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Wiring old Shinohara turnouts for dcc?

Discussion in 'DCC & Electronics' started by Twindad, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. Twindad

    Twindad New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am going to risk asking a stupid question: if one is using old Shinohara turnouts, and wants to wire for DCC, is all the turnout surgery really necessary (such as on the Wiring for DCC website)? I've searched and found posts that show people doing varying degrees of rail cutting/wiring, etc., and I'm not sure what is necessary.

    If isolating the frog is what is essential to avoid shorts, can't that be done by simply putting insulated joiners at both diverging ends of the turnout, and powering the turnout from the point end? (that's my stupid question)

    I'm new to all this, so please forgive my ignorance! Is there a benefit to cutting the rails closer to the frog, as opposed to isolating the turnout by using the insulated joiners? If I were to cut the rail close to the frog, would I need to make 4 cuts (2 on each side of the frog, as they are on the newer shinohara's)? Would I then need to wire the frog with a DPDT (or connect it to the appropriate terminals on a Tortoise?) What else do I need to think about?

    I want to do this right, but I REALLY don't want to rebuild all of these things...I'd rather go buy Atlas turnouts and forget about it! One thing that has come to light--it appears I probably should be wiring and testing with DCC now, as opposed to DC (I've got an old DC powerpack, and was going to hold off on giving my kids the DCC unit and decoders until their birthday in October).

    Thanks!

    Steve
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

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    Steve: the bits of the Shinohara turnouts that gave us problems were the points. We also had the same problems with most all-rail turnouts where the points were installed so that both would be at the same polarity.
    The problem is a short caused by a wheel contacting the open point and shorting it to the adjacent stock rail. This happened even with locos that seemed to measure to NMRA standard. This short doesn't cause a problem with DC unless you're running slowly; with DCC the circuit breaker shuts down the whole area or layout instantly. (That's the fun: with DC only your train would be affected; with DCC everyone is shut down.)
    What my friend did was two parts: isolate the frog from the points and then isolate the points from each other. Shinohara (and old Atlas, and a lot of others) make both points from a single stamping that includes the pivot point and the tiebar. This was replaced with a pair of points made from tapered rails and hinged or joined to the rails that used to make the frog -- but are now cut off from them (Well, I know what I'm talking about!)
    Some people seem to run their DCC layouts with no problems like this.
    When you isolate the frog (2 cuts between the points and the frog, and you may already have the gaps on the far side) it should be powered. The conventional way is to use SPDT contacts on a switch machine to connect it to the appropriate running rail.
    There is another problem, but it comes with plastic frogs. The rails through the frog can be exposed enough that a wheel can touch both of them for a second. Usually this doesn't cause a problem because one rail is neutral or dead, but if the rail gets powered from beyond the frog, it can short.
  3. Denyons

    Denyons Member

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    Shinohara turnouts

    I have 3 Shinohara turnouts on my own layout and plan on going DCC.
    What is the differance between Old and New Shinohara turnouts?
    I am using a Wye, a 3 way Wye and a sissors xover.
    Do you have photos of Old vs New?
  4. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member

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    Hi,
    I'm using a couple of older Shinoara turnouts that I salvaged from my old layout (DC) in my new layout (DCC). I've not experienced any of the problems that are purported to exist. As a matter of fact, I wired my new layout EXACTLY as I wired my old DC layout, just without the blocks, although it is set up for power districts for when I get to the point of requiring additional power units (boosters). If you've done things right, it should work with a DC powerpack or a DCC system.
    Good luck...!!!
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

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    The older Shinohara turnouts have the points electrically linked to each other, and to the frog. The new ones have the points insulated from each other, and electrically tied to the stock rails. The new Shinohara also insulate the frog from the points.

    From the reports I have read, about 10-20% of old Shinohara turnouts will likely have the shorting problems with metal wheel sets that Andrew talks about. My recommendation is to use the Shinohara with DCC, and observe which ones give you shorting or stalling problems. Fix or replace those, and leave the rest alone.

    Just a caution - a metal wheelset gauged slightly narrower than NMRA standard will cause the shorting problem even if all other wheels go through the turnout just fine. Adjusting wheels to correct gauge is easier than turnout surgery, and will help solve other derailment issues, too.

    my thoughts, your choices
  6. Twindad

    Twindad New Member

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    Thank you Fred, Gus and David for your helpful perspectives. I think I'll take Fred's advice and cross my fingers. Anecdotally, at least, it seems like the odds are pretty good that they should work OK.

    Denyons--Fred's description is right on. Some specific visual cues: the newer versions (the "DCC Friendly" ones) have visible (from the bottom of the turnout) jumpers connecting the appropriate rails; the newer ones have very visible plastic breaks in the rail isolating the frog, and they also have rail connectors at the spot where the points meet the closure rails--the older ones have a pivot at that spot.

    Thanks again!
    Steve
  7. Denyons

    Denyons Member

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    Denyons--Fred's description is right on. Some specific visual cues: the newer versions (the "DCC Friendly" ones) have visible (from the bottom of the turnout) jumpers connecting the appropriate rails; the newer ones have very visible plastic breaks in the rail isolating the frog, and they also have rail connectors at the spot where the points meet the closure rails--the older ones have a pivot at that spot.


    Mine seem to be the newer ones with the plastic breaks by the frogs.
    A problem with some of the points on mine are the copper contacts that are buckled and don't allow the points to close smoothly.
    Dennis