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Old 05-26-2016, 08:31 PM   #21
mesenteria
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offer one possible answer as to why the Pecos seem to be universally preferred once a person has decided to switch to Pecos, and I saw this just today on another popular forum, the Atlas dead frog length is quite a bit longer than those on the Pecos.

I use Peco IS Code 83 #6 turnouts and have for ten years now. They are worth every penny. The only ones that I would say are better are my own hand-laid #8 turnouts with insulated frogs. And not by much.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:25 PM   #22
paulrail
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Originally Posted by mesenteria View Post
offer one possible answer as to why the Pecos seem to be universally preferred once a person has decided to switch to Pecos, and I saw this just today on another popular forum, the Atlas dead frog length is quite a bit longer than those on the Pecos.

I use Peco IS Code 83 #6 turnouts and have for ten years now. They are worth every penny. The only ones that I would say are better are my own hand-laid #8 turnouts with insulated frogs. And not by much.
Thanks. A smaller dead area sounds like it will help!

Two questions though:

What is "IS"?
Any thoughts on Insulfrog vs Electrofrof?

Thanks
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Old 06-02-2016, 10:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulrail View Post

What is "IS"?
Any thoughts on Insulfrog vs Electrofrof?
I think we can safely say it doesn't stand for Islamic State! Must be erroneous as all Peco points have SL part numbers.

See my earlier post about insul v electrofrogs.

You can download templates from Peco's website to place on your layout.
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Old 06-02-2016, 11:32 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by paulrail View Post
Thanks. A smaller dead area sounds like it will help!

Any thoughts on Insulfrog vs Electrofrof?

Thanks
See attached scans of a ElectrogFrog (EF) turnout and a InsulFrog (IF) turnout.

The EF is on the left.

You can see that the EF frog is all metal whereas the IF frog has some plastic sections.

The IF has the advantage is you can use it "as is" with no special considerations.

The EF has the advantage of an all-metal frog BUT, at the very least, you have to use insulated rail-joiners on the frog rails because the rails of the unselected route are shorted together.

You also have the option to make some minor wiring changes to the turnout to allow powering the closure rails and frog without relying on the points making good contact to the stock rails BUT you have to then provide some device to provide the correct power to the frog.

You can either use the extra contacts on a device like the Tortoise switch motor OR a device like the Tam Valley Frog Juicer.


On my layout I used EF turnouts despite the need for the extra wiring.

Frederick
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Peco Turnouts 3.jpg (85.7 KB, 20 views)
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Old 06-03-2016, 01:50 PM   #25
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Loosing power

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Originally Posted by paulrail View Post
Awesome info, Traction Fan. I love learning more and more about everything I can.

However, my problem is one of a switcher stalling or sputtering over the insufrogs of an Atlas turnout. I am being told that Peco will solve that problem and I'm not arguing... I would just like to understand why that is.

You made some excellent points, but they explain more about why rolling stock doesn't derail and don't seem to explain why locos run more reliably over them.

I will probably just buy a Peco and see what happens because I see on youtube (and other places) that experienced modelers use them...but I would like to know why

Thanks, everybody
paulrail;

Your question asked for quality differences between Peco and Atlas. I assumed this included derailment issue differences. To answer your electrical question, Peco's spring system, and their rail joiner pivots, carry power more reliably to the point rails.
Those Atlas rivets are an electrical problem, as well as mechanical. Sometimes the rivets don't carry power to the point rails well/at all.
Our locos run by picking up power from the rails, through their wheels, and whatever contacts the manufacturer includes in his design. There is an old adage, in this hobby, that says,"you can't have too much electrical pickup." I strongly agree with this notion. All our locos should have power pickup on all wheels. Some don't. This may be because they were designed that way(usually older, cheap locos); or because some part of the wheel-contact-motor system has stopped working. This is how a loco designed with 8 wheel pickup becomes a loco with 4 wheel pick up. As Don wisely suggests, check the loco for all wheel pickup first.
When the pickup is all in one truck, at one end of the loco, it may well stall on a plastic frog. Why? Because the plastic can't supply power to the wheels. A loco with all wheel pickup will not stall on a plastic frog, because it's still picking up power from it's truck that is not on the plastic frog, but on electrically live, metal rails, further back. This brings up another thing you should look at on your balky loco. Some model diesels, and many model steamers, pickup power from one rail only at one end of the loco, and from the other rail only at the opposite end. This means that if you can cut power to the wheels at either end, the loco will stall. You can sometimes see this by looking at the wheels. If each truck has metal wheels on only one side; and plastic wheels on the other side; It is of the type just described. If all wheels are metal, that usually means they all pickup power. Usually, not always! You can test your loco's pickup by running it along the track, and running one truck up on a piece of paper, laid across the rails. Then repeat the test with the other truck. If it runs with either one of the trucks touching the rails, great! That means it has true, all wheel pickup.
Now what about metal(AND powered) turnout frogs Vs. Plastic (and some metal#) Non-powered frogs. I strongly prefer powered metal frogs. Every turnout I've made has a powered frog. The frog has a wire soldered to it and connected to the "common" terminal of a micro-switch. The other two micro-switch terminals are connected to the "stock"(non-moving) rails. When the turnout is set for the main line, the switch connects the frog to the main line stock rail. When the turnout is set for the siding, the frog is connected to the siding's stock rail. This system ensures that every wheel, of any loco, is always sitting on a live metal rail. Result? NO STALLS.
A plastic frog is always electrically dead. If, for any reason, both trucks of a loco are not picking up power; from BOTH rails, the loco may stall.

