OK, Peco has my vote--Now, Electro vs Insulfrog

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by Jaws, Jul 7, 2003.

  1. Jaws

    Jaws New Member

    A friend of mine recently wrote to me as follows:

    "I like the Electro-Frog. Here's why - you build the layout with nothing but metal insulators, except for the two connections to the points of the turnout...Use switch contacts ... to insure good power transfer to the moving rails.

    If you build the layout like this, then, if somebody tries to run the turnout, the system shuts down with the short, rather than derailing the train - much more important in N than HO! If you use InsulFrog, then you can merrily run the turnout. We changed out three mainline turnouts on our Club layout, as folks kept running the Atlas (InsulFrog) turnouts.

    Others ... including others here (See my post,'Peco or') say that Insulfrog is DCC ready.

    Any other thoughts???

    Thanks, Jack Wilson
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Hi, Jack!
    There are a lot of considerations here. It's like photography -- lots of options depending on what you want to do.
    My opinion is based on early N gauge work and recent HO DCC work.
    The insulfrog will probably simplify the wiring. But you may have to set up extra feeders to, say, yards where the yurnout is set to the main line.
    You may want to put in the extra gaps beyond the frogs and then jumper around them. If you do that, then you won't run through a switch set the wrong way. Peco points don't have any give in them. The downside of insulfrog is that locos with short wheelbases or not enough pickup wheels tend to stall on them.
    I've found that electrofrogs are not tolerant of undergauge wheels or wheels with wide flanges -- there will be shorts between the stock rail and the open point, which has the polarity of the opposite rail. This shuts down either your layout or your power district. You also get shorts if you run into the frog end of a switch set the wrong way. In DC running, this only stopped your loco.
    Do the Atlas turnouts route power to the wrong route as well as the right one? (HO snap switches do.) Insulfrog will provide a "dead" rail beyond the frog.
    There are a couple of practices for gapping beyond the frog. Some people like to keep it short so that you don't leave metal wheels over the gap. Others make it long enough to stop the train as it runs the switch.
  3. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    This is all starting to sound very confusing!
  4. jland31

    jland31 Member


    Got 14 Peco Insulfrog turnouts on my 4'6"x8' N Scale layout.

    I'm running a Lenz DCC system.

    The Insulfrogs work faultlessly right out of the box. No [none] wiring rework req'd. No [none] problems re: shorts, stalling, or others.
  5. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    That is good to hear!
  6. uboat

    uboat New Member

    As has been stated Insulfrog is the best choice for DCC. For DC it does require some additional wiring, but nothing major.

    Electrofrog is best when using older short wheelbase steamers and 4 axle diesels and other old locos that didn't have all wheel pickup, as well as those with the dreaded traction tires. This was the way to keep contact thru the turnout. More modern locos are less likely to have the problems with pickup. Electrofrog is easier in DC to wire up and only requires some additional insulated joiners, while it can be tricky for DCC operations.
  7. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    I'm over the same dillema right now. I'm definately going for Peco turnouts but don't know if I should get Electro or Insulated frogs. I'm going to cram 7 turnouts in 16"X60", so I fear that Electrofrogs might be complicated to wire because I have lots of turnouts in not a lot of space and that in one place I have 3 turnouts joined together. I really like the idea of a powered frog since I'm gonna have my LL SW1200 crawl real slow around the layout which will be DC powered. One-Loco layout with a few isolated places to park locos.

    The wiring thing has me confused more than anything. You guys have lots of precise explanations, but I just can't understand them, I can't picture it in my head. Is there any tutorial with pictures (I'm a VERY visual person) out there??? (for both electro and insulated frogs)
  8. billk

    billk Active Member

    Each Peco Code 55 Electrofrog turnout (not sure about the others, code or insulfrog) comes with a pretty thorough description on how to connect it up. It's not that hard to wire them up for DC (statements from DCC evangelists not withstanding).
  9. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    Does the wiring electrofrog turnout imply the use of switches (DPDT and stuff like that). If so I'll go Insulated because I don't want to be flippin' switches all the time.
  10. Jaws

