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Ray H

Peco SL-94, code 100 long crossing

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We've fitted a Peco SL-94, code 100 long crossing to our new club OO layout - we're using code 100 to accommodate members with older stock.

 

As far as we can recall it was new (although the box in which it came suggests a retail price of £7!).

 

The leaflet that came with it shows switched frog polarity wiring as well as wiring that implies that the main running rails are single lengths of rail bent/angled in the centre.

 

In practice each of the two main running rails of the crossing is in two parts with an insulated "plastic" rail shaped piece between. The rails forming each common crossing (frog) are electrically independent of each other and the crossing nose is again an piece of "plastic".

 

The rail components of the crossing are bonded such that separate wiring does not appear to be required although it does look as though there is a risk that wheels passing over the common crossing could momentarily contact both component rail pieces.

 

The baseboard is flat, the crossing is flat (as far as we can judge using a straight edge against both rail tops and underside of the sleepers).

 

We've tried three different locos, two x Jinties (one far nearer than the other) & and an aged 4F. Each happily runs over every other piece of track that we have on the layout but each stalls on the crossing.

 

We've turned the crossing round with a small improvement in performance.

 

We're tempted to throw the crossing out and replace it with a known new one but don't want to do so if our experience reflects inherent problems with the said crossing.

 

We can't believe that this design would have lasted so long if it had inherent problems but at the same time we can't find a solution to the erratic running over our example.

 

We'd welcome indications of the experience of others with this item of track.

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It's an Insulfrog crossing so no frog polarity wiring is required.  There can be an issue with DCC when locos touch both rails as they go over the frog - I had that with the code 75 crossing and replaced it with an Electrofrog one.

 

It might be that one of the wires underneath that carries power to the central diamond rails has come adrift.  I would check that all the rails have power throughout the whole length of the crossing.  

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Thanks.

 

My understanding of Insulfrog equipment was that no wiring was necessary but the leaflet that came in the box with the crossing definitely shows special wiring. I suspect it is a generic leaflet and totally inappropriate to Insulfrog points/crossings. We'd only referred to the leaflet to see if it indicated something we needed to do to counter the poor running over it.

 

We spent a couple of hours last evening running locos back and forth over the crossing.

 

We even added an extra baseboard brace immediately under the crossing to make sure it stayed flat. We lifted the crossing, checked it wasn't distorted and checked the baseboard (again) at the same time. We've checked the rail level electrical continuity and the "welded" wiring beneath the crossing. All appears in order.

 

We've even placed test meter probes on all the relevant rails when locos stall and they always show a supply present. The rails have been cleaned using several different methods so they don't appear to be to blame either.

 

We could understand possible problems if the locos had the deeper flanges but one is only a couple of years old and definitely doesn't.

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Is it possible the the depth of the channel in the frog is slightly too shallow, thus causing the flange to lift the wheel fractionally so that it looses power contact with the rail?

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Don't chuck it Ray.  Most clubs have an electrical boffin and he should be able to study the underside of the point to come up with a conversion to quasi electrofrog.  I did it to a small point on my test track.  The first thing is to eliminate reliance on the blades to carry power to the crossing.  As with DCC conversion, solder a jumper between the stock rail and closure rails on both sides.  While you're at an omega loop at the blade hinge will make continuity through there more reliable.

 

At the crossing, there should be jumper wire connecting the closure rails to the respective crossing rails.  These jumpers should be removed leaving the entire crossing section isolated.  You'll need to solder jumpers to short all the rails in the crossing.  This will give you a point that works the same way as electrofrog.

 

In accordance with best DCC practice, the point should be wired such that the crossing (or frog) polarity is switched when the point (OK turnout) is thrown.

 

Pause here while I switch to a browser that actually works.

 

John 

 

John - I think he is talking about a diamond and not points

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I would check the affected locos' wheels are all clean and every one of their pickups is working.  I did have a problem with an Insulfrog diamond where the engine stalled because the front driving wheel was on the plastic frog and the rear wheel on the plastic insert between the two outside rails. The centre wheel was not making good enough contact - it was probably lifted very slightly I suspect.

 

The only solution I found was to use Electrofrog instead.

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This is very "personal opinion mode", but I've got/had 4 long crossing on my layout, all new and I wanted them for the particular configuration(s) in place.

Two of them work with all my locos about 95% of the time, the other two, to put it bluntly, were CRAP, almost every loco would stall one direction or the other every third of fourth time the traversed the bloody things! I'd read elsewhere of similar issues but added the two additional ones as I'd had such success (relatively) with the first two.

 

The recommended resolution (being I/you are working with code 100) is to replace them with PECO SL-80 single-slips. I've done so and have ZERO issues anymore, This includes a couple of tanks that are short-wheelbase anyway and would/should have issues if anything does. I'm planning in the future to also replace the other two long crossing the same way.

 

As it turns out, in the new location I was then able to use the single-slips to also replace a cross-over, reducing the overall length of pointwork at the junction, but even if you leave the single-slip as a non-working "crossing" the running is a major improvement, from my experience. Even my Jinty happily trundles over them...

 

NOTE:  Layout is DCC, and all wiring is per best-practise, with droppers "everywhere" etc., including providing power to the crossings/single-slips directly with droppers, so it was not a wiring issue, just a product that doesn't work well in my experience.

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Thanks for all the responses.

 

We spent even more time looking at the offender today and finally noticed that one of the common crossing rails at each end dipped very slightly. We decided to go for a replacement item (from new) which we can hopefully return to Peco if it malfunctions.

 

We've heard of the idea of changing to a single slip but it would make a nonsense of the track plan. That said I suppose we could make the slip part look dis-used.

 

We had cleaned wheels and pick-ups on the locos even though they were all happily traversing numerous other (Electrofrog) points on the layout.

 

I'd add that each loco was an 0-6-0 and when they stalled all but one wheel was on/over metal rails with only one on an insulated area.

Edited by Ray H

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look at Everad Junction's youtube channel, as he had problems with it

Did he find a solution?

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Thought I would share my experiences with the SL-94, and in particular with DCC. I've not had problems with dead spots, but when my old Lima Mk1's from the 80's went over, I could hear the controller making that high pitched "shorting out" sound. Initially, I assumed it was the 30 year old wheels but even my Bachmann class 150 did the same. So, after some ingenious investigating (run the trains in the dark and look for the arcing!) I found that it was the frogs at either end of the crossing that were the problem.

 

So, to solve it (and at this point I'll apologise for the lack of photos) I cut off the feed wires underneath the crossing that feed the frogs (leaving the ones towards the centre intact). I then connected the two frog rails at one end to a common feed, and then did the same at the other end. 

 

The frog at one end of the crossing (in my case, the one furthest from the points) is then powered from the frog feed for the points, the other end from an SPDT microswitch which actuates as the points are changed, but sends the "opposite" feed to the frog.

 

The end result, perfect running with no more shorting.

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