peco switches

Discussion in 'N / Z Scale Model Trains' started by csxengineer, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    I'm irritated. My N scale peco switches lose contact or something on divirging routes. I have to either press the rails together by hand, or drop a bit of solder on the rail to get electricity to the route. I have cleaned them tons of times. I can't run jumper wire either because it will short. They are ballasted down, so ripping up isn't an option. I swear, my next layout won't have a single switch!
  2. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    Try bending the blade very slightly they may have a slight gap and not making contact properley, I use only peco switches/points and have done so for years and have not had any problems, after the tweeking up period, in fact I have points down that were layed on my first layout been ripped up and relayed... have a good one..steve
  3. train1

    train1 Member

    I concur with ausien, sometimes they just need a little tweak. I also spray a little electrical contact cleaner in between the main line and points because of their design (how they fit together to cause the diversion) and "scrub" with a Q-tip as this particular spot will naturally accumulate "crud" from opening and closing.
    Know what I mean ?
  4. tillsbury

    tillsbury Member

    Not sure what you mean here. I like very slow very small engines, so I solder everything together in yards and switching puzzles. I hate having to prod a train to get it moving again!

    On my Peco 55 switches, I now do the following before laying them:

    1.) Chop the wiring on the back that joins the two closure rails together and joins the closure rails to the frog. Bend the two wires from the frog together and down and solder on a wire which will be the frog power.
    2.) Use a jeweller's saw to cut through both closure rails immediately on the facing point side of the angle in them. This makes the angled parts of the closure rails electrically neutral, avoiding possible shorts with strange or out-of-gauge locos. The only danger spot is the angle itself where the two electrically opposite closure rails are the closest together.
    3.) Trim away the plastic web between the ties one tie away from the join between the point rails and the closure rails, away from the facing point end (underneath the rails)
    4.) Take a piece of very thin wire -- I normally use the inside of some old computer wire, about three strands twisted together and tinned. Solder it to the point rail (on the outside of course), then hop across the joint and solder it to the closure rail (again on the outside), then pull the rest of the wire through the hole between the ties and between the closure and stock rails (one each side), and solder it to the underneath of the rail where I just removed the plastic web in step 3. Trim off the excess wire. The resulting soldered link joins the stock, closure, and point rails together with an almost invisible link, with a piece of wire about 1/2 - 3/4" long at the most. Once the rails are painted (I use spray paint) and ballasted, you really have to know they're there to see them.

    This takes me about 4 minutes per turnout now I know what I'm doing...

    You don't need to do this with mainline switches, but if you do, you've fulfilled all the requirements on the "Wiring for DCC" website, and have absolutely electrically reliable points and frogs. The power for most of the rails is coming directly from the stock rails or the adjacent track (I always wire the track after laying it). The frog power goes down through a hold in the roadbed and attaches to the tortoise.

    On a small yard I laid without doing this, I managed to get the connecting wire between the point and closure rails in after laying -- the only problem was scraping the paint away to get a good connection, and then repainting afterwards.

    You just can't rely on the connection between the point rails and the stock rails, or even between the point rails and the closure rails, particularly if you've painted the rails...

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Since you ballasted them down, check that the ballast is still down. Any little bits that get up between the point blade and the stock rail will break contact. If you find little bits, after you extract them, reglue the rest of the ballast.

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