    Jaws New Member

    One thing I do know, if there any switches to be thrown, that can be done automatically by adding the switch to the Peco under the table. For example, if you want prototypical signalling when turnout is thrown, the Peco switch can handle it.
  11. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    I'm not using the switches. I'm hand-throwing the turnouts.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    You should be able to run either type of Peco turnout without adding DPDT switches. (Unless you have a reverse loop). The electrofrogs will require extra rail gaps beyond the frogs. Then you probably have to add extra feed wires beyond the gaps.
    The gaps are required whether you use DC or DCC.
    Post a track plan and we can show where the gaps and feeders go.
  13. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    sorry I stole your topic, Jaws. lol

    Attached Files:

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Magic man:
    here's how I would gap and wire your layout. You need gaps where your switches make a crossover and you need to feed from the other end.
    If you're just running one loco at a time, you can wire all the feeds together.

    Attached Files:

  15. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    Ah!!!! much more simple with a drawing. Thanks you sir, I understand now!! I hope this is also helping Jaws, since it's HIS thread, lol!
  16. Jaws

    Jaws New Member

    Man---of all the times to have a major computer crash! I will need some time to digest all the above. Thanks, folks.

    By the way, does anyone have any ideas about this:

    I am new to e-bay and had a disconcerting thing happen this morning. I was high bidder on an item which no one else bid on for seven days. I had placed an unusal amount as my top bid (like $40.57) and was sitting pretty at half that price. Then, twenty seconds before the bell, someone (who had not bid before) came in and bid fifty cents more than my bid---a bump of $40.57 when the increment was $1. Now, doesn't that sound a bit unusual? And I cannot find any place on e-bay to file a protest.

    Thanks, Jack
  17. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member


    If the item's starting price was, say, 19.99, and you enter 45.07 as your max bid price, and the increasement is by 1$, the bid sets itself to 20.99. If for example, someone puts in 30$, you will automatically beat him and the bid will be said to 30$ + min increasement so 31$. I'm not sure if that's how it really works, correct me if I am work. I guess he found a way to find your max bid...
  18. Jaws

    Jaws New Member

    But, you miss the point. NO one had bid at all until, with no more than twenty seconds left in the auction, someone came in with a single bid a dollar higher than my high bid--which they should have had no way of knowing.

    Example, my posted bid was, say $40.57 but I also had a proxy bid that, every time someone bid, would go a dollar above theirs.

    They should have no idea what they would have to bid to beat me--the only info they would have was that they were outbid by a dollar.

    Now, starting with less than twenty seconds until auction close, it would take a long time for them to bid up to the winning number (ie, $41.57, $43.57, etc., etc.

    Oh yes, one further point--the auction ended at 07:55:36 and the e-mail notice that I lost was timed at 07:55:27. That says they knew I had lost 10 seconds before the bidding was over ???

    So, my points are two:

    1. There is no way to make a bid exactly one dollar higher when the spread was that much. Luck or coincidence...I doubt it.

    2. I can find no way of expressing my concerns to e-bay or I would not be expressing them here.

  19. MagicMan_841

    MagicMan_841 Member

    This has happened to me before. I bid on a boxcar and 30 secondes before the auction end I get an email (thinking it was to tell me I had won) only to see some guy had outbidded me. Frustrating, yes. He might have put his max bid to a very high value (knowing you hadn't bidded crazy since you were the only bidder) and it automatically set the bid to your max + 1$ or something like that.
  20. uboat

    uboat New Member

    There are many who are called snipers, and programs that will do the sniping for you available. Snipers will wait till the final seconds to bid or will have the program do it for them. I have lost many an auction to a sniper. but oh well, If it goes higher than I think its worth, let someone else have it - another will pop up sooner or later. One thing I am always leary of in last minute bidder is the possibility of a "shill" either the seller under a different ID or a friend of theirs that will try to drive the price higher for the seller.

    In the example you state , they may have bid the amount that was 50 cents higher than your max bid, possibly by coincidence. If the price was not at the max yet, and this new bidder bid that amount higher they would still win, even though it was not a full dollar higher.

    As long as you don't allow yourself to get in a bidding war with someone, or get what is known as "dollar fever" you should make out allright on the auction site and not get caughtt over paying.

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