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  • DCC switch wiring

    I have two different types of switches that will be installed on my layout. The top one has two small metal rods that are connecting the rails. I am assuming that this is a powered turnout though obviously I am not sure. I have had these for a few years. The others do not have the metal rod connecting the rails and are labeled in the packaging as DCC Friendly.

    Will the powered turnouts cause problems or should I removed the metal bar?

    Is there any advice on wiring these turnouts for DCC as far as feeders to the turnouts?

    Thanks for any help.

    Jeff

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  • #2

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    • #3
      Jeff,

      It looks to me that both turnouts are "DCC friendly" with insulated frogs but with different ways of getting power to each of the points. Those short jumpers on the one turnout ensures that getting power to each point does not require contact with the adjacent stock rail. Don't remove them.

      There's nothing special about wiring them although some people like to power the frog through a switch that changes frog polarity according to how turnout is thrown.

      Mike
      _________________________________________________

      Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

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      • #4
        I agree with Mike's information. I've recently been replacing the plastic throw bar with a PC board tie strip gapped to prevent a short as well as the jumper. I also wire a very small wire across the joint of the hinge like mechanism to be sure the moving points stay energized.
        Karl Scribner-Curmudgeon

        Cedar Swamp
        SW of Manistique, MI

        AVATAR Image stolen from Model Train Stuff advertisement in my e-mail

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        • #5
          The importance of powering the frog varies with the equipment you own. If it's all diesels that pick up from all 8 or 12 wheels, un -powered frogs may not matter. But few steam locos pick up from all wheels, and small 'critters' can also be annoyed by dead frogs.
          James

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          • #6
            Everything you need to know is here http://wiringfordcc.com

            dave
            Modeling 1890s (because the voices in my head told me to)

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            • #7
              Mike, Karl, James and Dave. Thank you for your input. The wiring aspect of making a layout is the one I am least comfortable with and your information will definitely help. The link looks especially helpful Dave.

              Thanks again.

              Jeff

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              • #8
                Jeff,

                Regarding the wiring, best practice with any track laying is to power each section of track rather than depend on the rail joiners. For turnouts that is four drops for the two long stock rails and the two short rails beyond the frog.

                I've used enough turnouts over the years that I would now use so-called DCC friendly turnouts even for DC layouts because the points are hard wired rather than depending on touching the stock rails for power. At least with the DCC friendly ones until I get around to wiring the points and frog for power routing I can generally use the turnout reliably for all but the shortest wheelbase locomotives.

                Mike
                _________________________________________________

                Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James Baldwin

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                • #9
                  Mike,

                  I am planning on powering each section of track. That seems to make the most sense. I will also follow your advice and make sure I use four drops for each turnout. Thanks again for your input, I really appreciate all the information I can get!

                  Jeff

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                  • #10
                    Hi Jeff

                    Which switch machine are you using?

                    Mike M

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                    • #11
                      Also, are you you soldering your rail joiners or just letting them float? Here's why I ask. I used Tortoises machines, so I power the switch frog that way. Second, I solder all rail joiners. I have now built a dozen DCC layouts and to be honest, I just power each block in one location with 16 gauge wire. I use larger wire because of the 5 amp draw possibility. The Soldered joiners carry the DCC signal just fine. No drop outs, no lost power. I used to add drops to every 3ft section of flex. Its a waste of time,wire and solder. On larger layouts I may add a second drop. The fact your DCC switches have jumpers helps power the whole switch and a powered frog makes sure short wheel base loco's don't stall.

                      My own layout was once powered with 40 drops,each 3 ft flex track. I went through and eliminated 36 drops when I went to a block arrangement. Loco's run fine.

                      Mike M

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                      • #12
                        Thanks Mike. I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I am going to use Tortoise machines and I might try using them to power the frogs. I will probably run a few engines through the switches to see if I have any that stall. I have read that some joiners should be left unsoldered because of expansion/contraction of the layout but it sounds like you haven't had any problems. I was considering powering each section but you've got me thinking I might be able to eliminate some of the drops. The less soldering I have to do, the better though I will have to see how it goes.

                        Thanks for your input!

                        Jeff

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                        • #13
                          I was told you needed to keep the rail joiners loose because the rail itself expands and contracts and soldered joiners leads to buckling. I have never seen it happen. I was also against soldering since it was a pain. Funny thing is its easier than drops. Less expensive(less wire) and works. I do believe in powered frogs and the tortoise machines do that well.

                          Mike M

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                          • #14
                            I have seen rail bow out because the plywood under it shrank during its first winter in a heated space. But it's only happened twice, both on straight rail 6 or more feet between gaps. It was a minute's work with a motor tool cutting disk to re-open the gaps.
                            James

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