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DCC electrics issue - Peco EF points shorting out


Grande Maurice
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I’ve just completed track laying and wiring of an end-to-end layout with 12 points (10x electro-frog [EF] & 2x insul-frog [IF]). All points are new Peco small or medium radius. The issue I have is that before connecting the points BUS wiring, I tested the layout with just the main DCC BUS connected. All my locos ran fine across the layout, and only suffered occasional stalling at the EF points as obviously there was no current passing into the frogs at this time. Confident, I then connected up all the electrics on the points BUS. Testing the points they all fire ok BUT.... trains are shorting out when crossing all the points. Using my multimeter I got continuity faults all across the whole layout?! I am baffled. It would appear that this must be an issue with the points wiring and more specifically with the EF’s but being new to model railway electrics I’m lost on where to start. Any help most welcome. 

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  • RMweb Gold

The feed to the frog needs to be switched according to the setting of the point.  This can be done in many ways including automatic electronic devices such as frog juicers.  How are  you switching the feed to the frog?

 

Do you get continuity faults without any locos on the layout?  Have you fitted insulated rail joiners to the electro frog part of the point?

Edited by BoD
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I would think that it is either electrical, i.e.are the frogs being switched to the correct polarity as the point is changed, what are you using as a switching device.

 

Or, mechanical, what track are you using Code100 or finescale, what rolling stock are you running, are the wheels gauged correctly and not shorting on the point frogs.

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15 minutes ago, Grande Maurice said:

Thanks AY Mod for relocating my post. Where am i meant to post questions like this? On the RM Web home page it lists the forums and i click on BRM Magazine and then Start New Topic. Where am i going wrong? 

 

 

From the Home page, click on "Forum Index" then look for the category which seems most relevant. I would be surprised if you cannot ask anything which does not fit into an existing category (& I am sure Andy would like to know so he can add it).

Many questions have been asked so it is worth a quick look. By this time, you are already in the correct category to click the 'Start a new topic' button.

Occasionally somebody may want to look up something we remember seeing a week or so previously. If it was asked in the wrong section there would be very little chance of finding it.

 

Regarding your issue, have you snipped the little connectors from below the track, wired the point blades to the stock rails & fed the frog section from a switch? I am guessing not because this keeps the 2 sections far apart from each other.

This mod may be a little extra hassle but well worth it for reliability. Peco call it "wiring for DCC" but I hate that term because it is complete misnomer. It is equally applicable for DC because it increases reliability (& a short circuit is best avoided on any system).

 

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In answer to comments by BoD and Richard.H I am using new Peco code 100 track. All my locos are standard Hornby, Bachmann and Heljan diesel models. I'm also using Seep PM1 point motors (with micro-switches) for all the EF points, and Seep PM2 point motors for the two IF points on the layout. I have one surface mounted Seep GMC-PM20 with a dedicated frog juicer (Gaugemaster DCC80).

 

This morning I tried running my most dependable loco on the layout with the Points BUS switched off and I still get continuity issues. I'm wondering if i should disconnect all the individual frog wires from the main points loom and then test it again. If it works ok i can then reconnect one frog cable at a time and see if i can identify the culprit.

 

Failing this i wonder if using something like the Tad Valley Dual Frog Juicer Universal (6 inputs) will resolve my issues, whether it's an issue with polarity or an issue of loco wheels bridging rails creating shorts. 

 

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  • RMweb Gold
12 minutes ago, Grande Maurice said:

Thanks BoD. Stupid question (i'm new to all forums) but where are the sub-forums or subject types listed? 

 

 

The forum index page should look something like this...

 

Untitled-1.jpg.6b13a7c4a6b8d390ae639c9276c9b12a.jpg

 

If it doesn't you need to click on the Forum Index button on the home screen as Pete said above.  If you scroll down you can see the main subtopics and the sub forums within them.  It is often just a case of browsing and having a look to see what is in each one.   To speed things up you could use the search box at the top right of this page.

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  • RMweb Gold
20 minutes ago, Grande Maurice said:

I'm wondering if i should disconnect all the individual frog wires from the main points loom

 

I'm not clear about how what you mean by  connecting frog wires to main points loom?  How are the frogs switched?  If you are using the built in switch on the SEEP point motor then, without being rude, you have to be very careful in fitting and aligning the motors or it's possible that they don't actually throw the switch which would result in the frog being the wrong polarity. 

 

Again, don't be offended, I don't  know how confident you are with the wiring side of things, but can you confirm that you have used insulated rail joiners on both rails of the frog? 

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Hi BoD. No offence taken / I’m a novice so good to check these things. Yep, I’ve got IRJ’s throughout. I’ve also modified all points for DCC (I did make the error initially of leaving the wires in - oops). I’m starting to think the issue is as you suggest - Seep points not operating cleanly so not triggering the built-in polarity switch. I’m gonna investigate that this weekend. Thanks. Failing that then I may then try adding frog juicers to a few points to see what happens. 

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11 hours ago, Grande Maurice said:

Hi BoD. No offence taken / I’m a novice so good to check these things. Yep, I’ve got IRJ’s throughout. I’ve also modified all points for DCC (I did make the error initially of leaving the wires in - oops). I’m starting to think the issue is as you suggest - Seep points not operating cleanly so not triggering the built-in polarity switch. I’m gonna investigate that this weekend. Thanks. Failing that then I may then try adding frog juicers to a few points to see what happens. 

 

I left the links in on a couple of points. I remembered as soon as I laid the following ones.

I have found the integrated SEEP switches to be unreliable so it is worth testing them.

Frog juicers work completely differently. They detect a short react very rapidly, switching the current so fast that the control system does not notice. I have not used them but those who have (especially the Tam Valley ones) find them very reliable.

Another option is to mount a microswitch under the board so the point motor's pin throws it. These are much more reliable than the SEEP switch but they do require a little care in aligning them. They are also inexpensive.

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