearing from everyone is one of my favorite sayings:

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it; if you think you can make it better, don't try because you will break it.
  11. wickman

    wickman Member

    Yep looks like your good to go :wave:
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Wasn't it Red Green who said "If it ain't broke, yer not tryin' "?

  13. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    DAMN! I miss that show. My favorite episode was the Christmas special that included the Howitzer Tinsel Cannon. Sorry didn't mean to get off topic. Just brings back memories.:)
  14. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Guess I'm too young to know what ya'll are talking about. Care to let me in????
  15. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Chris, it's a wonderful cultural gift from our neighbors
    to the north!!

    We aren't getting it here in TN. Maybe I just need to expand the cable service!!
  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Red Green only went off the air this year. Steve Smith comedy aired on CBC in Canada, and on some PBS stations in the US. Mostly centres around a guy doing guy things up at a lodge in the back woods of Ontario... Handyman stuff, dispensing advice, hanging out with other guys blowing stuff up, generally getting into trouble, but with the best of intentions to make the lodge a better place (at least from his point of view, if not the neighbours).

  17. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Cid - that would be neighbours - you know, with a "U", eh? ;)

  18. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Right you are, Andrew! I hope he comes back in re-runs;
    some of those contraptions of his were too funny for words!!
  19. Iron Horse

    Iron Horse Member

    I know this is now off topic, but I believe the show is available on DVD !!
  20. Mrplow123

    Mrplow123 Member

    OOPS, see what I started. Me and my darn off topic comments.:D

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