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electrofrog point isolations?


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18 hours ago, Dave0-6-0 said:

gives the same rubbish outcome everyone's been trying to avoid from the out-the-box electrofrogs

 

More than a little harsh IMO.  As kevinlms indicated a few days ago, plenty of people use electrofrog points out-of-the-box without ever experiencing major issues.  Crewlisle of this parish for one, who has a pretty complicated exhibition layout and who used to pop up whenever this topic was raised (which feels like it happens several times a year) to point out the lack of problems he gets from doing so.  ISTR that he attributed this primarily to scrupulous track cleaning, which should arguably be standard operating practice anyway.  (I wouldn't be surprised if the reason he's not appeared on this thread is because he's got sick of saying it!)

 

That said, if Suzie's suggested five-wire will-I-won't-I solution appeals then I really can't see it being problematic, assuming you connect everything up correctly - which is why John ks' diagrams are so helpful (and could also be where a multimeter comes in handy).  In fact, I might even give it a try myself.

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ejsstubbs:

Sorry – it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek – I wasn’t meaning to be harsh! In fact I fully intend to use the Suzie plan and I think it’s a really simple and clever idea, avoiding the need to rip stuff up. I will then be able to see if that is sufficient for smooth slow running with careful and regular points cleaning and voltage care. If nothing else, it will certainly train me to maintain the system like that even if I then go over to full switching.

 

John ks:

Thanks for the clarification on the looping. Understood. I’ll now get on with putting everything together as suggested (though I’ll do a few on my test bench first just to get used to it and practice my soldering a bit more). I got a voltmeter recently, so no excuses for me now.

 

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One final question. I’m planning to run a DC bus alongside the sidings (and separately to the main line), with droppers to rails, isolation switches etc. I’ll probably use little 2x2 terminator block cut-offs to continue on the bus whilst droppers come off.  Does anyone know if I will get a significant voltage drop as I go on? The  sidings aren't that big, 12 feet long by 1- 1.5 feet wide.  I suspect the droppers will be in parallel with the circuit (?) but the bus may effectively be in series with a voltage drop? I was thinking of using 16/0.2 wire for the bus.

 

Dave

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The resistance of 16/0.2 is less than 0.04 ohms per meter so you should be good to go. You might not want to use screw terminal connector blocks as they tend to chew up the strands of stranded wire. They work much better with single strand solid wire. Some people tin the end of stranded wire but that's not a good idea as solder "cold flows" under pressure. The best solution is to crimp on a solid ferrule but that's a pain in the neck.

 

Connector blocks that have a spreader plate between the screw and the wire are more suitable for multi-strand wire.

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Thanks, Andy. I bought some of the attached image type a few weeks ago. They have a little metal plate round the screw so the wire gets pushed between the plate and a metal base, kind of wrapping round the screw. I guess this is the kind of the thing you mean in your message. It also comes with a handy comb-type structure to save looping the feed which saves a bit of work. Re the cable, sounds like 16/0.2 should be fine from what you say. For the on/off isolating switches I may well just run separate cables back to the switch panel which will mean less total run length anyway (I'm not sure there's a simpler way to keep the switches separate anyway).Thanks.

 

Dave1.jpg.1dbe03989471e0ee23643bb69386add5.jpg

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I think AndyID is referring to this kind of arrangement within the terminal block:

 

DSC_2761.png.9a733f6be1e67210056c452fdc047cde.png

 

where the metal plate completely covers the tip of the screw so there's no chance of the thin cores within the flex getting mashed up by the screw as it's turned.

 

Although the photo on their web site isn't clear enough to show it, I think this terminal strip from RS Online has that kind of construction: Nylon 6.6 Terminal Block With Wire Protection Leaf. "This RS PRO terminal block also features metallic wire protection strips that isolate the conductor from the terminal screw, for increased safety and reliability".  I think the word "isolate" as it's used here refers to mechanical isolation, not electrical.

 

 

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The way I did it with the ones I'd bought was to remove the screw and top plate altogether, curl the stranded wire around the hole on the bottom plate, making sure it was outside the hole where the screw would go. I would then screw down the top plate trying to make sure I avoided any of the strands with the screw. Since I can't actually see beneath the top plate once I start putting it on, I guess I can't be sure I've not moved the wire a little bit and got the odd strand caught by the screw. I'll try the ones you suggest and see if that works better.  I guess one can never have too many terminal blocks anyway! Your ones also look like they might cut nicely into 2x2s which would be good for doing the bus with droppers coming off. Thanks for your help.