Peco calls their metal frog turnouts, "Electrofrog"(as in Electrically live*.) They call the plastic frog turnouts, "insulfrog"(as in insulated). I would strongly recommend "electrofrog turnouts.

# Just because a frog is metal, that doesn't mean the frog is powered. Some Atlas "custom line" turnouts have metal frogs that are not powered.

Hope that answers your questions;

Traction Fan

*If you buy a Peco electrofrog turnout, check the manufacturer's instructions. You may have to slightly modify the turnout to get the benefit of a powered frog.

My Turnouts;

Notice the blue wire at the upper right of the photo. It is connected to the frog. When the turnout is installed on the layout; this wire will connect to the "common" terminal of a micro-switch that is operated when the turnout points move. These turnouts also have the "DCC friendly" set up. The frog is isolated from the rest of the turnout. Each point rail is jumpered to the adjacent stock rail. The bottom view shows some of the jumpers.

Turnout parts showing double sided tape.jpg

Scratch built turnout parts.jpg

100_3067.jpg
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Old 06-03-2016, 07:51 PM   #26
paulrail
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Thank you, Traction Fan for taking the time to give me so much detailed information. It
definitely gets to the bedrock of my question!

Almost ironically, now that I have a better understanding of why a manufacturer like Peco is higher quality than Atlas, I got my Atlas turnouts working well...figures.

I will use the Atlas turnouts I have for now but as construction of my layout continues I will likely replace them with Peco...So many of you seem satisfied with them. You will know when this happens because I will start to post questions about Tortoise Switch Machines :-)
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:07 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by paulrail View Post
I will use the Atlas turnouts I have for now but as construction of my layout continues I will likely replace them with Peco...So many of you seem satisfied with them. You will know when this happens because I will start to post questions about Tortoise Switch Machines :-)
Note too that Peco, IMO, look much better than Atlas.
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Old 06-03-2016, 08:41 PM   #28
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Yes, I noticed that. I used Atlas Code 100 when I was a kid and the code 83 Atlas look better than they did back then (smaller switch machine).

With their easy to wire remote controls I thought I'd see if I could get away with them as I re-enter the hobby now. Again, at present, they are working fine but I am considering replacing them now rather than later.

No track laying this weekend...hoping to get to Home Depot and continue the bench work. Thanks again to everybody for all the help!
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:27 PM   #29
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West Switch Machines

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulrail View Post
Thank you, Traction Fan for taking the time to give me so much detailed information. It
definitely gets to the bedrock of my question!

Almost ironically, now that I have a better understanding of why a manufacturer like Peco is higher quality than Atlas, I got my Atlas turnouts working well...figures.

I will use the Atlas turnouts I have for now but as construction of my layout continues I will likely replace them with Peco...So many of you seem satisfied with them. You will know when this happens because I will start to post questions about Tortoise Switch Machines :-)
paulrail;

Though I have not used the tortoise switch machine, many forum members do use them and they have a great reputation. The only negative thing I've ever heard about them is their high cost.
Peco makes their own switch machine, designed to mount under the table, like Tortoise, but, unlike tortoise, they are not slow motion motors; but snap action type. I think Peco offers them with optional electric contacts. If you decide to use powered frogs, as I do, you will need the contacts.
I don't know the price relationship between the two brands. DonR can probably help with that. He uses Peco turnouts and, I think,Peco machines with them. Don uses a capacitive discharge system(sound's more complicated than it actually is) to operate his Peco turnouts and has had years of successful operation. When you get to that point, Don should be able to help you with Peco machine info. Another member, CT Valley, is one of the many who use tortoise machines. He can help with those. These two nice guys are long term model railroaders, and forum members. They have helped lots of newbies, with all sorts of advice.

Good luck with your railroad;

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Old 06-04-2016, 11:01 PM   #30
paulrail
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Thanks, traction fan. Now I'm a fan of traction...fan

I was not aware of Peco's switch machine's. I will look into that option.

Thanks for the help!
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