Peco Electrofrogs

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by ted, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. ted

    ted New Member


    I am new to model railroading and am currently working on my first layout. I know this might not sound like the usual novice question, but I was thinking of using peco electrofrog turnouts (seems like a lot of people think they are a good thing), and DCC.
    My question is:
    The Wiring for DCC site indicates that modifications need to be made to use the electrofrogs with DCC ( But, at Loy's Toys, it says that the peco electroforgs should be fine as is (
    Basically, it seems that Wiring for DCC is modifing the turnout to make sure that there is no short between the point rail and the stock rail, and be sure the point rail is powered adequately; but Loy's Toys seems to say that this isn't a problem with Peco turnouts. So, which is it?
    I have to admit that I would be more hesitant to use the electrofrogs if they require a lot of modification. I am still trying to decide if the mods on "Wiring for DCC" are a "lot" for me.

    Thanks - ted
  2. LisaP4

    LisaP4 New Member

    The answer is actually that both are correct! The Peco turnouts will work fine straight from the box, but are more reliable with the modifications. Try both and see and decide which you prefer.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Ted: as the Peco turnouts come, both points are electrically linked, so the open one is opposite polarity to the rail next to it. Supposedly, standard wheels will go through this gap without touching the point. But a number of people have found that some wheels do touch. This creates a momentary short circuit. On a DC layout, this either makes the train jerk a little or stops a slow train at the turnout. On a DCC layout this little short shuts down the entire district. I've seen this happen even with supposedly NMRA standard loocos (old Atlas SD9) which may have been loose wheels or something. Some wheels with fat flanges or narrow gauge wheels do the same.
    Try your locos and cars through the points and see if any give problems. If they do, you need to modify the turnouts as shown on the Peco instruction sheets -- break 2 connections between the points and the frog and wire a switch to the wire on the frog, connected to the switch machine, and insulate the two rails beyond the frog. A refinement is to permanently wire the points to the stock rail.
  4. bpate

    bpate Member

    Ted, I have found that Peco Insulfrog turnouts work beautifully with DCC without modification. I have no such joy with Electrofrogs. Is there a reason you don't want to use Insulfrog turnouts?
  5. ted

    ted New Member

    Well, as I said I am in the planning stage (actually am making my benchwork right now), and I have been doing reading about stuff. I came across a number of comments that seemed to recommend PECO turnouts, and a subset of those were highly possitive of the electrofrogs. That's what started me down this path, and after more research I have to admit I like the way the electrofrog "looks" (no plastic at the frog), and I have come across comments that over time the frog of the insulafrog can get "worn".
    Even though I haven't done any model railroading, I have worked with soldering irons, and electronics/computer stuff in the past, and am pretty confident that I will be able to apply the mods (if I really have to) to the electrofrog.
    Thanks - ted
  6. LisaP4

    LisaP4 New Member

    I just posted on a similar topic at another forum, insulfrog vs electrofrog.

    Personally I don't consider insulfrogs to be worth scrap price. Big lumps of plastic pretending to be rail have a tendancy to make the track dirty, so along with having that section of insulated 'rail' you also have to clean the track more often. The last time I used insulfrogs I converted them to electrofrogs, the differance in running quality was most noticable.
  7. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    Besides the looks, the big difference to me is the stalling of short wheelbase and small locomotives on insulated frogs - doesn't matter what make.

    Seems much simpler in the long run to build or modify turnouts so that

    1) points are the same polarity as their adjacent stock rail and have a positive electrical feed besides the contact with the stock rail

    2) metal frog that automatically switches polarity when the turnout is thrown for the other path

    The extra time spent making these electrical modifications up front pays dividends in smooth operation for the life of the turnout, whether you use DC or DCC.

    my 2 cents
  8. bpate

    bpate Member

    Hmmm, my first post here in quite a while and this is what I find. Thanks for reminding me why it's rarely worthwhile discussing DCC topics on forums.
  9. LisaP4

    LisaP4 New Member

    Hey, it's my opinion of the things. Which you appear to have forgotten I am entitled to!
    If you like them, good for you, personally well, you already know what I think of them.

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