Dave

2A.jpg

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Hi Dave,

 

I don't think you'll have any problems with that type of terminal block. The wires are clamped under a non-rotating plate. That will work well with stranded wire.

 

The type I was referring to are the kind where a screw presses directly on to the wire.

 

Andy.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • RMweb Gold
On 02/11/2020 at 04:37, John ks said:

Edit I didn't notice this is in the DC section

The label "DCC bus " should be replaced with From DC Controller

This diagram will work with DCC & DC as is

 

If i understand correctly then this is what been suggested but as a drawing

 

1625347973_frogcontroll.png.37a1d63d2fab28606403156c6fdc6786.png

In the top image the frog is switched by the point blades as it was straight out of the box

 

in the lower image the frog is switched by a switch which can be part of the point motor or a switch mechanically interlocked to the point blade

 Edit  only applies to DCC (the switch could be replaced with a frog juicer) 

The point blades are always alive & there is no reliance on the point blade contact

Hope this helps

John

 

 

Would I be right in saying that this is the equivalent to the top drawing for the 3-way point?

 

3Way Wiring.jpg

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The three way point is a bit tricky.

 

You really need to switch the frogs because you cannot connect the dark green frog to the light green frogs - they are at opposite polarity when using the central route through the point.

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Having started looking in to the "leaving your options open" approach, as proposed by Suzie and helpfully diagrammed by John ks, for my next bit of track laying, I have encountered a couple of hurdles.

 

While medium radius code 100 left and right turnouts have helpful exposed 'pads' on the underside of the switch rails which facilitate soldering on the dropper wires, the short radius points don't.  I can probably use the shorter exposed 'pads' left after the jumper wires are snipped but it will be rather more delicate work.  If that turns out to be a no-go I'll have to find somewhere else for them to go, which will probably not be as discreet as the rail underside.

 

My large radius Y turnouts are a different matter again, since they don't even have the pre-cut and jumpered gaps in the switch rails, meaning that I'll have to do all that work myself as well (I intend to experiment with a Dremel + slitting disc in the first instance).  Not sure why this is: it's not as if they have the same space constraints as the short Ys.

 

I can't help thinking that it would be helpful if Peco could produce rather more standardised designs when it comes to details of this kind.

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  • RMweb Gold

Sorry for hijacking this thread, but I was impressed by the options this method of wiring gave - I am about to do the track laying on my first layout to use Electrofrog points, and I'd like to keep it fairly simple, but with the option to change later to having point motors/switches etc. Also, the layout is likely to be analogue at first, but with the option to go digital later. 

 

But I am a little confused (being a bear of very little brain when it comes to wiring) about what I should be doing with my points (photos of which are attached).

 

 

Loch Doune3a (wiring).jpg

PXL_20210111_151611145.jpg

PXL_20210111_151626921.jpg

Edited by JohnR
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Hi John, 

 

Here's a Code 75 Electrofrog Small that I've recently attacked:

IMG_20210110_165555r.jpg.10d41e8529d008e579278522ca0f7f31.jpg

You can see the the small link wires have been cut in their pockets. (I made a bit of a mess of the plastic doing that but no problem - it won't show) and then four dropper wires have been soldered to the exposed rails.

 

My convention for wiring colour is "Black at the Back" and I will stick to that whatever orientation the turnouts are on the plan.

 

I can't answer for the 3-way turnout - that's a complex beastie that I'm not familiar with. (It would help if we could see a photo of the other side to see where the insulating gaps in the rails are.)

 

As far as the general wiring for your trackplan goes, the normal conventions apply: Isolate frog rails where the changing polarity could conflict with the rail beyond and ideally supply power feeds to every rail so that you aren't relying on feeding power (and signal for DCC) through the metal fishplates. You have shown insulating joiners in the right places to allow all rails to have their own power feed and for DCC they could all simply be wired together but for DC you might need to feed some of the sidings through switches.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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Thanks Phil much appreciated. Here is a picture of the 3-way. Its not one of the latest ones, but has been sat in a drawer waiting for me to get up the courage to use it!

PXL_20210112_080444274.jpg

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17 hours ago, JohnR said:

Sorry for hijacking this thread, but I was impressed by the options this method of wiring gave - I am about to do the track laying on my first layout to use Electrofrog points, and I'd like to keep it fairly simple, but with the option to change later to having point motors/switches etc. Also, the layout is likely to be analogue at first, but with the option to go digital later. 

 

But I am a little confused (being a bear of very little brain when it comes to wiring) about what I should be doing with my points (photos of which are attached).

 

 

Loch Doune3a (wiring).jpg

PXL_20210111_151611145.jpg

PXL_20210111_151626921.jpg

 

For the 3-way point look where Peco have cut the webbing across the sleepers just below the first frog. For improved reliability, you need to solder a wire across the 3 rails on each side. Better still, especially for DCC, make that wire a dropper. This largely eliminates dependency on blade contact for current flow through the point. 

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3 hours ago, RFS said:

 

For the 3-way point look where Peco have cut the webbing across the sleepers just below the first frog. For improved reliability, you need to solder a wire across the 3 rails on each side. Better still, especially for DCC, make that wire a dropper. This largely eliminates dependency on blade contact for current flow through the point. 

Hi Robert,

We are talking about Suzie's method of NOT soldering across the rails but instead bringing droppers for each rail through the baseboard so that the connections can be made underneath.

We just need to be sure exactly which links to cut underneath the turnout and where to solder the droppers to because there are two gaps in the webbing of the 3-way - one below frog 1 and the other below frog 3.

I'm sure @John ks's drawing shows the basis for this but I haven't got time to check right now - got to make a living to be able to afford the railway!

Edit: Apols: @John ks Didn't do a drawing for a 3-way turnout.

Edited by Harlequin
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1 hour ago, Harlequin said:

Hi Robert,

We are talking about Suzie's method of NOT soldering across the rails but instead bringing droppers for each rail through the baseboard so that the connections can be made underneath.

We just need to be sure exactly which links to cut underneath the turnout and where to solder the droppers to because there are two gaps in the webbing of the 3-way - one below frog 1 and the other below frog 3.

I'm sure @John ks's drawing shows the basis for this but I haven't got time to check right now - got to make a living to be able to afford the railway!

 

 

On the 3-way there are no links to be cut: you just need to solder a wire across the three rails where Peco have cut the webbing below the first frog - ie the gaps between the second tiebar and the first frog. Not sure why you would want to solder three separate wires here - much easier to solder one wire across the three rails. That's what I've done with my 3 turnouts. 

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OK, I see. If the frogs on the 3-way asymmetric turnout are not electrically connected to the closure rails as supplied AND IF they require external switches to power the frogs (that is to say if they can't be switched by the blades alone without causing shorts as John R was trying to work out above), then yes, Suzie's method doesn't apply and you may as well solder wires across the rails.

 

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the 3-ways.

 

Edited by Harlequin
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10 minutes ago, Harlequin said:

OK, I see. If the frogs on the 3-way asymmetric turnout are not electrically connected to the closure rails as supplied AND IF they require external switches to power the frogs (that is to say IF JohnR's wiring diagram above can't be made to work without causing shorts), then yes, Suzie's method doesn't apply and you may as well solder wires across the rails.

 

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the 3-ways.

 

 

On these 3-ways the frogs are completely isolated and must therefore be powered by external switches. The two frogs nearest the tie-bars can be switched together with one switch, whilst you need a second switch for the other frog. 

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  • RMweb Gold

Thanks both. 

 

Looks like I am going to have to point motors for the 3 way from the off. I've got some SEEP PM1s which I can use. Only problem I've just noticed is that the RH point on the run-round has its tie bar right over the joint, and because I'm using one of scalemodelscenery.co.uk's boards, I cant move either the join or the point!

 

 

Loch Doune3a (wiring v2).jpg

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22 minutes ago, JohnR said:

Thanks both. 

 

Looks like I am going to have to point motors for the 3 way from the off. I've got some SEEP PM1s which I can use. Only problem I've just noticed is that the RH point on the run-round has its tie bar right over the joint, and because I'm using one of scalemodelscenery.co.uk's boards, I cant move either the join or the point!

 

 

Loch Doune3a (wiring v2).jpg

 

Suggest you have a look at surface-mounting a Peco PL-10 and hiding with Hornby's R8015 point motor housing. 

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3 minutes ago, RFS said:

 

Suggest you have a look at surface-mounting a Peco PL-10 and hiding with Hornby's R8015 point motor housing. 

 

Interesting idea - I dont think theres space nearby for one of those huts, but I wonder if it could be hidden under the platform? 

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If the layout is to be viewed from the side where the right-hand loco release turnout is, and the platform is also going to be on that side, then you could easily hide a motor designed for surface mounting, such as the Peco PL11 or the Gaugemaster GMC-PM20, under the platform.

 

Whether you can find one to buy at the moment is another matter...

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